Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Old California 3

This is the third and last part of the old California estate collection. Again, this one seems to be a travel collection. There is a lot of emphasis on the ocean. The navel officer is the only picture in this group that is labeled, "P.S. himself." Post script or the initials of the person, and is he a friend of the photographer or the man himself? I've noted before that I love the mystery of old photos, and trying to make some sense of them, but other than service aboard a ship that was armed, there isn't much to learn here. All the harbor shots are more focused on commerce with an emphasis on tugs and harbor transport. Note that behind the steam launch photo, the masts of a sailing ship can be seen; the four masts of a clipper. The paddle wheeler is almost certainly on the Sacramento River, one of the few rivers in California that had commercial boat traffic. The shot from the beach has a flotilla of war ships. The Great White Fleet? The railroad picture is of a crane of the S.P.L.A.& S.L Railroad. That's the San Pedro, Los Angeles, & Salt Lake Railroad, whose main line connected the harbor at San Pedro, now part of Los Angeles to Salt Lake City in Utah. The company no longer exists, but the rail line built by the company is still used. The main visitor's center for the Mojave National Preserve in Kelso, California was a station for the line. While it operated under different names, the S.P.L.A.& S L. name was only used from 1901 to 1916. The antelope picture only made it because of my no editing policy. If a location had been written on the back I might have been able to find out when the last animal died there or if a few still survive, but no location, no research. The twenty mule team shot is interesting. The famous borax wagon teams carrying the mineral from Death Valley to the rail head at Mojave, California only operated from 1883 to 1889 and had two box wagons and a water tank. Same idea for the wagon depicted, but a different set-up. And the flood picture, my guess is the Sacramento delta.

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