Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area Superintendent John J. Donahue announced June 6th that staff park ranger Kathleen Sandt will share some gems from her private postcard collection at a special presentation at Bushkill Meeting Center on Saturday, June 8 at 7 p.m.
An exhibit of souvenirs and postcards representing the heyday of the Delaware Water Gap resort era will also be on display at Park Headquarters on River Road in Bushkill, PA through 2013. Park Headquarters is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. with the exception of federal holidays.
Almost everyone has sent a postcard at one time or another. And despite the availability and prevalence of smartphones, e-cards, e-mail, text messages and social media which allow us to send photos and messages instantaneously, people still buy and send postcards. Just look around in almost any store in the area and you will find the ubiquitous postcard rack featuring pictures of the Delaware Water Gap, Pocono wildlife, local attractions, and scenic vistas.
A hundred years ago, postcards were at least as popular as a method of communication as all of our electronic gadgets are today. And like those gadgets and applications, they were used to communicate a variety of messages ranging from "Having a swell time!" to "I will be home on the 8 o'clock train."
For Sandt, who has been collecting local memorabilia and postcards for 20 years, the value of these items is in the messages scrawled in a just a few lines on the back- and in the case of some older postcards, on the front. While most collectors prefer cards that are unused and in new or mint condition, Sandt says that she prefers the ones that tell a story- even if it is only a few words. "Many of the people writing and sending the cards were here to do the same things that bring people to the area today- like hiking, sight-seeing, and paddling on the river," she explained.
While the beautiful pictures, some of which are hand-colored, provide glimpses of what familiar places looked like long ago or document places that are no longer extant, it is the messages that were written approximately a hundred years ago that are the focus of this presentation. "Each one is like a little time capsule containing a message from someone who was here before we were," said Sandt. Postcards from the area that is now Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area and the surrounding area will be featured.
Bushkill Meeting Center is located on U.S. Route 209, just south of the blinker light at Bushkill Falls Road. The program, which is sponsored by the Friends of Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, is free and open to the public.
For more information, please contact Park Headquarters at (570) 426-2452 or visit the park's website: www.nps.gov/dewa.