Wednesday, January 1, 2014


As this new year of 2014 starts, I am enjoying some old views of Danvers past. My cousin Dave Brewster has been scanning batches of his father's Kodachrome slides. Every few weeks he sends me a new link to a gallery of recent scans. Today I've been looking at images he labeled "1954-ish" and "1951-1954?" and I want to share a few here.

Locust Lawn ski hill, 1954
This is EXACTLY how I remember the ski slope at Locust Lawn! This is the view from the top, where we'd start. The rope tow is to the right. You can see the people at the bottom of the slope gathering near the rope tow to catch rides uphill. This ski slope was a happy playground for me (and many others) every winter of my childhood.

Another familiar winter scene is at Pine Knoll, the Nichols family homestead at 98 Preston Street. This home, built by my great-grandfather in 1861 and expanded in 1880, continued almost unchanged until a fire destroyed it in 1975. This view is from the north, from the newer driveway coming off Route 1.
Pine Knoll, 1954
A view to the south of Pine Knoll shows the Danvers State Hospital on the next hill:
View towards hospital hill, 1956
And now a view inside Pine Knoll, at Christmas (or probably the Sunday after Christmas, as was typical) when all the cousins and their growing families returned to Pine Knoll for a holiday meal and gifts under the huge Christmas tree:
Christmas at Pine Knoll, 1953 
Here we are crowded into the "sitting room" (bay window facing south). My grandfather, William S. Nichols, is in the chair closest to the tree. My mother, Janet Cutler Nichols, is in the foreground at right. In between are many children focused on opening presents. I often wore my hair in braids, so I think I'm one of the girls we in the center. Cousin Emily Nichols is on the floor in front of my mother.

What a joy to see these old photographs!  I realize, with a gasp of surprise, that the date 1954 is now sixty years ago.  It doesn't seem THAT long ago, not to me, not now after spending a few hours pouring over "1954-ish" photos. The memories feel so fresh and real.

Update 1/2/14: I thanked Dave for sharing these pictures, and he has now provided more specific dates, which I've incorporated into the captions of each. The Christmas scene was likely Sunday December 28, 1953. That's 60 years ago, plus a few days!  I was then ten and a half.

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