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Parking Lot Series: Early-1960s Kodachrome Mystery Image

This Parking Lot Series color image dates to the early-1960s and the location of the facility at this point is unknown. The ornate columns, the raised flower beds, and the wide roadway in the background leading to this spot leaves the impression that this photo may have been taken at a US or state government facility. The light-colored shape at the lower center of the view is a section of a small roof that was cropped from the picture.

The vehicles in the picture, for the most part, are domestic late model automobiles and appear to date from the mid-1950s to about 1962.

Share with us what you find of interest in the photograph via This Was Americar or the location of the parking lot.

37 responses to “Parking Lot Series: Early-1960s Kodachrome Mystery Image

  1. Probably shot in `62, as I see a `62 Mercury Colony Park wagon in the back on the left, and a `62 Buick Skylark cvt. on the upper right. Nice mix of cars: a `57 Mercury Colony Park wagon; a `60 Plymouth Fury 4dr. HT; a `58 Dodge Sierra wagon, a `59 Olds 98 coupe; and two `59 Oldsmobiles mong the mix. I also noticed the relatively new Ford Falcon appears to be catching on.

    • I thought only the Mercury Turnpike Cruisers got the quad headlights in 1957. That wagon in the front row does look like a ’57 , and a two door to boot! Where is that car now?

    • I’m with you on 62 being the year of the pic. The Mercury you mentioned, Plus the 61 Impala & same year Pontiac on the left. On the right is the Skylark mentioned already and the nearby 62-ish Impala to back it up.

  2. The way the empty spots are arranged it appears this may be a lot with assigned parking? Certainly a beautiful area to say the least. I hope someone will identify the location and maybe post a picture of what it looks like today.

  3. In the 2nd row from the front, 2nd car from the left, is white 1959 or ’60 RAMBLER American beach-wagon.

    In the 3rd row from the front, 3rd car from the left, is a light yellow, two-door, 1961 CHEVROLET Bel Air Sedan.

  4. On my first view I thought the fellow with the tie was wearing a sombrero. This might have placed this scene in the south west. On my second glance I realized that the photographer had a sense of humor and it was being used.

    • Magnificent!! A great catch. I too, was plotting where in the southwest this pic might be….so much for the “first person eyewitness account”…..

  5. That plain Jane black and white ’57 Chevy 150 coupe at center stage is a rare model. It was the lightest Chevy offered, and was often ordered for racing with the first year Rochester fuel injection V/8. Today it will sell for more money than the more common and popular ’57 Chevy convertible.

  6. In the back of the lot just driving by is a black and white 57 Chevy 150. This car is painted in what would become known in drag racing circles as the widowmaker!

  7. Regarding the location, I vote for the East Plaza of the U.S. Capitol, looking down East Capitol Street. (This was when you could still park directly in front of the building and before the construction of the Vistor’s Center.)

  8. Looks like Balboa Park in San Diego CA. I was riding my bicycle through there one fine day at about a walking pace and came to the intersection where the car is in the middle. The gentleman in his car on the right, motioned me to go on through, which I did. Low-and-behold, I had a motorcycle cop pull up next to me and pull me over. Charged me with running a stop sign….sheesh!

  9. Okay, all you license plate fanatics, we should be able to figure out the location from the plates. That looks like an orange New York plate on the 57 Chevy (front row, second car in, on the right) in the picture. Also what states didn’t require a front plate in the ’60’s?

  10. The street in the distance appears to be paved with bricks or similar pavers. Because I first thought the man was wearing a sombrero, my first thought was Mexico, but no longer. Based on the license plates, the location is probably in the US.

  11. The host suggests that the locale may be government-centric, but I’m not so sure; it looks more to me to be “theme oriented”, or a private estate, or both.

  12. East parking lot of U.S. Capitol, indeed. Notice the edge -corner of the Library of Congress building in upper, right portion of pix. This is America at its best!

    • Buzz appears to be right. If you google “East parking lot of U.S. Capitol -1950’s,” in Google Images, you will find a similar photo that shows the same “street lamp” structures that appear in the photo above at the periphery of the parking lot.

  13. Take my word for it, there are 10 great MoPars ranging from 1957 through 1962 including Plymouth, Dodge, Desoto and Chrysler. No time to individually identify but they are there.

  14. Definitely the East side of the US Capitol. The yellow tags are Maryland, black text on yellow, from the 1965-66 series, expiring 3/31/66. I live in MD near DC. The lanterns are from the mid to late 1800s.

  15. Yes — as others have noted, this is almost surely what was then the East front parking lot of the U.S. Capitol, dating back to the 1960’s and before.

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