Barbara Dowell with grandfather William Carl Rohde at Hampton Park

Young Barbara Dowell crosses her legs in mimickry of her grandfather William Carl.

Hampton Park, Charleston, c.1938. Young Barbara Dowell crosses her legs in mimickry of her grandfather William Carl.

It’s a good thing I didn’t know, last fall when I visited Charleston on a work trip, that I’d soon run into this photo of my mother with her “Pop-Pop Rohde” at some place identified as “Hampton Park”. If I had, I’d have wanted to visit Hampton Park and see the spot where this photo was taken, and as it turned out I had only just time to make a quick visit to the house she lived in on Fishburne Avenue. I might have been tempted to miss some of my conference if I’d known that a this park lay just west and a little north of the Fishburne house.

My mom’s side of the family has had fewer people interested in assembling and archiving knowledge about our ancestors than my dad’s side, so I don’t know a lot about that half of the tribe and can’t tell you anything about my great grandfather William Carl Rohde. I’m hoping to remedy that to the extent that I can. In any case, this is one of the very few photos I’ve ever seen of him. Here on a visit to South Carolina he is being mimicked by his granddaughter, as she is crossing her legs to copy his stance. I didn’t even notice this at first but a note on the back of the photo, written I think by her mother, calls attention to this endearing behavior.

I had never heard of Hampton Park. I might have guessed that this photo was taken in Charleston simply because of the age of my mother in it and the fact that the photo was in with a bunch of other Charleston photos. But as I observed the palm trees in the background I began to be sure that this was nowhere in Baltimore, and I located the park in Charleston pretty quickly. My guess is that — unless the grounds are much reengineered — this photograph was taken next to the pond on the western side of the park, and I further submit for your consideration that the palm tree in the background stands on the little island in the pond (it or its descendant can be seen there still), and that Mom and William Carl are positioned on the west “shore” just opposite the island. For the assistance of any of Mom’s descendants who may someday care to reenact this scene, I include herebelow an aerial view of the park as it looks now with an arrow indicating where I reckon the photo was snapped. – mdf

Just a guess, really. And of course they've moved the bench.

Just a guess, really. And of course they’ve moved the bench. Image of Hampton Park, Charleston, South Carolina, courtesy of Microsoft Bing Maps, c.2015.

Image archive ID:

About the physical photograph:
Written on back [this looks like Wilma’s cursive]:
“Barbara Lee and Pop-pop Rohde at Hampton Park
*Note Barbs imitating Pop-Pop’s pose”


2 thoughts on “Barbara Dowell with grandfather William Carl Rohde at Hampton Park

  1. Pingback: “We had to brace ourselves…” – Dowells at Folly Beach, South Carolina, 1938 | Fleagle and Dowell Family History in Photos

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