Saturday, November 26, 2011

Anything Goes Saturday, LA County Fair

Today's "Anything Goes Saturday" takes us back to the L.A. County Fair, circa 1939!


The LACF got it's start in the city of Pomona back in 1922, and it was a big success from the very start. In just two years, attendance was nearly 100,000. Nowadays, it can exceed 1.5 million in less than a month.

In this first photo, we are looking down on a few of the large show buildings. The really long structure with the arched roof is (I believe) what was then "the largest exhibit building in the world", measuring over 800 feet long and 135 feet wide, with a capacity of 16,000. Notice the many acres of groves nearby.


I love this photo with the art deco fa├žade of this exhibit building, looking so very 1930's.


You'd think that a building housing "Industrial Exhibits" would be modern, but somehow they went with this structure that would look at home in California in 1860. Any idea what that flag represents?


And here's another mission-style building; I like to imagine how this place looked when it was bustling with fair goers, eating taffy apples and giant dill pickles and cotton candy, while judging homemade preserves, cattle, or quilts, and enjoying typical carnival rides.

I hope you've enjoyed this trip back to 1939!

12 comments:

TokyoMagic! said...

I recognize the buildings in the first two pics, but not in the last two. That doesn't really mean anything since I haven't been to the fairgrounds since the mid-nineties. Every year I tell myself I'm going to go and then I don't. I just don't like the demolition that has occurred over the years (removal of the Buck Rogers-style monorail and the giant neon Fun Zone sign included). I wonder if they have torn down any of those exhibit buildings? Or the large outdoor model train set? Maybe next year will be the year that I go back!

Thanks for these great vintage shots, Major!

Chuck said...

Wow! Are these on Kodachrome?

Major Pepperidge said...

I am even surprised that you recognize those buildings in the first two photos, TM! I'd assume that they would have been torn down a long time ago. And I agree, the fact that the monorail is gone is a bummer!

Chuck, yes they are Kodachrome!

Connie Moreno said...

Major, those were cool!!! Second picture: I think that building is still there because it was familiar to me, too.

walterworld said...

The third picture is very similar to Mission Dolores (the mission in San Francisco). The buildings in the last picture are very similar to mission San Gabriel (which is probably the closest mission geographically to Pomona), and the San Diego mission (on the extreme right.)

Maybe they had some kind of California Mission theme going on in the original configuration of the fairgrounds?

Katella Gate said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Katella Gate said...

Walter's ID on the missions is correct. If you wanted a building to say "California" it needed to be a mission since that was the only thing available in the 20-30's universally recognized.

These particular facades were probably chosen for building economy: They're relatively flat and "un-churchy" unlike Santa Barbara or San Louis.

The flag Major noticed is probably just a generic banner. On the San Gabriel facade, it alternates with the flags of Spain and the national flag of Scotland.

Nancy said...

interesting. here in PA when we had a county fair, it was held out in the fields with stands set up with tents to buy food, a flea market, and we had an athletic track with bleachers where they held the competitions (contests like rolling-pin tossing, three-legged race, etc) and judging of the livestock, and in the middle is where they had a stage set up for the guest performances and all sorts of things. we even had a monorail that ran one year that simply circled the fairground, i think it cost a quarter for a ride. i remember how cool it was to go but they stopped having them in the early 80s I think. sad...

TokyoMagic! said...

Well, I checked a satellite view of the fairgrounds today and it appears that those exhibit buildings in the first two pics are still standing, but it's hard to see if their facades have been altered.....hopefully they haven't! It also appears that the large model train set is still there, but it looks like they tore down the deco (or was it streamline modern) clock tower that was kind of an icon of the fair. What gives? I'm going to have to go next year and check it out in person!

Smee said...

Wow!

Major Pepperidge said...

Walterworld, Katella Gate said it better than I could regarding the missions. Those were the days before movies became such a big part of SoCal's identity. Junipero Serra was a California superstar!

Katella, I always think that Mission Santa Barbara is so austere and massive, but not very churchy.

TM!, interesting (and amazing!) that those buildings are still there. Thanks as always for doing my research for me!

Smee... I know!

Chuck said...

Thanks, Katella - I knew those buildings looked familiar!