La Grande depot


Image: cropped from Los Angeles Times file photo .

“The Moorish-designed La Grande Station, located at 2nd Street and Santa Fe Ave., opened on July 29, 1893, and was the main terminal for the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railways for over 40 years.

“However, the Long Beach earthquake of 1933 badly damaged it, resulting in the terminal building’s temporary closure and the eventual removal of the dome.”

Excerpt from .

The depot continued in use until May 1939 when it was closed when the railroad moved to the newly built Los Angeles Union Passenger Terminal on Alameda Street.


Day is Darkness anti-Nazi play


Image: Library of Congress .

“Although Hitler was on the rise, other people of the world resisted and fought Nazi totalitarian regime of Germany. Underground workers, allied countries, and movements by civilians all were working forces to create a Nazi resistance and sabotage Hitler’s Nazi Germany. They sabotaged in the forms of literature, propaganda, revolts, and by helping Jews escape.

“There were many underground workers in the form of literature. These works of literature were plays, books, articles, or newspapers. In the United States, a famous anti-Nazi play was called, “Day is darkness”, and was written by George Fess. It was put on in 1939 sponsored by the Federal Theatre Project. This is one way the United States used writing to evoke anger against the Nazi’s through a form of literature.”

Excerpt from .

The Federal Theater Project was created by the U.S. government. Learn more at .

One source of migrants to southern California



“In January 1939, motorists on highways in the “Bootheel” of southeastern Missouri began reporting a strange sight: thousands of sharecropper families were camped out on the roadside, their meager possessions piled around them, exposed to the wintry cold.

“The families, almost all African-American, had been evicted by the owners of the farms where they had lived. Because sharecroppers were entitled to a portion of the harvest of the fields they worked, the government had recently announced they were also entitled to a direct portion of federal farm subsidies — a distasteful arrangement for the landowners, who had decided they would rather keep the full subsidies and hire day laborers to bring in their crops.”

Eventually the federal government provided a long-term solution for some of the former sharecroppers.

Excerpt and Arthur Rothstein Farm Security Administration photo in the Library of Congress from . Click on the link to learn more about the protest.

One could presume that at least some of these people left Missouri in 1939 to seek a better life in southern California as shown in the following general description of the westward migration:

“As the landscape became uninhabitable and the depression wore on, more than 200,000 refugees from Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Missouri followed Route 66 west to Arizona or California in search of jobs and new homes.”

Excerpt from .


California modernism art


Image: The Parting by Hans Burkhardt from
Other Burkhardt art and a bio at the link.

“In 1939, Hans Burkhardt held his first one-man show at the Stendhal Gallery in Los Angeles, set up by the artist Lorser Feitelson. After his move out West, Burkhardt never returned permanently to New York and would no longer be recognized by the East Coast.”
Excerpt from .


On the Edge of America: California Modernist Art, 1900-1950, a 1996 exhibit in West Hollywood and an accompanying book.

“Two works that are showcased in both the show and the book are Hans Burkhardt’s The Parting (1939) and War, Agony in Death (1939-40). These two anti-war paintings are for Burkhardt what Guernica was for Picasso. They are overwhelming works that display an uncanny prescience of World War II’s impact as well as a full panoply of modernist, painterly techniques. Wisely, they are hung side-by-side so that they form a heart-wrenching narrative. In The Parting a father figure bids adieu to his grief torn family, whose world is being turned upside-down. Loss and nostalgic yearning pervade the image. In War, Agony and Death the father figure has been transformed into a monstrous blood-drenched machine of death that faces a strife-torn landscape of countless crosses. In the upper left corner the same family group of The Parting appears, overlooking the universal devastation.”

Excerpt from .



Desert water bag


Undated image from .

“For the traveler trekking across America during the 1920s and 1930s, transportation by car was rife with problems… Nothing inspired more dread than a plume of steam billowing from a screaming hot radiator…
“To ease their panic, motorists relied on portable ‘water bags’ to carry along extra liquid… When draped outside [of the car] …air rushing over their exterior created an effect likened to ‘wind chill.’ The intense evaporation caused contents inside the pouch to cool.”

Excerpt from Google scan of Route 66 Remembered book by Michael Walz .