Saturday, October 25, 2014

Mystery Locations!

Digging through a box of random slides can be a fun activity. You just never know what you're going to find! Usually, 99% of the images are of no particular interest to me. But on occasion I'll find a slide that piques my curiosity - where is that place? Can I find a view of how it looks today using Google's "Street View"? Sometimes I'm successful, other times there are not enough clues to help. But I have faith in the GDB readers, who have worked miracles before. No pressure!

This first image is from 1957, seemingly looking up the main street of some small mountain town. I thought that the Cedar movie theater (showing Alfred Hitchcock's "The Wrong Man" starring Henry Fonda) would be a useful clue, but that led nowhere. There are other Cedar theaters, but none that remotely resemble this one. You probably can't see it in the jpeg, but in the distance there is a sign that says "Deer Creek". That should help - but it didn't help me. I wish the picture was clear enough to tell which state is on the license plate to the right, but it's too blurry.

This next one also leaves very few clues to follow. I think that the cars have old California license plates, but maybe not. You've got a nice little harbor, that distinctive bridge overhead (not a RR bridge, as we can see a single car up there). If this is California, it has to be in the northern part of the state, but that is still a pretty big stretch of coastline.

And finally, here's a photo from the early morning of March, 1960 looking up yet another little street. Those sure look like eucalyptus trees to our right, which makes me think "California". Also, that prominent brick building is called the Arbuckle Hotel. There is an Arbuckle, California, but I'll be darned if I can find any reference to an "Arbuckle Hotel" online (usually one can find vintage newspaper ads, if nothing else). 

Even if you don't know where these places are, I hope that you (like me) enjoy the photos, and the mysteries that they contain!


Nanook said...


The Cedar Theatre was so-named in 1946, but the original building it occupies was known as the Nevada Theatre building - built in 1865. So... the address is 401 Broad Street, Nevada City, CA-!

TO quote, in part, from the California Historic Landmark No. 863 plaque affixed to the building: “California’s oldest existing theatre building, opened September 9, 1865. Celebrities such as Mark Twain, Jack London and Emma Nevada have appeared on it’s stage. Closed in 1957, the theatre was later purchased through public donations and reopened May 17, 1968, to again serve the cultural needs of the community.” Major - you've stumbled on quite a famous landmark.

As for the other two images - well, the real experts will have to weigh-in. But all of 'em are right nice-!

Thanks, Major.

Marc said...

The second picture looks like Noyo Harbor in Fort Bragg, CA. Here is a postcard from that time:

And here it is today:,-123.8036205,3a,33.9y,267.76h,87.26t/data=!3m4!1e1!3m2!1s4aKj8rAqdnSYyyj6qlCBUQ!2e0

I love guess the location games!

Marc said...

And for the third, I think you were right about Arbuckle, CA. Here is about the same view today:,-122.0569754,3a,52.7y,309.97h,83.78t/data=!3m4!1e1!3m2!1sXrN2oV16bIFlokSqrqMByg!2e0!6m1!1e1

There is a sign on the other side of the building for the Arbuckle Hotel Bar with a cool martini sign.

Sunday Night said...

I love old amateur color transparencies of cities. It transports you back in time and gives you a authentic view of what life was like in times past. Always appreciate when you post these mysterious and non-mysterious locations.

Major Pepperidge said...

Well, those mysteries didn't last very long! I think I awoke at around 3:30 AM and looked at my iPad to check my email (for the hell of it), and all three locations had already been ID'd.

Nanook, you did it! You know a lot about theaters, did you already know about the Nevada/Cedar theater? Or are you just better at Googling than I am? ;-) Very cool, when I looked at Google Maps' street view, the theater itself looks pretty different, but the houses across the street are very recognizable.

Marc, that is definitely the same place, awesome! Noyo Harbor, never heard of it. But it looks like a lovely place.

Marc again, huh, I wonder why my Googling didn't bring up the Arbuckle Hotel? At least I had the right train of thought. Thanks for the "street view" link!

Sunday Night, I love those too, and they're surprisingly scarce. At least in my experience. I would be thrilled to find a box full of them. But it's mostly weddings, family get-togethers, and lots of photos of the Grand Canyon!

K. Martinez said...

Sometimes you've got to get up pretty early in the morning to catch the action at GDB. Good job!

I love these shots. Funny thing is, I remember towns and cars like this when I was a wee lad. thanks, Major.

Nanook said...


I did not know about the theatre, but I imagine like many followers of GDB, they too have an interest in old theaters and theatres. So I have a few places I can cruise, other than Google to look for answers. Funny too, as the site had about four images, three of them contemporary, but one of them was virtually shot in the same spot, easily within the same time period and in color (most-likely Kodachrome). Sometimes you just luck out.

JG said...

Hello Major, I'm late to the comments for this one. I see the GDB sleuths have sorted out the mystery locations, but I can't resist saying "me too".

The first photo looked like Nevada City, CA to me at first glance. Glad to see that confirmed.

The second pic is definitely Noyo Harbor in Ft. Bragg, CA. I spent many years driving back and forth across it. The lovely old bridge has been removed and replaced by a dreadful CALTrans concrete monstrosity, it was a huge local controversy. Otherwise, the scene is little different today.

The 60's comedy film "The Russians are Coming" was filmed in Ft. Bragg. The scene of the submarine coming ashore was shot on the rocky point visible just beyond "The Breakers" diner in the photo. I've had a meal there, but it's a different name today. Building looks the same.

Arbuckle is a little town north of Sacramento about 60-70 miles. I used to drive through a lot, but never got off of the freeway to see it. The photo looks like a lot of similar little towns of my childhood, vintage Central Valley. Flying A gasoline is still a local brand.

Thank you for these pictures of familiar scenes, Major. Makes me feel a little old, but in a good way.


Meli D. said...

I just want to send a little comment out to let you know what you are seeing on the Arbuckle photo. This is a picture taken Probably around the time I-5 came threw Arbuckle and way before my time (I was born in 1980). The picture is taken on our "Main" street but it's actually 5th Street. The picture is facing north and the cross street is Amanda. The gas station is long gone and our Post Office now sit's on the corner. The tree's have also been removed. Arbuckle Hotel closed long ago if you go into the lobby of the Post Office there are things like log books on display. We as a town are currently in the process of revitalizing down town and are hoping that the current own of the Hotel will restore it. There is a hotel bar that was remodeled about 10 years ago but has not been open in probably 8 years. Thank you for sharing this picture it really is amazing to see the history of my home town!