SHORPY Historic Photo Archive & Fine-Art Prints
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About the Photos

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.

© 2018 SHORPY INC.

[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Goddess of Progress: 1975

Goddess of Progress: 1975

I photographed Russell Knott smiling at the 400 pound head named the Goddess of Progress at Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park, California in May of 1975. It once adorned the top of San Francisco's city hall before the earthquake of 1906. Russell told me that he purchased several cable cars from San Francisco in the early 1950's at an auction and one of the transactions included the iron head. William C. Roddy, an assistant of Mayor Joseph Alioto, wrote Russell for the return of the head to be displayed for San Francisco 1976 bicentennial celebration. I used my trusty workhorse of a camera the Nikon F with a fixed 24mm lens and Kodak Tri-X 35mm film. View full size.

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Where are the lights?

I recall seeing what appeared to me light blubs on the head. I don't see them in the display. I wondered if they did some cosmetic work on the head.

[According to the Virtual Museum of the City of San Francisco, "The electric lights which crown the goddess like a wreath were not original to the sculpture, but added sometime after the statute was taken down from City Hall, but before its sale to the amusement park." - tterrace]

The Goddess now

It's now on display in the present San Francisco City Hall, which dates from 1915. Here I am regarding it in 2007. About the apparent size discrepancy, it looks like you were using a wide-angle lens and standing quite close to the head.

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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