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.
Vintage photos of:
The car and the photo that started it all: my life-long vicarious love affair with gigantic cars with huge fins. By age 9 I was already a car nut; I cut out pictures from magazine ads and pasted them in a spiral notebook; I amazed family and friends by my ability to identify every car make. Then one day in November 1955 I saw it: this bronze chariot of the gods, a 1955 Cadillac Eldorado convertible, parked in, of all places, a mud lot near Boardwalk #3 in Larkspur, Calif. I made my brother take this Kodachrome, then later came back and photographed it myself in black and white - just the rear end. Immediately I stopped drawing Flash Gordon rocket ships and began designing my own cars - the Pac-Ply and the Zorch. I began pestering my father to take me to GM Motorama when it arrived to San Francisco. Strangely, when it came time to trade in the '48 Hudson in 1956, the car I pestered him to buy was a Rambler station wagon. I guess I realized these cars were not for mere mortals. View full size.
September 1956. My father, me and the new Rambler on its first long ride, at Squaw Rock on U.S. 101 south of Ukiah, California, captured by my brother on Ektachrome. Could almost be a new card ad, except I'm not running around laughing hysterically. View full size.
July 4, 1966. Twin Cities Fourth of July Parade on Magnolia Avenue in Larkspur, California. And if two brand-new, dealer stock Mustangs weren't enough, an early Studebaker Lark in the used car lot. The other Twin City was neighboring Corte Madera. My Ektachrome slide. View full size.
Firemen and volunteers cling to the back of the Larkspur Fire Department's 1946 American-LaFrance engine as it roars down Magnolia Ave. on the way to a call one late afternoon in 1963. These days we're used to seeing firemen suited up like they were about to take a moon walk; check out the casual attire here. Only one guy even has his fireman's hat on; two of the volunteers are sporting baseball caps. Everybody else is in shirtsleeves, even the full-time guy at the wheel (although it's his official blue uniform shirt). That's our house at the very top of the frame.
The fire department had been a governmental entity only 6 years. Up until 1957, it was privately operated by the volunteers, completely funded by dances held at The Rose Bowl, an outdoor dance floor under the redwoods that featured name bands and drew crowds from all over the Bay Area each Saturday during the summer months. My Kodachrome slide.