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Gem State Garage: 1941

Gem State Garage: 1941

"No caption" is all it says here. From photos taken in July 1941 by Russell Lee in Idaho for the Farm Security Administration, this one at "Official Light Testing Station No. 89" -- possibly in Lewiston or Genesee. Medium format acetate negative. View full size.


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Gent with the walking stick

... prefers a high-waisted trouser.

I spy --

Clint Eastwood in the big hat under the "tire sale" sign.

Before Shawshank

Is that Andy Dufresne on the far right?

What lights?

Can you imagine yourself standing directly across the street from the garage
sometime after dusk? All outdoor electrical signage and garage interior lighting turned on. (Neon, fuel dispensers, overhead lamps, subdued incandescent interior lighting as a background) Who needed "Times Square" anyway!


I wonder if they are waiting for the lunch sign to turn on.


Hard to imagine a time when no person in his right mind would venture out without wearing a hat. The kid in the doorway and the young man at far right excepted.

Light Years Behind

Shorpy, Light Years Behind, and Loving It!

The great sidewalk debate.

I have been part of scenes such as this. From the youth in the doorway right up to the full suspenders oldster. There are usually multiple topics in play. In this case I think the discussion might be if ethyl is worth the price, what tire brand or tread pattern is best, which motor oil won’t turn to sludge in 2000 miles and of course the war in Europe. The “BS” will continue to accumulate until pulling your pant cuffs way up will be prudent.

Holy smokes

I found it unusual that in 1941, 12 men would be gathered sitting, relaxing and kibitzing and not one of them is smoking. I thought almost everyone smoked back then.

[Except Mormons. - Dave]

Expensive Light Check

That 50 cent charge in 1931 that JAE mentioned is equivalent to a little more than $9 now. That's quite a fee for somebody looking to see if your lights come on.


I wonder about the stories the old guys have been telling the kids. Whatever the stories are, must have been good ones. Too many folks are smiling.

Look For The "Z"

Not the same, exact sign/poster, but the same model.

Idaho Light Testing Stations

Found this in an old newspaper from Idaho:

JULY 16, 1931
•The Dye-Kuhn Motors and Grangeville Chevrolet Co. have been designated as light testing station for automobile headlights. A new ruling by the Department of Law Enforcement demands that all car lights must be checked again this year. A charge of 50 cents will be made and a pink sticker will be placed on the windshield.

Can't seem to find much about the stations such as a listing of each one and its associated number.

The Lost Art of Just Sitting

I can't imagine a similar scene today: ten grown men just hanging out at the garage. Isn't there corn that needs hoeing or shutters that need painting?

Tire Sale

Better buy a set of Goodyears now, fellas. Pretty soon they will be very hard to come by!

I'll take

a Mission Orange drink -- ice cold -- and a chat with the friendly chap at the far right, who seems to have the right outlook: smile and look straight into the camera, a metaphor for life itself.

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