Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Vanished World Along the Tracks North of the Depot (25)

None--I mean none--of the structures originally next to the Davis railroad tracks north of the train depot are there today. Everything in that area was demolished and replaced by the early 1970s.

This makes it hard for me--and I assume other people--to make sense of photographs taken of that area prior to, broadly, World War II. With no current points of reference visible in old photographs, we have no anchors, so to speak. Instead, we are peering into a virtually foreign country.  

For this reason, I have been especially interested in the three photos of the Thorne army of the unemployed taken on March 18, 1914. They give us a rare “ground level” perspective on what was along at least some of the track north of the depot. Correlated with other images and maps, we can begin to form a firmer sense of the early world along the tracks.

I published two of those March, 1914 images in post # 21, November 13th. Recently, David Herbst graciously sent me a scan of a third photo taken that same day in that area.
3. (David Herbst)

Now, all three can be looked at in geographical sequence. Numbered 1, 2, and 3, they move northward up the track from north of Second Street toward Fourth Street.

4. (UCD Special Collections)
Image 1 is taken just south of Third Street. We are looking west at the backs of buildings fronting G Street in the 300 block. The building that looms large on the left in Image 2 is just glimpsed to the right in Image 1. In Image 2, the train is turning at Third Street. In Image 3, we are fully into the 300 block. Fourth Street is in the distant right of the image.

5. (David Herbst)
All of this should begin to make more sense when you see at all the buildings on the right of the track (from our viewer perspective) from the air. Such a view is provided in Image 4 (which was taken in 1939). Most of the buildings seen in Images 1-3 are still there in this photo.  We are looking east with Fourth Street on the left and Third Street on the right. The buildings seen in Images 1 through 3, run from right to left across the image.

For further orientation, look now at image 5. This is a 1910 Shinkle postcard looking north up the tracks. Third Street crosses the tracks in the middle-distance. The main buildings in the first four images are seen lined up on the left along the tracks.

6. (CA State Archives)
Yet a different view is provided by Image 6, which is an excerpt from a 1909 map drawn by the Southern Pacific Railroad. Third Street is at the bottom, Fourth Street is at the top. The buildings to the left of the track between Third and Fourth streets are those glimpsed or seen in the previous five images.

For completeness, here is the reverse side of
Image 3 (David Herbst)