This is a postcard that shows a “Temple that never was.” It’s from before the Baha’i House of Worship was constructed, showing a golden dome and incorrect proportions. It also shows the lanterns, which were never installed. This “view” is looking south from Sheridan Road across the North Shore Channel, and cars can park there, but not for visiting the Temple. This is a lovely colorized postcard which can be found for one or two dollars at a post card show.
The Plaza Hotel, near Lincoln Park in Chicago, no longer exists. But it is remembered because that’s where ‘Abdu’l-Baha stayed during his first visit to Chicago in May 1912. Many of the Chicago Baha’is would look for excuses to “hang out” during the day, crowing the salon. So, he gathered them up and would walk them across to Lincoln Park to sit on the benches there and talk. And one day they all went to Lincoln Park Zoo together.
State Street at Noon in Chicago, an undated postcard that shows a busy noon hour around 1910-1915. The scene looks north to the State Street elevated stop where the Chicago Theater is now. Marshall Fields in on the right, look for the clock, and just the bare outlines of the Masonic Temple.
The Masonic Temple has dedicated meeting rooms for Masons at the top, but many floors of stores and offices. This is where the first Baha’i classes were taught, early Baha’is like Edward Getsinger has his office there, and in Drill Hall “Abdu’l-Baha gave a talk on April 30, 1912, to the Baha’i Temple Unity Convention
This is the book I wrote last year with Arcadia Publishing, featuring 199 archival photographs of the Baha’i Temple in Wilmette, Illinois. In 2012 we will celebrate the Centenary of the visit of Abdu’l-Baha to the West. He laid the cornerstone of this building on May 1, 1912, and the whole story, with photos taken on that day, is told in the book. You can read the first chapters at Amazon.
A postcard mailed on October 30, 1913, shows the Market Square in Kenosha, Wisconsin, the only city in Wisconsin visited by ‘Abdu’l-Baha in 1912 traveling by train from Chicago on Sept. 15 and returning Sept. 16.
Kenosha was one of the earliest Baha’i Communities in the U.S., having been established in the 1890’s.
Sunday, September 15, 1912 From Mahmud’s Diary
[Chicago — Kenosha]
The High Bridge in Lincoln Park in Chicago, where in 1912 visitors could gaze over the city and its tall buildings to the south. When Abdu’l-Baha stayed at the Plaza Hotel, he often took walks in Lincoln Park with visitors, mostly to give the overworked staff the opportunity to take a break from the crush of visitors.
One can’t mention Baha’i History in Postcards, without sharing an image of one of the Tablets of the Divine Plan, sent by Abdu’l-Baha to the Baha’is in America on postcards the first few days after WWI when mails could be sent after years of isolation. Two postcards were sent, one in English and the other in Persian. I’m hopeful that in 2016 when we will celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the Tablets of the Divine Plan that more photographs of these postcards will be made available.
An interior view of the Baha’i House of Worship in Wilmette, postmarked 1982.
The very first Baha’i House of Worship in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, from a photo set that’s been making the rounds on Facebook. It looks like a postcard. It looks like a colorized postcard. Does anyone know if the dome of this building really was green and the pillars blue? All I have ever seen are black and white photographs. This building was destroyed in an earthquake.