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  • Treasure of the Month
    the Galveston Daily News followed by Shag Astaff Both cars were owned by George s brother Gus who operated a motor delivery service on the island Each vehicle was equipped with 35 horsepower engines that topped out at 40 miles per hour Their tires boasted warranties of a thousand miles and putting the top down required the strength of four men The group s goal was clear they wanted to be the first people to successfully cross the Galveston Causeway in cars Driver Shag Astaff passenger Ike O Donnell and Charlie Hinkfuss in the back seat pose for a triumphant photograph shortly after crossing the Causeway image courtesy of Galveston and Texas History Center Highway patrolman George Defferari 1882 1935 courtesy of Galveston and Texas History Center Automobiles first appeared on the island around 1902 They became fairly popular soon thereafter numbering nearly 150 within seven years despite the fact that motorists were confined to the island Poor roads paved with oyster shell if at all vague traffic laws and sharing the streets with horses and pedestrians made conditions all the more difficult for early motorists Oil taken from the first barrel produced in Dickinson collected by George Defferari in an empty aftershave bottle gift of Silas B Ragsdale The group reached the shell paved causeway at the brisk pace of 25 miles per hour but slowed as they came to the lift bridge because it consisted of only railroad ties For a moment the rough ride and the thought of plunging into the Gulf forced the group to consider turning back but to the delight of everyone Defferari and Astaff continued forward Upon reaching the apex of the bridge the group stopped to make a speech and then christened the causeway with a bottle of Mumm s Extra Dry

    Original URL path: http://rosenberg-library-museum.org/displays/treasure/2013/08-causeway/causeway.htm (2016-04-26)
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  • Treasure of the Month
    a millinery shop on Market Street prior to the couple s marriage in the 1850s By 1874 six women listed themselves as milliners in the Galveston City Directory and in 1899 there were nine milliners who operated shops on the island Among these late 19th century milliners were the Rex Bord Millinery Firm and the Simon Millinery Rex Bord was located on Postoffice Street between 22nd and 23rd It opened around 1890 and was in business until 1931 Simon Millinery was located near 20th and Market Street and operated from about 1895 to 1911 Though each of these firms was owned by men it was Mrs Rex Bord and Mrs Harry Simon respectively who managed retail operations Independent millinery shops were eventually replaced by larger department stores which included divisions devoted to hats One such example in Galveston was Nathan s which touted itself as Galveston s smartest shop for women Nathan s opened its original single story shop in 1927 at 2217 Postoffice it later expanded and occupied a new space nearby The millinery department at Nathan s featured a fine selection of ladies hats one of which is part of the library s display this month Hats have been worn by both men and women for centuries Hats are worn to protect the head against the elements for religious ceremony as an indicator of military status or simply as a fashion accessory Decorative hats for women became popular in royal and aristocratic circles in the late 16th century Millinery or hat making has traditionally been a female occupation The term milliner originated from the Italian city of Milan the source of the finest quality women s hats in the 1700s Milliners created hats and bonnets outfitted with lace trim and other decorations Hats were considered an essential accessory

    Original URL path: http://rosenberg-library-museum.org/displays/treasure/2013/09-hats/hats.htm (2016-04-26)
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  • Treasure of the Month
    mains were laid in August of that year During its first month in operation the company reached a 41 customer base Within four months that number had increased to 103 By the 1920s the facility had been expanded seven times to accommodate the more than 8 000 residents who consumed gas in their homes and businesses Coal was imported from Europe and brought to the island on large sailing vessels In its early years slave labor was used to power the plant making the gas business an extremely lucrative one Operations were suspended during the Civil War and afterwards with slavery abolished the cost of gas increased However the demand remained high and the Galveston Gas Company continued to prosper Galveston s streetlights had to be lit by hand each night and extinguished one by one each morning A fire damaged the Market Street plant in 1887 and the facility had to be completely rebuilt following the 1900 Storm just thirteen years later The post storm grade raising also posed a great challenge to the company as it required all of the gas mains to be elevated along with the city s buildings By 1929 coal gas was replaced by natural gas and the Galveston Gas Company closed Throughout the company s history prominent businessmen including J H Hutchings George Ball Henry Rosenberg and John Sealy served as board directors for the Galveston Gas Company In 1869 the firm presented John Sealy with an elaborate presentation silver set which included a ewer and two engraved goblets Born in Pennsylvania in 1822 John Sealy came to Galveston in 1846 and worked as a clerk for a local mercantile He later formed a partnership with John H Hutchings and George Ball to establish Ball Hutchings and Company a commission and banking business

    Original URL path: http://rosenberg-library-museum.org/displays/treasure/2013/10-silver/silver.htm (2016-04-26)
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  • Treasure of the Month
    in the Galveston Art League When he died his estate established an endowment fund administered by the Rosenberg Library whereby every spring the library purchases a work of art from the Art League for the Library s permanent collection The copper stencil on display would have been used to quickly mark sashes or other large orders for practical and advertising purposes It is in surprisingly good condition for an item that was used in such harsh working conditions The yardstick which bares the name address and phone number of the firm dates to the 1950s Jalonick Smith opened J F Smith Brothers Hardware in 1870 After three years he sold the company to John Francis Smith before relocating to Dallas to enter the insurance business Shortly thereafter Edward A Smith joined his brother as partner In 1889 the company moved to 2323 Strand in a two story iron front building which still stands today currently occupied by LaKings Confectionary 1897 Receipt from J F Smith Brothers courtesy of Galveston and Texas History Center The housing boom that resulted in the beautiful Victorian homes in Galveston required many specialty items like glass screens paint stains molding and sashes so the growth of J F Smith Brothers corresponded with that of the city in general Within a decade the Smith brothers created one of the largest hardware stores west of the Mississippi An early advertisement reveals that they sold everything from colored glass and paint to blinds lumber and hardware Company records which reside in the Galveston and Texas History Center at the Rosenberg Library shows a firm that paid attention to even the most minute details Invoices from the business show J F Smith was not afraid to call out vendors who overcharged him one percent or sent him incorrect orders

    Original URL path: http://rosenberg-library-museum.org/displays/treasure/2013/11-treasure/11-hardware.htm (2016-04-26)
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  • Treasure of the Month
    us take for granted today but our educational system has not always focused on instilling the love of reading in children In fact modern ideas of what a good childhood sheltered from the worries of adults gaining an education playing games using ones imagination and so on ought to be were products of late 19th century reformers Their efforts eventually gave way to a focus on education especially reading for kids This in turn gave rise to a new literary genre children s literature So during the 1904 holiday season the library exhibited a collection of children s books that would make good Christmas presents Perhaps Emma and her sister Cora received a present from that exhibit that Christmas but we don t know for certain Emma grew up graduated from Ball High and went on to Columbia University where she enrolled as a journalism student However she soon changed her focus to library science After graduating she obtained a job in Houston and in 1924 she was hired as the head of the Children s Department at the Rosenberg Library Her predecessor Evelyn Sickels had established the children s department as a focal point of the Rosenberg Library which Emma Lee continued over the next thirty plus years Lee was famous for her story time Sometimes she would use dolls as visual aids to teach kids about different cultures or nationalities Her story time was so popular that she took it to the airwaves on a weekly radio show in the 1940s Emma Lee also created other outlets for children s activities and held programs on coin and stamp collecting She set up numerous historic exhibits for kids and gave lectures on topics ranging from the history of books to the contributions of Southern writers to children s literature

    Original URL path: http://rosenberg-library-museum.org/displays/treasure/2013/12-legacy/legacy.htm (2016-04-26)
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  • Treasure of the Month
    pianos Henry O Drotning of New York patented the Play A Sax in April 1930 Drotning was a prolific inventor who had over thirty patents to his name Later in his career he switched his focus from making innovations in musical toys to the dynamic world of photography In the 1940s he went on to work for Kodak where his background in toys helped him create the stylish Brownie Reflex camera He also developed improvements for shutters and safeguards to prevent the double exposure of film The Play A Sax is very easy to operate The musician first loads a music roll on the side draws it around the front of the sax and then inserts the loose end of the paper into a slot Once loaded with the music roll the player then blows into the mouthpiece while cranking the small handle at the end The crank feeds the music roll which manipulates the sixteen openings to produce different notes An audio sample from a Play A Sax can be heard online at http www mbsi org gallery php The QRS Devry Corporation also produced a variation of the Play A Sax called the Clarola Made to look like a clarinet the Clarola had a different mouthpiece and horn but used the same type of music rolls crank and body as its saxophone counterpart The company marketed the two toys to children but tried to convince parents that they were not just typical annoying noise makers Noting in one Play A Sax advertisement It catches the child s fancy and furnishes him with the genuine fun of playing real music It plays the grownups favorite selections and does it with pep and accuracy In the early 1930s QRS Devry sold the Play A Sax for 2 89 over 40

    Original URL path: http://rosenberg-library-museum.org/displays/treasure/2012/01-sax/sax.htm (2016-04-26)
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  • Treasure of the Month
    season beyond the May through September months Sea Arama became the first of several projects designed to boost year round tourism on the island Its early brochure boasted Sea Arama offers to Southwesterners for the first time the opportunity to combine entertainment and education culture and science Today whale and dolphin shows water ski tricks and aquariums are fairly common but when Sea Arama opened its attractions were cutting edge Completed in November 1965 the 2 million Sea Arama Marineworld quickly became Galveston Island s top tourist attraction Located at 91 st Street and Seawall the 25 acre complex featured a 4 acre water ski park and a 200 000 gallon aquarium filled with exotic fish turtles electric eels and even piranhas Sea Arama offered visitors the chance to watch live alligator wrestling matches a poisonous snake act flying porpoises and whale and dolphin shows from its 1 000 seat open air theater A crowd favorite was the finale of the cobra show that involved a Kiss of Death between the snake and its handler Two of the most popular and memorable residents of Sea Arama were its whales Nemo and Mamuk The marineworld also featured an octopus grotto a petting zoo and a lagoon with sharks and tropical birds Providing an educational and entertaining experience for adults and children alike Sea Arama s attendance numbers averaged 200 000 annually From its opening until 1988 the park was the most visited destination for tourists in Galveston Many Galvestonians who came of age during Sea Arama s heyday fondly recall the novelty of the park During the ski show the announcer would pick out a person in the audience wearing a hat and say I think a Seagull wants to buy your hat he just left a deposit on it The

    Original URL path: http://rosenberg-library-museum.org/displays/treasure/2012/02-sea-arama/sea-arama.htm (2016-04-26)
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  • Treasure of the Month
    ventured into banking serving as a director of First National Bank and of Island City Savings Bank He was also President of the Toyah Land and Cattle Company One of Galveston s most notable philanthropists Lasker provided generous gifts to the Adoue Seaman s Bethel the Osterman Widow and Orphans Fund the Galveston Orphans Home and the Letitia Rosenberg Home for Women He also provided funds to establish the Lasker Home for Homeless Children in 1912 Lasker was an active member of the Temple B Nai Israel congregation and served on the Galveston Board of School Trustees He died in 1916 at the age of 76 In 1889 Mr Lasker commissioned respected Galveston architect Nicholas Clayton to design a grand residence for his wife and eight children at 1728 Broadway One of Clayton s largest private homes the Lasker House boasted five bedrooms a lavish reception hall oversized baths and a kitchen complete with the most modern amenities of the day The Classical design of the pink stucco home featured Romanesque details and double tiered porches with elaborate cast iron details The interior of the home was outfitted with ornate hardware art glass panels burled pine molding massive doors and a circular staircase fashioned from square nails and wood pegs Construction costs for the home totaled 22 000 and the project took three years to complete Born in Ireland in 1840 Nicholas Clayton was raised in Cincinnati Ohio He moved to Galveston in 1872 to help supervise the construction of the First Presbyterian Church 1903 Church Street His designs were so influential that architect and author of The Galveston That Was Howard Barnstone called the period from the 1870s 1890s the Clayton Era Examples of his work that are still standing include Walter Gresham s residence known today as the

    Original URL path: http://rosenberg-library-museum.org/displays/treasure/2012/03-lasker/lasker.htm (2016-04-26)
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