Photo analysis – Casper Schick’s Ash Creek Inn — with footnotes

This is a copy of my post from December 29.  I have added citations to back my assertions as an experiment after reading Michael Hait’s blog posting My last word on GeneaBlogging and the Paradigm Shift.  I will write about what I learned in a separate posting.

One of the mystery pictures that has bothered us for a while is one of our grandfather sitting in a car in front of an inn, the Ash Creek Inn run by Casper Schick.  The photo can be seen below.  While we knew who was in the photo, we wondered where it was taken and when.  From what we knew of our grandfather, we figured the picture was taken in the 1910s.  He was born in 1890 and we figured he could have been in his 20s in this picture1.  Beyond that, though, we were out of ideas.  There was nothing written on the photo, and we knew nothing about Casper Schick or the Ash Creek Inn.

MM Konarski in car

The first step, then, was to see what we could find on the Ash Creek Inn.  Googling did not give us anything useful at the time, so we moved on to looking for Casper Schick.

It turns out that there were at least three Casper Schicks. One was in the carpenter’s union in Cincinnati, which did not seem likely for an innkeeper2.  I then found one that looked more promising, in Kingston, New York.  He showed up in city directories for 1888, 1889, and 1892 and was a saloon keeper3.  While this was before our grandfather was born, we figured he might have still been in the business later on.  I tried to find something on the Ash Creek Inn, or Ash Creek anything in Kingston but could not find anything.  Still, the coincidence was pretty strong so I looked for the historical society there and then wrote to them.  I got a very nice reply back saying that he was not in the 1916 city directory but was in the 1892 one4.  Kingston still was the only location that made sense, but we clearly had to start looking elsewhere.

Months passed and then we tried again this week.  I did a fresh Google search for the Ash Creek Inn and this time got some hits, from NewspaperArchive.com.  It turns out there was an Ash Creek Inn mentioned in the Bridgeport Telegram from Connecticut.  I looked at the articles and found that in 1919 someone was selling a roadster there, and it was raided for selling liquor in 1920 and 19235,6,7.  This is past the likely time of the picture, but we at least had a match for the name of the Inn.

The next step was to see if a Casper Schick lived in the area.  A simple census search on Ancestry.com showed that one lived in Bridgeport  in 1920 with his family8.  His occupation was “None”, so he hadn’t stood out as well as the one in Kingston.  I also found that he lived in Bridgeport in 1908 when he filled out his passport application9.  I now suspected I had the answer, but needed to link Casper and the Inn together.

Ancestry.com has city directories for nearby Bridgeport, and my sister found that there was a section for Fairfield and Southport in the back in 1910.  I went forward from there, year by year, seeing who the proprietor was.  In 1914 the proprietor of the Ash Creek Hotel was Casper Schick, and he remained proprietor through the 1916 directory10.  Since the directory is an annual publication, he probably started running the business in 1913.  This narrows the time frame of the picture down to 1913-16.

Later on after I got my NewspaperArchive subscription renewed, I checked for more stories on the Ash Creek Inn.  The later proprietors were arrested several times in the early 1920′s for selling alcohol during Prohibition, and then the coverage ended.  I was able to find, though, that the Inn was on the Boston Post Road between Bridgeport and Fairfield in an area named Grasmere11,12.  Grasmere Avenue is right near Ash Creek and is where Casper Schick lived.  This would place the Inn near the intersection of the current Post Road and Grasmere Ave.

I went into Google Streetview to see if any buildings looked like the one in the picture but had no luck.  It does not appear to be around anymore.

I did follow one more lead to try to find the exact location of the Inn.  I found a web page for the present-day Ash Creek Saloon13.  It is no longer near Ash Creek, but on their page they say how the original location was in a building from the 19th century housing the Ash Creek Saloon in the 1920s or 30s.  I then tried to find out where the Saloon had been.  Googling, I found this article with pictures of new restaurants that describes a building at 93 Post Road that used to have the Ash Creek Saloon14.  Unfortunately it is a one story brick building, helping to confirm that the original building is long gone.

There is one other clue as to the time of the photo, and that is the car.  We looked through some pictures of old cars, but have not come up with a clear match.  Pictures of old cars are spread around the Internet and the only way to find a match is to go through them one by one, so this will be a future task.

As a wrap-up, Casper Schick died around 26 January 196115.  He was listed as being a former restaurant and hotel owner living at 97 Grasmere Ave, right near the former Inn.

The big lesson I learned from this is to use NewspaperArchive for more than just name searches.  I usually use it for name searches, and that is what is at the top of the search screen, but it can be used to look for anything.


  1. “Extract from a long form birth record”; extract of translation from Russian, birth record of Mieczyslaw Konarski; privately held by the Konarski family, 2012.
  2. Claims Paid During December, 1907, Carpenter 23, (January, 1908); online archives, Google Books (http://books.google.com/books?id=aYGBAAAAMAAJ&lpg=PA46&ots=y19V2L0zek&dq=%22Casper%20Schick%22&pg=PA1#v=onepage&q=schick&f=false : accessed 7 January 2012), pg. 46.
  3. Ancestry.com, compiler, “Kingston, New York Directories 1888-89, 1891-92″ abstracts, “entry for Casper Schick”, Ancestry.com (http://ancestry.com : accessed 7 January 2012); citing Kingston, NY, 1888-89, 1892, Kingston, NY: Thompson & Breed, 1888, 1892.
  4. Jane Kellar, Kingston, NY, to Beirne Konarski, e-mail, 19 April 2011, “Casper Schick Brewery in Kingston?”, Genealogy folder, Evernote; privately held by Konarski, Fairlawn, Ohio.
  5. “Want ad for roadster”, The Bridgeport Telegram, 21 August 1919; online archives, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 27 December 2011), col. 6; citing original p. 16.
  6. “Internal Revenue Men Visit Ash Creek Inn; Place Seals on Stock”, The Bridgeport Telegram, 9 January 1920; online archives, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 27 December 2011), col. 3; citing original p. 1.
  7. Internal Revenue Men Visit Ash Creek Inn; Place Seals on Stock, The Bridgeport Telegram, 9 January 1920; online archives, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 27 December 2011), col. 3; citing original p. 1.
  8. 1920 U.S. census, Fairfield County, Connecticut, population schedule, Fairfield Township, ward left blank, p. 177 (stamped), enumeration district (ED) 2, sheet 6A, dwelling 93, family 129, Casper Schick; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 27 December 2011); citing NARA microfilm publication T625, roll 127.
  9. Passport application, Caspar Schick, p. 54714; online archive, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 27 December 2011), U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925; National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), Washington D.C.; Passport Applications, January 2, 1906 – March 31, 1925; ARC Identifier 583830 / MLR Number A1 534; NARA Series: M1490; roll #63.
  10. “Fairfield and Southport Directory,” Bridgeport, Connecticut City Directory, 1914, 1915, 1916; online archives, Ancestry.com (http://ancestry.com : accessed 27 December 2011), entry for Ash Creek Inn; citing original (1914) 1192, 1184, (1915) 1216, (1916) 1354.
  11. “Youth Held for Robbing Old Inn Near Ash Creek”, The Bridgeport Telegram, 17 November 1924, p. 3, col. 4; online archive, Ancestry.com (http://www.newspaperarchive.com : accessed 29 December 2011), col. 4; citing original p. 3.
  12. “Seize Beer in Raid on Ash Creek Inn”, The Bridgeport Telegram, 4 September 1925; onine archive, Ancestry.com (http://www.newspaperarchive.com : accessed 29 December 2011), col. 2; citing original p. 3.
  13. “About Us”, Ash Creek Saloon (http://www.ashcreeksaloon.com/Ash%20Creek%20Saloon%20Black%20Rock%20nuevo%20About%20Us.htm: accessed 7 January 2012).
  14. Jonathan Kantrowitz, “Fairfield Restaurants Update,” Connecticut News, 7 June 2010, (http://blog.ctnews.com/kantrowitz/2010/06/07/fairfield-restaurants-update/ : accessed 7 January 2012).
  15. “Casper Schick necrology”, Bridgeport Sunday Post, 26 January 1961; online archives, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 27 December 2011), col. 7; citing original p. 6.
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5 Responses to Photo analysis – Casper Schick’s Ash Creek Inn — with footnotes

  1. Very well done. I hope that citing sources in blogs in contagious! Very interesting story as well.

  2. Pingback: Citing sources in genealogy blogs and elsewhere | GenVoyage

  3. Gerry says:

    I’ve been reading your excellent posts about the photo of Casper Schick’s Ash Creek Inn with great interest. I have a whole collection of Mystery Photos that I’m working on. It was fun following your research trails and I picked up some good ideas–especially that model year ID technique! I have some “what if” comments and questions.

    Perhaps I missed it, but is there a reason that you feel the photo cannot be later than 1916? It seems to me that the car does not look brand new, but a bit older – which might make more sense for your grandfather’s circumstances as a grad student.

    I think it’s possible that even after Casper Schick sold (or lost?) the Inn, the sign might have remained, either for marketing reasons or just because it was too expensive to have a new one made. But do we know for sure that Casper did not own it after 1916?

    Finally – this is just the way my mind works – wouldn’t it be something if your grandfather was at the Inn in 1919 looking at the car that was advertised for sale in the newspaper you found? Or if he was the one selling the car? Or if he was with a friend who was either seller or buyer?

    Your banner photo is wonderful, and is exactly the sort of puzzle that can unlock a whole community’s history.

    • Very interesting comments. While the picture could have been taken after 1916 if the sign stayed around, I don’t think it was for long. Since city directories tend to be based on the previous year’s facts, the business changed hands that year or late in 1915, since the 1917 directory shows the proprietor to be William Haberle. I’ll need to update this in the web page.

      Regarding the age of the car, I later discovered (http://genvoyage.com/2012/01/01/identifying-the-car-at-casper-schicks-ash-creek-inn/) it was a 1914 model Hupmobile so it would have been around two years old by 1916. The car is dirty in the picture, but paved roads were not common back then and it is parked on a dirt street. I don’t see other obvious signs of wear. Also, after 1916 my grandfather was in a combination of the military in upstate New York and Illinois and grad school in New York City at Columbia, which does not seem conducive to owning a car back then.

      And yes, I really did hope that my grandfather was involved with the car sale in 1919. Unfortunately I don’t think that is the case. By 1919 he was living in Akron, Ohio and probably wouldn’t have been in Fairfield. Also, the car itself itself is not a roadster. Back when I wrote this I had to look up what a roadster was, but according to Wikipedia it is “an open (without a fixed roof or side weather protection) two-seat car.” This car is a four-seater and is described as a touring car on Hupmobile pages.

      So in summary, the photo could be from 1917-1918 if the sign remained with the new proprietor, William Haberle, but it becomes increasingly unlikely due to his time away from the area serving in the military.

      • Gerry says:

        Now that is a comprehensive think-through. Darn, another good story spoiled by pesky facts. (I am going to continue to harbor a secret hope, but it is dwindling fast.)

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