Author: charley2030

Orchard tractor


Image: McCormick-Deering image from .

To prevent damage to the low-hanging branches in citrus orchards, tractor manufacturers made “orchard” versions. The large rear fenders kept the tractors from damaging the trees. The McCormick-Deering shown above was only made in 1938 and 1939.


Fort Tejon


Image: 1941 map from .

“Fort Tejon was established on August 10, 1854 at a point in the Tejon Pass where the Coast Range meets the Sierra Nevada and about three miles north from the present Lebec Station…  It continued to be occupied until June 15, 1861 when its regular garrison was removed for transfer to the east. It was reoccupied by California Volunteers from August 17, 1863 to September 11, 1864, when, with the final removal of the Native Americans from Tejon Pass to the Tule River Reserve, it was abandoned…  The military reservation and its 25 structures then became a part of the Rancho Tejon, a Mexican Land Grant, purchased by Lieutenant Beale, who eventually increased his holdings to nearly 200,000 acres. Part of Fort Tejon’s site is now a State Historical Monument under the California Beaches and Parks System. It was deeded to the State in 1939 by Rancho Tejon.

The Mythical Fort Tejon “Camel Corps”
“George Stammerjohn, State Historian II, California Department of Parks and Recreation

“At Fort Tejon, camels were NOT an essential element of the Fort’s history. Camels were at the Fort for only 5-1/2 months, from Nov. 17, 1859 to mid April 1860. The camels were never used by the soldiers at Fort Tejon. They were government property and were kept here only a short time during the winter of 1859/60 before being moved to the Los Angeles Quartermaster Depot on their way to Benicia where they were auctioned off at a loss to the Government in 1864.”

Excerpts from .


“A traffic engineer of the [California] Division of Highways gives the information that 1,750,000 automobiles passed over this route [at Fort Tejon] in 1939…

Excerpt from . Read about the old adobes on the site at the link.



Wyvernwood, Boyle Heights


Image: Preparing the landscape for Wyvernwood’s opening day, 1939.
“Dick” Whittington Collection, USC Digital Library from .

“Wyvernwood in the Boyle Heights section of Los Angeles, was the first large-scale, privately funded multiple housing development on the West Coast when it opened in 1939.”

Excerpt from .

“A great deal of study was given to prefabrication and rationalized building techniques, in order to take full advantage of the economies which the huge size of the project made possible. Low rents are attributed to the savings thus affected. Ready-mixed concrete for foundations; standard, demountable, steel and plywood forms which were used over and over again; exceptionally accurate installation of rough framing to receive mill work with a minimum of fitting; prefitted, premortised windows and doors; and site fabricated roof trusses were all employed for their small unit savings which add up to huge totals when applied to the project as a whole. Even the unusual character of the planting was dictated by the same desire for maximum economy.”

Excerpt of “Garden Apartments in Los Angeles, Calif,” The Architectural Forum, May 1940, p. 312 from .

Click on the links for a comprehensive look at this development. While not a paragon of architectural design, it was a large-scale rental community that effectively kept costs down while providing pleasant surroundings.

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 .