Archives for posts with tag: baseball

On this Fourth of July, how about a collage of images of traditional events celebrating our Declaration of Independence from England?  Because I’m heading out to a family celebration later and have to get the homemade ice cream frozen, I don’t have time to look for photos dated July 4th in my great-grandfather’s collection (it’s 5,000 images, after all!) but we’ll start with a photo of the graveyard of St. John’s Church where Patrick Henry gave his “Give me liberty or give me death” speech. If you have never seen a re-enactment of that speech, you need to correct that this summer. Go to for schedules.


The next pictures are of a Monument Avenue 4th of July parade. Harry also took movies of this event which show cadets, soldiers, and others. There’s also a Confederate entry in the parade. Last July 4th I wrote my blog about bands so you might want to scroll back to that for those pictures. Parades, music, fireworks.  All part of our national celebration.

Monument ave band

Fourth of July means vacation for some and that means BEACH. It did even in Harry Stilson’s day. He took mini-vacations (all that his streetcar schedule allowed) to Virginia Beach, Buckroe, Newport News, Yorktown, and the Bay. That means, of course, that he took photos of the beach, too. First picture is Virginia Beach, second is beauty pageant at Virginia Beach (I also have movies of that), third is Yorktown ferry, and fourth is Virginia Beach Coast guard station. Last is what the beach looked like back then.

crowd   contest

yorktown ferry    coast guard

houses on beach

If you couldn’t get to the beach, there was Shields Lake. Harry took pictures of divers as well as movies, which I share in presentations. If you have a pool that requires maintaining the chlorine, you throw in a few tablets. At Shields Lake, this man went around the lake dispensing chlorine from his boat. That allowed the swimmers to cool off in the humid Richmond summer days.

diving  chlorinating

Idlewood Park, now absorbed into the Downtown Expressway and Fountain Lake, was the place for ice-skating in winter and boating in summer. The buildings in the background are still there if you want to match then and now. Idlewood rowers

The Fourth also means baseball. Whether it’s a neighborhood kids’ team or the Squirrels at the Diamond, which will always be Parker Field to me, it’s as American as mom and apple pie. Here’s a team at Byrd Park. By the way, in Harry’s time, the Virginia State Fair was held on the grounds where the Diamond stands today. this team is at Idlewood Park/Byrd Park.

ball team

When life in these United States feels like it’s careening ahead like the roller coaster at Virginia Beach behind Harry here, it’s comforting to recall that a century after Harry Stilson preserved these summer scenes, we’re still celebrating with the same activities.



It’s summer in Richmond and we all know that means humidity and heat but it also offers events, everything from Dogwood Dell to museums, parks and ball games, homemade ice cream and watermelons. But what was it like in the early 1920s? Let’s focus on some of the fun things going on in the summer…circa 1925. My great-grandfather, Harry Stilson, took pictures of summer activities in Richmond and elsewhere. I’ll just share a variety of them and hope you’ll forgive me for not writing something profound and historical. It’s just too hot.

Summer vacations started with loading the car up. Here are the Stilsons’ tenants, Mr. & Mrs. Crawford, leaving on vacation. Their landlord was also their photographer and film developer so I have their pictures in the Stilson collection.

poppy tripDuring one Stilson/Lynch vacation, the family toured Natural Bridge and Endless Caverns.

natural brHarry’s family went to Newport News, Yorktown, Deltaville, and Virginia Beach as often as possible. The Yorktown Ferry was shown in several shots.

ferryThis rowboat scene was interesting because I have both photographs and movie clips of the Stilsons on a fishing boat so that seemed the usual water outing. Maybe finances were tight that trip and a rowboat was all they could afford!

rowboat yorktownBeachwear was a bit different in those days. Harry’s daughter, Anita Lynch (my grandmother) and her brother Don at Virginia Beach:

anita and don beachThe boardwalk at Virginia Beach:

boardwalkHarry at Virginia Beach:

hhs rolling deepWhen you couldn’t get to the beach, Shields Lake offered swimming and other activities. The Dolphins swim team posed here. Perhaps Harry took the shot because two boys on the team were sons of Mr. Hurdle who owned a drugstore at Hancock & Clay in Jackson Ward on Harry’s West Clay Line street car route.

dolphins teamNothing says “summer” like a good hot dog. Harry’s grandchildren, Howard & Norma Kathleen Lynch, and a friend, were relishing these hot dogs (pardon the pun) at Shields Lake.

HDL NKL RCAnd what would summer be without watermelons? No idea who this guy is but he would be my new best friend with those watermelons.

watermelonBaseball was really popular back then. Streetcars advertised “Ballgame today” at Mayo Island but Idlewood Park, near Byrd Park, now lost to the Downtown Expressway and development, had its amateur teams. Harry’s son, Don, was probably on this team:

ballgame idlewoodIf you were more of a homebody, just being outside was a joy. Harry and his wife Mary both loved to garden. In this hand-tinted photograph, Mary Stilson held her grandson, Howard, and neighbor, Virginia Montague.

MPS with HDL & VaIn those days, money was scarce and sometimes you had to create your own entertainment. This last image is one of my favorites. No idea where it was or who they are but it’s sweet, isn’t it?

dancingHopefully these images have created a desire to get out and take advantage of the summer. When you visit some of these places this summer, maybe you’ll recall the way they looked back in Harry Stilson’s time. Our mission at Richmond In Sight ( is to remind you of those days through presentations, books, and this blog. Enjoy it. And enjoy your summer.