This snapshot was for sale in a shop near Bellows Falls, Vermont, called The Big Red Barn. The names of the women in the photo are written on the back, along with the location: Elliot Elm Cafe, Brattleboro, VT.
I haven’t found any information about the Elliot Elm Cafe, but the Elliot Street Cafe was located at the corner of Elliot and Elm streets. I was sorry to find that it closed in 2011 or 2012. It was replaced by a coffee shop called The Restless Rooster, which in turn was forced to close in 2017 when the building was put up for sale. According to the realtor, the building dates to 1830, though you wouldn’t guess it from the outside. Feel free to click and drag the Google Street View below to see the neighborhood:
A calendar from Brattleboro Steam Laundry is hanging on the back wall, displaying the month of May 1926. Here are close-ups of the staff, from left to right, as identified in the note on the back:
Grace Putnam and Anna (Columbus) Straw
The note on the back also mentions that Anna (Columbus) Straw was the stepmother of Lucy (Straw) Lebert, and that Lucy’s mother was “Aunt Sadie (Crooker) Straw.” The word aunt provides a link between the writer and the photo, albeit a distant one. The writer must have been descended from a sibling of Sadie (Crooker) Straw. Neither Sadie nor her daughter Lucy is in the photo, but Lucy’s stepmother is.
Looking on Ancestry.com, I found that Sarah J. (Sadie) Crooker was born in Hillsborough, New Hampshire, about 1871, to Andrew J. Crooker and Lucy A. Jones. In 1888, when she was about 17, she married Frank S. Straw. She died twenty years later, in 1908. Her daughter, Lucy F. Straw, was eighteen years old when Sadie died. At some point after that Frank Straw married Anna Columbus, seated at far right in the photo. Anna had been married before as well. This is probably more detail than most readers would find interesting, but I thought I’d try to make sense of it, in case anyone reading this has a connection to any of these folks.
If you’re interested, you can see what the interior of the building looks like, at least while it’s for sale:
Thanks for coming along on this little trip back to 1926. How about a cup of coffee before you go?