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When Chic Met Shabby: 1958

When Chic Met Shabby: 1958

Somewhere around Los Angeles circa 1958. "Aluminum Group furniture (chairs, ottomans, tables) designed by Charles Eames for Herman Miller Inc." Large format negative from the Office of Charles and Ray Eames. View full size.

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No Reading, No Parking

It's the parking lot for the Christian Science Church Reading Room, currently located at 132 Brooks.

PE was standard gauge,

the LA railway (yellow cars)was 3 ft. 6" narrow gauge. They shared dual-gauge trackage for parts of their systems.

Pacific Electric

PE ran on standard gauge tracks, just like the steam railroads it interchanged freight cars with. And it was - from 1911 - a wholly owned subsidiary of the Southern Pacific railroad.

A Brilliant Collaboration!

For an absolute treat don't miss...The American Masters Documentary on Charles & Ray Eames: "The Architect and the Painter".

Who Framed Roger Rabbit has the answers

The rail spur leading into Hammond Lumber may seem out of place, as there aren't any train lines in the area. It's actually a spur off of the Pacific Electric streetcar line, also known as the Red Car system. Even today the right of way in Venice is still visible on aerial photos. Yes, the same Pacific Electric whose demise was a plot point in Mr. Rabbit's opus. Although it used a narrower gauge than standard railroads it carried freight in addition to passengers. The Southern Pacific Railroad operated the freight service under Pacific Electric's name.

Passenger service to Venice had ended several years before the date of this photo, but freight service continued until the early 1960's.

The result?

I was wondering what photos from this operation would look like. The shot at the foot of this 1959 print ad from looks about right.

This view was taken

looking north from Brooks Avenue. Holdren's Auto Service was at 165 Brooks, so the Eames studio was immediately east, as mamiyaman notes.


Love that old furniture. Note the stray dog on the side there.

[He's leashed to the bumper. - Dave]

Eames Studio

Since the Eames Studio at that time stood at 901 Abbot Kinney Blvd in Venice, this shot was probably taken near the corner of Abbot Kinney Blvd and Main Street. Which would mean we're looking down Main, toward Hammond Lumber, which, as far as I've been able to discover, stood at 616 Main Street, in Venice, about where it ought to be in the photo.

Not That Shabby

The roof on the left side is actually pretty chic. I suppose the dog was providing security.

Charles and Ray

I think Charles Eames is the man standing with his foot on the ottoman and Ray Eames is the woman standing off to the side next to the lone chair with the jacket draped over it.

I love these chairs. I have two in my living room. Though designed in 1958 (originally intended as outdoor furniture), they are still in production today and seem to be everywhere on TV. For example, Jon Stewart's guests sit on them (the "secretarial" model).

[That is Ray Eames, at any rate. -tterrace]


If you park in my reserved private spot, your furniture will be towed.


Note the Polaroid Land camera on the table at right. Frequently used for test shots made before the final large-format exposures.

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