Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Happy Birthday to My Aunt!

My aunt, Jo Ann (Sister Jean Marie) Guokas is 93 today!  Here is a photo of her from 1946 - she is at the lower right.  She is with her companion group that entered the Congregation of the Incarnate Word and Blessed Sacrament convent in Houston, Texas, in 1946.  Five of the six had been students at Incarnate Word Academy (which my mother, Geraldine Margaret Guokas Pape, 1928-2019, also graduated from, in 1945).  The photograph was taken in the beautiful gardens of the Incarnate Word Convent, then at 3650 Bissonnet.

Top row:  Dorothy Sachnik '46, Mary Ann Hollman '47, Agnes Beebe Allien '45.  Bottom row:  Frances Marie Campise, Mildred Bell Fisher '45 (both later left the convent), Jo Ann Guokas '48.

© Amanda Pape - 2023 - e-mail me!

Thursday, August 24, 2023

Happy Birthday to My Sweetie!

A picture from a little over 40 years ago, in March 1983!  Breathless is on Contigo, his 27-foot 1969 Pearson sailboat he'd bought in September 1981.

© Amanda Pape - 2023 - e-mail me!

Monday, July 24, 2023

What I've Been Doing in 2023

Those of you who follow my blog may have noticed I haven't been posting very much.  My spouse fell and fractured the top of his left femur at the end of 2022, and underwent a partial hip replacement.  That was followed by a number of complications - three dislocations in the first seven weeks, revision surgery, and ten weeks after that in a brace, then lots of physical therapy - interspersed with flare-ups of a couple other health issues.  There were eight emergency room visits and five hospitalizations totalling fifteen days, from the end of December through the end of March.

Therefore, the first four months of the year, we were pretty much stuck at home, followed by a few more months where numerous appointments made it hard to go anywhere else.  Now we're in the brutal heat of a record summer, and I don't *want* to go anywhere else - just stay inside my nice cool house.

So what have I been doing to keep busy?

When my parents passed away in 2017, I wound up with all the photos they still had - old family pictures and travel snapshots.  My 93-year-old aunt recently passed all her photos on to me as well.  I had a box full of snapshots of my husband - an oldest child whose father had easy access to film processing, so there were LOTS of them.  And I had my own personal photo albums.

I worked on the snapshots of my husband first, and then halfway through April, started on a set of my photo albums, which cover mid-1986 (I'd already organized photos prior to that time) through 2005 (when I moved from Washington state back to Texas, and got my first digital camera).

I decided to go through all the pictures, get rid of ones that were out of focus, or were places or landscapes (or people) I couldn't identify, and then give most of the remaining "good" photos to the offspring (especially photos *of* the offspring).  Most importantly, I wanted to label the back of every single photo.

I used Stabilo aquarellable pencils to write on the backs of the photos.  I wrote who was in the photo (full names including maiden names), and when and where it was taken.  I also made a note, if there was more than one copy of an image, who had other copies.  This will help the offspring later on when disassembling my albums, to know who already has the images.

I've also done some other interesting things in this project.  I've used my Epson Perfection 3200 Photo scanner to scan color negatives, so I can blow them up to make out details not visible on the prints.  That's actually not the case for the photo below - it just happened to be on a strip with another negative I needed to enlarge, and it's a picture of me having fun that I really like.

Above:  Amanda Pape on a hike with the offspring on the Rainier View Trail #1155, off the Corral Pass trailhead, partly in the Norse Peak Wilderness in the Mt. Baker - Snoqualmie National Forest, September 11 or 12, 1999.  [This is what I wrote on the back of the photograph with a Stabilo aquarellable pencil.]  Photo by the offspring.

Below:  Red, black, and navy blue Stabilo aquarellable pencils sitting on top of a page in a Pioneer X-Pando post style, patented bi-directional slip-in pocket memo photo album (Style No. BP-200) I bought years ago.  The photo at the bottom is of my son's sixth grade class in June 1998.  Photo by Cathy Wilterding.

Believe it or not, I saved a bunch of calendars (mostly pocket, but one wall) from 1991 through 2000 that have helped me put exact dates on many photos.  I also found old Christmas newsletters and copies of a few other e-mails I'd sent to be helpful on determining times and places.  And interestingly enough, envelopes holding the negatives often have notes on when and where photos were taken - that's what helped me figure out the photo at the beginning of this post was from the Rainier View Trail #1155.

After I took the photos and had the film processed, I had slipped the photos into the albums in (more-or-less) chronological order, but in most cases I had not written down any details on the photos, either on the backs, on a sticky note, or in the memo field of the album.  Just as well on the latter, since I'm getting rid of so many photos (either by tossing them or by passing them on to the offspring).  All photos will have information safely written on the backs.

I've also scanned some photos in order to upload them to Google Images for a search.  For example, I did these two photos - which actually aren't from my albums, but rather from my parents' travels.  All they said on the back was "Albuquerque."  Read the captions to find out what they actually are, thanks to Google Images.  This didn't work for every image I wanted to identify, but it worked for many.  I may hang on to some photos I really want to identify for a bit longer, and try running them through Google Images again in the future.

Above:  San Agustin De Isleta church at the Isleta Pueblo, 15 miles south of Albuquerque, New Mexico.  Photo taken by one of my parents.

Below:  Rectory garden at San Felipe De Neri Catholic Church in Old Town
Albuquerque, New Mexico.  Photo taken by one of my parents.

The photo below was one from my albums, from the summer of 1998.  I knew it was from a park somewhere in the Seattle, Washington, metropolitan area, but I couldn't remember which one.  Even though this structure was torn down in 2015, Google Images found a match when I uploaded it (see the caption).

Above:  The offspring in the upper play area of the silo restroom building at Farrel-McWhirter Park in Redmond, Washington, summer 1998.

Below:  Texas state highway maps with the routes of vacations in March 1995 (top) and summer 1997 (bottom) highlighted.

Finally, my albums include a lot of ephemera, such as postcards, brochures, and in some cases, maps.  I had used big folding paper Texas state highway maps on many trips (long before GPS systems were available), and plotted our routes when we got home.  I scanned a few of those (above) to have copies for the offspring. 

As I write this, I am finishing up with 1999 - just six more years (2000 through 2005) to go.   Good thing, as I want to deliver the offspring's photos this autumn.  I got 14 years worth of albums sorted in about three months, so I figure I can do six years in the remainder of this hot summer. 

© Amanda Pape - 2023 - e-mail me!

Thursday, June 22, 2023

Circa 1865 Map of Winn Parish, Louisiana

Recently I learned that Louisiana maps from the Civil War era had been digitized by the National Archives (announcement in September 2021).  These maps are described in A Guide to Civil War Maps in the National Archives on page 22 in section 1.63, "Portfolios of Captured Confederate Maps. 360 items." as "A group of manuscript parish maps received from Reese in 1866 generally showing township and private land claim lines, place names, names of landholders, roads, and routes of reconnaissances."

Here is the map from the area I am interested in, roughly the northwest third of Winn Parish, circa 1865 (click on the map to view a larger version, rotated from the one on the NARA website so north is at the top).

Above and below:  Parish maps of Louisiana captured from the Confederates ca. 1865. Winn Parish [Maps and Charts]; Records of the Office of the Chief of Engineers, Record Group 77; National Archives at College Park - Cartographic,
College Park, MD [online version available through the
National Archives Catalog (NAID: 171031960, image #4, Local ID Z33-39) at
catalog.archives.gov; June 22, 2023].  Image above has been rotated 90 degrees to the left from the original so that north is at the top.  Image below is cropped and enlarged from the image above, and the Levi Spikes land is outlined on its western half in green.

In the map above, I zoomed into a small area in the lower right of the map to be able to see the land marked as owned by "Spikes."  That would be my Louisiana great-great-great-grandfather Levi Spikes (ABT 1805 - BET 1880-1900), who patented the land in 1860.  His land was on both sides of the road, so I outlined the western portion in green (click on the map to view a larger version).

In the map below, I added an outline in blue of the land owned by my other Louisiana great-great-great-grandfather, Jacob Shelton (ABT 1822 - AFT 28 Feb 1874).  He also patented his land in 1860.  I suspect it wasn't included on the map because it was well off the main roads depicted. 

Above:  Parish maps of Louisiana captured from the Confederates ca. 1865. Winn Parish [Maps and Charts]; Records of the Office of the Chief of Engineers, Record Group 77; National Archives at College Park - Cartographic,
College Park, MD [online version available through the
National Archives Catalog (NAID: 171031960, image #4, Local ID Z33-39) at
catalog.archives.gov; June 22, 2023].  Image is cropped and enlarged from the original image at the top of this post, the Levi Spikes land is outlined on its western half in green, and the Jacob Shelton land is outlined in blue.

Below:  Capt. Chauncey B. Reese. [Between 1860 and 1870] Photograph from Civil war photographs, 1861-1865, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division.  Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <www.loc.gov/item/2018669924/>.

So who is the Reese who provided the maps in this sub-collection?  The index to A Guide to Civil War Maps in the National Archives clarifies that he is the same C. B. Reese who provided other maps, and further research showed that he is Chauncey Barnes Reese (1837-1870), an 1859 graduate of West Point assigned to the United States Army Corps of Engineers.  I couldn't find any documentation as to how he acquired them, nor on who created the Winn Parish map in the first place.

© Amanda Pape - 2023 - e-mail me!

Sunday, June 18, 2023

Happy Father's Day to My Dad in Heaven!

Frederick Henry Pape (1929-2017) and daughter Karen Pape with Barney the basset hound and grandson/nephew Eric Bolme, 717 Rawlins, Lancaster, Texas, December 1987.

© Amanda Pape - 2023 - e-mail me!

Thursday, June 1, 2023

Happy Birthday to My Son Eric!

Amanda Pape and Eric Bolme, Granbury, Texas, August 12, 2019

© Amanda Pape - 2023 - e-mail me!

Sunday, May 14, 2023

Happy Mother's Day to My Mom in Heaven!

Eric Bolme escorts his maternal grandmother Geraldine Margaret Guokas Pape (1928-2019) to her seat at his uncle (her son) Mark Pape's wedding, Fredericksburg, Texas, March 1995.

© Amanda Pape - 2023 - e-mail me!

Sunday, April 30, 2023

North Beach Fire House, Corpus Christi, Texas - 1937 - c1980

The photograph below was recently posted in the "Corpus Christi, Texas History" group by John. L. Gower, the photographer, who took the photo around 1980.

North Beach Fire Station, Corpus Christi, Texas.  Photograph taken on Kodak slide film ABT 1980 by John L. Gower.  Used with his permission.

One can tell from its proximity to the Harbor Bridge that this is near the south end of the North Beach area in Corpus Christi.  Of course, I wanted to know exactly where it was, and when it was built.*

It doesn't appear on the January 1927 or 1931 Sanborn maps (the latter available through the TexShare databases).  It is listed in the 1940 Corpus Christi City Directory (available on Ancestry dot com) as Fire Station No. 4 at 213 Bessie Street, so that told me it was built between 1931 and 1940.

Newspaper articles in the 1937 Corpus Christi Times (available at Ancestry dot com and Newpapers dot com) indicate the building was constructed that year. (*If you look closely above the door on the right in John's photograph, the "37" is visible.)

There's a sketch of the North Beach Fire Station by architect Morris Levy, dated February 20, 1937, in the Corpus Christi Public Library Digital Archives.  There's also a 1985 photograph of the abandoned station in the Texas A&M University - Corpus Christi Repository.

Final confirmation of the location came from the May 1950 Sanborn maps (also available in the TexShare Texas Digital Sanborn Maps database, a part of Proquest Digital Sanborn Maps, 1867-1970).  Below is a snip of the relevant section of Sheet 63 of that series of maps:

Bessie Street was the southernmost east-west street on North Beach, and is long gone, now part of the Texas State Aquarium grounds.  Hamilton Street has had numerous names over the years, known at various times as Avenue B, N. Water,  and today, Surfside (on the southern end of North Beach).  All of this area is now part of the Texas State Aquarium grounds.

I haven't yet been able to determine exactly when the North Beach Fire Station ceased operations and was torn down.  According to commenters in the Corpus Christi Facebook group, it served as the city fire department's training facility at least from the late 1960s through early 1970s - jokingly called "NBU,"  for North Beach University.  The land for the Aquarium was cleared by the end of 1988.

The May 1950 Sanborn map also includes a filling (gas) station across Bessie from the fire station, at the corner with Hamilton.  I have to wonder if it is this one:

Gas Station [August 1980] / Jay Phagan / CC BY 2.0

According to photographer Jay Phagan, who took this image after Hurricane Allen in August 1980, it was "on the south end of Corpus Christi Beach (North Beach) - now part of the aquarium grounds."  There's a "319" painted on the column on the left in the photograph, but so far that hasn't helped me figure out where this was.  More research!

© Amanda Pape - 2023 - e-mail me!

Sunday, April 9, 2023

Happy Easter! Gerrie Guokas, Early 1930s, Houston, Texas

Mom (Geraldine Margaret Guokas Pape, 1928-2019) is holding an Easter basket and is maybe about age 4 or 5 (1933 or 1934) in this picture.  There appears to be a parking lot in the background, so it may have been in a city park or on the grounds of St. Joseph Catholic Church in Houston.

© Amanda Pape - 2023 - e-mail me!

Monday, March 20, 2023

Corpus Christi - North Beach Tourist Camp - Christi Court

Two weeks ago, someone posted this picture in a Corpus Christi (Texas) Facebook group:

Lee, Russell, photographer. Insignia of nationally affiliated tourist courts. Corpus Christi, Texas. Oct. 1939. Photograph. https://www.loc.gov/item/2017784576/.  Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, FSA/OWI Collection, LC-USF34-034513-D.

The photo - and all the other black-and-white photos from October 1939 and December 1940 that you'll see in this and future posts about North Beach in that era - were taken by Russell Lee for the Farm Security Administration - Office of War Information.  They are in the public domain and are available at the Library of Congress.  

Someone in the group asked where this Christi Court was.  As my in-laws were living in Corpus Christi in 1939 and 1940, I knew there were some city directories available at Ancestry.com.  Sure enough, on page 100 of the 1940 city directory for Corpus Christi, I found Christi Courts at 3207 C Avenue.

But where exactly was C Avenue?  The street guide in the 1940 city directory said (page 641) said that it was on North Beach, "2nd w[est] of Av A."  Well, where was Avenue A?

The street names on North Beach have changed a number of times over the years.  I'd figured out some of these before, but here is the process I used this time to figure out just where Christi Courts were.

The Sanborn maps aren't especially helpful for this situation.  The last one that is freely available online, from January 1927, only has details for the parts of the peninsula that were developed at that time.  Later updates, in 1931 and in May 1950 (which I cannot display here as they are still under copyright), did not expand the covered area, despite great development in this area in the 1940s in particular.  Avenue C does not show up on any of these maps.

However, one can make some assumptions from the 1927 map.  Here's a cropped, edited portion of Sheet 1, the key map for that year:

Cropped and edited from Sanborn Map Company. Corpus Christi 1927 Sheet 1, map, 1927; New York. (https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth553065/: accessed March 19, 2023), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, https://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting The Dolph Briscoe Center for American History.

Some of the streets that run southwest to northeast are marked "F", "G", etc.  From that it's pretty easy to figure out where Avenues A through E lie.  In addition, in the top right corner of the map (click on the image to see a larger version), one can see a street marked Ave. "C", that is also Timon and Chaparral further southwest.

In addition, the May 1950 update does show both old and (then)-new names for these southwest-to-northeast streets.  For example, Avenue A, which is Rincon on the 1927 map, is labeled both Avenue A and N. Shoreline in May 1950.  

It's also important to note that the construction of the Harbor Bridge in the 1950s altered North Beach - particularly these avenues - significantly.  Parts of them were completely obliterated.

Here's what I figured out for Avenues A through E:
- A became Rincon and later N. Shoreline (and further north, disappeared entirely).
- B became N. Water AND Hamilton (due to the orientation of the Southern Pacific Railroad line, visible on the 1927 map), and is Surfside (on the southern end) and Gulfbreeze (on the northern end) today.
- C was Chaparral on the 1927 map, and later became Timon and Surfside, or W. Surfside (yes, confusing), which it mostly is today.
- D was Bluntzer on the 1927 map, and later became Seagull (what it is today).
- E was Mesquite on the 1927 map, and later became E. Causeway (what it is today).

The streets that crossed these Avenues - the ones that run northwest to southeast on the map - also changed names - or disappeared - over the years.  One thing that did not change was block numbering.  That helps with matching up streets - and addresses - from the past.

Starting at the south end of North Beach:
2600 block - from Bessie (gone today) to Bennett (also gone today).
2700 block - from Bennett to Pearl.
2800 block - from Pearl to Market (now Breakwater).
2900 block - from Market (Breakwater) to Garner (now Bridgeport).
3000 block - from Garner (Bridgeport) to Vine (now Coastal).
3100 block - from Vine (Coastal) to Elm.
3200 block - from Elm to Plum (which is Golf today east of Timon/Surfside and the Harbor Bridge).
3300 block - from Plum (also Golf) to Walnut (which is Paul today east of Timon/Surfside and the Harbor Bridge).
3400 block - from Walnut (also Paul) to Siegler (only a small piece of this remains, thanks to the Harbor Bridge and North Beach ramps on and off it).
3500 block - from Siegler to Burleson (which is Breaker east of Timon/Surfside).
3600 block - from Burleson (also Breaker) to Custom (now Churchdale).  This street roughly lines up with Bushick east of Timon/Surfside.
3700 block - from Custom (Churchdale) to St. Charles.
3800 block - from St. Charles to St. Nichols (now Tourist).
3900 block - from St. Nichols (Tourist) to Oxford (now Treasure).
4000 block - from Oxford (Treasure) to Perry (now Surfboard).
4100 block - from Perry (Surfboard) to Davis (now Gulfspray).
4200 block - from Davis (Gulfspray) to Neal.
4300 block - from Neal to Ohio (now Hayes).
4400 block - from Ohio (Hayes) to Walldue (now Beach).
4500 block - from Walldue (Beach) to Annie (now Reef).
North of this point, Foggs became Sandbar, and Woodrow and Hull streets disappeared.

So 3207 C Avenue would be 3207 Timon/Surfside - or W. Surfside - today, between Elm and Plum streets.  But which is it?  Timon, Surfside, or W. Surfside?  The routing of the Harbor Bridge really affected this area.  The image below is from a topographic map from 1971.  The area outlined by the yellow square is the area in which the Christi Courts would have been.

Cropped and edited from Geological Survey (U.S.). Corpus Christi Quadrangle, map, 1971; Reston, Virginia. (https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth457559/: accessed March 19, 2023), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, https://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.

My next strategy was to search the deed records for Nueces County, to see if I could find a legal description for the Christi Courts property that would line up with Nueces County Accessor District data for today.  I was lucky that an advanced search in the field "Document Image" for "christi courts" brought up this backfile deed record from 1949, volume 734, page 408:

So according to this, Christi Courts was located on "...All of Lots Three (3), Five (5), and (7) in Block Fifty Six (56) Brooklyn Addition of the City of Corpus Christi, Texas, as shown by the map or plat thereof recorded in Volume "A", page 32 of the Map Records of Nueces County, Texas..."

I was able to pull up that November 6, 1909, plat as well, with the volume and page number:

Here's a closeup of the relevant section of the map:

On this, you can just make out the Avenue A and Avenue C labels, to the right.  The title box for the map provides a little more information:

Note that Avenues A, C, and E are 100 feet wide - other streets are 60 feet wide.

So knowing that Christi Courts was in Block 56, we can find that on the present-day Nueces County Appraisal District map:

This proves that Christi Courts was at the present-day address of 3207 W. Surfside Blvd. in Corpus Christi.  The southeast edge of the property was likely taken in the construction of the Harbor Bridge in the 195os, hence the legal description for the property is BROOKLYN NW POR[TION] OF LTS 3, 5 & 7 BK 56.

Stay tuned for future posts on North Beach establishments from the 1940s.

© Amanda Pape - 2023 - e-mail me!