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Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Case of the Unknown Photos

Fire Department Vehicle. (c) 2011, Houston Fire Museum.

Fire Department Vehicle. (c) 2011, Houston Fire Museum.
Click here to enlarge this photo on our Flickr page!



Unfortunately, these are labeled "content unspecified". 

Here is what we do know about the first photo: 
  • The vehicle is motorized (a aerial ladder water truck?), and has the number one emblazoned on the cab. It is very possible that the motorization is via conversion rather than through manufacture.
  • The fire department or station name/number on the side of the vehicle near the middle is too small to be deciphered when blown up. 
  • The building on the left appears to be residential while the building near the rear of the vehicle, in front of/under the bare tree, states that it is a "Sanitary Store" and advertises what appears to be "Stahl's Home Made Doughnuts" (but it could be Stohl's or some variation of the two). 
  • Another sign, illegible due to the position of the vehicle, can be seen through the spacing behind the vehicle. 
Photo Number Two: 
  • This is clearly a different vehicle than the one in the first, a ladder truck if I am not mistaken. 
  • It's taken in front of the same residence but from a different angle. 
  • Additional buildings can be seen to the right, plus another residence. The taller one on the far left seems to have a unique design above the top floor window.
  • The Sanitary Store property is peeking out of the corner on the right. On the far left pillar the word sandwich is written from top to bottom.
  • The Houston Fire Dept name is emblazoned on the vehicle's hood. 

Looking at the dress, the accompanying videos, etc., a guess on my part puts the photo at no earlier than 1915 and probably no later than the late 1920s but possibly as late as the 1930s. It appears that the man/boy in the first photo in the white shirt talking with the person on the bicycle is the same person that is investigating the vehicle in the second photo.  The second photo PROVES that the location of the photo is Houston as the words "Houston Fire Dept" is legible on the hood.

Does anyone recognize the vehicle? The house? The business? 

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