Frequent readers of this series may have noticed that postcard images are frequently used to illustrate the marine and coastal heritage of the province. We are fortunate to have a rich source of high quality images – perhaps as many as 500 postcard images from before the Great War – and they document many aspects of Prince Edward Island life.
While the vast majority of these photos are uncredited, the images and name of one Charlottetown photographer keeps cropping up. William Steele Louson was a gifted amateur whose work was used in publications and by several of the leading Canadian postcard publishers, most notably Warwick Bros. & Rutter of Toronto who published more than 150 Prince Edward Island Cards. His images appeared in a number of Canadian and American magazines and were frequently turned into postcards, his images being used by many of the leading Canadian postcard publishers – usually without credit.
With easy access across the harbour from Charlottetown, either via the Rocky Point Ferry or after 1904 to the wharf at the Lobster Hatchery on the point, it is not surprising that Louson used the locale for a number of his picturesque photos, although strangely he does not appear to have ever pictured the lighthouse atop the point. Because Louson appears in some of the photos, and others show a group of men it is probable that several of these pictures were taken on a visit by a group of photographers who used the site for photo excursions. Other pictures, again with some showing Louson and his daughter, are taken at Seatrout Point and show Blockhouse point in the distance. Some of the Louson images appear below – click on any image for more information.
For those interested in more information about William Louson, his postcards, and early tourism images of Prince Edward Island, an article about the man and his work has just been published in the latest (Fall/Winter 2016) issue of The Island Magazine. The magazine is available at several bookstores and outlets including the Bookmark in Charlottetown, as well as directly from the P.E.I. Museum and Heritage Foundation.