Go Forth and Celebrate the Fourth!

The Fourth of July is a time when Americans remember their history, look toward the future, and celebrate the present. As the photo archives of the Los Angeles Public Library show, Southern California takes its celebrations seriously, commemorating Independence Day with solemnity as well as fun and flair.

Less than 100 years after the United States was founded, a Fourth of July parade was held in Ventura, California. The Grand Marshall was Dr. Cephas Little Bard, a prominent physician whose brother, Thomas R. Bard, would become a U.S. Senator in 1899. Ventura had just become its own county one year earlier, having previously been part of Santa Barbara County.

Ventura 4th of July 1874

A Fourth of July parade is held in Ventura, California. (Security Pacific National Bank Collection, 1874).

A parade should have its royalty, and this Fourth of July parade in Santa Ana, California, did not skimp on the princes and princesses!

FOURTH OF JULY SANTA ANA

A horse-drawn wagon carries costumed participants in a 4th of July parade in Santa Ana. (Security Pacific National Bank Collection, July 4, 1890).

By the late 1910s, automobiles had been introduced into parades. Here, a group has decorated a vehicle and prepares to take part in Fourth of July festivities in Los Angeles.

FOURTH OF JULY MEXICAN AMERICAN

Marcelo Lopez and friends prepare to take part in a Fourth of July parade. (Shades of L.A.: Mexican American Community, 1918)

One of the essential elements of an Independence Day parade is a marching band. It plays the music that gets spirits raised, toes tapping, and crowds excited. In this photo, a marching band participates in a Fourth of July parade in Monrovia.

FOURTH OF JULY MONROVIA

Frank K. Carothers leads the Monrovia City Band in a 4th of July parade in Monrovia. (Security Pacific National Bank Collection, ca 1920).

Wartime does not diminish holiday celebrations. A crowd gathers on Broadway in downtown Los Angeles to view the 1942 Fourth of July parade.

fourth of july downtown

Men of Uncle Sam’s Army march past spectators in Fourth of July parade (Herald-Examiner Collection, July 4, 1942.)

Don’t have a horse? Don’t have a driver’s license? This young American shows his ingenuity in a Fourth of July Parade in San Pedro, California.

FOURTH OF JULY GOLF CART

A boy drives a golf cart decorated for a Fourth of July parade in San Pedro. (Shades of L.A.: Norwegian American Community, ca. 1994)

The Fourth of July inspires family celebrations and home decorations, as this family in Watts proudly demonstrates.

FOURTH OF JULY WATTS

The Cazzara family with dog, flags, stars and ribbons on July 4, 2001, at their home Watts. (James W. Jeffrey, Jr./Los Angeles Neighborhood Collection, 2001)

L.A. and Southern California has a style all its own, and these low riders in Huntington Park show it during a celebration on the 4th of July in the city’s park.

fourth of july low riders

A collection of classic lowrider cars is displayed in Huntington Park for the Fourth of July. (Anne Knudsen/Herald-Examiner Collection, July 4, 1982)

El Sereno residents show their patriotism and panache with Fourth of July celebrations that include parades, celebrities, dignitaries, and fabulous costumes.

fourth of july el sereno

The El Sereno Fourth of July parade kicks off in high style. (Paul Chinn/Herald-Examiner Collection, July 2, 1983)

Space exploration and the use of rockets and satellites for national security were part of American life by the early 1960s, so when the City of Burbank displayed this model of Titan III during its Fourth of July celebration, it drew a considerable crowd.

TITAN ROCKET

Model of deep space probe rocket on display at Fourth of July celebration in Burbank. (Valley Times Collection, June 24, 1964)

Anyone can celebrate! At Pacific Ocean Park in Santa Monica (an amusement park which closed in 1967), monkeys get in on the celebration with a Fourth of July aerial display. Here they test their equipment.

fourth of july monkeys

Boxco, Salty, and Dinky prepare for the final showing of “Fantasy Over The Pacific”. (Valley Times Collection, July 4, 1961)

Of course, your Fourth of July celebration is not limited exclusively to parades and fireworks. Here, a young group cools off at Venice Beach.

FOURTH AT BEACH

A group of friends at the beach in Venice on the Fourth of July. (Shades of L.A.: Korean American Community, 1931)

A group of friends gathers for a backyard barbecue, a Fourth of July tradition for many.

FOURTH OF JULY BARBECUE

Burcey, Oni, Dutch, Al, and young friend at a Fourth of July backyard barbecue. (Shades of L.A.: African American Community, 1980)

 

Photographer’s Eye: Leopoldo Peña’s “Interlude on Broadway”

Photo Eye

Photographer’s Eye: Leopoldo Peña’s “Interlude on Broadway”

Wednesday, April 13, 2016
12:15pm to 1:00pm
Central Library, Meeting Room A

Reservations not required. Doors open approximately 15 minutes before the start of the program.

Grab your lunch and join photographer Leopoldo Peña as he presents his series Interlude on Broadway, which he describes as a document “about the early stage of the redevelopment project, which the city calls ‘Bringing Back Broadway. I wanted to create a visual register of everyday life and the subjects, which had been keeping Broadway economically functional but suddenly became unpractical and susceptible to the economic model being used to bring back Broadway. I was interested in creating a series of images not as a denunciation of governmental policy, but a series that would, when seen in hindsight, project an illustration of what determines one susceptible to economic renewal and social removal.”

Sponsored by Photo Friends. Presented by the Los Angeles Public Library Photo Collection.

The Valley Times Featured in the Los Angeles Times

We were thrilled today to see the Throttle Queens featured on the front page of the Los Angeles Times for a full blown story on the Valley Times Collection! Reporter Hailey Branson-Potts spent a lot of time with LAPL photo staff and came to love these photos just as much as we do and we appreciate her enthusiasm for the collection.

After reading the article, thumb take a look at the 11,000 plus photos from the Valley Times that are available on the Los Angeles Public Library website!