Weather Bureau locations as shown by postcards

In 1890 when the Weather Bureau was established they simply took over the the US Army Signal Corps offices. These locations were generally downtown on the highest building such as a bank, hotel, library, etc. Many times the building housed other government agencies such as the Post Office, Custom House, or Federal Courts. Other times the Weather Bureau office were on the top floor of commercial buildings. These locations were gradually closed as new Weather Bureau buildings were built or as observing locations were moved to airports.

All but one of these postcards were purchased on eBay.  Much to my amazement I found one card in an antique shop in Fredericksburg, Texas.

The instrument shelters and/or wind instruments are shown on many of the cards but you might have to look close!  Other cards just show the general location of the site.  I thought that having an overall view of the station might shed some light on the surroundings of the observing location.

Just click on the links below to see the postcards:

Weather Bureau Office Post Cards Akron, OH – Bentonville, AR Vol 1

Weather Bureau Office Post Cards Billing, MT – Cheyenne, WY Vol 2

Weather Bureau Office Post Cards Cleveland, OH – Des Moines, IA Vol 3

Weather Bureau Office Post Cards Duluth, MN – Erie, PA Vol 4

Weather Bureau Office Post Cards Escanaba, MI – Grand Junction, CO Vol 5

Weather Bureau Office Post Cards Harrisburg, PA -Lansing, MI Vol 6

Weather Bureau Office Post Cards Little Rock, AR- Minneapolis, MN Vol 7

Weather Bureau Office Post Cards Mobile, AL – New York City, NY Vol 8

Weather Bureau Office Post Cards Norfolk, VA – Pensacola, FL Vol 9

Weather Bureau Office Post Cards Pittsburgh, PA – Royal Centre, IN Vol 10

Weather-Bureau Office Post Cards Sacramento, CA-Wilmington,NC Vol 11


The header photograph is not a postcard but I just had to use it somewhere.  It shows the Weather Bureau instruments in Wilmington, NC sometime in the 1930’s. Don’t you love the way the observers are dressed. The instrument shelter is 81 feet above the ground. Wouldn’t you like to climb the stairs once an hour or even more during bad weather. Take note of the beacon tower to the right of the wind instruments. The beacons were used to show the forecast. For details on how the beacon system worked see the page on forecast dissemination.