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Short Term Parking: 1936

Short Term Parking: 1936

February 1936. "Mexican quarter of Los Angeles, California. Houses condemned to make space for the new Union Station. Average rental eight dollars. Some houses have plumbing." 4x5 nitrate negative by Dorothea Lange for the Resettlement Administration. View full size.


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Yep, a little off there, I'd say

Mr. Floor Plan has presented just enough intrigue for me to go down this rabbit hole.

I found the same reference to the Wm. H. Hoegee company at 138 S. Main, and further, found this photo, which purports to be taken "from about the intersection of Los Angeles and 2nd streets looking northwest". Note the Wm. H. Hoegee Co. building, lower left and center. If accurate, this would indeed be where you'd expect to find 138 S. Main St.

NOW, compare that building to the one in Lange's photo ... appears to be the same height, w/ same window style and parapet roofline.

Which might also explain the presence of fine automobiles, being in a fancy downtown commercial district rather than the, er, more "modest" neighborhood to the north.

I believe in Ms. Lange's likely extensive Los Angeles travels that day, she may have gotten a bit confused about precise locations by the time these came out of the darkroom.

[Perhaps she's not the one who's confused? The city's "Mexican quarter," aka Sonoratown, was in downtown LA. - Dave]

Of course, I'm confused

Eight dollars in 1936 is about $120 today. Was that per week or month? [Per month. - Dave] I hate to think of what the tenants who didn't have plumbing did with the water they needed to dispose of. I'm pretty sure there were times this parking lot did not smell good. And why was a parking lot that's filled with fairly new cars needed here, next to these slums?

The part of the flag I can read says, Hoegee. I found a Wm H. Hoegee Sporting Goods Co. in Los Angeles in 1908 and they occupied a three-story building; but their address at 138 S Main Street put them a little over half a mile away from the new Union Station site.

I'm surprised dwellings this dilapidated have such sturdy looking stairs.

Plumbing optional, rats free

Hard to imagine living in a place like this today, but back in the '30s the rats were friendly.

Car ID suggestions

Left row front to back: Buick, Buick (29-31 era); 1932 Ford V8; 1933 Chevrolet Master; 1934 Ford V8 and 1924 Chrysler. Middle row: 1927 Chevrolet in front and unknown in back. Next row: 1934 Ford deluxe V8 and hidden last is a Model A Ford Tudor. Nicely maintained collection in a tidy lot.

Old Chinatown

This area was one of several Chinatowns in the DTLA area, and was in fact the oldest. By the '30s it became more diverse with an influx of Latinos.

Here's a super-duper well done story about it.

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