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My Home Town: 1957

My Home Town: 1957

I was 11 when my brother took this Anscochrome slide of Larkspur, California, where I grew up. Around then I might have gone to the twin-towered City Hall at left, either to the Library to satisfy my curiosity about freeways, dinosaurs, coins or, believe it or not, peruse collections of New Yorker cartoons, or to the city offices to bug the clerks for copies of city forms I could adapt for the make-believe city I incorporated our yard into. Alongside is the fire house, where I might take pictures of the trucks. Across the street is St. Patrick's church, where I'd fidget during Mass every Sunday. Our house was a block away, hidden by the trees. Farther along, the steep-gabled building is the old St. Patrick's, where once a week fellow Catholic kids and I on religious instruction release from our public grade school would attend Catechism classes where stern nuns would attempt to drill dogma into our little souls. Below the church, the Ford woody is in the parking lot behind the Rainbow Market (red roof at left), where earlier my father worked for a few years. Down center, the small roof with the flag pole is the then-new Larkspur Post Office building. And then, a 1956 Pontiac. View full size.

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My house

I lived in Larkpur in 1960, on Post St. behind the Lark Theater where my mom worked at the time. I later lived in the yellow house in the lower left hand corner, and my grandparents live in the house to the right of that. My grandmother worked at Rainbow Market from WWII to 1970. I went to H.C. Hall School, before it became a middle school. Practiced riding a skateboard on the corner where the Blue Rock was. I love these pictures! Miss this era and the little town that was Larkpur. The comments made about the rich and Larkpur (Marin) are accurate. My grandmother knew Nelle Dougherty (Dougherty Dr.) and Charlie Young who later went on to be the oldest living resident of Larkspur. William Frizzi owned the house I lived in, if I am not mistaken; did the electrical work for the old Rose Bowl. The 4th of July, Twin Cities Little League - all memories of mine. I left Larkspur when I accidently started a fire in that old house. Would love to exhange info, or receive more pics of this place.

Looks like a great place to grow up

As always, Mr. TT, your comments match the pictures. Sharp, sensitive and revealing. Thanks!

1860 or 1960, I love 'em all.

The only thing that changes is the way I relate to the picture. Pictures from 1860 have me thinking about how they fit into the history I've read. Pictures from 1960 have me comparing the view to my memories from childhood.

My Visit

To San Francisco last month featured lots of driving by my hosts. Imagine my surprise when we went past an exit marked "Larkspur". I insisted on a drive through this town that I wouldn't have otherwise known about. Lovely place, still a lot like the photos. Thanks, tterrace, for sharing so much with us. I, too, am from Newark, NJ. My 'hood was leveled after the riots of the 1960s. Everything disappeared like an A-bomb blast. Now it's all Section 8 housing. It's charming to see someone's childhood home that still abides.

Twin Cities

@tterrace - Love all your posts - keep them coming. Larkspur is an idyllic little town. I remember the fellow who worked in the post office was named Panda Bear; always got a kick out of that name. Another named oddity was the 'Twin Cities' as Larkspur and Corte Madera hardly qualified as cities by my definition. Back in the 70's you could possibly run into Ken Kesey, Huey Lewis, Bill Graham, Jerry Garcia, Grace Slick, Janis Joplin, Steve Perry and Journey, etc etc as lots of musicians called Larkspur home at one point or another. Also, I believe Larkspur is credited as where the mountain bike was invented by Gary Fisher who rode from Madrone Canyon up to the Mt Tam watershed and Fairfax. Again, thanks for sharing your photos.

It Happens Every Year

It seems like once a year or so someone complains about tterrace and his posts, although this is the first time I've seen him referred to as a "rich kid." Which in turn inevitably releases a flood of support for tterrace's posts. Which inevitably includes something from me. So here goes.

This blog isn't, and shouldn't be, restricted to photos that are a hundred years old or older. That would eliminate so many great photos like pictures from the Roaring 20s, the Farm Security Administration photos from the 1930s, the OWI pictures from World War II (some of which were - shock - in colour). And we can't restrict the blog to the works of professionals, because some of the most interesting photos in this blog were the works of amateurs. The photos that tterrace has posted over the years have been a portrait of a time period as seen by a talented pair of amateurs - tterrace and his brother. Their work is at least as evocative in its own way as the works of professionals in earlier eras. And like a majority of people here, I like it.

I want more.

I hit this site daily hoping for tterrace photos. Comfy house, amazing garden, well-cooked-in kitchen, long lived and interesting grandparents, hard working dad, brainy mom doing NY Times crosswords in ink,curious and tech-head brothers, and beautiful sister. It wasn't my life, but it was the one I wanted. And never once did I think them rich except in each other. Oh yes,and those gorgeous drapes.

Regarding RGraham's Comment

Very astute about those who grew up in small towns that later became fashionable or wealthy or both. I grew up in Naples, Florida, in the late 1960s when it was just an out-of-the way spot on the map with a smattering of wealthy winter-time residents.

Not so anymore. Luckily, thanks to the Net and Facebook, those of us who palled around in those days are still having laughs together almost daily, even though we're scattered all over.

Only a few still live in Naples. And we cherish the old photos we can find.

I, too, enjoy TTerrace's contributions.

Look forward to seeing them. Lived in Monterey for a year in the mid-70s and certain pics bring back memories. I just would like some more pictures of the sister-in-law.

The Way-back Machine

This is a period of time that is especially dear to me. I am a big city boy, born and raised on the other side of the country from Tterrace; New Jersey to be precise. I grew up in the City of Newark, in the area called Forest hills. And while Tterrace lived in a private home, I lived in apartment building with 39 other families.

Other than that I would imagine that our lives were rather similar. He had a back-yard where he could play, I had an entire city Park to explore at my leisure. (Branch Brook Park)

My family was not rich, by any means, but I had a full and interesting childhood. There are times I wish that I could go back to that era but it's gone now. And all I can do is look at photos from that time and smile, sometimes with a tear in the corner of my eye...

Dave, you and Tterrace do a wonderful job! Thanks...

Thanks, TTerrace!

I greatly enjoy your photos and history, and they were a big motivator and influence when I decided to create my own lesser blog. And Dave's comments are always something to look forward to. is one of the two or three blogs I visit multiple times a day. I've learned a great deal from it and derived hours of enjoyment from the wonderful photos and comments.

There are some learned people who live in ShorpyWorld! The stuff they know never ceases to amaze me.

Regarding the "rich kids antics" from Marin.

I have lived in Marin for nearly sixty years, and my parents grew up here as well. That's over eighty years ago.

I can tell you, Marin county was not always considered rich or even liberal for that matter. Marin was just another place for normal, average, middle class people to raise their families. Yes, there have always been enclaves of those who were wealthy, but what place in this country doesn't? This photo was taken from that time. I will also add, that those children from the higher class families lived just like everyone else did back then. Pretension was hard to find.

That has indeed changed over the last 30 or so years in a major way, and I have no doubt that the average income of those living here are in some of the highest brackets in the country. The shift in demographics did make it difficult for many, if not most, of those that grew up here to afford to live here later in life. Some left because of the change in lifestyle. T's photos bring back an era that has long since passed, just like all the other photos presented here. Look, listen and learn.

What Gets Published

I'm always amazed at people who seem to think that they are owed some explanation of what gets posted to a site that they aren't paying to see. tterrace's photos, and his sometimes incredible remembrance of the subjects, circumstances and equipment used to make them are one the great joys of this site.

Also, from the site description (right there at the bottom of every page, just below "The 100-Year-Old Photo Blog" line: "...vintage photo blog featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1950s. The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago."

Thanks for your dedication and hard work, Dave (and tterrace too).

Another thanks to tterrace

I am about two years older than tterrace and I can certainly relate to his photos. I have been following them ever since I found the Shorpy site about four years ago.

Recently when he became a moderator (or at least able to add his knowledge about a subject to the comments) on this site I sadly noticed that his weekly postings diminished in frequency a bit. I always looked forward to his family photos as they seemed to parallel my life in numerous ways and certainly resurrected a bunch of good memories for me.

Lately he is posting more again.
tterrace, KEEP EM COMING!!!!

"Rich" with All Things Vernacular

Were it not for tterrace's submissions, my vision of the 1950s would be pretty much confined to "I Love Lucy" reruns.

Thanks as always for your photos and comments, tterrace.

And of course thanks to Dave for providing us with an amazing array of photographs spanning a wide timeframe and variety of subjects -- completely free of charge!

Although I usually find something of interest in the photos on Shorpy, there are occasional examples that don't do much for me. In those cases, I move on to the next one.

I love 'em all

Yep, whether they're from the 1800's or the 1950's, these Shorpy pictures are ALL fascinating. Especially with interesting commentary. Keep it up, tterrace! Well done!

I like ALL Shorpy photos

I like ALL Shorpy photos, from the mid to late 19th Century through the 1970's. I especially like tterrace's photos, but then again, my brother and I and family moved to Marin County in 1957.

Keep 'em coming! My brother, who still lives in Marin, and I look at Shorpy EVERY morning.

My parents' house

Unlike Shorebreak, I could easily afford to buy the home I grew up in.

Whether I could afford the medical bills from the periodic gunfire is another matter.

8900 block, south Morgan street, Chicago.

Why Not tterrace?

tterrace is a most valuable asset for Shorpy. His photos of the 1950s,60s &70s are a memorable history lesson to many of us. He shows me pictures of life a continent away in an era that I remember very well. American History doesn't end in 1912 or before, it is an ongoing process. Who is or isn't rich is in the eye of the beholder.

Why tterrace?

Why do you publish all of these tterrace submissions? These do not fit the theme of the Shorpy site and are not nearly as interesting as the 100+ year old photos. The rich kid's antics do not interest me.

[We weren't rich. - tterrace]
[Because they are wildly popular and much beloved. - Dave]

Memory probe

I'm curious about the hip roofed building between old and new St. Patrick's. Is it a convent or rectory? Probably not a school or the nuns would have used the classrooms rather than the old church for religious ed.

[Rectory. - tterrace]

A lot of my exposure to the world beyond also came from The New Yorker cartoons and David Susskind's talk show that came to me on NET (now PBS).


Since I first started looking at Shorpy I have been impressed with your memory of small details. I do not have that talent. It is fun to look at an old photo and then have someone take us back in time explaining it.

Marin County

"Culturally, though, as the previous suggests, it's a whole different world. Our old house, which my folks bought in 1941 for $3000 last sold a few years ago for $1.5 million, and that wasn't simply because of inflation."

As usual, unless we inherited our parent's home, we are unable to live where we grew up.

Larkspur today

Well, jiimylee42, today Larkspur looks pretty much the same as in 1957, except for vegetative growth, some different paint jobs and the streets being clogged with cars. If this same view were taken today - which it can't because of trees - the only thing missing would be old church, which was replaced with St. Patrick's school in the early 60s. Downtown is exactly the same, except trees have replaced power poles and the grocery, drug, hardware and other everyday stores have turned into boutiques, art galleries and gourmet dining experiences. Except for a few scattered McMansions, the old neighborhoods still have their eclectic mix of early-20th century home and bungalow styles. Culturally, though, as the previous suggests, it's a whole different world. Our old house, which my folks bought in 1941 for $3000 last sold a few years ago for $1.5 million, and that wasn't simply because of inflation.

Idyllic Small Town

Thanks Tterrace for this peek and please tell us that you can go back there and it hasn't changed.

Learning from New Yorker cartoons

I believe that you avidly read the New Yorker cartoons. I did likewise. Learned a lot about the world from stretching to understand them. I still seem to learn the most interesting things by reading cartoons and, believe it or not, these Shorpy pictures!

Example: Watching the progression of motor vehicles taking over the streets from horse-drawn vehicles in the first 2 or 3 decades of the 20th century. Shorpy pictures are a window in to the when, where, and why of that progression. Or: Look at the roofs of buildings. Mostly out of normal sight, they tell you the limits of building engineering of the time. Or: Look at the wiring in city shots. Same limits, including business and social organization limits - are on display.

Tiny Larkspur

Beautiful scene. It seems that every time it's mentioned in the paper, "tiny" has to be alongside.

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