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California Building: 1942

May 1942. "Denver, Colorado." Whose California Building poses that incendiary interrogative, SMOKE? Acetate negative by John Vachon for the Farm Security Administration. View full size.

May 1942. "Denver, Colorado." Whose California Building poses that incendiary interrogative, SMOKE? Acetate negative by John Vachon for the Farm Security Administration. View full size.


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Yarrr ...

Mr. Davis seems like an interesting fellow if you go off his cigar labels!

Mystery Limo?

From the shape of the fenders, it appears that a 1938 Cadillac Series 60 commercial chassis was used, with a custom body that seems to incorporate a 1930's Ford "slantback" rear, with the Ford "sad eyes" back window. Cadillac commercial chassis were all Cadillac from the cowl forward, extra long, heavy duty, and coachbuilders supplied the rest, typically hearses!


I know I’m a bad boy who smokes (cigars), and when the time comes for the evil practice to bite me in the lungs, I’ll have only myself to blame. But when I look at photos such as this one, I long to be part of this scene in 1942, where passersby do not scowl and frown at me because of my cigar, or even do that coughing thing they sometimes do when I pass. There are smokers everywhere in this scene: right in front of the California Building doors; the second man approaching him; the pipe smoker crossing the streetcar tracks on the left. You can even see a friendly puff of smoke in front of his face. Of course, these 1942 guys and I all have lower life expectancies, but at least I could walk down the street without being treated like some kind of freak. You should see some parents with their children: the kids see me and ask their parents what they’re looking at, then the parents whisper something to them, and the kids look at me like I’m a bad man. In 1942, I would’ve told them to go bring me an ashtray.

Denver demo

The California Building was demolished in 1961, along with several other buildings that made up the "Wall Street of the Rockies". It was replaced with what is now called the United Western Financial Center. That was long enough ago that the tower was listed as a contributing building when Denver applied for a downtown historic district.

Mrs. Stover's Bungalow Candies

Looking up the name of that candy shop takes one to a website that sells nostalgiac porcelain models of old-timey buildings, and one of them is a Mrs. Stover's Bungalow Candies like the one in this picture. Turns out they started there in Denver and eventually became Russell Stover. The quote says "In 1923 Clara and Russell Stover of Denver, Colorado, made their first candy for sale in the kitchen of their bungalow home. The candies were called Mrs. Stover's Bungalow Candies. Today, Mrs. Stover is remembered for the creation of a successful business, her work on the candy recipes, and the designs of the original retail stores."

Interesting how Clara just sort of got removed from the business name. I mean, was Russell really even responsible for any of the recipes?

EDIT: The guy sitting out there in front of Mrs. Stover's ... is that Russell the recipe thief himself? :o

Where there's fire

Smoke? Like, dude, if the answer's yes, come on in. Whatcha waitin' for -- an engraved invitation? Urgently, Burt F. Davis

Rare Limo?

I’m wondering if the multi-passenger vehicle parked outside the jewelry store is the same vehicle described here and here. Of which only eight were built, and only one survives.

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