Thursday, August 12, 2021

In the Good Old Summertime

Wilmington, Delaware

This postcard marks the second day of a trapshooting competition at the DuPont Gun Club on 
July 11, 1911. The recreational club had been established the previous year on the grounds of the Experimental Station of the DuPont Company that was then in the business of manufacturing gunpowder. Interestingly, the card includes the lunch menu—fried chicken, potato salad, and ice cream. The scene recalls the song “In the Good Old Summertime,” a popular tune of the era when life was seemingly less complicated.  

The photo of the firing line shows the observation deck of Rockford Tower in the background. The stone water tower was built at the turn of the last century as the centerpiece of a municipal park and is still the highest point in town. The card is dated on the back where there are lines to record your score and observations about the weather.1 As it happens, the region was in the grips a severe heat wave that continued throughout the entire 4-day tournament.2 

During its first year, the DuPont Gun Club threw more than a million targets and deposited about 23 tons of spent lead shot that would be reclaimed from the soil at the end of the season.3 In 1915, lights were installed for night shooting, prompting complaints from neighbors living within earshot of the noise. The nocturnal disturbance eventually led to a lawsuit. The club closed the following year and the members founded the Wilmington Trapshooting Association in a less-densely populated area near the Delaware River.

1. The code on the verso indicates 250 postcards were printed for this day of the event.
2. The Eastern North America Heat Wave of 1911 began on July 4 and lasted for eleven days. Estimates of the death toll range between 380 and 2,000 people. 
3. Hagley Museum and Library. Retrieved 2021-07-14.

No comments: