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Belvedere Gardens: Whitter Boulevard – Belvedere California

Updated: Below. Today’s feature is a rare surviving Los Angeles, California postcard image which takes us to Whittier Boulevard in East Los Angeles to an area that was referred to as Belvedere, California, when this photo was taken in October of 1924. It appears that the view is to the Northwest on the Boulevard heading to Los Angeles.

Without doing extensive research to learn the exact location of this scene on the Boulevard, we have homed in on the Belvedere Gardens real estate office, located on the right-hand side of the thoroughfare in a light-colored building that is the third structure seen in the view. There is a possibility that this building housed the Belvedere Gardens Real Estate Co. apparently operated by N.C. Williams, and listed in the February 4, 1922, “California Real Estate Directory – Bulletin.”

If the information above is correct, this Google Map of East Los Angeles shows that the center of the Belvedere Garden neighborhood is a few blocks north of Whitter Boulevard, and east of South Arizona Ave. between Eagle Street and East Sixth Street in East Los Angeles.

Update: Our eagle-eyed readers identified the first car parked at the curb in the left-hand foreground as being a Moon touring car with a “California Top.”

Tell us what you find of interest in this photo courtesy of the Michael J. Semas Collection.

17 responses to “Belvedere Gardens: Whitter Boulevard – Belvedere California

  1. Nice photograph; can’t help identifying any cars.

    Interesting that there appears not to have any wires attached to any of the poles.

      • I think the lines have been there a while and just didn’t show up in the postcard printing. Here’s why: Take a look at the second pole from the left. On the fourth cross-arm from the bottom, see the insulators “tagged on” to the bottom of the cross arm? They did this for one of two reasons. They either needed to add additional lines, or more likely in this example, the wooden insulator pins that the glass insulator threads onto have pulled out of the wooden cross-arm. (They are not threaded in to the cross-arm, just held in with one nail. Lines are often under great strain.) So the solution is what you see. A metal arm is attached to the cross-arm, usually below, sometimes above to hold the replacement insulator and line. Sometimes the original pin snaps off. Sometimes the cross-arm splits open from strain or due to poor lumber. More than you wanted to know, but that’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

      • As a retired telephone man of 42 yrs. I see this as 2 possibilities==either they are just being installed and there are no wires or insulators yet or they are taking the whole thing down and first thing to go is the wires so they can be taken up onto large reels for recycling. If the huge amount of wiring was there it would look like a blanket over the whole sky and you would really see them. With no insulators present this means there are no wires. Every 2 wires are one circuit but can be as many as 8 to 10 people hooked to this circuit for “Party Lines” Private lines were very expensive then and few had them. The metal attachments hanging down that some of you see are what is called a “Transposition Bracket” and is used to dissipate noise on the circuit caused by induction and usually involves “Long Distance Calling” of the time before high tech. I love to see this old time telephone stuff as I climbed many a pole in my youth!!!!

  2. The thing that catches my eye is the low-slung (homebuilt?) roadster just to left of center of the shot. That and what looks like a homebuilt flatbed truck body on the coupe in the foreground. I guess Southern California has always been home to car customizers.

    I also wonder what the signage is on the parked car facing away from the camera on the right.

  3. I think the mystery car is a Moon.
    Excellent picture. I wonder how many accidents occurred due to the lack of lines painted on the streets. Combined with the lack of brake lights and turn signals on most vehicles in 1924, repairing auto bodies must have been a booming business.

  4. I wonder with the smaller headlights that the touring car to left might be a Moon instead of a Roamer? Nice photo!

  5. I think the first car parked at the curb in the left-hand foreground is a Moon and the car behind it is a Willys Knight. The car missing a headlight is a Dodge. I’d guess the truck at the front of the picture is a White and few years older than most of the other vehicles.

  6. As exotic as the Roamer would be in this picture, I don’t think it is. The Roamer Radiator is more square in the radiator section and did not use any emblem on the Parthenon peaked section. Most Roamer fenders are plain and this car appears to have a raised panel in the front fenders. I think what we are looking at is a 6-40 or 6-50 Moon. Interesting car still…
    Jon Lee

  7. First car parked at the curb in the left hand foreground – Roamer or perhaps a Moon? hard to determine.

  8. Such a wonderful picture, with so much happening there. For me, the (apparently) model T speedster in among the general traffic is quite a treat! Speedsters (for lack of a better term, and model T or others) have always been a special interest. They were a big part of automotive history from almost the beginning. However, they were not appreciated in the early days of the antique automobile hobby. Sadly, hundreds of such cars that survived years of abuse, the depression, and the scrap metal drives of World War two, were then junked as parts cars in order to restore more legitimate antiques in the ’50s and ’60s.
    Research has shown that many thousands of such cars were built during the ’10s and ’20s (and beyond). Hundreds of companies made and sold parts and kits to build one yourself, while dozens of companies also produced and sold speedsters or racing cars finished and ready to run.
    Copies of original era photos exist for probably thousands of such cars (many people were quite proud of their creations!). Photos of general traffic in cities and towns showing a speedster in the midst, seem to be fairly rare. Over the many years, between magazines, internet, and a few private collections I have been privileged to see, I have probably myself seen original era photos of more than a thousand different speedsters. I have probably seen less than twenty original general traffic pictures with a speedster in the midst.
    Something else I find intriguing. In 1927 or ’28, there was a film short made called “Ma, And the Auto”. It was silent, with music, and the conversation as well as the words to a cute little song displayed on title cards (as was the silent film practice). It was filmed in and around the Los Angeles area, and included driving on one of the first highway cloverleaf interchanges ever built. The interchange had been completed only a year or so earlier if I recall correctly. Part of the film also went through Griffith park, if I remember correctly.
    You have to look fast, but in one spot, in that film, is a model T speedster, going the other direction from the car being driven with the family. It looks like it could maybe be the same car. Wouldn’t that be amazing?! This photo was taken only a few miles from where that film was made, all random traffic on the streets of Los Angeles.

    I don’t know if that film in its full version can be found readily available or not. I tried looking for it a few years ago, but could not find the complete film on the internet. Somewhere, packed away in amongst all my stuff, I should have a VHS tape that it was dubbed onto. But I don’t know if it would still be good or not. I have many tapes that old that are still good, as well as some that have degraded beyond use.
    I have seen a lot of film clips showing traffic from the era, most from movies. This film short was one of the best. I would recommend that anyone with such an interest in cars, traffic, or movies, of that era, look for it.

  9. There is a Hume Land Co listed in a 1925 directory at 5310 Whittier Blvd. That would place this photo between Amalia & Hillview unless the address numbers have been significantly revised.

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