Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Paris Anytime

My uncle was sent to Europe in 1961 along with his Air National Guard unit during the Berlin Wall build up.

"November 5 1961

Skies over West Germany — In the wake of the Soviet Union's continued construction of the Berlin Wall which they started in August 1961, and a fear of possible conflict in Germany, on October 1st President John F. Kennedy mobilized selected reserve components units including elements of the Army and Air National Guard. To prove his determination to protect Germany along with the other NATO allies, he authorized the deployment of eleven Air Guard fighter squadrons to bases in Germany, France and Spain (a non-NATO ally). The first of these squadrons arrived in late October, less than a month after mobilization. By this date several, including Missouri's 110th and New Jersey's 141st tactical fighter squadrons, had their ground service personnel join them and they became fully operational. They soon began flying patrols along the border dividing East from West Germany. No Army Guard units were deployed overseas although two divisions and numerous non-divisional units were on active duty in the U.S. Fortunately, no war erupted and by the summer of 1962 all the Guard units were released from active duty."

His job was to develop the film taken by photographers in reconnaissance planes. In his collection are some interesting aerial shots of European landmarks. In addition, he took some really nice shots of Paris on a weekend trip there.

I especially like this picture of a street with the Eiffel Tower rising up through the fog in the background.

In 2002 I took this photo. This was taken in the final hour before nightfall. You can see the twinkle lights that light the tower in the dark.

I mailed myself a letter from the post office in the Eiffel Tower (because I am a nerd). You can click on any image if you want to see it larger.

Here is a picture my uncle took of the Place de la Concorde. This is an Egyptian obelisk that was once at the entrance of the Luxor temple.
And here is a shot of the same spot. I took my photo from a moving tour bus.

The black and white format used by my uncle adds mystery and romance to these photos of Paris, don't you agree?


  1. Great Post! I love the pictures.

  2. Oh yes, I do agree!! What a wonderful post. Amazing that we both posted about uncles. Thanks for your post at my little manor. I am intrigued with your spot and will stay and browse a while! Nice to meet you :)

  3. Extraordinary! Steviewren I am delighted with this post. Those photos are very romantic, as you say, and very evocative. The black and white photos from the past are so rich, somehow, in colour and atmosphere, the play of shadow and light, and the way details are highlighted. What an extraordinary era it was, and your uncle's work put him in a position to be a real witness to it all. And lucky you for having been in the City of Light.

    Thanks again for posting these historical photos.

  4. Love your photos. It is nice to see Paris in the morning while drinking a cup of coffee at my kitchen counter. I like that you sent yourself a letter from Paris. Great idea. Great post.

  5. oops, I took a closer look at the postmark on the letter to myself. I went on my trip in 2003.

    Sometime in the future I believe I will do another post using some of the other pictures that uncle took. I have some of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin. Thanks for everyone's interest. I love old photos.

  6. Very interesting post and wonderful pictures. Also intriguing is the connection between the photographs of your visit to Paris and your uncle's work in the military.

    I do like the sense of mystery in the black and white photos, though yours are certainly beautiful, too.

    Thank you for visiting my little blog today. Hope that you'll visit again.


I'm glad you stopped by and I look forward to your comments. As Dr. Fraser Crane would say, "Hello, I'm listening."