Telluride in the Mountains, A Local Somerville History Nut, and Houdini’s Escape

Hello and welcome to a special Monday edition of Friday Favorites! It has been hectic here at Historypin, but I still wanted to get the word out there about some of the great content that went up in the past week. Check them out:

 Pin of the Week

Fourth of July Parade, Colorado Street, Telluride, 1895.

Pin of the Week comes from the Telluride Historical Museum, with a scenic photo of a Fourth of July Parade in Telluride in 1895. Located in the beautiful mountains of Colorado, Telluride has a rich history as a mining town; from the local Native American Ute culture, the discovery of gold and silver, and the arrival of the railroad, the museum aims to chronicle this diverse history. The world is familiar with Telluride through the the Telluride Film Festival, held for the past forty years and on parr with Cannes and Sundance. I myself knew about Telluride through my love for film, but am glad to be able to explore the town’s history.

Unfortunately there is currently no Street View available for Telluride (get on that Google Maps!), but looking at the photo below, it seems that the intimate small-town feeling still remains:

Downtown Telluride, present day.

Telluride, surrounded on all sides by mountains

I look forward to seeing more pins from the Telluride Historical Museum; in the meantime, visit their Channel and their website.

Pinner of the Week

South End kids pose on a stone lion, Boston, MA, 1933-1943.

Pinner of the Week is user binarydreams, a self-perscribed “local history nut” from Somerville, Massachusetts. With over one-hundred pins, binarydreams shares an array of photos from not only Somerville’s past, but other cities in Massachusetts such as Boston. From sledding on underwater ice to raids on speakeasies in the latter, to child laborers in 1912 Somerville, decades of local history leading up to the present are brought vividly to life.

A yard full of homework, Sommerville, MA, 1912.

A city farmer tends his vegetables in the Fenway, Boston, 1973.

I love individuals that are so enthusiastic about their local history; there is so much to discover and learn, and the potentially more personal element involved can instill a sense of belonging and participation in the timeline of local culture. Binarydream’s Channel certainly has the scope that allows not only locals, but those from around the world to see how much has changed (or what has not) in the area, and reflect on “remember how we used to…”

Check out the Channel’s wonderful collection of photos here.

Story of the Week

Harry Houdini preparing for an escape stunt, 1912. (Library of Congress)

In the weeks leading up to Halloween, Story of the Week comes from the mysterious magician Harry Houdini. A master at his craft, Houdini defied the efforts of experts in almost every part of the world to devise a restraint from which he could not escape. He escaped from iron boxes, paper bags, bank safes, and coffins buried six feet under.

On July 7, 1912, Houdini attempted to escape from a wooden crate submerged in the East River in New York harbor. In the photo above, he shows his handcuffs and chains as he stands with the wooden crate that he will climb into, the hook for it visible on the left. The police inspected that his bindings were secure, then the large box was nailed shut and weighted down with lead weights. The box was then slowly lowered into the harbor, to the delight of a huge crowd onshore.

Here Houdini describes the mental strength necessary to complete an escape: “When I am stripped and manacled, nailed securely within a weighted packing case and thrown into the sea, or when I am buried alive under six feet of earth, it is necessary to preserve absolute serenity of spirit….If I grow panicky I am lost. And if something goes wrong; if there is some slight accident or mishap…I am lost unless all my faculties are free from mental tension or strain. The public see only the accomplished trick…”

Within a minute of being submerged in the box, Houdini’s head appeared in the water, unbound and free. When the bindings were inspected back on the pier, they were found in the exact condition they were in before the box was lowered into the water. Hat’s off to one of the world’s greatest escapists!

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