Jessica: Enjoying a day at the desk, listening to the rain.
One of the many pleasures of writing historical fiction is the research. And one of the things I particularly love is when I find new resources to use. Over the summer I was lucky enough to find several old souvenir postcards from Old Orchard Beach. All of them had inspirational images on their fronts that helped me to imagine life in Old Orchard during the Gilded Age. Today I thought I’d share a look at some of what inspires me as I work.
This is a postcard of Fern Park which was a scentic area in Old Orchard set away from the shoreline.
Except for the clothing styles this photo could have been taken on the beach at any time since European descendants began lounging on the sands in Old Orchard.
This was the way the shoreline with all it’s hotels looked until August 14, 1907. Before the next day was through most of the hotels pictured were burnt to the ground in the worst fire York County had seen up until that point.
The back of this one really made me feel connected to the the past in a way none of the other research I have done so far had. Most of the postcards had never been sent but this one briefly chronicled a vistor’s experience in Old Orchard just after the devastating 1907 fire broke out. The sender writes “As I stood for a moment on the piazza of the Aldine, and surveyed that beautiful stretch of sea and land, I little thought that before the midnight hour, the pretty picturesque shore would be a mass of seething, smoking ruins.”
Readers, do you collect or send postcards when you travel? Writers, what sorts of research do you do and what do you find the most inspirational?