5.04.2015

Kodachrome Classic Monday #38


Every Monday, I'll be spotlighting a different classic Kodachrome slide that I've picked up, and trying where I can to detail the who, what, when, where, why, and how (much) of the image:

This Week:

What: May Day Festivities

Why: It shows a 1950's side of life not often documented in color, one that readily conveys the emotions of Spring combined with the flair of the nifty fifties.  The looks of contentment and excitement on the faces of the children really do capture the essence of the era.        

When: This photo appears to have been taken on May 5, 1955.  It is among several years of May Day photos taken ranging from 1954 to 1961, with this and the others appearing in the 1955 box.  The "56" expiry visible in a license plate in one of the shots below validates this, while the newspaper article below from 1955 verifies the specific date.  The one anomaly is that in the photos below, the man standing with the queens of the elementary and high schools is not George Taliaferro, to whom the news article refers. 




Where: Catonsville, MD. This much is easy based on the contents of comparable slides in the collection. The precise "where" of this shot was more of a challenge however, which was admittedly a tough pill for me to swallow since I know this area rather well.  I didn't see any reference point from my previously posted Catonsville photo to line up with, but could at least determine the buildings are on either the south or west side of the street based on the position of the sun. After some searching online, I was able to reach out to Mr. Louis Diggs, a local author and historian who has chronicled the history of this and other African American communities throughout Baltimore County.  Being personally familiar with the Winters Lane community, he was graciously able to help me pinpoint the location of this photo to be on Winters Lane just south of Main Avenue, which is the location of the most readily recognizable landmark in this photo, that of Ms. Katherine Williams' Tavern.  The tavern was later turned into a home for the American Legion, who ultimately purchased it, and tore it down to create a newer facility for the American Legion Post.  


Who: I would love to know, and would love the kids shown here to have a copy of this classic image.  They were all students at the Banneker School in Catonsville.  I have gotten confirmation that the man standing with the coronated queens below is David Driver, principal of the school.      

How (much): This was part of a group of about 10 boxes of slides I purchased for about $75.00 on ebay, quite a sum, but in all aspects worth it to me for their historical value. Other shots from this batch can be located in another Kodachrome Weekly feature as well as a slide scanning feature.  And as a bonus, I've included another three shots below!