Archive | February, 2012

Today in Rip Payne

28 Feb
by Emma Earnst

On this day in 1968, Rip Payne spent the day with Mrs. Mayhue of 1922 Greenbrier Drive.*  Her house, built in 1957, was located across the street from Greenbrier Elementary School, pictured here.  The school, however, was slightly newer, having been built a mere 4 years prior.  It appears that whatever Mrs. Mayhue’s involvement with the school, she enjoyed having the children around.

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*Payne had notoriously terrible spelling, as well as handwriting in general.  It is quite likely that “Mayhue” should have been “Mayhew,” a more popular spelling of the name.

Today in Rip Payne

21 Feb
by Emma Earnst

Today in 1946, our beloved Rip Payne went over to Lane High School (which currently serves as the Albemarle County Office Building), for a Lion’s Club reunion.  And can I just say– those Lion’s Clubbers sure do know how to throw a reunion party!  We’re talking full-scale pageantry here: giant umbrella dancing, lady drummers, a dance line, and a choir of men wearing as many different types of tuxes as I imagine they had singing octaves.

Don’t you just want to join the Lion’s Club now?

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The Charlottesville, Va. Girl

17 Feb

This week’s collection object- a leather postcard- seems quite unique, though according to the donor and previous owner, during the early 20th century, these were “quite popular.”  Some quick research reveals that she was not, in fact, full of hot air.  Apparently experiencing a brief surge of popularity in the early 1900s, America’s fascination with leather postcards, and the pillows you could make from them (no joke), were all the rage.  Apparently not all of our donors were aware of the popularity, however, because this is the only leather postcard in our collection.

Possibly just as interesting as the phenomenon of the leather postcard, however, is this interpretation of what makes a “Charlottesville, Va. Girl.”  Not uniquely Charlottesvillian in any way, the girl was instead expressed as an American patriot.  Her red, white and blue ensemble is classy and acceptable per the standards of the time.  Her flag stands out most, as it is embossed with a metallic paint.  In other words, the Charlottesville girl was just a good American lady.  But, hey, at least she was stylin’!

Front, Leather Postcard, 1910

Back, Leather postcard, 1910

Today in Rip Payne

16 Feb
by Emma Earnst

Today, I’ve decided to set fire to the rain (obligatory link).*

You see, in February 1977, the First Baptist Church of Charlottesville went aflame.   This First Baptist (not to confused with this one, or this one) was founded in 1831 by Reverend Reuben Lindsay Coleman.  In the 1850s, FBC’s Reverend John Broadus founded the Albemarle Female Institute, where one of Charlottesville’s most well-known nineteenth-century women, Lottie Moon, was educated and baptized.  For those of you who haven’t been on a Spirit Walk before, Lottie Moon went on to become a missionary to China, where she served for 40 years.  Later, in 1884, the Church founded the state’s first Baptist Young Peoples Union as a part of the Southern Baptist Convention.

Almost a century later, though, disaster struck.  The church building, at the time 142 years old, and located at the corner of 2nd Street NE and E. Jefferson, caught fire and burnt quite thoroughly.  Likely working for a newspaper, Rip went out to capture the night scene.  Some of the photos here include the building actually on fire, and the later images show the extent of destruction caused.  Needless to say, the church was beyond repair.   Quite remarkably, the congregation was able to enjoy services in their new Park Street church just a year later.

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*Note: today’s “Today” in Rip Payne is actually “On-An-Unknown-Date-This-Month in Rip Payne.” 

Today in Rip Payne

14 Feb

*Sorry, Mrs. Payne.

If Rip’s images from this date in the 1960s are any indication, your beloved may not have just forgotten you.  He kind of went in the opposite direction altogether…

On this “love”-ly day in 1964 (sorry, I had to), Rip Payne spent the day at Carter’s Gun Works.  So, if you ever wondered what the back room at a gun store looked like, now you know…

Then, on this day in 1967, Rip again abandoned all romantic notions and instead spent the day shooting at the city & county jails.  You’ll notice the Old Albemarle County Jail, which was closed about a decade later, but which can still be seen peeking out at you as you drive down High Street today (at the intersection with Third Street).

Here’s to hoping your V-Day is much better!!

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*(Un)fortunately, this is purely conjecture.  In Rip’s defense, he may very well not have been married at this point, and expressing a different kind of frustration.  While Rip Payne did have two daughters, I do not know when he was married.  All I do know is that at the time of his death, in 1990, he was not survived by a wife.  Can anyone offer a better personal history?

Charlottesville’s Last Ride (or “The Hungry Squirrels”)

10 Feb

This week’s featured collection object comes to us all the way from… Charlottesville.

Though this might now be surprising, it is a pretty darn cool item.  Not everything can come all the way from France, guys… sheesh.

Street Car Control Handle, 12" in height and 12" in diameter, wood and brass materials

This control handle once resided in the vehicle that made the last street car ride in Charlottesville in 1935.  Operated by Mr. Bayard Maupin, the handle functions quite like those not-nearly-so-attractively-made-of-wood-and-brass-but-rather-steel-or-or-some-other-blah-metal controllers you find on the City’s current buses.

The street car system had a very interesting history in central Virginia.  In February of 1888, Frank J. Sprague opened the Clay Street Line in Richmond, becoming the first successful electric trolley system in the United States.  It didn’t take long until Charlottesville caught the bug, and installed its own streetcar program.  As the electrical powered cars were cheaper to run than traditional horse-drawn cars, by the early 1900s Charlottesville’s streetcar horses were completely phased out.

Bay Maupin with his street car, 1930

Bay Maupin, the driver on that famous ride, began working on the city line in 1908, stayed with the city after the transition from street cars to buses, and then moved to maintenance, finally retiring in 1947.  According to several sources, his 39 years of service were marked most clearly by his big friendly smile and care for his passengers.  In other words, Maupin was not your run-of-the-mill, cranky school bus driver.

(Caveat: I can’t speak for Cville’s bus drivers, this comment is totally from my own un-Charlottesvillian childhood experiences.)  

In a “Yesteryears” article by David Maurer, Maupin recalls how he and his three-legged dog, Skippy, had aided students one winter who had over-imbibed.  Maupin spotted the students lying near the track, stopped, and dragged them into the car.  He found their fraternity house, and delivered the boys to their brothers.

Bay Maupin, looking at camera, third from left.

Maupin’s friendly presence secured the love of the town, and made him into a community figure.  His mere move to a new house earned him a spot in the Daily Progress in June 1965.  The article recalls Maupin’s propensity to sit on his porch and feed his animal neighbors.  Apparently after his move, a congregation of squirrels, pigeons, sparrows and other birds were left hungry and waiting for their food source to return.  I have little doubt that tracked him down, eventually.  Both Maupin and the street car came to exemplify the nostalgic , kind-hearted image of a much simpler past.

For a more detailed (and interesting) history of Charlottesville’s street car system, I highly recommend Chris Gist’s recent post from the Scholar’s Lab at UVA.

Today in Rip Payne

7 Feb

On this day in 1970, Rip Payne photographed a fun couple’s wedding at Christ Episcopal Church, located on High Street in downtown Charlottesville.  Rip was a big wedding photographer in his day, and our collection is absolutely riddled with wedding images of couples we have not identified.  I don’t want to overdo things, but I promise this set of photos is great, for so many reasons.  Here are a few:

  1. COLOR!!  Not traditional Rip, but what better time to do color than when the main subjects are wearing black and white, right?!
  2. This is where I am getting married in June!  I know you don’t share my enthusiasm on this one, but I had to go there.
  3. Wicked awesome beehive hair-dos.
  4. Equally wicked awesome facial hair (you’ll see).
  5. Really pretty clothing.  Seriously.  I would steal that bridesmaid’s dress in an instant, and dance around in it like its 1970.  And not just because it would be.
  6. This couple looks so in love.  The bride is positively glowing, and they are so playful together.

Okay, enough with my rambling.  Check them out yourself!

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