Inyo County towns and businesses have been declaring for decades that the county is home to spectacular scenery, great towns, amazing attractions and plenty of friendly businesses that cater to every need and whim of visitors and locals alike.
To help get that message across, color postcards became a staple of marketing and promotional efforts. In the early 20th Century, “colorized” photos served to bring to life such attractions as Scotty’s Castle and the Furnace Creek Inn in the Death Valley National Monument. Scenery shots, from Round Valley to Zabriskie Point, were also highlighted.
After World War II, postcards made out of color photos became the mainstay of the promotional effort. In addition to showing towns and scenery, mid-century color photo postcards featured individual businesses, typically hotels, motels, resorts and restaurants.
“Pretty as a Postcard,” the 2020 Eastern California Museum calendar puts a spotlight on those historic postcards which presented everything in the best light possible.
Bishop touted itself as “The Gateway to the High Sierra.” Lone Pine let Mt. Whitney and its Main Street carry the message.
Death Valley National Monument provided a deep vein of postcard possibilities, and it was mined with exuberance. Colorized scenes of Scotty’s Castle, the pool at the Furnace Creek Inn, the 20 Mule Team Borax Wagons floating in a brilliant red sunset were abundant. More restrained were the simple photos of Mt. Whitney and Badwater, with the exited note that highest and lowest points in the continental US were just “80 miles apart.”
Hotels featured smiling guests relaxing and around the pool, or a view of the entire property.
The postcards featured in the Museum calendar provide a glimpse into the county’s colorful promotional past.
The 2020 Eastern California Museum Calendar is available at the Museum, 155 N. Grant St., Independence, for $10; if ordered over the phone at 760-878-0258 and mailed, the calendar will cost $13 to cover postage and tax. Credit card orders are also accepted over the phone.
The calendar is also available in Lone Pine at the Lone Pine Chamber of Commerce and the Museum of Western Film History and in Bishop at Spellbinder Books, the Bishop Chamber of Commerce, Laws Museum, and Hings Donuts.
The annual museum calendar is made possible by the ongoing support of the Eastern California Museum by the County of Inyo Board of Supervisors; a generous donation from the non-profit Friends of the Eastern California Museum, and a special donation from the Coso Operating Company, which has been operating the Coso Geothermal Plant in Inyo County since 1987, and is one of the largest producers of renewable energy in the West.
Captions— 4 photos
2019 ECM Calendar: The cover of the Eastern California Museum 2020 Calendar, Pretty as a Postcard, showcases a number of styles of postcards used to promote Inyo County’s attractions.
MT TOM HOTEL: The Mt. Tom Hotel used this postcard to promote a colorful pool scene. MCCU 566-169.
ROUND UP ROOM: The Golden State Café and Roundup Room occupied an iconic building in downtown Bishop. MCCU 560-165
FURNACE CREEK INN: The historic Furnace Creek Inn is depicted in this colorized photo postcard. MCCU 189-086