Main image
30th June
written by Richard

Here’s a mystery image from a collection of Spreckels-era transit records.  Anyone recognize the date and place? SD Transit


  1. Will Chandler

    The locale of the photo is the southwest corner of the Mission Inn in Riverside, CA. The car bears the name Pacific Electric, partly hidden under its special event banner. The Pacific Electric interurban Red Line tracks ran past the main entrance of the Mission Inn on what was then called Seventh Street, and is now Mission Inn Avenue. The cross street at the left of the image is Main Street, now a pedestrian mall in that part of downtown Riverside. I’d guess the date is circa 1925, and I initially confirmed the locale by Googling Neblett’s Drug Store in the Main Street corner shop front.

  2. Will Chandler

    On second glance, there is an additional mystery in this photo. It appears to be a cut-and-paste composite photo print. The Red Line car, its boarding passengers and the pavement in front of them have been superimposed on the wider view of the Mission Inn and the intersection at Seventh and Main. The discontinuity of the rails in the pavement in the lower left corner reveal the layering of images, and if you look closely at the back edge of the car and its roof line you’ll find the rest of the paste-up. This an old newspaper photo department practice, of the sort typically used to “juice up” a special event photo to better illustrate the accompanying story.

  3. 08/07/2014

    You got it, Will. This is a 1920s version of PhotoShop. The tracks and car are pasted over the Mission Inn shot. Quite a good job, actually. Since it’s probably a newspaper job I was hoping to find a newspaper account of what appears to be a rail excursion from San Diego. But it’s not the Union or Tribune. I’m about to check the LA Times. Could be the Sun.

Leave a Reply