Page 43 - June2017

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Past & Present
W
ilhelm Heinrich Paul Naschke, better
known as Paul H. Naschke, was
one of Galveston’s most prominent
photographers around the turn of
the last century. His photos captured social events,
the countenances of leading citizens, and the
destruction left by the Storm of the Century.
Paul was born in 1871 to German immigrants
August and Anna Zahn Natschke (the next
generation dropped the “t” in their surname). His
father was a boot- and shoemaker who made sure
each of his four boys apprenticed locally to learn
a skilled trade. Thus at the age of 16, Naschke
began apprenticing in the photography studio of his
mother’s relative, the popular society photographer
Justus Zahn, at 418 Tremont Street.
Because an older apprentice was already training
to make photographic prints, Naschke’s job was
limited mainly to moving equipment, carrying
heavy glass plates, and doing odd jobs around the
studio. As he proved himself, he was given more
responsibilities and eventually decided to become a
photographer himself.
Along with a business partner he opened a
downtown storefront, which they operated until
Naschke bought out his partner’s interest.
Then in March of 1894, he married Della Brison,
who had been an apprentice to a local dressmaker.
Her artistic skills would become an integral part of
her husband’s business. That same year, he opened
his own professional photography studio at 1429
Church Street, near his childhood home.
The studio was establishing a reputation in the community when the 1900 Storm
struck the island. The couple and their two-year-old son Bertram were trapped in their
home, and resorted to chopping holes in the floors as the floodwaters rose to let water
come in and prevent it from tearing their house apart. The structure was elevated
three feet above the ground, but filled with an additional three feet of water inside.
Once the storm had passed, Naschke ventured out into the devastation with his
camera and captured images of the destruction. The Rosenberg Library exhibited
27 of these fascinating images in 1995.
Images from the Past
By Kathleen Maca
Photographer Paul Naschke
Galveston
Photographers
Part I V
A young Paul H. Naschke
Photo by Naschke, c. 1896
Photo of men after the 1900 Storm
by Naschke
A young Della Naschke
JUNE 2017 |
GALVESTON MONTHLY |
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