Vintage Snapshots: Cars of our Ancestors — Part II

I introduced you to my great, great Uncle Will, and his wife Grace, in my post Cars of our Ancestors back in Oct 2014.   There we saw many images of Will’s circa-1918 Dodge Brothers Touring Car and his later circa-1926 Studebaker in various locations in the teens through mid-1930s period in California.   I am taking this occasion to present some more of Will’s outstanding photography.

This time of year many of us are beginning to plan for our summer vacations.  If there is any chance you will be in the Sacramento, CA area, I heartily recommend taking an hour to visit the California State Archive in downtown Sacramento.  There, on the fourth floor, you will find a free exhibit of many of Will’s photographs in a lovely high-quality museum presentation.  Details are here: Will McCarthy Collection . Maybe you will consider taking a picture of your car near the Archive building…(right HERE) to start your own photo collection! (Note: The google map links display best on a desktop computer–opening on a phone or tablet may require you to swipe for correct view)

William McCarthy was an engineer who was a contractor for the US Army Corps of Engineers.  Of his many projects, our family is most proud of his work on the “Disappearing Guns” installed in a number of artillery batteries designed to protect the entrance to San Francisco Bay (story HERE)–which is also worth a visit.  He designed the complex linkages that allowed the guns to raise for firing.  Since he was a bit of a military enthusiast, some of the photographs were taken at locations with some sort of military or engineering significance…though many photographs were simply of places he and Grace toured.

Here, in the southern California coastal region, we find the Dodge Brothers touring car in the windy Gaviota Pass north of Santa Barbara, on what is now US101.  It looks like THIS today.

About 130 miles south of Gaviota, in Los Angeles, we find this scene. A later time, circa 1934 –judging by that lovely and distinctive Ford on the right.  This corner is just a dreadful squarish retail/office tower NOW.   I love how the light pole on the corner today VERY closely resembles the vintage pole. I wonder if that is the very same base?

Back to the earlier trip, they are in Long Beach, CA.  The annual Long Beach Grand Prix route is a few blocks south of this location.  Street view today is HERE.

Apparently, this grubby adobe building in what is now “Old Town” San Diego was a place that served the same purpose as Las Vegas does today for infatuated and/or pregnant, couples–a quicky wedding! While Will and Grace were already married…perhaps they wanted to encourage Grace’s “old maid” sister, Anne, to get with the program!  Anne remained unmarried for life.   Approximate location today is HERE.

If you were in the US Navy, and lucky enough to get orders for Coronado/San Diego, you probably know this place–the fabulous Hotel Del Coronado. It still looks fine TODAY.

In Northern California now, Uncle Will’s caption tells the whole story.  Here is a view TODAY.  My father was 6 years old and remembers attending the festivities on this day. The road itself is mostly unchanged…but  my goodness, how the city has changed!

Tioga Pass is on Rt. 120 east of Yosemite, and is certainly worth considering for a visit during your summer vacation.  The same location TODAY. Yosemite is VERY popular…make reservations IMMEDIATELY!!

I hope you have enjoyed these pictures, and that they might inspire you to take some pictures of you and your car (maybe even your family too!) while on vacation this summer!