Batman appears


“Few fictional characters have caught our imaginations as much as Batman, a superhero like all of us in that he doesn’t fly and can’t jump over tall buildings. Bob Kane and Bill Finger created the Batman character, sometimes known as the Dark Knight or Caped Crusader. He first appeared in a 1939 issue of Detective Comics (DC), which immediately recognized the character’s potential for popularity.”

Excerpt from California State University, Northridge at .

While not a southern California topic, Detective Comics would have been easily available in the area.


Edward Weston


Seeing California with Edward Weston by Edward Weston

Seeing California with Edward Weston by Edward Weston

Images: .

Seeing California with Edward Weston was published in 1939 by Westways — Automobile Club of Southern California.

“42 p. of illustrations selected from 1000 negatives made by the author, a professional photographer, in his first year as a Guggenheim fellow whose project was ‘to photograph life.'”

Excerpt from .

Describing Weston as “a professional photographer” is a bit of an understatement. He is the photographer whose outstanding work was acknowledged as fine art (see below).


Image/excerpt of footnote from P. 352 of .

Russian Village


Image: Blanchard family photo from .

Jerry Blanchard (probably in the above photo but not indicated) helped build one of the last homes in the Claremont neighborhood. The area was mistakenly named  “Russian” when people mistook the origin of the man who started it.

“Russian Village (1923-1939)
 300 Block of South Mills Avenue

“This group of 15 homes lining Mills Avenue was built of recycled materials during the Depression. The land was owned by Polish immigrant Konstanty Stys, who sold lots to friends or needy families and helped them find building materials from wrecking yards and earthquake-damaged buildings. They are unified by their use of rock and street rubble as exterior materials, red-tile roofs, and the informal arrangement of each property. This neighborhood was placed on the National Register of Historic Places as a prime example of folk architecture.”

Excerpt from .

Learn more at .

See present-day photos and a house-by-house description of the architecture at .

Streamline moderne in California


Image: 1939 May Co. Wilshire from .

“Completed in 1939, the May Company Building …in the Wilshire district, Los Angeles, is a celebrated example of Streamline Moderne architecture. The building’s architect Albert C. Martin, Sr., also designed the Million Dollar Theater and Los Angeles City Hall. The May Company Building is a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument.

“The Los Angeles Conservancy calls it ‘the grandest example of Streamline Moderne remaining in Los Angeles’. It is especially noted for its gold-tiled cylindrical section that faces the intersection of Wilshire Boulevard at Fairfax Avenue, of which it occupies the northeast corner.”

Excerpts from,_Los_Angeles) .

To see streamline moderne buildings in California that are likely to still be standing click on: .

Beverly Hills


Image: unknown source via .

“Beverly Hills was a prosperous and sought-after location long before it was discovered by the movie industry. At the beginning, our fabled El Dorado was blessed with the most precious commodity in Southern California: water…

“Attracted to an elegant lifestyle made possible by the [1912-built Beverly Hills Hotel], Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford led the wave of movie stars here when they bought an existing hunting lodge and had it redesigned into the their mansion, Pickfair, in 1919…

“…[Will] Rogers, a wise cracking political humorist, became honorary first mayor of Beverly Hills. Rogers went on to play a part in the development of Beverly Hills by fostering construction of a new City Hall in 1932 and the establishment of a U.S. Post Office in 1934.

“Beverly Hills continued to grow. Promotional materials from the period touted the young metropolis as ‘center of the next million.’ Fortunately, human-scale public improvements helped soften the effects of growth. In the 1930s, Santa Monica Park was renamed Beverly Gardens and was extended to span the length of the City. The famous Electric Fountain was installed. A finely modeled sculpture atop the fountain shows a Tongva in prayer, homage to Beverly Hills’ heritage as a wellspring of fertility and abundance.”

Excerpts from . Click on the link to learn more about the city and its history.


17oct11beverly2Image: 1938 tourist map from .