It’s time to share another Essex, NY artifact on the blog, and this week’s photograph comes from the series of stereoviews that we recently acquired. Do you recognize this Essex quarry view?
We invited you to play Vintage Essex Trivia when we posted this pair of almost identical photographs on the Essex on Lake Champlain Facebook page last week, soliciting community wisdom and wild guessing about the view captured in the image. Here are a few of the comments:
Dianne Lansing: Looks like the corner of Ross Way and School St. The stacks of the nail factory are in the distance and I think that’s my ship coming in in the harbor!
Deborah Anson Goslin: I can actually see it in 3D if I let my eyes cross!
Paul Spooner: I tried that but I need different glasses then…
Glen Pickles: Looks like view from behind the stone houses that sit on what is now school st.
George Davis: This makes sense to me, though it’s amazing how much has changed. Not many of these buildings still standing today!
Faylene Davis: Hector Sandburg would know.
Do you know anything more about this scene? Do you agree or disagree that this perspective could have been photographed from the Essex quarry? Share your knowledge and oracular divination in the comments.
Essex Quarry Imposter?
We also received a message from one community member suggesting that the photographed village is not Essex at all. Perhaps not… Perhaps this skeptical (though extremely knowledgeable) Essex resident might be right.
We purchased this pair of stereoview photographs as part of a collection in an auction based on the handwritten caption on the back side which reads, “Essex from Quarry”. If it is in fact shot from the Essex quarry, most all of the buildings in the foreground seem to have vanished. And given the incredible preservation of most the village’s built environment, this strikes me as unlikely.
I decided to rescan and enlarge/enhance the background images so that you can get a closer look. The most likely match is the Baptist Church (although other historic photos are necessary to verify since the Baptist church burned down long ago.) Of course, Baptist churches tend to resemble one another just about everywhere. The road curving up from the lake between what might be Crystal Spring Farm and what might be Wilder House appears identical to views from the same stereo view set shot from the top of the hill looking down the road toward the lake. The white fences parallel to the road and lake also strike me as a likely match for the fences that once spanned Dower House all the way to the Community Church. But then again… imagination and the will to see what I want to see may be conspiring against me!
I’ve done my best to highlight other “recognizable” elements in the photo, comparing outlines and fenestration with other period photos of three buildings, and I’ll leave it up to others more keenly studied the Essex urban planning to make the final decision.
What do you think?
What is a Stereoview?
If this is the first of our shared stereoview images that you’re viewing, then you may be wondering– just what is a stereoview? Historically, photographers produced these double image cards to be used with a stereo viewer. The device gave the appearance of 3-D when you looked through it, hence the mirroring images for each eye to create the illusion.
We hope you’re enjoying these vintage images! Keep your eyes on the Essex on Lake Champlain blog for more.
- Vintage Stereoview: Main Street, Essex, NY (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)
- Vintage Stereoview: View of Essex from North (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)
- Vintage Postcard: View from Steamer of Essex, NY (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)
- Vintage Postcard: Rosslyn/Essex Waterfront (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)