(photo provided by Library of Congress – Old Hickory Powder Plant construction)
Listening to: ocean wave meditation
Thought for the day: I was going to apologize about this entry being long, buttttttttttttttttttttttttt……..
I have a dear friend named Jerry who is a history nerdaholic like me (he’s married –don’t even go there). We have a friendly competition with each other when it comes to finding new historic photos or information relating to our beloved community. I stopped by Jerry’s place of business (Old Hickory Garage – shameless plug) today to take him an old car book I had found. When I walked in I was greeted by Jerry and another highly respected member of our community who was also visiting.
Out of nowhere, Jerry said with a straight face, “Have you ever heard of John Dick?” My brain went all Beavis and Butthead (if you don’t know who they are, just know my brain went all junior high). I started laughing. Then Jerry started laughing. Next thing you know we’re on this roller coaster of juvenile laughter……….over a man named Dick. I tried to look away from Jerry because I couldn’t quit laughing, but it didn’t work. The other guest is hard of hearing and had removed his hearing aid. He thankfully missed it all……………… I think.
John A. Dick, however, is no laughing matter. After I left Jerry’s garage, we continued email correspondence about the subject matter. It turns out that John was an early pioneer in 360° panoramic photography. When the United States Government entered into a contract with DuPont during WWI to build a gunpowder plant in Old Hickory, John was assigned to photograph the progress of the project. I have included one of his photos as today’s entry.
I had read about John Dick in a diary that is housed in the Tennessee State Archives, but had not thought about him much until Jerry brought him to the forefront today (I am glad he did). The diary describes John as follows:
Diary of Lou Cretia Owen
Only one photographer has access to the powder and box factory area. This is J.A. Dick, official plant photographer.
Mr. Dick is making pictures of all the projects and is keeping a record in photographs of the developments. He has a camera that produces a picture 16 inches in height and it revolves like a machine gun and shoots any scene that attracts him.
I tried to take a small Kodak through the main gate yesterday. The guards turned me back. Convinced that I was harmless they allowed me to pass through the gate but confiscated my camera until I returned.
Picture of J.A. Dick http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/collections/panoramic_photo/pnhist3.html