50-year-old postcards show glimpses of Historic Triangle’s past

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The caption on the back of this postcard reads, "At the Margaret Hunter Shop on Duke of Gloucester Street, fine millinery is featured as it was over 200 years ago. Nearby at the sign of the Golden Ball, the silversmith, using tools and methods of the eighteenth century, fashions items of grace and beauty for the twentieth-century guests in Williamsburg." (Courtesy Blake Patterson)

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When Blake Patterson was in an antique shop in West Virginia this fall, he came across boxes of postcards, sorted by state. He quickly found the Virginia box, and when he discovered that some depicted landmarks of his beloved Williamsburg in the 1960s, he knew they were too good for him to pass up.

“The ones that had meaning to me were the ones relating to the areas I was fond of,” said Patterson. “The time frame of the cards are kind of interesting. It seemed like photo glimpses of Williamsburg before I was born.”

Born in 1972, Patterson said he was raised in the Historic Triangle and moved to Alexandria with his with wife in 1998. He now operates a blog Nostalgic Virginian, where he posts his favorite photos of the commonwealth and memories of the Historic Triangle.

“There’s much more of a sense of history in Williamsburg and the surrounding areas,” said Patterson. “I think the Historic Triangle does it a lot better than Alexandria.”

He scanned and shared his postcards on Nostalgic Virginian and said he hopes his blog can help preserve aspects of the region’s history. He believes that people who have similar senses of nostalgia and “wistful thinking” will connect with his blog.

“As I come down to visit the area, things here have changed so significantly and I’ve felt a sense of loss,” said Patterson. “I’ve found that in the last 10 years I’ve gotten more aware of an appreciation for the memories of people and places. A big inspiration for setting up the blog was coming home to Williamsburg.”

Patterson said he now visits Williamsburg two or three times a year and loves bringing his wife and daughter to the Great Wolf Lodge and Colonial Williamsburg.

“I know there are antique shops all over, and who knows I may start looking [for postcards] online,” said Patterson. “For whatever reason, it seems to appeal to me and it’s relaxing. I’ll definitely be growing the collection.”