Photo captures patriotic celebration of bygone era

Miss Pat and her pet goat get ready to enjoy some patriotic summer fun in this picture taken on June 25, 1923, by an unknown photographer traveling through the Cleveland area.

What better way to celebrate an upcoming Independence Day than place a very young person, unsecured, on top of a goat cart festooned with American flags and take a picture of them?

By today's child safety standards this would probably be an extremely bad idea, but in 1923 it was seemingly just fine. At least it was all right for my mother, Pat, who at less than one year old found herself in just such a situation on June 25 of that year.

As she recalls being told later in her life, a traveling photographer with a goat and cart in tow had visited the Cleveland area at the time and my mom's folks seemingly thought it to be a wonderful idea to have her pose for a picture atop the rig. (As a trivial aside, going by the logo on its side, the cart had been manufactured by Studebaker – the same firm that years later would produce the ahead-of-its-time Avanti automobile.)

Apparently having young children pose for pictures on goat carts was a somewhat common way for traveling photographers to earn a living from about 1890 through the 1940s, at least according to a syndicated story by nationally recognized Cleveland area antiques expert Terry Kovel, which ran in the March 2, 2014, edition of the Columbus Dispatch. According to Kovel's piece the photographer supplied either photographic prints or postcards of the child, goat and cart lash up to the parents.

Additional internet research seems to back this up, with a number of old pictures of children atop goat carts from around the country to be found.

My mom still enjoys the picture of her goat cart pose. By the expression on her face she enjoyed her picture taking experience at the time, as well. She feels many Westlake | Bay Village Observer readers might also take joy in seeing such a nostalgic picture in time for their Independence Day celebrations and appreciates the opportunity of sharing it in this newspaper.

Dan Hirschfeld

I'm a longtime resident of the Bay Village and Westlake area (Bay 1965 to 1977, then Westlake since) who has always enjoyed living here while seeing lots of change over the years.

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Volume 6, Issue 13, Posted 9:23 AM, 06.24.2014