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Trash Crash: 1959

Trash Crash: 1959

Oakland, California, circa 1959. "Garbage truck accident." With lots of vintage unsorted refuse destined for the landfill or incinerator. Or, in this case, your front lawn. 4x5 acetate negative. Who can ID the neighborhood? View full size.


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This neighborhood is known as the Laurel District.

What a difference 56 years makes!

The garbage then would have had several differences with what most people throw away now. It would have been much less, overall. There would have been much less actual food, little or no fast-food refuse, and any clothing, toys, or appliances would have actually been unrepairable.

Chevy vs Ford

Must have been a "See the USA in your Chevrolet" neighborhood. They outnumber Fords 4 to 1.

Chevy vs Ford

Must have been a "See the USA in your Chevrolet" neighborhood. They outnumber Fords 4 to 1.

Open container

There's a 16 ounce can of Lucky Lager on the sidewalk; clearly alcohol was a factor.

That is One Mangled Truck!

That truck's front end took a tremendous impact!

Take a close look at the position of the truck's left front wheel. Then note that the front axle leaf springs are no longer parallel to the chassis rails.

The left chassis rail has a "jog" in it, but whether this is accident damage or part of the truck's design, I cannot say.

I'd call it a total loss.


I like how this is a picture of a man taking a picture. I'm guessing the newspaperman and the police officer were working the scene at the same time.

[Wow. - Dave]

I have spent years looking at that tank.

Near 98th Avenue, Golf Links road?

I lived on Hillside. Went to E.Morris Cox school.

Midvale and Wisconsin

ElViejo has it exactly right — google street view confirms the photo is looking south toward the intersection of Midvale and Wisconsin, Oakland 94602.

White Cab-Over

That is a '50s vintage White cab-over. They were once extremely common, at least in the Midwest.

Here is an example of one. Note the matching "character line" on the cab side. Many more examples on this page.

Apparently it ran away on the steep hill. The driver probably ditched it to avoid a much worse disaster.

Distinctive Form Factor

Owing to the shape of the door's window, I believe that the truck in question is a White 3000. Note the short, downward-pointing exhaust. They were quite loud.


Dig that crazy texture on the driveway's concrete surface. Hopefully kids with skateboards didn't live there at some point.

Fruitvale District?

I think we're somewhere between Fruitvale Avenue and High Street, up the hills a bit, and looking west at the Estuary and Alameda in the smog.

What has 6 wheels and flies?

Oh, wait. What has 6 wheels and rolls?

Carriage Carnage

Trashed Truck

Dually Disaster

Tilted Tonka

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