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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Downtown: 1966

Downtown: 1966

Downtown Larkspur, California in April 1966, still largely as it was when I was growing up in the 1950s. That is, most of the buildings still housed establishments that catered to the everyday needs of the average middle-class family: two grocery stores, a pharmacy, hardware store, garage, variety store, even a roofing company, four of whose red pickups are seen in the center. As just two examples of the kind of changes since then, the garage (actually a reproduction of the original structure, which didn't survive a restoration attempt) now houses a salon and spa, and the grocery store my father worked in is an art gallery. I took this Ektachrome from the balcony of City Hall; it was 58 years old at the time, I was 19. This year I'll be turning 65. I always hated math. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

Back to the Future

This looks like a perfect spot for time-travelling DeLoreans.

"Good" math

Math was only bad until dollar signs were put in front of it.

And a Honda and a Taurus

and a Grand Cherokee and a van! So, normal people live there too!

Larkspur DKW

RayT: There definitely was at least one DKW tooling around town back then; that very well may be one of them.


Probably the rarest car on the street in the 1966 photo is lurking behind the telephone pole and flagpole.

Unless I really miss my guess -- and I'm 99% sure of it -- that's a DKW. With its three-cylinder, two-cycle engine (the powerplant was advertised as having as many power pulses as a car with a six-cylinder engine, hence the "3=6" tag), the DKW was something of a stranger to U.S. roads. Since oil was mixed directly with the fuel (for lubrication), the "Deke" made as much smoke as a town full of six-cylinder cars....

All in all, I'd rather have the Valiant. Or the VW Bus. Or the Caddy.

BMW ... Mercedes ... Porsche

Also a 1984-1989 Porsche 911 Cabrio on the left side of the street. There very well could be a Porsche 924 behind it too. Too bad there weren't a few Porsches in the 1966 shot.

Downtown Larkspur, August 1995

I took this photo just after I moved to Larkspur for a nine-year stay. The trees are much larger than in 1969. Although you can't see it, the grocery store is still there, Rainbow Market I think. The Blue Rock sign is very visible as it is today. About this time the first floor of that building was converted from the Blue Rock to the Left Bank but they left the Blue Rock sign there, a very nice thing to do. This is about the way it looks today.

Click to enlarge.

[BMW ... Mercedes ... BMW ... Mercedes ... - Dave]

April 1966

and "the San Francisco scene" was in full flower. Flower Power, that is. And Larkspur and other sleepy Marin towns were becoming the home of many budding rock stars who were tiring of living communally in the Haight-Ashbury.

Janis Joplin bought a house in Larkspur around this time and used to knock 'em back in the Blue Rock Inn downtown -- it's the turreted building at upper right in tterrace's photo. I moved to Larkspur a year after her death, and regulars at the Blue Rock recalled how Janis would give informal performances at the bar.

Time Marches On!

I know what you mean tterrace. I can't get my head around that the 1960s are 50 years ago and the '70s 40 years ago and so on. If not for the cars, this pic could have been taken this afternoon.

I drove those!

I owned a '63 Econoline just like this one (mine was white and yellow, not black), and I had to stare for a while to realize that is a '62 Cheverolet truck and not a '62 GMC, which I also owned one of. (The Jimmy was the first "car" I ever had.)

Distinctive front grille

Bright red Plymouth Valiant ('60-'62) down the street.


Great shot. That Caddy on the left is a beaut. And who owned the black Econline van next to it, can't make out the logo. Looks like a neat town, but you need good shoes to hike about!

Looks like ...

From this angle Larkspur looks a lot like Avalon on Santa Catalina Island, with similar buildings and scale. It must be a very nice place, then and now.

Was ist los??

An almost never seen photo from TT. No VW's anywhere to be seen in a non family type photo. Must have been a Beetle Rally in the Valley that day.

SHORPY HISTORICAL PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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