Crop Shot: Unidentified Shoe Co. Annual Employee Outing

CVA 1504-10

CVA 1504-10. “An unidentified shoe company’s annual family outing” J W Freeston, ca1920.

This is the first post of a new series which I plan to include periodically within this blog. The principle is straightforward: select an historical image from a public domain archive, crop it so that the viewer focuses on part of the image which I think is especially interesting (and clean up the cropped image a little bit, if I think it helps), show a hyper-link to the original full/un-cropped image, point out a street (and/or a landmark) or two, and leave it at that. No windy discussion of the image: Just a cropped image a few basic facts (and maybe a bit of speculation).

I hope you enjoy this new component of VanAsItWas.

Today’s image:

  • Original City of Vancouver Archives photo is here. It is a panorama image made using a Cirkut camera.
  • The image was made by John William Freeston. CVA has estimated the year of the image as 1920 (based on the clothing, possibly). Death records indicate that JWF died very young: in 1923 at age 38. He lived in New Westminster.
  • Note predominantly clean, new-looking shoes and boots adorning the feet of those in the image.
  • CVA has identified those in the image as employees of “an unidentified shoe company”. There are two placards in the cropped image above, but unfortunately attendees block the parts of the signs identifying the group. There are two US flags hanging in the vehicle visible in the cropped image. That, together with what appears to be a California license plate and the large number of employees makes me wonder whether this was a California-based shoe firm. There is a sign behind the group (which isn’t visible in this crop and is just detectable at the left of the full panorama) which makes me wonder whether the image was also taken in a southwestern state: “Scenic Drive Through Beautiful … (Word(s) obscured) … Mesa Country”. Also, the background of the image doesn’t appear to me to closely resemble the “wet coast” of Vancouver (or even the landscape of much of Washington state). Further note on location: The image is made in front of a Texaco gas station, adding more weight to my suspicion that it is shot in the U.S. somewhere versus the Lower Mainland. In these parts, it was very unusual (unheard of?) to encounter a Texaco station in the 1920s; far more likely to see a Home Oil or Imperial Oil service station at that time.
  • Please let me know if you agree/disagree with the speculations above and/or if you can identify the shoe company or the location where the image was taken.
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One Response to Crop Shot: Unidentified Shoe Co. Annual Employee Outing

  1. Sheila says:

    Great stuff, M. Wonder how they won the ribbons pined on their lapels?

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