For most of us, if we were to discover a few pieces of old mail we would probably just throw it in the trash, right?
Well, that's not the case for Steven Ellis, a member of the Facebook group Vanished Kalamazoo. Recently, Steven shared a post along with a few photos of what looks like antique envelopes. The caption read,
I found some old envelopes the other day from 1926-1929 addressed to 512 Alcott St. In googling the address, it appears that it is now a vacant lot/woods to the right of the house shown at 516 Alcott (at Adelade St) The letters were addressed to Mrs Sam Scott, Mrs Martha LaPorte and Mrs Frank Stern? Three different families sharing the house? Did anyone grow up near here or know the families?
You can see the photos of the envelopes here.
Since the envelopes are from the 1920s, finding the original addressees feels a tad bit out of reach. Especially since there seemed to be three different people living in the same home. But, as always, the locals of Kalamazoo came to the rescue.
A lot of people suggested trying to find the name on ancestry.com which is a paid service so that seems a bit unnecessary. A few suggested using the Kalamazoo Public Library database. But, ultimately, the answer, at least to why there were so many people in one home, came from Amy J. who posted a picture of what looks like a page out of a census book.
Sure enough, Amy revealed that a quick Google search of Sam F. Scott and Kalamazoo MI pulled up the census from 1930. It's believed that the home served as a boarding house.
With one mystery out of the way, the next remains unsolved. What happened to these people? Where are they now? And, do they have any family members that would want these letters?
If you, or someone you know, are familiar with the names:
- Sam Scott
- Martha LaPorte
- Frank Stern
Who may have lived at 516 Alcott St. in the late 1920s or early 1930s, you can contact the original poster here. Who knows? This could serve as an unexpected message to these families from the past.
Love vintage things? There's a new shop in Kalamazoo dedicated to all things vintage: