A festival, likely in what is now Pershing Square in downtown Los Angeles. Gift to The Museum of the San Fernando Valley from Dave High - July 2009 (click on image to enlarge)
The young men in uniforms are holding rifles “at ease” at their right sides. They may be a ceremonial rifle corps. Above the uniformed men are men with rounded hats with horizontal stripes. The tuba suggests that this group is a band.
The man approaching the camera is dressed in a three piece suit, but he is wearing a white scarf around his neck. This may be a ceremonial item.
The palm tree tells us that the location is in a tropical or semi-tropical area. This coupled with the Hampton Arms Hotel, across the park, reveals that it was almost certainly photographed in downtown Los Angeles.
According to William Shillingberg a western memorabilia expert, “John Flood first met Wyatt Earp in 1906 at The Hampden Arms, a four-story brick rooming house owned by Mrs. Nellie C. Blair at 516 W. 5th Street in downtown Los Angeles.”
A visit to “A Visit to Old Los Angeles” a blog site by Brent C. Dickerson (http://www.csulb.edu/~odinthor/socal10.html) reveals an historic postcard on which the signage in this photograph can be clearly seen.
The year of this photograph is not known, but the image was important enough to be saved in the High Collection. In 1918, the city’s Central Park was renamed Pershing Square as a result of the patriotism associated with World War I.
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The Museum of the San Fernando Valley collects artifacts and documents related to the history of World War I, Los Angeles and California. Your input about this image from the Dave High Collection, and other postings of this blog are very welcomed. Don’t let your family’s history end up in a garage sale.
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