The Death Valley Trip


When I wrote recently (First Color blog post) about the Kodachrome images taken on a trip through Death Valley all the way to Boulder Dam, I didn’t know what prompted this trip.

And a starter image of a Sunday Service on Sunday, April 6, 1941, of Troop 225 (Camarillo) at Red Rock, didn’t help much to clear this up.

But, checking the Pacific Review, February 1941, gives me more insight. On Page 4, lower right bottom of the page we find;

Pacific Review, February 1941, Page 4

So, yes, this answers a few open questions and explains itenary. Professor J. H. Jonte is in one of the Kodachromes at Death Valley Junction and the second named person must be simply “Don”, a local working his stand.

Miss Wiens was associated with SJC in a few functions in 1941 according to the Pacific Weekly, so that connection is confirmed also. She indeed must have joined the trip as a chaperone as originally assumed.

Looking at the itinerary, one can not escape the notion there could be more Kodachromes related to this trip. We didn’t see anything Mono Lake nor Lake Tahoe. The boat trip image in this series is not on Lake Tahoe but on Lake Mead as Hoover Dam is in the background.

As for the Borax mines, these were at Ryan Camp, close to Rhyolite. Now those images equally make more sense.

This announcement from the post-war Pacific Review, February 1947, gives us some more insight of what the 9th Death Valley Trip from 1941 might have looked like.

Pacific Review, February 1947, Page 10

It’s clear that this was a significant undertaking. Up to 200 in an auto caravan with outdoor eating and sleeping. Times were different !

There was a similar tour announcement in 1948, the tradition continued.

Changing the subject …

As for the Morris Chapel construction images, I found a few more in the Pacific Weekly and these might be Joel Dardis images, this based on the likeness with the negatives I found so far.

This would equally explain few of the “missing negatives” as these were simply submitted to the art department. And art departments are black holes, now as well as then.

Pacific Review, September 1941 issue, page 15

It should be clear that the image predates September 1941 by possibly a few months. Turnaround of image to print was significantly slower than our current instantaneous mobile phone postings to the internet !

Pacific Review, November 1941, page 15.

The accompanying article mentions that the ceremonial cornerstone of the Morris Chapel was laid on Sunday December 14. No images (!!!) and no year mentioned, but that can only be 1941. Since dedication of the Chapel was on April 19, 1942, construction must have progresses at a very fast pace or the cornerstone was purely symbolic and the Chapel construction was already well on its way.

I have absolutely no idea, nor proof, the next few images are Joel’s work, I’m just including them as there was a lot of interest from Stocktonians on social media in the history and construction images of Morris Chapel, many of the born-and-raised Stocktonians were married in this jewel of stained glass.

Pacific Review, February 1942, Page 2
Pacific Review, February 1942, Page 17

The above image allows us to place a more accurate time frame on Joel’s image of Morris Chapel with the spire still in scaffolding. Before February 1942 and most likely after Dec 1941. This is also confirmed by the lack of leaves on the trees.

Pacific Review, May 1942, Page 2

After perusing the Pacific Review and Pacific Weekly images from 1940 through 1948, one thing became clear … photographers were not credited … ever.

Joel Dardis had to wait till 1957 to have one of his basketball game images credited as he was on the shortlist of winning an award.

In next blog post we’ll tackle more art project images from the January to June 1942 timeframe as documented by Joel. These images are on much larger “Press” format sheet film. (3 1/4″ x 4 1/4″)

Cheers !


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