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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End of the Rainbow: Cars!

End of the Rainbow: Cars!

1955. A rainbow over the campus of Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, seems to end on a row of classic 50s cars. The two-tone '53 Olds is nice, but I wish it wasn't obscuring the red-roofed Merc behind it. Shot by my brother, then a freshman there, on 35mm Kodachrome. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

Image Drag & Drop

Hey, tterrace- I'm fooling around, and having a lot of fun, with
and just dragged & dropped your photo above into the search box.

It came up with this delightful site
While I'm commenting, I've recently watched Pal Joey and Flower Drum Song. Great views of San Francisco of course, but what really caught my eye were the cars--'50s vintage, fresh and new, and I recognized every one of them, the cars of my adolescence.


This photo is so beautiful I use it as my computer background. The colors are amazing.


Hard to tell if the Mercury is a '52 or '53. A 1953 Merc was my first car, bought used in 1958 for $500 when I was in high school. You could hear the "glasspacks" a half mile away. These days, you can't tell one car brand from another, far less the year.


In today's world of highly sanitized digital photography a picture like this is enjoyable to look at. The saturated colors and tones are lovely. Thanks for putting this up. Definitely need to find some Kodachrome for my Yashica Electra Rangefinder (circa 1966) and put the DSLR away for a while.

The Old Days

My personal theory on why everything seemed so simple in the 'old' days is that many times the old days were merely days of our youth. And what is simpler than waking up, going to school, going home, and doing it again. Of course, with a smattering of highlights and lowlights interspersed with the mundane routines of childhood.

I lived in Santa Maria in 1956-57, about 30 miles south of SLO. And I remember those days fondly. Fifth and sixth grade. Purple People Eater on the radio, huge tailfins on cars, sand dunes at Pismo Beach, sandlot baseball, and roaming the dry riverbed and cliffs which were on the way to SLO. And coincidentally the next town north from Santa Maria was Nipomo, where we just saw the Depression era photo of the mom nursing her baby.


On the rainbow one can see a thin additional strip of UV wavelength light turned visible by the film.

Big Cars on Campus

Not everyone on campus had the latest cars. There's a '48 Plymouth and a '49 Ford at the left, and across the street must be Dad's "old" 1949 Buick.

The More Things Change

Nearly 55 years later and still no available parking on campus!

The Fifties in a single pic

I didn't live out the Fifties, but from what I've seen and read through the years, few pictures epitomize that era for me such as this one. It goes so hand in hand with the feelings of a bright future and overall optimism promised by the Atomic Age (Cold War notwithstanding) as well as with the idealism and memories of a seemingly less complex time we tend to associate the era with nowadays. (The film Pleasantville comes to mind).

1953 Olds

That is an example of the legendary Rocket 88!

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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