St. Clair Township Crest
1155 Emily Street
Mooretown ON
N0N 1M0

Phone: (519) 867-2021
Email: webmaster@twp.stclair.on.ca

Office Hours
Monday to Friday 8:30 am - 4:30 pm
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HERITAGE THROUGH A LENS

Social media has allowed mankind to instantly record where they are, whom  they are with and what they are doing.  Billions of images traverse cyber space daily as people share their experiences with loved ones, friends and in some instances for all to see.  It would seem society is addicted to this new technology.  However, Instagram, for example, is just a technical  refinement of the original social media,  Real Picture Post Cards.  ( RPPC)

RPPC were created by developing a negative onto photo paper with a pre-printed postcard backing.  The first photo postcard was mailed in 1899.  The technology to create RPPC was developed by Kodak with their cameras and their developing process.  The affordability and ease to produce these photo cards allowed many people to enter the field.  That has been a heritage benefit for society as there are millions upon millions of these RRPC in museums and personal collections which give us insight into another era.

The vast majority of real-photo postcards were created in black and white, although some images were hand colored after printing. Since it was expensive to have additional descriptive information printed on the reverse side of each postcard, many RPPCs made by smaller studios have no text to identify their images. Alternatives to printed text included using a company’s handstamp or embossed mark, or exposing text directly onto the photograph’s negative.

As technology continued to grow and people could afford their own camera and the cost of developing decreased, the popularity of RPPC cards began to wane.

There were a number of local photographers who made an impact using this RPPC technology.    Quite possibly one of the most famous and collectible photo card creators was Louis Pesha.

He was born in Euphemia Township in 1868.  When he was 27, he left the life of being a farmer to learn the photography trade. From 1895 to 1901 he had studios in Oil Springs, Inwood, Alvinston and Brigden, Ontario. He did family portraits and many local scenes.  He moved to Marine City, Michigan in 1901 where he became the Picasso of photographing Great Lakes freighters.  He also found an interest and demand for images of buildings and local scenes in communities all around the Great Lakes.

Pesha was very successful in this new business venture with RPPC’s and even more successful in recording the history of our area for a period of about 15 years at the turn of the 20th century.

This collection of RPPC, which Heritage St. Clair is sharing, were generously donated by local RPPC collector, Dave Burwell.  Dave has one of the most extensive collections of RPPC in Canada and is well recognized as an expert.  Thank you Dave for allowing us to scan your St. Clair Township collection and share with all who visit this website.  It will certainly help in telling the story of our community’s past.

Moore and Sombra Museums have their own extensive collections of RPPC which also provide insight into the heritage of St. Clair Township.

Please click below for post cards from the various communities:

Brigden

Corunna & Stag Island

Courtright

Miscellaneous

Mooretown

Port Lambton

Sombra

Wilkesport