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Finding Jersey - part 2

Although I was instantly enamored with the pouty doe-eyed girl from New Jersey I knew that identifying her would be difficult, if not impossible. But from the moment I first saw 'Jersey' on my friend Paul Holbrook's Facebook page, I knew I had to try.

It can be very difficult to identify vintage photographs and I had learned that I needed to collect clues to see if there was anything to go on to uncover 'Jersey's' identity.

Picture courtesy of Paul Holbrook. Used with permission.

Even though the pictures were often blurred, I still found myself fascinated with Jersey and her family. Although another little boy in a few pictures indicated it might be a family with four children, most of the glass negatives revealed photographs of Jersey with an older sister and brother.

Picture courtesy of Paul Holbrook. Used with permission.

Picture courtesy of Paul Holbrook. Used with permission.

I poured over the pictures for clues. I looked for any landmark or anything that would help me find Jersey.

Jersey and her older sister seemed to be about two or three years apart. When I spotted the landmark in the background of the picture below, I knew that I might be able to find out where she was when that picture was taken.

Picture courtesy of Paul Holbrook. Used with permission.

Picture courtesy of Paul Holbrook. Used with permission.

I couldn't tell you how I found it even if I tried. It was just an internet search with a random assortment of words containing 'New Jersey' and 'Park' and providentially, this showed up.

Picture is vintage postcard sold on Etsy. Accessed on Pinterest.

It was an earlier image. The water in the picture postcard was gone in the photo taken of Jersey's sister. But the mill in the background is unmistakable. They were at Eastman's Park near Paterson NJ!

Two other landmarks showed up in Paul Holbrook's collection of glass negatives.

This one, has Jersey standing in what appears to be a rotunda or pavilion of some sort.

Picture courtesy of Paul Holbrook. Used with permission.

And this one, from Jersey and her sister, a little older. It appeared to have a childsize castle that I assume was part of a display at a park.

Picture courtesy of Paul Holbrook. Used with permission.

I have searched and searched for a park with a castle like this. I've yet to find it. I did find a fairytale forest that has the herringbone brick pattern sidewalks, but I don't know if this could be that one. So, I put it aside for now, and focused on the picture of little Jersey standing in a pavilion.

The pavilion had some interesting design aspects. It looked round, with wood shingled pillars and in a wooded area.

There were other pictures of Jersey with her big sister probably taken the same day in their plaid capelets.

Pictures courtesy of Paul Holbrook. Used with permission.

In the picture on the far left, I noticed highrise buildings behind the trees. So that told me they were possibly in a park near a large city.

The girls are on a platform in the middle picture, again, a clue that they are probably in a park.

But the pavilion seemed to be the best landmark to research. I searched for New Jersey parks with pavilion and went through pages of them looking for similar features.

I found this one in East Side Park in Paterson NJ.

Picture accessed at

But it wasn't round and the pillars were different. It could have been rebuilt but I decided to keep looking. I looked for round shaped pavilions, that were up on a platform (not ground level).

Then I found this one in Bayonne, NJ.

Hudson County Park Pavilion, Bayonne, NJ. Accessed at

The shape was right, but the pillars were wrong. So, I kept looking.

I focused on parks around larger cities (because I had seen those highrise buildings in the background of the picture of Jersey's sister) and I found this pavilion in Weequahic Park in Newark, NJ.

Picture accessed at

It looked like some of the sides could be round. And then, the pillars caught my eye.

I searched for more pictures and found this one of the interior (I blurred out the grafitti):

Picture by Laura Gonzalez, accessed at

This seemed right! And a close look at the pillars showed a familiar pattern.

Compare those close up pictures above of the pillar design at the Weequahic Park pavilion with a close up of the pillar behind little Jersey's plaid covered head.

Do we have a match? I think we do! So Jersey and her sister in their matching plaid were at Weequahic Park in Newark, NJ!

Off I went to research families in the northeast New Jersey area! I can't wait to tell you what I found.

To read the next post in this series, go here.

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