Saturday, February 25, 2017
Los Angeles hasn't been blanketed with snow very often, but it has happened. In 1949, snow fell on the City of Angels for four consecutive nights - January 9th through the 12th. Below is one of the headlines from the L.A. Times.
A 1999 "Times" article stated that the Civic Center (downtown) received more than an inch of snow, while "...The San Fernando Valley was pelted with the unfamiliar white stuff for three days, accumulating almost a foot".
My grandparents and my mom lived in Encino (which is part of the San Fernando Valley) at the time. When they moved there, it was "the sticks"; my grandpa liked it because they could have a large yard, and my mom even had a horse. If you went north of Ventura Boulevard - half a block away - it was all groves and farmland.
Here's a photo of their home on one snowy morning! Notice the grapefruit trees along the fence. I loved that ranch-style house, and spent many wonderful days there. The upper level (painted brown) was the attic - you had to climb a ladder that was in a closet to get up there, but it was worth it. I loved to explore all of the wondrous things; my mom's old toys, as well as her collection of rocks and minerals, fossils and seashells, and stacks and stacks of "National Geographic" magazines going back to the 1920's.
Here's my grandmother, and my then 13-year-old mom, bundled up on her way to Van Nuys Junior High School, which was brand-new at the time. My mom said that they chose the school colors (gray and green), as well as the mascot - the mustang. I love this picture!
The Encino house had a big front yard, and an even bigger back yard. Just next to the back patio was this bronze fountain (called "Joy Fountain") by artist Edith Barretto Parsons. It shot water straight up into the air, tons of fun on a hot day when I was a little kid!
After a bit of research, I found another copy of this same fountain on public display in Lincoln, Nebraska. It's like seeing an old friend.
This is the view up the driveway; to the right was the orchard, which had roughly 30 citrus trees, mostly navel and Valencia oranges. Throughout the property there were also lemons and grapefruit, as well as persimmons, peaches, apricots, kumquats, figs, and tangelos. There really was nothing like a big glass of orange juice from fruit picked right off the tree - the stuff that you buy at the grocery store is some kinda bug juice.
I think that's my grandfather with the hat (to the left), but I have no idea who the other fellow could be. Perhaps they are wondering if this season's crop of oranges had been ruined.
This shot is amazing - we're facing south (Ventura Boulevard would be about a block behind us) - the whole area is so built up now that it's hard to believe that there were once large undeveloped lots.
My grandmother used to talk about going to city council meetings, and big stars like Clark Gable, Spencer Tracy, and John Wayne would actually attend.
I hope you have enjoyed your snowy visit to Encino!