So happy to say that I am not old enough to have taken any of these photos. But (to me) these old images are works of art, fascinating time capsules. All were found among our father and mother's papers or were sent to me by Mother's first cousin, Margaret Taylor, and other family members. Some were taken in Vinton, Iowa where our grandmother, Marguerite Parsons lived before her family moved to Grand Junction in about 1912. Or in Illinois where our
grandfather, Herman W.
Vorbeck's family went into Chicago to be photographed. But most were taken in Grand Junction, Colorado where our parents were born and grew up.
The picture above is a detail I lifted from a photograph you'll find below (Row A, 5 down) of a large group gathered at the "Indian School" in 1907. I suspect the school was near Grand Junction. These two are at the very back of the room pressed against the fireplace. I like the way his finger up-turns
her petty face forcing her to look at him. She looks unsure, but the flowers in a vase on the mantle behind them insist that a romance is about to bloom. And all this while everyone else is posing, braced for the photographer's loud flash of light.
But I'm not sure at all that "he" is a he. Is he a "she?" A friend trying to reassure her, to apologize. It is a mystery, but I know there's a story behind that 101-year-old shared moment.
1. The Ute Indians were removed from the valley in the early 1880s as white settlers waited in the hills for their chance to occupy the land.
2. Our grandfather, owner and operator of Vorbeck's Sporting Goods, died in the 1960s.
3. Our great-uncle Robert.
4. This office could have been in Vinton or Grand Junction, but the buck on the wall makes me think of Colorado.
7. Our mother, Bette, when she was about three-years-old with her favorite cousin, Margaret. Mother died in 1978. Margaret is still an amazing beauty somewhere in her mid-90s. Both women grew up to be talented artists. Bette painted (mostly landscapes) in oils and Margaret did portraits.
8. Our grandfather played on the 1904 Grand Junction High School football team. Our father and mother also went to this high school. So did I.
9. Our father when he was a boy. He liked reading books like Gulliver's Travels and Treasure Island.
1. Thompson's Saloon; already a thriving establishment on Colorado Avenue in 1882.
2. New Castle is about 75 miles east of Grand Junction through the mountains. It must have been quite a ride.
3. The Vorbecks had this tintype taken at a photography studio in Chicago. Herman F. immigrated from Germany in his youth. He went to Grand Junction very early after it was founded and opened a music store on Main Street.
4. A beautiful boy?
7. Herman P. at about three years. His car was called "The Yellow Streak." He would grow up to follow in his father's footsteps at the family store on Main Street. H.P. and H.W. turned H.F.s music store into a sporting goods store and in the early 1950s moved to a building on 4th Street and went "wholesale only."
9. These might have been miners. There was lots of gold and silver in "them hills." While serving as deputy sheriff and stable operator, Nana Pearl Woodward's father was a gold miner in Cripple Creek.
1. Ida Wisner was a parson's daughter. Our great-grandfather, Herman Frederick, ran into her father's house to escape a Chicago fire and stayed long enough to fall in love. She died relatively young, in 1914 or 1915.
2. Ida's eldest son, Herman W., our grandfather. When he was a boy he delivered eggs to his neighbor, Thomas A. Edison.
3. Love the way people dressed well for every occasion, even a trek into the mountains for a picnic.
6. This image was taken in the town where our grandfather, Lee Burgess' family lived and where he grew up. I'm told the general store is still there.
7. Our second-cousin, Dick, must have been born close to 1920. He was younger than Dad.
9. I don't know for sure who sailed on the Hamburg-Amerika line in 1938, but this menu was among our grandfather's things. I suspect it came from Irwin Miller, UPI foreign correspondent and boyhood friend of H.W.'s. Miller's wife, Louisa, was an Argentinean Nazi sympathizer and for that reason he divorced her.
1. Mazie Quinn (our great-grandmother) married Abner C. Parsons, bore three children and died a few years before I was born in 1938.
2. Mazie's eldest daughter, Marguerite, their first-born.
4. Look at that road through the desert. Do you suppose those railroad ties are there for a reason--to help people who are stuck in the mud? Stuck out there in the desert, one could perish.
5. The street car was long gone by the time I was a child.
6. Grandfather Lee Burgess, died in 1935 when Mother was only 20. She adored him.
7. A.C. was ever the dignified gentleman, even as he landed a sailfish and posed for a picture with his catch. A jeweler, he owned Parsons' Jewelry Store on Main Street.
8. My sisters and I swam in this pool in the 1940s and '50s.
Copyright 2018 © by Karen Vorbeck Williams
I have more images like these, but it will take time to scan them. I think H.W. was interested in photography and, in some cases, may have been our photographer.
K A R E N V O R B E C K W I L L I A M S