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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Firesweep: 1964

Firesweep: 1964

This photo, showing our 1958 DeSoto Firesweep (thanks, ptcruiser, for the ID!), was taken in Apalachicola, Florida, in 1964. I'm at the left, pointing seemingly at nothing, along with my mom, my brother Jeffrey and our new Chihuahua, Tiger. My dad, as a pilot, was always on the lookout for a great place to keep his airplanes, and Apalach had an abandoned Army Air Force training field with big empty hangars to spare. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

Sneakers all around!

Love the classic sneaker styles! The boys in (I guess Navy blue) pre-Vans slip-ons and Mum in white Keds (or Keds style) tennis shoes. Web belts, pullover shirts on the boys, wrap skirt and casual button down on Mum- I long for an era where casual was so polished!

Fill In The Gap

I just looked on Google Street View and that driveway is no longer split!

They've made a much larger driveway shared with the house next door and it seems to have a picnic/patio area that both the houses also share.

Someone involved must work for a concrete company!


DeSotos and antennas

The Firesweep was the basic model. The Firedome was the middle, and the Fireflite was the top of the line. My grandfather had a 1958 Firedome that was 2-tone blue and white. I remember the push-button transmission shift that was located to the left of the steering wheel (I was told that it was over there to keep kids from pushing the buttons.) My grandfather was very short and had to put a booster seat on the driver's side to see over the dashboard. The car would go 80-90 mph without breathing hard; I think it had a 361 hemi-head V8.

We got our first TV set for Christmas of 1953. For the first year or 18 months we had it, there was only one channel (a CBS affiliate) that we could get, even with rabbit ears (we lived in central Kansas between Hutchindson and Wichita.) Then an ABC affiliate started, and we had two. It took another year or so before the NBC affiliate went on the air. There was some sort of UHF channel in Wichita for a while, but it was so snowy that it wasn't worth watching.

Split driveway

I noticed the split driveway -- something that was popular (at least around here) long ago but you hardly see anymore. Did that change due to safety reasons? Cheaper concrete? People tiring of mowing the crass strip down the middle of the driveway?

[Not only crass, but tawdry. - Dave]


The mentions of antennas reminds me of a peculiar fact about Apalachicola, Florida, at the time of this photo. You were lucky to get one TV channel, and it was snowy. In those pre-cable days, Apalachicola was just too far from any broadcast stations, I suppose. I remember we had no access to many of the TV shows I really wanted to see, from their mentions in magazines and such, but too bad! In 1966, we moved to Marathon, Florida, for a while and I was so excited that I could watch both Batman (ABC) and the Man from U.N.C.L.E. (NBC) because Marathon had cable TV.

Couldn't have done that from Apalach. I recall asking my dad to get some kind of super-TV antenna while we lived there, but he wasn't confident that would do the job.

That Chevy

Laurel Green and Crocus Yellow.

That ain't all

There is a nice stacked array of amateur radio yagi antennas on the roof.

Great Comments!

Thanks for all the wonderful comments! leightonwalter, you are correct; I was pointing at my mom's cigarette. I had forgotten! aenthal, you are also correct; that DeSoto leaked oil. My dad would make me scrub the driveway with a broom and kitty litter to get rid of the stains. And LynneB, I loved those kind of shirts. My favorites were bleeding Madras, if anyone remembers those! I've looked everywhere for them on the Net, but I guess they aren't made anymore. Finally, nixiebunny, I never noticed that wasn't a matching hubcap! And all the info from Dave about the DeSoto; I never knew what the Sportsman designation meant.

What a wonderful group of sharp-eyed and knowledgeable folks live in ShorpyWorld!!!

Firesweep Sportsman

The 1957-58 Firesweep was an early hybrid: DeSoto bumper mated to Dodge hood and front fenders, at the bottom of the DeSoto lineup under the Firedome and Fireflite. Dad gets props for having bought the Sportsman, which was DeSoto-speak for pillarless hardtop.

56 Chevy

Our family had a 56 Chevy with the same color scheme as the one in the photo. Ours was a 210 Townsman station wagon, 9 passenger. Worst color scheme ever but it was really easy to spot the car in the mall parking lot.

Wrap Skirt

Mom is wearing one and they had an annoying habit of falling to the ground in the event of button failure. I remember that very thing happening in 1964 to Marsha, a pretty but rather prim young Mormon classmate our senior year of high school. It was one of the highlights of the school year.

TV Aerials

Interesting to see the TV antennas. Don't see many of those anymore.


The rear wheel cover is not the correct one for that car. Perhaps that's what all the excitement's about.

[You have a good eye for detail. It's from a 1960 Plymouth. - Dave]

Keep on the Grass

Am I correct that the DeSoto was parked on the lawn because it was the culprit behind the stains on the nice cement driveway (and the two that appear to have been already cleaned up) or was there another car that owned that prime spot and did the deed?

Your Henley Collar Shirt

Brought back a memory. My brother got in trouble for wearing one to school (Baltimore circa 1963). He was sent home to change, and Mom - who looked and dressed very similar to yours, down to the cigarette - was Not Happy. I love this photo!

Other possibilities

I kind of have a notion he's proud of that new driveway. Then again it could be that cigarette Mom is trying to cup.


That's why she's smiling and tucking the hand behind her. Jim sees the smoke and helpfully points it out.

Pointed Out

What's in Mom's right hand?

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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