Set of 8 Note Cards and Envelopes Based on Historic Post Cards

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Peirce Mill Tea House

In the early 20th century, when this photo was taken, Peirce (or Pierce) Mill was already about 100 years old. By then the waterwheel and milling machinery were long gone. The building served as a tea house, where patrons enjoyed tea, waffles, and rustic views of Rock Creek Park.

The Waterfall

The waterfall near Peirce Mill is not a natural feature. It was constructed in 1904 to replace an old wooden dam that had washed out, revealing a “barren and rather ugly bed.” Water cascading over the boulder dam created a picturesque scene, and the perfect spot for a picnic in Rock Creek Park.

Rock Creek Park Above Peirce Mill

This lovely view of Rock Creek, just north of Peirce Mill, hasn’t changed much in the last 100 years. The original postcard describes “an easy and charming walk…through one of the most beautiful places in this wonderful national park.” Today’s Washingtonians still enjoy strolling alongside Rock Creek.

The Old Spring House

This tiny stone structure, built atop a natural spring in 1801, protects a source of clean, fresh water and provides a cool space for food storage. Once part of a large plantation owned by the Peirce family, the spring house still stands in the middle of Tilden Street in Washington, D.C.

Boulder Bridge

Park planners designed Boulder Bridge in 1902 to blend into Rock Creek’s natural scenery. But its oversized boulders were an accident. Plans called for man-sized stones–or rocks a worker could carry. This instruction was misread, and builders brought in massive boulders. The stones remained, and Boulder Bridge became one of Rock Creek Park’s most iconic sites.

1909 Overland Touring Car

A D.C. car dealer mailed this 1909 postcard to potential customers. It’s an advertisement for the luxury SUV of its era, a bright red, brass-trimmed “touring car.” In this staged photograph, architect Frank P. Milburn and his children, Miss Fay and Yancy, explore Rock Creek Park in their new-fangled automobile.

Old Rustic Bridge

Around 1895, this rustic bridge was crafted entirely from logs; the stucture was supported by the curved trunks of large oak trees. This graceful arch spanned Rock Creek not far from the National Zoo. But the wooden bridge did not last; a concrete and stone replacement was erected in 1913.



Ford, Rock Creek Park

Many early 20th-century postcards of Rock Creek Park celebrated a wondrous new invention, the automobile. Some photographs featured wide swaths of paved road. This scene shows a vehicle crossing the creek at a shallow spot, or ford. The car may also be a Ford, perhaps a Model T.