Hanging Out in 1912

These people are hanging out on the (fairly new) porch of the Hammell home at 122 N Sherman.

This photo faded in a way that was difficult to recover, with grains of the print fading in different ways. The image you see here is far from ideal, but it is the best I was able to do with it in a reasonable amount of time.

On the left is Bessie Hammell. Sitting next to her is Florence McClain (Mom). It didn’t really look like Mom to me at first, so it took me a while to convince myself that it was. I’m pretty sure it was Mom herself who made that identification, though.

The woman on the right, sitting on the porch railing with her back to the camera (which seems strange to begin with) is a mystery. Mom identified her as her mother, Addie McClain. And just based on context, that would seem like a reasonable guess. It must be remembered that Mom was looking at the original, faded photo, where the person on the right looks like a dark blob (to the point that it isn’t clear whether the person is standing or sitting, facing the camera or facing away). But with what we can see here (imperfect as it it), this woman appears to have long hair—below her shoulders, at least, and perhaps even down to the middle of her back. The photo isn’t clear enough in that area to be certain. I don’t believe Grandma’s hair was that long (was it?). Even if it was, she never let it down like that as far as I am aware. Suggestions regarding the identification of this woman are welcome.

As a preview of coming events, the porch you see here is a substantial improvement over the original porch on this house. I’ll be posting a photo soon showing what the house looked like four or five years before this. You’ll also see that the porch on the house at 130 N Sherman was completely rebuilt in the same time period.

The sidewalk coming around the porch on the right and across the front appears to have been newly poured. Perhaps that was part of the porch reconstruction project. I speculate that the plants in pots all around the porch were rescued from the flowerbeds in the path of the sidewalk construction, and are waiting to be replanted in the bare beds in front of the porch here. You may have noticed in photos posted previously that were taken around the Hammell home later than this one, that the flowerbeds around the porch were full of plants. I assume that was Sarah’s doing.

When I first noticed the fingerprint in the lower left corner of the photo I was afraid it might be mine. (Yikes!) However after gently wiping the photo surface and rescanning I can report that it appears to be in the print itself and not on the surface—so probably a fingerprint on the negative. Regardless of how it got there, it is apparently a 100-plus-year-old fingerprint!

3 thoughts on “Hanging Out in 1912”

  1. There appears to be either a reflection in or someone looking out of the window.

    1. I agree, Neal. To me it looks like the mystery woman is reflected in the window. When I first saw that, I was hoping the reflection would be clear enough to help identify the woman. Unfortunately, it was not.

  2. I have a vague recollection from my early life that Grandma McClain did have long hair, which of course was let down only rarely. My memories from my childhood quite imperfect. I often wish Clara were still with us to verify (or not) what I remember. I’m glad I verified a few memories with her before she left us.
    I’m glad, Lloyd, that the fingerprint was not yours!!!

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