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Classic Covers: Can You Guess the City?

Published: December 11, 2010

We admit these beautiful cities look different now than they did in 1946 or 1960, but these covers by artist John Falter are still a treat. How many can you guess?

Fifth Avenue

Fifth Avenue by John Falter

Fifth Avenue
John Falter
March 19, 1960

This is one of the most famous streets in America, circa 1960. Next hint: the April sun in shining on the windows of Tiffany’s. Joggers, cars, horse and buggies, feeding the pigeons – so much detail that it was actually a fold-out cover. You can study it further or read on for the answer, as if you didn’t know: New York’s Fifth Avenue. By the way, you can click on any cover for a close-up.

Falls City, Nebraska at Christmas

Falls City, Nebraska at Christmas

Falls City, Nebraska at Christmas
John Falter
December 21, 1946

A few weeks ago, Ruth Nixon wrote to us asking for John Falter covers. This one is of Falter’s (and Ruth’s) hometown of Falls City, Nebraska, Christmas time 1946. The future Post cover artist worked on this very street in his father’s clothing store. He had the exalted title of “pants runner”; he ran trousers from the store to the tailor’s to get them shortened. You have to love the cars in this one. Thanks so much, Ruth, for giving us the idea for this segment!

Monument Circle

Monument Circle by John Falter

Monument Circle
John Falter
October 28, 1961

I knew this one instantly! I’d like to think it’s because I’m so darned smart, but actually it’s because I’ve worked in downtown Indianapolis and have had lunch out on Monument Circle on many fine days. Dedicated in 1902, the Soldiers and Sailors Monument is at the very heart of downtown. Again, the minute artist’s detail: A teeny-tiny group of school children are viewing the beautiful statues of soldiers and sailors – which, unfortunately, you have to be quite close to see how exquisite they are. The beautiful English Gothic Christ Church still stands, I’m happy to say, as does the neighboring Columbia Club building. Indy thanks you for this one, Mr. Falter.

Kansas City

Kansas City by John Falter

Kansas City
John Falter
September 23, 1961

If this cover is any indication, this is one of the prettiest cities around. “Spanish architecture in Missouri?” the editors asked. “If such a state of affairs seems peculiar, consider that the unpredictable Show Me state even has a town named Peculiar, some twenty miles south of here.” “Here” is lovely Kansas City in 1961. The charming community of shops pictured here was conceived and built by Jesse Clyde Nichols (1880-1950) to whom the fountain in the foreground is a memorial.

Peachtree Street

Peachtree Street by John Falter

Peachtree Street
John Falter
June 25, 1960

Let’s head south and see what people are doing on this fine June day in 1960. Construction workers are constructing (right of that big tree), pedestrians are pedestrianing, and traffic is flowing well on Peachtree Street in Atlanta. Get out the magnifying glass again, because the editors identified one of the teeny-tiny people to the far lower left: “ the gentleman on crutches is Ernest Rogers, Atlanta Journal columnist and the popular ‘Mayor of Peachtree Street’”. More editorial info: “In the early nineteenth century this was a sinuous ridgetop trail leading to an Indian settlement known as The Standing Peachtree; today it’s the main artery in the economic capitol of the South. That towering tree in the foreground is an American elm. Our scene contains no peach trees—they don’t thrive in downtown Atlanta.”


Michigan Avenue, Chicago

Michigan Avenue, Chicago by John Falter

Michigan Avenue, Chicago
John Falter
October 15, 1960

We must not forget the Windy City. Again, there was so much wonderful stuff to show, this was a fold-out cover, but we can show you half. This is Michigan Avenue, looking north toward the Tribune Tower and the Wrigley Building. Where, you ask? Again, the incredible detail: “The Wrigley Building and environs are reflected in the camera lens at left”. You can tell it’s a crisp autumn day from the coats being worn and the changing leaves on the tree to the left. Another identifiable pedestrian: “The whiskered gent with the sketch pad is the late Louis Sullivan, Frank Lloyd Wright’s mentor and an architect who helped reshape the face of this frisky city.”


Town Square, New Castle, Delaware

Town Square, New Castle, Delaware by John Falter

Town Square, New Castle, Delaware
John Falter
March 17, 1962

I must add one more because this is such a charming cover. New Castle, Delaware was not a big city (pop. 4469 at the time of this 1962 cover), but it won over artist Falter. The editors shared some interesting history: “Founded in 1651, it was William Penn’s landing place when he came to America at in 1682. Penn is thought to have spent a night in the house at the extreme right of our cover. The spire atop the Court House (left foreground) was used as the center of a twelve-mile radius in part of the 1763-67 survey—to settle a boundary dispute—that resulted in the Mason-Dixon Line.” You thought the Mason-Dixon line was way down South, didn’t you? Nope. Personally, I’m interested in the people at the lower right of the cover trying to fit a lovely antique into a car trunk. It makes me want to go antiquing in New England. Well, maybe with a bigger vehicle.

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  • Joseph H. Knight

    I was born in Falls City,Nebraska June 16th, 1938. This cover is a treasure to all in my family. My mother, Ida Lucille Knight nee Asendorf was a class mate of John Falter.

  • Diana Denny

    Kathleen: I totally need a geography refresher – I can’t believe I didn’t know how far south Delaware is! You’re right about the Mason-Dixon line, but I find a lot of people think of it as further South. Thanks for the correction.

  • Kathleen McKinley

    Your notes about March 17, 1962 cover stating that New Castle, Delaware is in “New England” are WAY off base! Delaware in a Mid-Atlantic state and is nowhere near New England. It’s south of Pennsylvania, due east of Maryland, west of the SOUTHERN part of New Jersey (in fact, Delaware extends farther south than the southernmost part of New Jersey), and makes up part of the “Delmarva Peninsula,” which consists of the State of Delaware, the Eastern Shore of Maryland, and the Eastern Shore of Virginia – and I don’t think anyone thinks Maryland and Virginia are in New England. As far as the Mason-Dixon Line is concerned, it IS “down south” – or at least it’s the demarcation line between “down south” and “up north,” and most of the State of Delaware WOULD, in fact, be below the Mason-Dixon Line if it extended farther east instead of stopping at Delaware’s western border.

  • Jennifer James

    Thank you for sharing these wonderful Falter covers. Falls City is my hometown and we’re very proud of John Falter. What an incredible illustrator and artist!

  • Ruth Nixon

    Thank you so much for following up on my suggestion. Although I live 1/2 a continent away, and Falls City’s main street has changed somewhat, brings back memories of the way it was in 1946.
    And I do enjoy the present-day Saturday Evening Post!

  • Jim Ruark

    On my family room wall I have four framed covers of The Saturday Evening Post with paintings done by John Falter in the mid-1940s. All are scenes from my childhood, one being the two-room schoolhouse where I attended third and fourth grades. The school was in Blooming Glen, Pennsylvania, the town where I lived, which was just a few miles from the town of Dublin, where Falter lived. (The building remains, but is no longer a school.) Another cover shows a boy carrying a lunchbox through a wheatfield to a school in the background; I knew the boy’s sister, but not him. (Falter identified the boy in describing the painting on the contents page inside the magazine.) A third cover shows a Fourth of July parade in front of a major building in downtown Perkasie, a nearby town; I have a photograph of that scene after the building burned down in 1988. The fourth cover shows a stucco farmhouse with a closeline, which looks similar to my grandparents’ home, although it is not their farmhouse. These covers are a treasure.

  • jonibee

    Reminds me of “My Hometown” by Bruce Springstein