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Most of the photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs, 20 to 200 megabytes in size) from the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) Many were digitized by LOC contractors using a Sinar studio back. They are adjusted by your webmaster for contrast and color in Photoshop before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here.

 
 
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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • THE TOY DEPARTMENT, 1913

Aunt Jake and Uncle Buck: 1954

Aunt Jake and Uncle Buck: 1954

In a box of family photos I found some color negatives that were processed in 1954. This is Willie Mae Smiley (Aunt Jake) and Mike Etheridge, my Uncle Buck, in Parvin, Texas. [Note: the original image as submitted was backwards, so we've now flipped it.] View full size.

Slip-N-Slide-Powerglide

JohnYuma... The old two speed powerglide is now used in racing and can cost over $6000 depending on which company builds it. Currently Robert Campisi from Australia holds the World Record for the fastest run using a Power Glide transmission, clocking 5.95s at 260 mph in his Twin Turbo Ford Mustang in September 2011.

My older brother's first car was also a 56 Mercury Montclair. It had a 312 with the old Holley four barrel and a Merc-O-Matic and your right about replacing the back tires. It was a beautiful dark blue and wasn't rusting off the frame but did have small rust on the lower part of the front fenders. He slapped some mud on the rust, sanded it down then sprayed a spot of black primer on them. A week later he decided to spray the whole front clip in primer. I asked him why... and he said... now it looks like I wrecked it and had to replace the whole front. Never did understand that, but it sure did attract the girls. LOL

Gold in them hills

The land in this photo could have been used as a missile range back in 1954, but it's far from worthless now. Prosper is a thriving town on the Dallas North Central Tollway. It is home to a new $100 million-plus high school.

Great Photo

My 2nd car at the ripe old age of 16 was a 1953 Chevy Bel Air, with the Blue fire straight six cylinder, and power glide transmission. What a great car, but it lacked major appeal for me then. With the Powerglide not only could it not "burn rubber", it had trouble getting out of its own way on takeoff. lol. Traded it for a 56 Mercury Montclair hardtop, that was almost rusting off its frame, but jeepers could it burn rubber. Went thru 2 sets of back tires, and that was quite an accomplishment for a bag boy at A & P grocery. Well we had our priorities back then. Thought my dad was gonna kill me for trading in my pretty little Chevy
for the awesome Merc. After painting it flat black after duct taping over the rust holes and putting on spinner hub caps, I was top dog in the high school parking. Too bad the brakes were non existent, which put me in the ditch a couple of times. Ahhh the good old days. What a blast!

Thanks!

Haha ... thanks for flipping the image for me! As for Parvin, Texas, nobody really lives there anymore. The last time I was out there, probably 20 years ago, there was literally just a cemetery and the ruin of my Great Grandfather's old house. I drove around with my uncle and he pointed out where the general store used to be, and where people's houses used to be, etc. This car was apparently a huge deal when my Great Grandpa, J.W. Smiley bought it. My Dad says at some point a bunch of local kids stole it and took it for a joy ride, but he got it back. Parvin was located just outside of Prosper, Texas, which is still there.

Populated Place

I had to look up Parvin, TX. It's a "populated place", which in Texas parlance means a crossroads with a few houses around it that's been given a name by the locals. In 1954 it probably also had a little country store. My own neighborhood is similar.

Parvin isn't on the way from anywhere to anywhere else. The two roads that cross there are county roads, probably paved but without any striping. It's north of McKinney, in Denton County just west of Prosper -- on the distant edge of the Dallas-Ft. Worth Metromess, but not yet part of it.

That's about a hundred miles away from me. If it were a little closer I might have gone there and given you at least a phone photo +58. Do any of your relatives still live there?

Uncle Buck and Aunt Jake

Refreshed the image and now it's OK... but now the Title is backwards!

Picky, picky....

re: PF Flyers

We wore those in the early 60s, and a shoe called 'Red Ball Jets,' along with Converse Jack Purcell's - which are still sold today. We called em 'Blue Tips' back then. Uniroyal, the United States rubber company who made rubberized soles for Keds, bought the rights in 1971, but never produced any more of the shoes.

First car date

My first car date was with a girl one year older and she picked me up in a 53 green Chevrolet. She let me drive on the third or fourth date.

Love the chrome!

Especially the baby moon hubcaps. And is that the photographer reflected in the bumper?

The first car

The first car I ever learned to drive was a 53 Chevy sedan. It was a base model in a sort of boring beige with '3 on the tree'. Quite roomy for high school antics though!

I guess they WERE the good old days

A new, loaded '53 Bel Air was $2,175 (about $18,383 in 2012 buckeroos), average income was $3,960 ($33,221) and that Chevy's mighty 115-horsepower engine had to be fed with gasoline that cost (wait for it)...21 cents a gallon. In today's dollars that's $1.66. In San Diego last week my rental car fuel (self-fueled to avoid much higher cost from the agency) was $4.69.

The Nike of the 1950s

Looks like the kid's wearing PF Flyers!

This is flipped

tt, No disrespect, but this a flipped image.

[I reversed it a couple days ago. You might have to refresh your browser. - tterrace]

Not just a coupe - a Sport Coupe

Note that there's no door post. That makes this car a hardtop, or "Sport Coupe" in Chevrolet parlance and top of the line!

Complete specs here, as a 75-page .pdf from the GM Heritage Center.

Much better

The original post gave me vertigo.

Polished Chrome

I love how the bumper and hubcap are so polished that they reflect the sunny landscape. Nice photo!

1953 Bel Air coupe

Nice car! The kid's posture is rather nice as well.

In Reverse

I dig the clothes and the old Chevy. (That is a Chevy right?) Is it me or is this a reversed negative? Her wristwatch is on her right hand and both of their button patterns are backward (male & female). Also the rearview mirror is tilted toward the passenger side and the radio antenna should be on the driver's side. The gas fill door is on the wrong side of the car as well. Just a bit curious. Great picture though!

[It does seem to be backward. The fuel filler door visible in the rear fender and the radio antenna should both be on the driver's side. - Dave]

[I've now flipped the image. - tterrace]

 
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