What Happened To Celebrating George Washington’s Birthday?

The United States Used To Celebrate George Washington’s Birthday

Now It Is Ignored

How We Stopped Honoring One Of The Greatest Americans

The Life of George Washington Harper’s Weekly February 27, 1864

Growing up in the seventies, we didn’t get a “winter break” at school in mid-February for a full week. School in February was closed on two days: February 12 for celebrating Abraham Lincoln’s Birthday and February 22 for George Washington’s Birthday. That is if one of the days didn’t fall on a weekend!

Grammar school teachers made a big deal out of our two great presidents. We learned all about Washington and Lincoln leading up to the holidays. Washington secured our liberty and Lincoln preserved it. The two were somewhat distant historical figures, yet their importance was still to be held in some amount of reverence.

From the time he came to prominence during the Revolution, George Washington, The Father of our Country was practically worshiped by its citizens. This was true for nearly two hundred years, Washington was thought of and remembered as a great American. He was honored with place namings and later his own holiday.

That is until the late twentieth century when George Washington’s Birthday became the victim of bureaucrats.

How Washington’s Birthday Became A Holiday

George Washington’s Final Birthday 1799 Harper’s Weekly Feb. 25, 1899

George Washington’s Birthday was the first federal holiday to single out an individual’s birth date. Continue reading

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Old New York In Photos #124 – Central Park & The Dakota 1889

Central Park On A Sunny Day In 1889

It is 1889 and we are looking west across Central Park on 72nd Street towards the Dakota flats apartment building. Unlike today, there are no bicycle lanes, rollerbladers or joggers on the roadway. And the park seems to be bereft of crowds. But the photograph, taken by the Albertype Co., does record a view in which all the elements seen are still present over 130 years later.

In 2021 there are still mounted police patrolling Central Park. Behind this mounted policeman a horse drawn carriage ambles crosstown.

The policeman observes the small group on the sidewalk who have stopped to gaze at the cameraman taking the picture. Continue reading

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Old New York In Photos #123 – 110th St. Elevated Curve

The 110th Street Elevated Curve of the Ninth Avenue Elevated c. 1905

Elevated train on curve at 110th Street New York City photo: Keystone-Mast Collection, UCR/California Museum of Photography, University of California, RiversideWe see here the dramatic 110th Street “suicide” curve of the El at Eighth Avenue (Central Park West) from around 1905. From this vantage point a great view of the city could be had for the price of the El’s fare – a nickel.

Above 53rd Street the Sixth and Ninth Avenue Elevated lines combined their tracks to run along Ninth Avenue. When the tracks reached 110th Street, they turned east on to Eighth Avenue  continuing into Harlem.

The “S” shape curve was set at a dizzying 60 feet above street level to reach the plateau of Harlem Heights at an acceptable grade. Continue reading

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Paul Cornoyer, Painter of New York- Washington Square Park, Winter 1908

Winter Snow Scene At Washington Square Painted By Paul Cornoyer

& A Brief History Of The Life Of The Artist

Impressionist and tonalist, Paul Cornoyer (August 15, 1864 – June 17, 1923) depicts Washington Square Park after a snowstorm circa 1908. Cornoyer’s strength lies in his ability to celebrate wet days. Many of his paintings feature rain or snow and its aftereffects. Cornoyer was a master at evoking a gloomy mood with interesting lighting effects bringing about an emotional response from the viewer. Continue reading

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The Average New Car Cost $814 & Other Fascinating Factoids From 1924

In 1924, 3,650,000 Cars Were Produced In The USA Costing An Average of $814

10 Factoids From The New York Merchants’ Association

A typical fact filled issue of the Greater New York Bulletin of the Merchants’ Association of New York The February 16, 1925

The defunct weekly trade magazine Greater New York – Bulletin of the New York Merchants’ Association contains news and articles related to business affairs. The Bulletin did not just limit themselves to New York related items, but highlighted national and international stories.

Paging through the 1925 issues of the magazine, I found beneath the feature articles some very interesting two and three line factoids concerning statistics from previous years.

Here are 10 of these factoids with headlines reprinted verbatim, with my comments below them in blue.

1- Use of Telephones
The City of New York contains more telephones than all of South America, Africa and Oceania combined. Within this area lie the great English speaking commonwealths of Australia, New Zealand and South Africa and the rapidly growing republics of Brazil, Argentina and Chile. There, too, lie great cities, Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, Capetown, Melbourne, Sydney and Auckland.

Verizon abandoned their copper lines in New York City a few years ago. How many years before there are no landline telephones, just cellular phones?

2- Nine Big Incomes
Only nine persons reported net incomes of $3,000,000 or greater for 1922, and four of these reported that their net incomes were greater than $5,000,000. Two of these in the 5,000,000 class lived in Michigan, one in New York and one in New Jersey.

Hmmm. Michigan? Calling Mr. Henry Ford? By contrast according to the IRS, in 2012, the top 400 earners in the USA reported average income of $335.7 million. Continue reading

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A New York City Snowstorm In 2021 & 1857

Big Snowstorm. Big Deal. New York City – Then and Now 1857 & 2021

New Yorkers making their way along Centre Street during a huge snowstorm. The building is the Tombs prison.  February 1857 Ballou’s Pictorial Magazine 2-21-1857

“Congealed rain, frozen particles, precipitated from the clouds, and preserved by the coldness of the atmosphere in a frozen state until they reach the earth.” Continue reading

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Classic Hollywood #107 – Greer Garson, Great At Memorizing Lines

Greer Garson – Acting Talent Does Not Equate To Being A Good Talk Show Guest

Greer Garson (1904-1996) was a fine and talented actress. Anyone seeing her deeply moving performances in Goodbye Mr. Chips or Mrs. Miniver can attest to that.

Garson won the Academy Award for her portrayal as the title character in Mrs. Miniver. Six additional Academy Award nominations for Best Actress in a Leading Role affirm that her colleagues appreciated Garson’s acting skills.

But according to Craig Tennis, a former talent coordinator of The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson from 1968-1976, Greer Garson was not great when it came to spontaneity. Continue reading

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Classic Hollywood #106 – Jack Benny & Mary Livingstone At Ciro’s

Jack Benny and Wife Mary Livingstone Dine At Ciro’s 1955

Jack Benny Mary Livingstonephoto Nat DallingerJack Benny and his wife Mary, enjoy an evening at Ciro’s in Hollywood. Benny started his career in the entertainment world as a doorman at a theater in Waukegan, Illinois, his birthplace. The Benny’s have been married 28 years. photo: Inside Hollywood by Nat Dallinger for King Features Syndicate week of August 12, 1955

Continue reading

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The Last Daughter of The American Revolution Died 160 Years After The End Of The Revolution

The D.A.R.’s Last “Real Daughter” Died in 1943, 160 Years After The Conclusion of the American Revolution

You may think that the Daughters of the American Revolution is a moribund organization that no one cares about anymore.

If that is the popular perception, then of course we at Stuff Nobody Cares About would care.

Louisa Capron Thiers as a young woman  photo: Daughters of the American Revolution

I had given the Daughters of the American Revolution as much thought as the nocturnal habits of the ocelot. That is until I ran across a 1925 article about Mrs. Louisa Capron Thiers who was celebrating her 111th birthday. Continue reading

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Old New York In Photos #122 – City Hall From Park Row 1870

City Hall As Seen From Park Row 1870

The NEw York City Hall photograph by E &HT Anthony stereoview #5999 1870The photographic firm of E. & H.T. Anthony & Co. captured this unusual view of New York’s City Hall on a warm sunny day in 1870.

The view shows a vacant plaza in front of this normally bustling area . Continue reading

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