Coming Soon: A Different Cardboard America

A whole new Cardboard America is coming your way. The website will be fully updated and the format changed. I will move a lot of the articles and pieces over to What Makes The Pie Shops Tick? my substack. This site will be used mainly as my portfolio and collections website.

Thank you all for your support.

1958 Plans

The Historic Flood of June 23, 1972 – Salamanca, New York

The Historic Flood of June 23, 1972 - Salamanca, New York

Salamanca, New York – June 23, 1972 – While not as devastating a flood as others, the June 1972 flood of the Allegheny River caused millions in damage and destroyed or damaged 100 homes in Salamanca, New York. Hurricane Agnes started as a Tropical Storm off the Yucatan Peninsula. Five days later it became a hurricane. On June 21st Agnes made landfall in New York and central Pennsylvania. The next few days brought 18 inches of rain. At times, the river rose as much as 7 inches per hour. The waters made their way into the towns of Olean and Salamanca. The city of Salamanca suffered no casualties, but damage was in the millions.

The most significant destruction from Hurricane Agnes occurred in areas of New Jersey and Pennsylvania where over 40,000 buildings were damaged or destroyed. The Susquehanna and Lackawanna River flooded, bringing major damage to the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre metropolitan area. Overall, Agnes caused 128 fatalities along the East Coast and nearly $3 billion in damage.

The Eruption of Mt. St. Helens

Mt. St. Helens erupted on May 18, 1980. The volcanic event was the deadliest in the history of the United States.

Here are a few postcards showing the beauty and destruction of the mountain before and after.

This first postcard was produced by the Washington State Progress Commission.

Mt. St. Helens and Spirit Lake, Washington
Spirit Lake and Mount St. Helens…Spirit Lake splendid for camping and fishing. Mount St. Helens great for skiing and hiking. Elevation is 9,697.
Sponsored by Washington State Junior Chamber of Commerce with Cooperation of Washington State Progress Commission.
Washington State Invites You to the Year ‘Round Playground.

Here’s a view of Portland, Oregon with Mt. St. Helens looming over the skyline

Portland, Oregon
Here we see Portland from the west with Mt. St. Helens in the background.

Here’s a view of the mountain and Spirit Lake from the 1960s.

Mt St. Helens & Spirit Lake, Washington
Canoeing on lovely Spirit Lake with 9677 foot Mt. St. Helens in background. Located in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest in SW Washington. Lake is 42 miles east of Interstate Highway No. 5 at the end of State Highway No. 504.

The eruption:

Mt. St. Helens Eruption - May 18, 1980 - Mt. St. Helens, Washington
Mt. St. Helens erupts with thick smoke raising high above the mountain’s summit. This view shows the newly formed single crater, caused from earthquakes and venting of ash, steam, rock and ice. Although Mt. St. Helens has been dormant for approximately 12 years, it is considered one of the most active volcanoes in the contiguous 48 states during the past 5000 years.
Mt. St. Helens Eruption - May 18, 1980 - Mt. St. Helens, Washington
Mt. St. Helens in Washington rumbled to life May 18, 1980. It continues to steam and seathe with plumes of ash and ice being blown skyward twice as high as the 9,677 mountain itself.
Mt. St. Helens Eruption - May 18, 1980 - Mt. St. Helens, Washington
MT. ST. HELENS, located in southeastern Washington ERUPTS with a boom heard 150 miles in all directions. Ash reaching 63,000 feet in the air blackened the sky of Eastern Washington and points east all the way to the east coast.

Before and after:

Mt. St. Helens Eruption - May 18, 1980 - Mt. St. Helens, Washington
Mt. St. Helens & Yale Lake, before and during the volcanic eruptions. These scenes offer a dramatic comparison – on the left, the mountains majestic beauty is captured and on the right the awesome power of the eruption is visible. The eruption occurred on May 18, 1980, the force blowing 1,300 feet off the top, spreading ash eastward across the continent.

The damage:

Mt. St. Helens Eruption - May 18, 1980 - Mt. St. Helens, Washington
This photo taken after the May 18, 1980 Volcanic eruption shows Spirit Lake and the debris that was deposited along with steam vents in the center and on the lower right you can see new water emerging to possibly recreated this lake once again. This photo shows the north side of the mountain and steam covering the 8400 foot peak.
Mt. St. Helens Eruption - May 18, 1980 - Mt. St. Helens, Washington
Mount St. Helens, located in southwest Washington, began volcanic activity in Spring, 1980 after of a dormant period of 123 years. On May 18, 1980 a major eruption blew approximately 2000 feet off the top of the 9,677 ft. mountain, causing it to fall inwards and forming a crater. Pictured here is the crate that resulted from the eruption. Mt. Rainier can be seen in the background.

And finally, a view of the second eruption that took place on July 22, 1980:

Mt. St. Helens Eruption - July 22, 1980 - Portland, Oregon
Mt. St. Helens, located approximately 50 miles north northeast of Portland, Oregon, ended 6 weeks of silence with a series of 3 eruptions on July 22, 1980.Pictured here is the third eruption – the ash and steam cloud of the earlier eruptions can be seen drifting eastward. The mountain previously erupted on June 12, 1980. On May 18, 1980, it erupted and blew 1,300 feet off its top, and sent ash 63,000 feet into the air eastward across the continent.

Acres Motel – Chicago, Illinois

5600 Lincoln Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60645
75 air conditioned and soundproof units
Free Television
Aquacade swimming pool & playground area
Restaurant & Cocktail Lounge
24 Hour Switchboard
Conference Rooms, seating capacity 10 to 150
14 minutes drive to Downtown Shopping
18 Minutes drive to O’Hare International Airport
Courtesy car to surrounding area and O’Hare Airport
S & H Green Stamps
AAA Approved. Diners’ Club, American Express Accepted. Member of the Aristocrat Inns of America

The Acres was opened from 1956 to October 26, 2000 when it was ordered to be torn down as part of a plan to redevelop Lincoln Avenue.

Be a Beautiful People at Gurney’s Inn – Montauk, Long Island, New York

Gurney's Inn - Montauk, Long Island, New York

The Many Splendored Resort
Gurney’s Inn
Montauk, Long Island, New York
Oceanfront resort complex and conference center. New international beauty an health spa to open late 1978. A responsive on-premise ownership management.
AAA and Mobil Travel Guide Rating “Excellent”
“1000 ft. off the World’s Finest Oceanfront Beach”
Open All Year
Joyce & Nick Monte, Keepers of the Inn.
Be a Beautiful People

Burning of Main Hall at University of Wisconsin – Madison, Wisconsin

UW Fire, 1916 - Burning of Main Hall at University of Wisconsin - Madison, Wisconsin

Wausau Daily Herald – October 10, 1916:

FIRE I AT THE UNIVERSITY
Entire Madison Fire Department Unable to Check Blaze Which Broke Out at 10: 15
HALL VALUED AT $202,000
Fifteen Hundred Students in Building No Loss of Life As They Escape Flames
LOSS NOT OVER $10,000.

Madison. October 10. Main hall at the university is in ruins. A smouldering fire was discovered under the dome at 10:13 a. m., and within an hour the massive dome had crumbled and fallen. The entire Madison fire department was on the ground.
Main hall is valued at $202,000. At 11:30 Fire Chief Heyl said the hall was practically ruined. The building is insured in the state fire Insurance fund for $184,000. The contents are valued at $36,000.
Fifteen hundred students were in the building when the fire was discovered. They got out in orderly fashion. There were no
mishaps, but there were many miraculous escapes.
As soon as the fire was discovered. one hundred students scaled the roof of the hall to fight the blaze. Fire lines were quickly thrown out and five thousand people were at the lire within twenty minutes. The original structure was built under an appropriation of $45,000 made by the legislature in 1857. Since then two wings have been added.
President Van Hise of the university said; “The fire apparently started in the literary society room or in the dome.’ The alarm was immediately turned in and the equipment here in the building was manned by the force of janitors augmented by students. We are particularly proud of the way the thousands of students in the building conducted themselves. There was no disorder of any kind and nothing resembling a panic. We had planned against such a calamity and had a routine fire drill that worked perfectly. I did not know how long It took them to get out. Last year when we tried it they got out in two minutes. As far as damage is concerned, of course, I am unable to say at the present time. 1 hope it will not be large. We are doing everything we can do.”

The fire was believed to have been caused by an errant cigarette.

S.S. Morro Castle Disaster

1954 Toops Scoop Card #63

The S.S. Morro Castle disaster is one of the strangest and most fascinating disasters in American history. On September 5, the Morro Castle departed Havana, Cuba, headed for New York. For two days there were no problems, but on the third day tragedy of multiple kinds befell the four-year-old luxury liner. The ship was met with high winds and stormy conditions in the Atlantic, making the sailing choppy. Later that night Captain Robert Wilmott had dinner delivered to his room. After the meal he complained of stomach trouble and was found dead shortly thereafter due to “acute indigestion” according to the ship’s doctor. 

The new captain was Chief Officer William Warms. Around 2:50 a.m. a fire was discovered in a sealed cabinet on the B Deck. The fire was too large to be put out by a fire extinguisher and the hose system had been disabled by Captain Wilmott a month earlier. The fire spread quickly, aided by the ship’s high rate of speed and the high winds at sea.  The ship and its contents were highly flammable. Ornate wooden furniture, cleaning fluid and lacquered wooden walls fueled the blaze. The badly under trained crew tried to put out the fire, but it was too large.  Fireproof doors on board could have snuffed out the blaze, but no one ever closed them. Captain Warms finally gave the order to send an SOS signal some 39 minutes after the blaze was discovered. The SOS was received by a station in Tuckerton, New Jersey who then alerted the Coast Guard in New York and any ship nearby. Why Warms waited so long remains a mystery.

Morro Castle Disaster - Asbury Park, New Jersey

 Both crew and officers began to panic. The ship contained more than enough lifeboats for everyone on board. The problem was that many boats were inaccessible due to the fire. The six lifeboats that did make it out were not filled. Only 85 people were aboard the boats that could hold over 400. Many of the 85 were crewmen, leaving many passengers to fend for themselves. No order was ever given to stop the Morro Castle. The flaming ship floated out of control up the New Jersey coast. Passengers began to jump in the Atlantic Ocean, taking their chances of surviving in the water instead of burning to death. 

S.S. Morro Castle Disaster - Asbury Park, New Jersey

The fire destroyed communication to the radio room. Soon after, the ship’s engine died. The blazing ship was unable to be controlled and was being moved around by the wind. The anchor was dropped and more passengers and crew evacuated the flaming wreckage.
Rescue ships had a difficult time coming to the ship’s aid. The stormy seas made sailing difficult. 

People along the coastline began calling local police and fire departments reporting of a flaming ship just off the coastline. Local ships from nearby Asbury Park began to arrive on the scene only to discover the horror. Bodies, some drown, some mangled by the ship’s propeller, others with their necks broken from jumping floated in the water. Anyone who was still alive was rescued and brought back to shore.

Morro Castle Disaster - Asbury Park, New Jersey


By mid-afternoon the Morro Castle had been abandoned, left to burn. The anchor was cut and a coast guard cutter named the Tampa, attempted to tow the ship to New York, but the towline snapped. The winds pushed the husk of a ship to the shoreline at Asbury Park, New Jersey near the convention hall. The burned-out husk of the ship would remained grounded there, attracting tourists by thousands, for six months before it was moved for good. A total of 137 people died in the disaster and questions lingered as to what truly happened on the Morro Castle that September night/morning.

Morro Castle Disaster - Asbury Park, New Jersey

Investigations began right away. FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover appointed Special Agent Francis X. Fay to lead the FBI’s inquiry. Congress, the U.S. Attorney’s office in New York, Asbury Park Police and the Commerce department conducted simultaneous investigations. They all determined that there was lots of blame to go around from the poorly trained staff to the ship’s flammable contents. Captain Warms, the ship’s chief engineer and the ship company’s vice-president were all indicted and convicted of negligence. The convictions were later overturned.

Investigators also found that crew members were miserable. Captain Willmott had become increasingly paranoid of saboteurs conspiring to start a mutiny. Poor working conditions on board lead to further dissatisfaction but that was not cause of the fire. In fact, none of inquiries ever answered the question of how the fire started and who or what caused the sealed closet to erupt in flames.

Morro Castle Disaster - Asbury Park, New Jersey

George Alagna, the Assistant Radio Operator, was the prime suspect. Chief Radio Engineer George W. Rogers testified that he found suspicious chemicals in his assistant’s locker. Rogers further testified that Captain Wilmott had become afraid of Alagna organizing a mutiny. Alagna was arrested, but was ultimately cleared due to lack of evidence.

Long after the disaster, conspiracy theories began to surface regarding Rogers.  Some believe he poisoned Captain Wilmott and started the fire. None of that could ever be proven. What is known is after the fire Rogers was hailed as a hero. He told anyone who listened that he stayed aboard the ship, aiding passengers to safety. Rogers’ heroics were even brought to Broadway where sold-out crowds went to the Rialto Theatre to hear the tales of his bravery.  It was soon discovered that the man, called strange and unsettling by crew members, had a shady past.
At 15 years old he raped a younger boy at his school. He poisoned his wife’s dog when she attended a funeral against Rogers’ wishes. Before joining the Morro Castle, he had been fired from a job at a New York electric company for theft of equipment and was also under suspicion for starting a fire at his workplace. Soon after his star dimmed, Rogers owned and operated a struggling radio shop in Bayonne, New Jersey that burned down mysteriously.

Morro Castle Disaster - Asbury Park, New Jersey

He then joined the Bayonne Police Department as a radio assistant. Rogers’ boorish behavior and insistence on wearing the same pants every day made him rather unlikable. He did find a friend in his commanding officer Lt. Vincent Doyle. The two had similar interests. Both considered themselves inventors who enjoyed tinkering with equipment of all kinds. Other officers would often bring faulty equipment to them to see if they could fix it. In March 1938, Doyle was working on a faulty fish tank that exploded when he plugged it in. Rogers had been in the room but stepped out mere minutes before the explosion. Doyle was badly hurt, his left hand mangled so horribly that he was only left with two fingers. An investigation and subsequent trial brought to life that Rogers’ had told Doyle of what “might have” caused the fire aboard the Morro Castle. He is said to have told Doyle that maybe “someone had inserted a fountain pen into the breast pocket of a waiter’s uniform in the writing room closet. This particular fountain pen had two compartments inside separated by a thin copper divider. One side had been filled with a specific acid, the other with a chemical powder that would burn violently if it were to come into direct contact with the acid. Once the acid was added it would gradually eat through the copper separator, acting as a crude sort of delay timer.”

Rogers also is said to have bragged to people that he was going to lieutenant soon. Rogers was found guilty of attempted murder and sentenced to 12-20 years. He would only serve three years as he was released from prison to fight in WWII. The problem is that the armed services did not want the overweight felon. In 1954, Rogers was convicted of murdering his neighbor and neighbor’s daughter with a sledge hammer. Rogers died in prison on January 10, 1958.It is impossible to know if George Rogers was responsible for starting the Morro Castle fire or for the death of Captain Willmott. Rogers definitely had the opportunity and a murderous inclination, but a motive remains unclear.  The actual cause of the blaze has been lost to time.

Morro Castle Disaster - Asbury Park, New Jersey

Roller Skating Labels: Be a Big Wheel

Back in the halcyon days of roller skating, roller rinks would produce a label with an rink or roller skate theme and the name and address of the rink so you could put in it on your roller skate box. The more labels you had, the more places you have been skating.

I have more than 100 different labels and thought it might fun to to showcase some of them

  1. Akron Rollercade, Inc. – Akron, Ohio
Akron Rollercade, Inc. - Akron, Ohio

2. Dimond Roller Rink – Oakland, California

Dimond Roller Rink - Oakland, California

3. Erwin A. Beyer’s Roller Skating Rink – Celina, Ohio

Erwin A. Beyer's Roller Skating Rink - Celina, Ohio

4. Capital Roller Rink – Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

Capital Roller Rink - Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

5. Rollerdome – Nampa, Idaho

Rollerdrome - Nampa, Idaho

6. Palladium Roller Rink – Michigan City, Indiana

Palladium Roller Rink - Michigan City, Indiana

7. Beach Skateland – St. Augustine, Florida

Beach Skateland - St. Augustine, Florida

8. Cam-Ark Roller Rink – Camden, Arkansas

Cam-Ark Roller Rink - Camden, Arkansas

9. Imperial Roller Rink – Portland, Oregon

Imperial Roller Rink - Portland, Oregon

10. Moonlight Rollerway – Pasadena, California

Moonlight Rollerway - Pasadena, California
Moonlight Rollerway – Pasadena, California