The Best Vintage Postcard from Every State
Travel back in time to see awe-inspiring destinations from coast to coast.
This kitschy map of Alabama dates to 1969. The illustration features tourist destinations, such as Helen Keller’s birthplace and Gulf Shores, alongside the state bird, state flower, and the state flag.
Long before the famous sled dog race, teams traveled along the Iditarod Trail from coastal port towns to the inland gold rush towns. Sleds carried supplies in and gold out, as seen in this image of Seward, Alaska, that dates to approximately 1910. Learn the true story behind the most iconic photos in American history.
The bold colors of this retro postcard capture memories of a sunny vacation to Arizona’s Sonoran desert. This Sedona, Arizona, road trip is just as magical as everyone says it is.
Eureka Springs is nestled in the heart of Arkansas’ Ozark Mountains. This vintage postcard depicts the natural “healing springs,” which attracted people to establish a town here in 1879. Still a popular vacation destination today, Eureka Springs also contains a charming Victorian-era historic district. Do you know the secret quirks of all 45 U.S. presidents?
The Hollywood Bowl, America’s largest natural amphitheater, has an almost 100-year history as a live music venue. The Los Angeles Philharmonic performed in the bowl-shaped canyon for the first time in March 1921. This postcard depicts “Symphonies Under the Stars” in 1942.
This postcard from 1958 highlights scenic landscapes near Colorado Springs, “The Switzerland of America,” including the towering Pike’s Peak and Garden of the Gods.
South Manchester was known worldwide in the early 20th century for producing high-quality silk thread and material. This postcard shows how the town’s Main Street appeared around 1905. Trolley tracks are visible on the left side of the image.
Travelers still flock to Florida to soak up the sun, play golf and go fishing. But we love the vintage feel of this 1955 wooden postcard. These rare, vintage photos show what life was like in the 1950s.
Afflicted with polio, Franklin D. Roosevelt found comfort from swimming in the hot springs near Pine Mountain, Georgia. He built a vacation cabin on the site while running for president in 1932. Roosevelt’s “Little White House” is now a museum.
This whimsical postcard dates to 1966. Hawaii became America’s 50th state in 1959. The sender somehow found a spare moment to mail it. These are the most romantic island destinations in the United States.
There’s more to Idaho than potatoes, as this colorful postcard points out. Tourists can visit Craters of the Moon National Monument, an otherworldly natural wonder, Sun Valley, the country’s first ski resort, and Silver City, a wild west ghost town.
Chicago residents will recognize this building as the Museum of Science and Industry. The museum opened in 1933, housed in the Palace of Fine Arts, the last remaining structure from the World’s Columbian Exposition, a world’s fair, in 1893.
This imposing, 284-foot monument is located in the heart of downtown Indianapolis. Built in 1902, it honors Indiana residents who served in the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the Mexican War, the Civil War, and the Spanish-American War. The monument is open for tours, and an observation area offers panoramic city views.
Corn is still king in Iowa, and farming traditions are cherished. Mount Pleasant is home to the Midwest Old Settlers and Threshers Association, and the annual Old Threshers Reunion draws up to 40,000 people.
Summers are really hot in Kansas. This photo of the Wichita Municipal Bathing Beach shows how Wichita residents tried to cool off on a sunny, sweltering day in 1943.
American pioneer and frontiersman Daniel Boone’s gravesite overlooks Frankfort, Kentucky’s capital city. Boone died in Missouri in 1820 and he was originally buried there. But his remains were allegedly moved to Kentucky in 1845—though there is some debate that he still lies in Missouri.
This postcard, which appears to date to the 1930s, captures the romance and allure of New Orleans, with swans and live oak trees draped in Spanish moss.
Bald Mountain is located in the scenic Rangely Lakes area, a popular fishing destination in the western part of the state. You can still rent a log cabin at the Bald Mountain Camps resort today.
Fort McHenry is a National Monument and Historic Shrine on the Baltimore shoreline. American troops stopped a British invasion at the fort during the Battle of Baltimore in the War of 1812. This battle inspired Francis Scott Key to write lyrics to the song known as America’s national anthem, “The Star Spangled Banner.”
The Union Oyster House is not only the oldest restaurant in Boston, but it’s also one of the oldest eateries in constant operation in America. The doors have been open for service since 1826. The building, set on Union Street near historic Faneuil Hall, was constructed before the American Revolution.
The ballpark opened on April 20, 1912, the same day as Fenway Park in Boston, five days after the Titanic disaster. It was officially dubbed Tiger Stadium in 1961, though many Detroit sports fans called the place simply, “The Corner.” The Detroit Lions professional football team also played games there from 1938-74. The stadium closed in 1999 and was demolished 10 years later.
Legend has it that Paul Bunyan’s big blue ox, Babe, formed Minnesota’s 10,000 lakes with its footprints. Fingers serve as the giant lumberjack’s legs on a 1946 postcard sent to “Kalona News” owner C.C. Shimon in Kalona, Iowa. C.C.’s granddaughter, Diane Smith, shared the postcard. Brainerd is home to the Paul Bunyan Land amusement park.
Colorful cars line the downtown business district of Biloxi, Mississippi, on this vintage postcard. The 1927 building that once housed the Kress five and ten cent department store was damaged in 2005 by Hurricane Katrina, and is now a live music venue. These are the best American cities for live music (besides Nashville).
This postcard, an official souvenir from the World’s Fair in 1904, depicts the opulent Palace of Transportation that covered 15 acres. The fair celebrated the 100th anniversary of the Louisiana Purchase. Innovative transportation exhibits by the St. Louis Car Company included electric streetcars and personal automobiles.
This 1920 postcard showcases the lobby of Glacier Park Lodge, located at the eastern gateway to Glacier National Park. The room is decorated with enormous logs, animal hides, an American flag, and a teepee. The lodge was built in 1913, with the immense timbers hauled on trains. Discover 20 things you had no idea happened in 1920.
Gothenburg, Nebraska, is home to two original Pony Express mail stations, including this log building that dates to 1854. After it was donated to the city in 1931, the building was reassembled in a scenic city park, where it now houses a gift shop and museum.
Greetings from Las Vegas! This 1960s view of Fremont Street in downtown shows the Hotel Fremont, Binyon’s Horseshoe, Lucky Casino, Golden Nugget, Pioneer Club, and The Mint, which was featured in Hunter S. Thompson’s “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.”
This classic 1916 postcard, sent in by Lorraine Reineke of Morristown, Minnesota, features a summer day on the Boardwalk in Atlantic City, New Jersey, an entertaining destination for generations.
This postcard from 1965 shows the Bataan Memorial Building in Santa Fe, named to honor survivors and casualties of the Battan Death March in World War II. The structure served as the state capitol building from 1900 to 1966. It also spotlights the state’s nickname, The Land of Enchantment.
Herald Square in New York City, now home to the world’s largest Macy’s store, looked very different in the early 20th century. The bustling intersection, which gets its name from the former “New York Herald” newspaper, is where Broadway, 6th Avenue, and 34th Street come together.
This vintage postcard captures an aerial view of the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina. The palatial home, the largest residence in America, was completed in 1895 and served as the family home of George and Edith Vanderbilt.
The Badlands region of North Dakota was established as a national monument in 1939 and a national park in 1978. This vintage postcard depicts the Castle of Rock formation in 1945. The back of the postcard reads, “Upon close inspection, it is found that before taking its present shape this castle was simply a flat, rock-capped pedestal, the top breaking squarely from its own weight as the underlying support wore gradually back from wind erosion.”
The Great Lakes Exposition was held in Cleveland, Ohio, during the summers of 1936 and 1937, as a celebration of the city’s centennial. Though not as large as a World’s Fair, the event was an amusing distraction from the Great Depression. Crowds enjoyed carnival rides, the Hall of Progress, a floating nightclub boat, and an aquacade with swimming and dancing shows.
Oil was first discovered in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, in 1897. A cluster of strikes in the Seminole area in the 1920s and ’30s brought thousands of oil field workers to the state, creating boom towns practically overnight. This postcard, with a colorful poem about the oil industry, dates to the 1930s.
Portland residents are blessed with breathtaking views of Mount Hood, in the Cascade Range, as the peak is just 90 minutes away. While majestic, as seen in this 1940s postcard, keep in mind that the mountain is considered an active volcano.
Cyrus Curtis established the Curtis Publishing Company in Philadelphia in 1891, and became one of the most influential magazine publishers in America. Publications included Ladies Home Journal and The Saturday Evening Post. The company’s headquarters was located near the historic Independence Hall. This vintage postcard shows the circulation department in 1910.
The Newport Opera House Theater, built in 1867, still stands in Washington Square. This vintage postcard dates to approximately 1906. In its early days, the stage showcased comedic and theatrical performances as well as civic and community meetings. In the 1920s, the opera house transformed into a movie palace, and it was later subdivided into three theaters. The structure is undergoing restoration to become an opulent performing arts venue once again.
The Civil War officially began in April 1861 when the first shots were fired at Fort Sumter in South Carolina. The fort was constructed in 1829 to defend Charleston Harbor. Today the site is a National Historic Park.
Work on Mount Rushmore began in 1927 and was officially completed in 1941. The four U.S. Presidents featured are George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln. This National Memorial draws nearly 3 million visitors each year to South Dakota’s Black Hills. Can you match the president to the U.S. currency?
Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the star of this vintage automobile sticker from Tennessee. The illustration also highlights mining, agricultural crops, and livestock. Jack Addington’s family collected state window stickers on a trip across America in 1966. They crossed through 19 states, and Canada, in just 21 days.
For a few weeks in springtime, the fields of Texas Hill Country bloom with thousands of bluebonnets. The colorful wildflowers, named the Texas State Flower in 1901, typically peak in mid-April.
This postcard features a scenic overlook of Lake Champlain from Battery Park in Burlington, Vermont. The Detroit Photographic Co. copyright dates to 1904. The sender writes, “Lily, may look for me on Monday evening.”
Mount Vernon, the home of George and Martha Washington, is preserved as a historic site and museum. The mansion and gardens are open for tours, along with outbuildings such as a blacksmith shop, gristmill, and stables. A wreath-laying ceremony takes place daily at the Washingtons’ tomb. Can you guess which state has produced the most U.S. presidents?
The Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition, a World’s Fair, took place at the University of Washington in Seattle during the summer of 1909. The event was one of several World’s Fair events that occurred after the success of the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893. The official building for the host state, it later served as the university library and then the Washington State Museum until the 1950s.
This scenic view of Hinton makes you understand why John Denver sang, “Almost Heaven” about West Virginia. The small town built up along the Chesapeake & Ohio railroad. Hinton’s downtown historic district is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Schlitz may be the “beer the made Milwaukee famous,” but Captain Frederick Pabst left behind a legacy as well. Many of the historic Pabst Brewing Company buildings still stand in the Cream City (so named for the cream-colored limestone brick buildings, as seen here), now repurposed into offices, restaurants, apartments, and a gift shop.
Yellowstone became America’s first National Park when President Ulysses S. Grant signed the Yellowstone Protection Act into law on March 1, 1872. This historic postcard, dated copyright 1936, is credited to Haynes Picture Shops. Frank Jay Haynes worked as a photographer for the Northern Pacific Railroad in the 1870s. He took his first trip to Yellowstone in 1881 and then formed a business selling printed souvenir photos to tourists. Check out stunning photos of wildlife in Yellowstone National Park.