Creating advocates for history through the stories of greater Los Angeles.
by Paul R. Spitzzeri
In June, the City of Industry, which owns and funds the Homestead, will be celebrating its 60th anniversary with a “Taste of the Town” event; a time capsule displayed at the Homestead and filled with area memorabilia to be opened in forty years for the city’s centennial; a student art contest about what the area will look like in 2057; and more.
On Tuesdays leading up to the festivities, “Time Capsule Tuesday” will feature historic photographs relating to the city and the history of industrial development in our region. We kick off the series with this great aerial photograph showing a section of the City of Industry just a couple miles to the east of the museum
Taken probably in the 1940s, the view takes in a lot of interesting territory. For example, at the upper left corner was the “Sky Ranch” airport, which was located where the shopping center is at the northwest corner of Valley Boulevard and Azusa Avenue. Towards the upper center was the Didier dairy, owned for years by Louis Didier, and now the home of AltaDena dairy.
At the bottom from left to center is just a sliver of a car racing track that was on the Parriott family ranch–this is now where the Puente Hills Mall is located today! The road to the left of the track and going up to Valley Boulevard just below the airport was called Anaheim-Puente Road in those days and led south through the Puente Hills into Orange County (and, naturally, Anaheim.) This is better known as Azusa Avenue.
Then, going from Valley Boulevard to the west of the Didier dairy is Pass and Covina Road, which is now the extension of Azusa Avenue going north into the Covina area. Notably, there is a short section of Anaheim-Puente Road today that veers from Azusa and ends just before the Southern Pacific railroad tracks, completed in the mid-1870s, that run parallel to Valley.
Speaking of those tracks, that’s the “straight as an arrow” line going at an angle along the top of the photo with Valley running alongside. Valley Boulevard is a very old road through the San Gabriel Valley and was, in the early 1850s and before known as the Colorado Road because it did go all the way to the Colorado River at where Yuma, Arizona is today.
A curved line toward the bottom is another railroad line built by the San Pedro, Los Angeles and Salt Lake Railroad, which was completed in the first decade of the 20th century. There is, in fact, a Salt Lake Avenue that parallels the track in part of the City of Industry and a Railroad Avenue that does the same in another section.
Just below the Southern Pacific line is a meandering San Jose Creek, a watercourse that drew from the San Gabriel Mountains near Pomona and terminated at the San Gabriel River. A year-round source of water for early residents like the Workman and Rowland families, the creek supplies irrigation ditches for later farmers, too. At the center is either a tributary to the creek coming from the Puente Hills to the south, irrigation ditches from the creek, or both.
The 60 Freeway today runs along left to right between the Salt Lake (later the Union Pacific) line and where the portion of the race car track is at the bottom of the photo. Farm plots, groves of citrus or nuts and just a few homes scattered here and there among them are other interesting details.
Check back for another historic photo as part of the “Time Capsule Tuesday” series for the City’s 60th anniversary commemoration!