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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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What a Dump: 1942

What a Dump: 1942

October 1942. "Scrap and salvage depot in Butte, Montana." 4x5 Kodachrome transparency by Russell Lee for the Office of War Information. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

Mid 1920s Dodge

The big car that looks like it may have been in a fire is a 1925 or 1926 Dodge. A photo of a similar car, in slightly better condition, is shown below.

1931 Pontiac

I believe the car in the foreground is one of 84,708 Pontiacs made in 1931.

Since 1930 and earlier Pontiacs did not have fender mounted parking/running lights and 1932 and later Pontiacs did not have tie bars attaching the headlights this must be a 1931 model. Note also the position of the parking lights behind the headlights where 1933 and later years had them more forward on the fender so they were next to or in front of the headlights.

For 1929 the Pontiac Six engine was increased to 200 cubic inches (up from 186) and horepower was increased to 60 hp @3000 rpm (up from 40 @2400 rpm). This engine was offered through 1932. Pontiacs were only available with a straight eight in 1933 and 1934.

In 1931 the Federal government mandated that automakers introduce all of their new vehicles at the same time, in the fall, to create a new-car buying season and boost the poor Great Depression economy.

The year 1931 was also the last full year for the sales of General Motors' Oakland automobiles which was Pontiac's parent company. Just 13,408 Oakland's were made in 1931. Oakland was phased out in 1932 and in 1933 the company name was changed to the Pontiac Motor Company.

License Plate

Among the treasures is a Silver Box County, Montana license plate from 1941 (picture below).

The number before the dash symbol indicates the county on license plates in Montana starting in 1934. The county numbers have remained unchanged since they were introduced.

Silver Bow County, in southwest Montana, was the most populous county at the time with the largest city being Butte, Montana.


Although the damage could have occurred after it got to the dump, the dents in the roof of the relatively new white two-seater make me think it might have been in a rollover accident. That would at least explain its short time on the road.

The big 4 door in the middle

The big car with the Chicken Wire roof seems to have been burned, possibly why it's in the scrap pile, or possibly burned after it arrived there.

RE: What Car

Yes, it is a Pontiac.... designed by Oakland this engine was in use from about 1928 through 1932. Also used in GMC trucks. Packard had a similar design with the distributor in the center of the head.

Re: What Car

It is a Pontiac. The two individual cylinder heads is a dead giveaway

What Car?

The car in the left foreground seems to be an inline 6 cylinder with the unusual configuration of front and rear cylinder heads and a distributor in the middle of the block. Can anyone identify this car?

Ford Pickup

The pickup bed in the center of the picture is from a Ford Model T. Part of the chassis and a wheel can be seen below the bed, and the "Ford" script is visible on the tailgate.

Amazingly, Ford did not produce a light duty pickup truck until 1925. The all-steel pickup box was 56 inches long, 40.75 inches wide, and 13 inches deep. The pickup body cost $25 when sold separately. A total of 33,795 were sold in 1925, 75,406 in 1926, and 28,142 during 1927.

Note the square holes on the beveled sides visible on the left side of the pickup bed for adding taller sides or securing a canopy, express body, or other specialized cargo carrying purposes.

Good Ol' Kodachrome!

It even makes a junkyard look beautiful.

Good eye MrK

A review of several YouTube clips reveal pole arrangements for the hot wire consistent with what we see in the posted image. Would have been a real treat to see a Milwaukee Road boxcab electric in the picture. The Little Joe’s (one on display at the Illinois Railroad museum.)were still 4/5 years into the future.

Pretty New Scrap!

Cannot actually ID any of them, but the grey colored coupe and sedan to the right of center cannot be more than 10 years old and the white roof at left rear has to be less than 5 years old!

Parts wonderland

If this was today, this would be a gold mine for rare parts! Even the old sign would be worth something to a picker! Since this was 1942 it is a good bet much of this was recycled for the war effort.... A nearby town to me lost two cannons for the war effort now there are just two empty cement foundations in the square.

I bet it didn't sit around too long

Lotsa scrap metal for the war effort

Poles, poles!

Is that the old Milwaukie Road electric mainline in the upper right?

Josette, West of Idaho

The stone wall at the top right is the northwest corner of Mount Moriah cemetary, and Trevillion (memorials) is still there across Montana. This lot would be along the old tracks, probably where the fire station is today.

Dare I say it?

That was one heck of an accident!

Structural chicken wire?

They just don't make car roofs like they used to, and that's probably a good thing!

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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