Last week in this spot I wrote about some wonderful historical pictures.
Many of the shots can be found on the Web either through the Los Angeles Public Library, UCLA or at fototeka.com, an art site devoted to ancient LAPD crime scene photos.
There’s a reason I’m writing about these photos again this week: I made a mistake describing my favorite one of the bunch.
The picture in question, shot in 1921, depicts a funeral procession for a 106-year-old man. Santo Juncio’s casket is being escorted just beyond the walls of an unrestored San Gabriel Mission.
A group of cars is parked alongside a dirt path next to the mission. I described the cars as Model A’s.
They were, in fact, Model T’s.
Almost 100 years later, that doesn’t seem like a huge distinction. But to several of you who called, wrote and e-mailed me it was a glaring error.
Here’s an example, written by Bill Ruh of Montclair:
“The Ford Model A was not around in 1921. Ford did(n’t) produce the Model A until late 1927. The cars had to be the Ford Model T. The Model T speaks even more volumes about the photo – the first mass-production motor car along the final road of a man who was born when all humans relied on horses.”
Couldn’t have said it better myself.
A couple others were less complimentary. And, quite honestly, I should know better.
In case you didn’t know, or if I haven’t said so before, I was born in Detroit and have lived most of my life on the Los Angeles freeway system.
By default, the American automotive industry is in my blood, and I should know the entire history of Henry Ford, assembly lines and how the Model T’s DNA runs through the cars we drive today.
So, excuse the mistake. By the way, there’s a great Detroit photo Web site called “Ruins of Detroit.” Take a look; you’ll be glad you live here.
Since we are on the subject of these wonderful archives, I can take the time to point out a few other Los Angeles-area photos that are quite interesting.
This past week has been filled with talk about the possibility of billionaire developer Ed Roski Jr. bringing professional football back to Los Angeles by building a stadium in Industry.
A search of “pro football” in the public library archive went as far back as 1927.
None of them mention Industry, but there is a great 1944 photo of a guy named Roy
“Bullet” Baker, a USC left halfback who racked up 107 yards in the 1923 Rose Bowl – the first played in the “new” stadium.
Roski’s proposed stadium will be built where the 57 and the 60 freeways come together. A search of the library archive for “Pomona Freeway” revealed a 1969 shot titled “Pomona Freeway Mudslide.”
Here’s the caption:
“Mudslide covering all eastbound and two of the westbound lanes of the Pomona Freeway, 2 1/2 miles east of Pico Rivera.”
What’s fascinating about the shot is that there is a car atop the massive pile of mud. The car has obviously been pushed from the fast lane into oncoming traffic.
I tried hard to figure out the make and model of the car, but no such luck.
One thing for certain: it’s not a Model T.