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The Parking Lot Series: Ralphs Los Angeles Supermarkets

Today we return to Los Angeles, California again to view images that turned up of two more Ralphs Supermarket parking lot views which were also located on Crenshaw Boulevard in the City. All of the photos of the Markets are dated to April of 1942.  

The lead photograph and an expandable version of it below show a Ralphs Store located at the intersection of Crenshaw and Exposition Boulevards in the Crenshaw neighborhood of LA. The parking lot at this new location contains a wide variety of pre-war vehicles with two of particular interest. On the far-left center of the image is a dark-colored Senior Series Packard sedan and in the next row closest to the viewer in front of the luxury car is a low, wide and modern looking coupe. Tell us whatever you might know about this pair of automobiles and others that interest you. 

Below at the intersection of the Crenshaw Boulevard and Rodeo Road is a shot of another Ralphs Supermarket opening at the intersection of the Crenshaw Boulevard and Rodeo Road in the Cienega neighborhood of LA. Worthy of notice in this view is the large sedan in the center, and in front of it is a group of bargain hunters crossing the street to visit the new store.

Tell us what you find of interest in this set of images courtesy of the USC Libraries.

19 responses to “The Parking Lot Series: Ralphs Los Angeles Supermarkets

  1. In the lead photograph, parked on the left, can be seen a light colored 1942 BUICK Super and forward of it is a dark colored, with white-wall tires, 1940 PACKARD, maybe a 160.

  2. Sometime in the 1930’s Dodge dropped the “Brothers” from their name and added the ram to the radiator. John and Horace were long gone by this time. The sedan in the foreground looks like a 1934. I think this is the example which features the multiple window versions (1) everything up (2)window and vent window down (3) vent window up and window down. Remember vent windows? To the left is a 1935 Ford V8. A favorite of sporting types who paint alternating squares of the hood sides in a checkerboard design. This was the last year of the wire wheels, concave fenders and the first year of the front spring ahead of the front axle.

  3. No matter your station in life, you needed groceries. The coupe looks like a new 1942 Buick, in the foreground a 1934 Buick? It looks like casual dress is in the future for shoppers, even in Cali.

  4. I think the other car in the picture with the Senior Series Packard is a 1937 Chevrolet. Its headlamps are anchored into the sides of the hood rather than mounted onto the fenders. There is also a diagonal line pressed into the doors behind the front fenders. Under the hood would be the famous Chevrolet “Stovebolt” six. It is interesting to reflect on the fact that the car at the extreme left hand side of the photo looks far more archaic than the Chevy, but may well be less than ten years older. Auto design progressed faster in the 1930s than in any other decade.

  5. I liked how cars, back in the day, in Ralph’s lot were parked perpendicular to those in the adjacent row rather than like today’s parallel arrangement. I think that old design was safer, preventing cars from pulling forward, through a vacant space and into a lane going the wrong way. Just sayin’.

    • The problem with that parking is that you must enter all the rows from only one end (the right) and you can’t circle back around in an adjacent row to find a spot (unless you take the time to back into a spot).

  6. In the lead photo there is a 1935 Ford Standard Fordor to the left. Third row in the center of the photo is a 1937 Ford Fordor Sedan. Fourth row facing the building to the right of the photo is the rear end of a 1935 Ford Standard Tudor.

  7. Under the ‘R’ of Ralphs – the white sedan – is that a Cord? or a Graham Hollywood?

    In the centre of the last photo – a 1936 Buick Limited?

  8. I can’t get over the shine and reflection in the paint of that mid-thirties Ford, bottom of picture one. That lucky Fordor didn’t see too much gravel!

    • I agree, Ken. It’s always remarkable to see the high-gloss finish on these old cars. I remember even into the mid-Fifties when I was in high school seeing some old well-maintained finishes.

  9. Gone now, the area is being redeveloped. The nearby Baldwin Hills area was a very upper middle class neighborhood, but the dam disaster drove a lot of folks out. So, there ws probably a lot of money in thte area at the time of the photo. Blacks moving into the areas nearby started a flurry of white flight and Baldwin Hills also changed into a upper middle class black neighborhood. The nearby Crenshaw area was the scene of frequent Street Racer events hosted by the larger than life Big Willie! Run what you brung!

  10. Whenever I see a place named “Ralphs”, I can think of if Firesign Theatre: Hiya, friends! Ralph Spoilsport, Ralph Spoilsport Motors, the world’s largest new used and used new automobile dealership, Ralph Spoilsport Motors, here in the City of Emphysema. Let’s just look at the extras on this fabulous car! Wire-wheel spoke fenders, two-way sneezethrough windvent, star-studded mudguards, sponge-coated edible steering column, chrome fender dents, and factory air-conditioned air from our fully factory-equipped factory. It’s a beautiful car, friends, with doors to match! Birch’s Blacklist says this automobile was stolen, but for you, friends, the complete price, two thousand five hundred dollars, in easy monthly payments of twenty-five dollars a week, twice a week, and never on Sundays …

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