April 6, 1941


On this Sunday, Craig Wood wins the 8th US Masters Golf, his first major title, 3 strokes ahead of runner-up Byron Nelson.

Across the Atlantic, the invasion of Yugoslavia (Operation 25) and Greece (Operation Marita) by the Axis powers starts on this day.

Closer to home, Joel takes most likely his first Kodachrome images in Red Rock Canyon near Mojave Desert and Death Valley. Red Rock Canyon is on the current S.R. 14, north of California City and Edwards AFB.

Red Rock Canyon Near Mojave Desert and Death Valley

It’s just a guess, but I believe Joel might have very well taken the next shot from this vantage point. There is no recorded information on the identity of the young man in the image.

Red Rock Canyon, At Sunday Service

225 Sunday outdoor service at Red Rock Canyon.

Marjorie Maggs

The last shot at Red Rock Canyon is a candid of Marjorie Maggs. She studied at UOP in 1942 and is mentioned in the Pacific Weekly, Friday, March 20, 1942.

I included a “modern” digital image, not by Joel, of Red Rock Canyon State park and it is pretty clear the first images were approximately taken from an outcropping at the left hand side of this panorama.

Red Rock Canyon State Park, California, courtesy California State Parks.

Next set of images are in a quite different venue.

West End Chemical Plant, Trona

The image above and following were taken at the West End Chemical Plant in what is now Trona. Part of the image at the right hand side is cropped out by Joel with tape on the back of the slide. “Something happened”, and we can still see part of the out-of-focus event. (In my experience, it’s most often the camera strap that waves in front of the lens, something similar happened in the first image, see top right corner.)

From, Wikipedia on Trona: “When John Searles arrived in the area in the 1860s, he didn’t find what he was looking for. Searles was after gold and silver and he had silver mines that were burned down by the Indians. What he found instead in the dry lake bed on the border of Death Valley was a white crystalline powder — borax. In 1873, Searles went into production, mining a chemical still used in industrial and commercial products even today. After his death in 1897, a rival company bought out Searles’ company and shut down production in Searles Lake.

In 1914, the American Trona Company established the company town of Trona, named for crystals of soda ash formed by the evaporation of chemical-rich water commonly found in the lake bed.

Barton Bawden examining borax crystals

Barton Bawden is identified, I suspect that all named people in this series, were friends of Joel at one point or another. Barton Bawden appears in the 1943 edition of Blue and White (Stockton, SJC)on page 21.

The desert town of Trona is still there although it more and more looks like a ghost town. Trona is in Searles Valley and can be reached through the S.R. 178, east of the S.R. 395

Next few images are all situated in Walker Pass. The latter is a mountain pass by Lake Isabella in the southern Sierra Nevada. The pass provides a route between the Kern RIver Valley and San Joaquin Valley on the west and the Mojave Desert on the east.

Walker Pass is equally on the current S.R. 178, west of the S.R. 395. In 1941 though these State Roads were most likely outliers of the U.S. 6 road system running east to west.

Joshua Trees around Walker Pass

Doris Guernsey is named in two following slides and I included a close-up as last image in case someone local in Stockton is related. I was not able to find relevant online information on Doris at this point in time.

Doris Guernsey in Walker Pass
Posing Doris Guernsey in Walker Pass
Doris Guernsey Close-Up.

Last Kodachrome slide is actually from April 7, 1941. Since it’s the only one, I’m including it here. There is plenty to cover on April 8.

Beavertail Cactus.

Through Joel’s photography career, we see him take images of plants. It’s obvious early on that plants and their colors do fascinate Joel.

Beavertail Cactus or Beavertail Prickly Pear (Opuntia Basilaris), is found in southwest USA, mostly in the Mojave and Colorado Deserts. (Also in northwest Mexico.) The magenta flowers bloom from spring to early summer, often in profusion. This cactus requires full sun, heat, and minimal water.

Cheers !


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