Saturday, May 13, 2017

Family Fun

Many weeks ago I scanned some family slides showing the home of my Grandparents back in 1949, when snow blanketed SoCal. I also scanned some other slides, and will share some of those today! All of these are from a 1948 trip to Phoenix, Arizona. 

I'll start with this nice portrait of my Grandmother (Ruth), posing with Camelback Mountain in the distance (see how the mountain resembles a sleeping camel?). Ruth is looking pretty sassy; if I could go back in time, I'd tell her not to smoke, but she lived to be 93, so what the heck do I know. There sure isn't much between her and the Mountain, just a few scattered homes.

It was surprisingly hard to find a modern-day photo of Camelback Mountain from the same angle, but I finally nabbed this one. There's been just a little bit of development since 1948! 

During their visit to Phoenix, they stayed at the famous Arizona Biltmore, which I mistakenly believed was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. In fact, Albert Chase McArthur was the architect, though Wright did work on the site for four months.

Anyway, the slide was labeled, "Culver's new Cad" - the Culvers were long-time friends who made the trip with my Grandparents. I would have assumed they all would have caught a train from Union Station in downtown L.A., but they clearly drove there.

Notice the "textile blocks" that give the Biltmore its distinctive appearance - probably one of the reasons it is so often attributed to FLW.

And finally, there's my mom, then 12 years old. She has the mega ultra Peter Pan collar - it might have actually provided enough lift to allow her to fly. I looked for modern-day photos of the interior of the Biltmore to try to locate this particular room, but didn't see anything that looked quite like this.

I hope you have enjoyed your visit to Phoenix, circa 1948!


TokyoMagic! said...

I have visited the Arizona Biltmore and was really impressed with the architecture. I believe Albert Chase McArthur was a former student of Frank Loyd Wright's, so that would also explain his influence on the design. Did you know that the Arizona Biltmore was the birthplace of the "Tequila Sunrise" cocktail? It is also where Irving Berlin penned "I'm Dreaming Of A White Christmas, while lounging by pool.

Thanks for sharing your family photos with us, Major! I love the color, the lighting and your mom's pose in that last one! (And our moms are the same age!)

Nanook said...


Your grandmother is looking quite sassy - cigarette and all. "Culver's new Cad" is a 1947 model year. That was the first year the Cadillac name appeared in script above the stainless steel trim adorning the fade-away fender.

Peter Pan collar, indeed. (And speaking of flying, had your mom met the Flying Nun-?)

Thanks, Major for sharing members of the clan with us.

Scott Lane said...

The real benefit of that collar was it also served as a bib, flip-up earmuffs, and an inflatable flotation device (in case of a water landing).

DrGoat said...

I've lived in Tucson for 60 or so years and have watched both Tucson and Phoenix grow like crazy. Phoenix especially. Tucson and Phoenix have always been sort of opposites. Tucson being liberal and Phoenix conservative. Nuff said about that. Those are great pics Major.

E Michael Gannon said...

Wow - I live in Scottsdale and recognized Camelback Mountain immediately - but WOW it was really something seeing how it used to be “in the middle of nowhere!” What a difference from today!

Steve DeGaetano said...

At first I thought your explanation of how Camelback Mountain got its name was a prime example of "Major" humor, but then I looked closer at the picture and realized you were being serious. ;-)

Major Pepperidge said...

TokyoMagic!, I figured there had to be some tie between McArthur and FLW, there are just too many stylistic similarities to be a coincidence. I did not know about the Tequila Sunrise, but it doesn’t contain tuna, so… not interested!

Nanook, I suppose that the Culvers could have purchased their “Cad” mere months before, depending on when the 1948 trip took place (I have no idea). Nope, no flying nun connection. If only.

Scott Lane, no wonder that style was so popular!

DrGoat, ha ha, yeah, just as well to avoid politics. I generally keep my mouth shut, because who cares what I think, basically. And who needs the aggravation!

E Michael Gannon, I was sort of hoping that somebody who knew first-hand what it was like in Scottsdale would chime in - it was cool to find the modern photo as a comparison with the 1948 pic.

Steve DeGaetano, I never joke! Blogging is serious business, and I don’t want to be “de-blogged” by the International Federation of Bloggers (or IFB).

Anonymous said...

Great pics of the family, Major. Thank you.

I very much enjoyed my stay at the Biltmore, I think Wright's influence was far greater than he was given credit for. The hotel restaurant now is named for him. It's quite a spot for sure.

Just a guess on my part, but the room with the piano resembles the interior "speakeasy" room. With no windows, limited door access, this room was supposedly a guest lounge, but the unofficial history is that the room was used to serve spirits to well-connected guests back when that activity was frowned upon.