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May 22, 2017


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I picked up Kathleen Manning's "Pacifica (Then and Now)" inspired by that photo.
Loving it; wish it were coffee table size.

I am sure the beacon is the Rockaway Cafe -- the business that became Nick's. It appears in several photographs in the book about the Gust family and Rockaway. I think the large white building to the right is the Basinette Hotel. The site was bought by Charles Gust, and provided land to build two homes for his two daughters and their families in 1946. One of the houses still stands; the other was razed to make way for the current clock tower building.

Very cool if this was taken by Dorothea Lange -- and extremely possible to probable, given where she worked and the quality of the photograph. Would love to see the original print -- it is likely a 4x5 or 8x10 negative, so lots of details to be had.

(EDITOR'S NOTE: See Library of Congress link at the bottom of this post, plus Wikipedia entry and Google Images.)

I contacted someone who knows a little bit about Dorothea Lange and this person stated that Lange had a long career and that the dates on the photos -- even in the Library of Congress -- are not necessarily accurate.

They also can't be tracked by the negative numbers, as the FSA cherrypicked from a larger body of work and published when convenient, not when the photo was actually taken.

The three automobiles in the photo (on the perimeter) appear to be 1920s era, back when cars had a shorter lifespan, but, of course, a 1938 car would never be in a 1920s photo, but a 1920s car might show up in a 1938 photo.

Long story short, I think this may be even earlier. Lange also worked for the federal government and thus had fewer constraints on costs and how many photos a day she could take. The aforementioned folks are taking a look to see if any more "fishing village" pictures from the same day exist for more clues.

There's something that looks very much like the "beacon" at our modern Lighthouse Hotel, near where the hotel is now.

Although not visible to the naked eye, I did notice the "going out of business" sign at the former KFC/Boston Bill's location.

Here's an idea: Through the process of triangulation, we could establish the exact spot where Lange stood when she took this photo. Maybe she left a clue there, such as a discarded empty film canister with a 1938 use-by date imprinted on it.

Might be 1938. If you Google the image, you end up with one link at Wikipedia:

Right-hand side, 3 pictures down, that attributes the picture to Dorothea Lange, 1938.

Wikipedia gets stuff wrong all the time. Maybe check with Getty to see if it can identify the picture.

(EDITOR'S NOTE: Thanks, Mark, you may have found the smoking gun.)


(EDITOR'S NOTE: Thanks, Dave, we think you are getting very warm. Bob Pilgrim is going to verify this with a local historian. Stay tuned.)


(EDITOR'S NOTE: Thanks, Big Banker. You are getting warmer.)

Great shot of the Quarry back when it was just a mountain.

(EDITOR'S NOTE: Thanks, Dan, you are getting warm.)

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