Greetings from Somewhere or Other

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Whose farm is that? Where are these Washington County landmarks? They do look familiar. Is that the view east from State Road 135 out by Quaker Overlook? And the highway -- is that State Road 56 on the way to Scottsburg, before the cut through the Knobs straightened the road? Here's a hint:

Those scenes could be anywhere. The card is a "local," a generic image that's been localized with the inclusion of a particular place-name, even though the image may have nothing to do with the place. Locals are a big part of the postcard world. This one is published by Dexter Press, and there may be hundreds of versions of these same two scenes localized to places that aren't anywhere near them.

Usually locals -- especially older ones -- are overprinted with the name of the place: that is, the finished cards are put back through a press to add the name of the town. Here's another example:

"Greetings from Salem, Indiana" it says at the bottom, but where exactly in Salem, Indiana is that lake? Lake Salinda never looked that manicured, and Lake John Hay didn't even exist when this card was mailed in 1948. It's a local, published by the Tichnor Bros. company of Boston. Here's another version:

Same lake (although you'll notice that a couple of the swimmers are more obviously female). But on the back, this card says:

This body of water is not included on any map of Franklin Township. It existed only in the notions case at the New Philadelphia general store operated by the McClellan/Wiggs/DeJean family (and now part of the collection of buildings at the Stevens Museum). This card was published by the NYCE Co., which seems to have been a subsidiary of Tichnor Bros. that specialized in locals. Here are some more New Philadelphia NYCE locals:

 

  Maybe the same missing lake?

 

  This looks more like Franklin Township

 

  Anybody recognize the car?

 

  A Pekin local, mailed in 1923

 

The Salem lake card and the Pekin card are interesting for another reason. Not only are they locals, but they were mailed in card swaps.

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