Martha Is Summering in the Alps – Chamonix, France (1906)

During the recent days of record-breaking heat, one might become envious of the early twentieth-century travelers who sought the summer comfort of alpine regions.

In July of 1906, Martha was in Chamonix, perhaps staying at the famed Hotel d’Angleterre which (as the name suggests) catered to English visitors.

Since the mid-19th century, Chamonix had attracted sports enthusiasts (first mountain-climbers, then, skiers) as well as nature-lovers to this beautiful valley in the shadow of Mount Blanc – the highest peak of the Alps.

Part of the ancient Kingdom of Savoy, Chamonix lies in eastern France, very close to the borders of Switzerland and of Italy.

In 1906, Martha may have arrived by train – climbing the steepest gradient of any standard-gauge railroad in the world.

Martha mailed a postcard greeting to her friend, Mary Kiefer in Mount Carmel, PA.

Mount Carmel is a borough in Northumberland County, PA – 88 miles northwest of Philadelphia.

In 1906, Mount Carmel was a prosperous industrial town supplying equipment and tools to anthracite mining companies in the region.

(Thomas Edison had a plant there.)

The face of the postcard features a drawing of the Hotel d’Angleterre and the Grand Hotel of Chamonix.

Martha writes, on the face, that “we had a charming ride to get here” – perhaps she did take the scenic train ride to Chamonix.

In the coming day, Martha plans to “do some climbing” and then “leave for Geneva”.

We assume that she did so, as the postcard was mailed from Geneva on July 20.

After 10 days, the greeting reached Mary Kiefer in Mount Carmel.

One hopes that Martha continued to enjoy her trip and that Miss Kiefer was thrilled by the postcard greeting from her friend.


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