Displayed here is yet another interesting photo image retrieved from the Stone Harbor Museum’s archives. However, at first glance, the intended subject matter depicted in this undated photo may not be so readily apparent. It is entirely possible that many observers might overlook the real reason or basis for someone taking this particular photo. So, go ahead and examine this image carefully and think about why you or moreover why anyone might have been motivated to snap this very scene at a certain moment in time.
First, we need to focus on several notable structures shown in this image. We will start in the lower left corner of this photo by pointing out “Mammy Diller’s” variety store which is only partially visible and was located at the corner of 95th Street and Second Avenue. It should also be noted that this view was taken showing Third Avenue in the foreground. Next, and moving to the right in the background, there is the original water tower that was built in the 1909-1910 time frame. Continuing to move to the right center of this circa 1920 photo is the large 2-story building operated by the Toebe Brothers and situated on 96th Street. The sign visible on the front side of the building clearly states the following: “TOEBE BRO’S. / GROCERIES – SALE / COMMUNITY STORE / CONFECTIONERY / GASOLINE”. Finally, the last building that is visible and appears across 96th Street is another well known variety store that was owned and operated by none other than David Troxel. Having magnified this very building, we can confirm the name “TROXEL” actually appears painted in large white letters on the shingled roof along with a sign on the side of the store stating “ICE CREAM”.
In order to make it easier to examine details in this photo, I have taken the liberty of enlarging it for better viewing and presenting it at this point. Now let’s turn our attention to something else beside those various structures and focus on something that is not so conspicuous. While it is hard to distinguish, there nevertheless is a speck or actually an aeroplane appearing in this photo that can be seen over the Toebe Brothers store but is really out over the ocean overflying along the expansive beach and flying south. Do you see the two-winged aircraft that I am pointing out?
It is my hunch and contention that the plane just may very well be the real reason why this photo was taken. I also maintain that this photo was taken in a hurried fashion so as not to lose the opportunity to capture it before the plane flew out of view or range. As you can see the image appears slanted or on somewhat of a tilt which might support the idea that time was of the essence for taking said photo. Sightings and even landings of airplanes were not all that uncommon events at Stone Harbor since August of 1912 when aviator Marshall Earl Reid flew mail and passengers nearly 20 miles between Ocean City and Stone Harbor. Such moments surely must have stirred the imaginations and caused people to grab their cameras and quickly take a photo. It is very difficult for me to determine exactly what type or model of aircraft this was although I am of the opinion it seems to be a larger, longer-range type of plane that in all likelihood may have been on some history-making event that was publicized in advance and worthy of photographing should such an opportunity have presented itself. If we only just knew when this photo was actually taken, it would sure help in researching and learning what was the significance of that plane and why the photo was taken in the first place. There are innumerable possibilities of historical aviation related events that occurred at or about that time but at this point it still remains a mystery subject only open to conjecture.
Wrapping up this account, perhaps the question we all might ask ourselves is: What was the motivation or the reason for taking this photograph? What do you think?