Gorgeous Collection of Vintage Photographs from the 1940s-1960s

Friends of Eldo Neufeld (photographer) outside rural home. Taken 1946-48.
Friends of Eldo Neufeld (photographer) outside rural home. Taken 1946-48.

Whilst doing some research one night I stumbled upon this amazing flickr account run by Tom Lehman. Amazing because Mr. Lehman collected thousands of vintage slides, cleaned, scanned, edited, identified and attributed each one to their individual photographer. And after that monumental task was completed, he was kind enough to upload them for everyone to see, enjoy and use free of charge. (As long as it’s not for monetary gain)

Most of the photos are of Puerto Rico but there are some other countries among the collection as well. He also has a blog which explains why and how these photographs came to light.

Another useful site is “Archivo Historico y Fotografico de Puerto Rico” which has many fascinating photographs and ephemera as well. Stop by and check them out, as you can see from the examples here, they are really quite remarkable.

The photos I picked to showcase here are just a small sampling and most have been edited to some degree. I hope you will stop by Tom’s site to view the rest and perhaps give him a hand with the identification process.

burning sugar cane
Burning Sugar Cane Field – !960 Taken by Elmer Weaver
Cayey in Toita - apr 60 Puerto Ricotwo
Iglesia Bautista in Toita, Cayey, PR. 1960 – Taken by Elmer Weaver (Still standing, you can see an image on Google Maps)
Political Party Club - 1960 (City Unknown)
Political Party Club – 1960 (City Unknown) Taken by Elmer Weaver.
DeSoto at Kofresi Line Inc., Ponce-San Juan. Between 1948 -1951.
DeSoto at Kofresi Line Inc., Ponce-San Juan. Between 1948 -1951. Taken by John Brandeberry
Funeral Coach 1948
Funeral Coach 1948 – Taken by Esther Rinner
Fisherman in Arroyo - April 1948
Fisherman in Arroyo – April 1948 – Taken by Esther Rinner
Oxen taking water to steam engine .1947-48 - Taken by Esther Rinner
Oxen taking water to steam engine .1947-48 – Taken by Esther Rinner
Between Comerio and Barranquitas. 1960-61
Between Comerio and Barranquitas. 1960-61 Taken by Patricia Santiago.
"Little girl that brought us oranges" - March 1948. Photo by Dale Roesch
“Little girl that brought us oranges” – March 1948. Photo by Dale Roesch
Fotographia Nunez, booth in Lares plaza. July 10, 1955 Taken by Lee Smith
Fotographia Nunez, booth in Lares plaza. July 10, 1955 – Taken by Lee Smith
Rio Piedras street scene - January 1960 - Taken by Elmer Weaver
Rio Piedras street scene – January 1960 Taken by Elmer Weaver

Garden Nurseries in Puerto Rico – Norte/Metro

First of all, hello and Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a great Holiday season and are looking forward to a great year.

This post might not apply to a lot of you, (unless you’re a “plant person” and live on the North to Metro side of the island) but what the hell, I’m posting it anyway.  Maybe it will help someone. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but it’s pretty damned difficult to find certain businesses here on the internet, en Español or not. After a couple of years of searching high and low for the perfect place to get my plant fix I finally narrowed it down to four nurseries. Granted most of these will have your typical ho-hum plants but they also carry a wide variety of unusual and stand outs on the regular. Basically, you’re getting the best of both worlds.

Byron Pikes Nursery in Arecibo – When we lived in Arecibo this was a convenient place to visit on weekends but even after moving 30 minutes away, I find myself visiting here first for the basics and then some. Byron Pikes simply has almost everything you could ever want or need in a nursery. Their inventory includes succulents, gorgeous cacti, orchids, (claro que si) carnivorous plants, landscape essentials, 1000’s of tropicals, trees, ground coverings, various potting mediums, pots galore and just about every stone under the sun. This place is always busy for good reason. Oh and the staff is great too of course. It gets hotter than hell here in the afternoon though, so bring water and a hat or just go first thing in the morning.

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Paisajes in Guaynabo – This is one of those nurseries that every gardener dreams of. Situated on the outskirts of Guaynabo this is a welcome sanctuary to linger and forget about the outside world. Some sections are so beautifully landscaped, it’s as if you were walking into a friends back yard. There are corners with aquatic plants, well established trees and tropicals. The staff are the most knowledgeable I have come across yet.  It’s one of those places you would miss if it were ever to disappear. I can’t really say that about anyone else here on the list. Just go.

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Gramaslindas in Dorado – This place is one of the fancier schmancier nurseries. They’ve been around for 50 years and the tentacles of their business reach far and wide throughout the island. From bags of soil at major retailers to landscaping all over the island and everything in between. Their main nursery is just a couple blocks down from the Doramar Plaza, you know, that place you get your Krispy Kreme doughnuts on. Down the road a ways from there is their sister nursery geared towards bulk purchases, plenty of graveled roadway to back up that truck and haul off a plethora of plants. Did I mention they make their own compost as well? As far as compost goes for Puerto Rico it’s above average. They sell topsoil and mulch in bulk as well.

What’s great about Gramas Lindas is that for the most part you are in a shaded sanctuary of sorts. There’s a place to buy cold drinks/snacks inside and plenty of beautiful rocking chairs for the “non-plant” people to sit and bask in the glow of their smart phones. The other notable aspect of Gramas Lindas is their actual storefront consists of a row of buildings replicating living conditions of a traditional historical Puerto Rican farm. Oh and I think there is a mascot walking around somewhere who wouldn’t mind keeping you company.

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Jardin Selecto (Garden & Bonsai store) in San Juan – Since I have a thing for Bonsai trees, I had to list this nursery. The nursery itself has a plenitude of other plants and the owners go out of their way to change up their displays on a regular basis. You don’t see much of that here, it’s nice to go in once in awhile to see what’s new and their latest creative endeavor. Of course, their Bonsai section is ridiculous, in a great way. If nothing else, it’s worth a visit on this merit alone. Sorry, somehow I lost my photos of the Bonsais so this cacti will have to do.

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Let me know in the comments if you have any favorite nurseries or resources you would like to share, I would love to hear about it!

Playa Rosada, Lajas

After viewing the beautiful thru-ways of Lajas we determined that Playa Rosada was our next stop. I have to confess I am some what biased when it comes to the south side of the island, I prefer it much more than any other location.

This is probably attributed to our time in Northern California where the terrain is very similar, we kind of go through a little a deja-vu when visiting the area.  It’s very peaceful and allows many moments to organize those chaotic thoughts that infiltrate ones mind from time to time. You know the ones, existential crisis, money, family, could Trump really be the next President and how the freaking hell did we get here?

Anyhoo.

Playa Rosada is one of those places where you feel instantly at home and your cares kind of evaporate. A very family oriented beach with plenty of areas for grilling and tons of shaded picnic tables. The area is maintained by the DRNA and it shows. Every thing you would ever expect is all in reach and carefully maintained

Oh yeah, and it’s damned gorgeous, how did I not lead off with that?

P.S. See that Deck? That is fenced in to keep out all the biters…jellyfish, barracuda, aliens, etc. ;)

👽 Looking to the Sky in Lajas

Lajas is renowned for their Bioluminescent Bay, Playa Rosada and purported extra-terrestrial sightings. The latter we didn’t have the pleasure of experiencing. Dammit.

Again, like so many places here, it was like stepping into another world. As we stopped along the way we approached many a gate with cattle and cow behind them. They all stopped and stared at us as if to say “Wth do you want?” I wanted to throw a big bouncy ball among them but Steve muttered something about lawsuits so I reluctantly put it out of my mind.

Later, we did see a white blimp hovering along our journey, camouflaging itself against the pale-blue cloudy sky. Would have rather seen an alien though, just sayin.

The Meseta Coastal Trail, Guanica Dry Forest

We needed a change in scenery so we headed to the Southwest corner of the island to experience the infamous Guanica Dry Forest.

Established as a reserve in 1919, the area encompasses nearly 10,000 acres. All species of animal and plant life are staunchly protected, including 48 endangered species and 16 endemic.

As usual our plans got side tracked and we ended up arriving two hours later than we hoped, at 11am. Those of you familiar with the area know this isn’t the ideal time to visit, especially for a really pale, sun-phobic person.

Right off the bat we saw 100’s of small butter-yellow butterflies going nuts over the tree near the trail entrance, not two moments later a black snake crossed our path.

The trail is easy to follow but as you get further down, the shade opportunities quickly dwindle. We almost ventured off the trail but thought that would be pretty dumb knowing how inexperienced we were and it was now high noon. It’s a good thing we didn’t, I checked out the area we would have been in via google terrain and it lead to an area with zero outlets.

In total we were on the trail for two hours so I guestimate we completed half of the trail. If we had gone earlier we could have finished the entire length, the sun is just that relentless this time of day. As much water as you think you need you can at least double it.

Needless to say we were rewarded with spectacular views and a very interesting terrain to traverse. Next time we will devote an entire day to the reserve when we have more time, we barely scratched the surface this outing.

Marina in Guayama

This is a stupidly gorgeous area. On the drive in we saw a lot of signs that Para La Naturaleza had been there cleaning the area and leaving new garbage receptacles. They are an amazing organization I think every local should participate with at one point or another. Check them out.

 

Windmills – View from Salinas, PR

Centro de Conservación de Manatíes en la Universidad Inter Americana de Puerto Rico 

Went to visit these amazing creatures one afternoon. If you get the chance you should pay them a visit! They’re easy to find and you can make reservations via email. More information here.

Tip: Bring exact cash only, they don’t supply change and no credit cards are accepted!