Murphy’s grandfather William M. O’Reilly opened a newsstand in 1888 at the West Shore Train Depot. Six years later, he moved to a store at 530 Broadway.
Sometime in the early 1900s, he began publishing postcards under various names like the Kingston Souvenir Company, the O’Reilly Stationery Company and William O’Reilly, Inc.
“We not only published them, but we distributed them throughout the area and the Catskill Mountains area to all the drug stores … and 10-cent stores,” she said. “We had hundreds of thousands of them stored on the second floor in the stock room at the business on Broadway.”
Murphy’s grandfather hired Kingston photographer William Longyear to shoot various locations in the city.
“He must have been pretty young when he started doing it for my grandfather,” Murphy said. “I remember him peddling on his bike with his backpack. He would pick up films to be developed. I believe he lived on Clinton Avenue. He ultimately published a few postcards himself.”
Longyear’s work captured turn-of-the-century Kingston up through the 1940s.
Among the most fascinating are images of crowds arriving by steamboat to Kingston Point Beach. At that time, it was a play land complete with amusements, a pavilion, arcade, hotel and nearby train tracks to whisk party goers to the Catskills.