Georgetown Time Machine: Back Into the Woods

This week for Georgetown Time Machine, GM is exploring another Ebay postcard find. Like last week, the subject appears to be trails through the forest that once stood on the northern edges of Georgetown University’s campus.

This card dates from 1905. It shows a road through the woods that is not terribly helpfully titled “Road Through the Trees, Georgetown University”. Given the subject of last week’s card, GM is guess that this too is the Walk (or the Walks). But given the date, it could be any number of possible areas around that once bucolic campus.

The note is a simple and charming glimpse of life pre-telephone: “Dear Papa: We arrived in Washington at 6:30 o’clock so far all o.k. Your son Arthur.” It is dated August 22, 1905.

The address line puts Papa in New York:

Papa was August M. Oesterheld. He was a German immigrant who lived at 4019 Third Ave. in the Bronx. He was born in Germany in 1841 and immigrated to the US in 1880. Sadly he died at the age of 66 just four years after receiving this card.

Another fun point: Arthur’s use of the phrase “ok” was not a new slang at the time. Historians largely agree that it evolved from a fad in Boston in the 1830s.


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