And a Cat Named Johnny


This photo is of my Great Uncle Hector who along with my grandmother (there is a photo of her in the same spot) lived in Lincoln Heights for one summer sometime in the late 1930s. The photo was taken on the side of one of the hills that surround Lincoln Heights. I think my uncle said the cat was named Johnny.

14 thoughts on “And a Cat Named Johnny

  1. I love all the old photos you post!

    I like how the steps appear to be made from a dismantled wooden crate that held sake. I wonder if there was a Japanese grocery store in LH at the time?

  2. Great photo Chimatli! That’s good you got your hands on this gem. The background is too dope for words, and the best thing is Hector is smiling. You don’t see too many archaic photos with the person smiling… great post.

  3. Que lindo! Very important to keep los antepasados alive by sharing these lovely photos. Have you posted the photo of your Grandmother yet?

  4. What a beautiful image, Chimatli.
    And looks like the sake crate was from the Sakura Masamune Company, the originators of sake in Japan (going back to 1625).

  5. Nice photo Chimatli! Thanks for sharing. I, being from Lincoln Hts, have been trying to guess just where your Uncle Hector was at the time the photo was taken, and with what kind of camera.
    My guess (tell me if I’m right or wrong), is either on Alta St. in Happy Valley or Ave 33 off of Griffin Ave, (my Grandmother lived there in the 30’s and 40’s) or in the hills above Ave 26 and Johnson St.
    The camera used was probably a Kodak Brownie 620, my Grandmother used one for a million photos until she got one of those Kodak multi flash bulb cameras which meant that everyone had to pose for photos over and over until she ran out of flashbulbs.

  6. Hi all,
    Thanks for the comments!
    I couldn’t find my notes for this photo so I don’t know exactly where the photo was taken but I think it’s in Happy Valley near Lincoln High. I will look for the other photo of my grandmother, perhaps the angle might be different and help in identifying the area.
    I love the Sake crate stairs too. I used to live on Griffin on the side of the big hill. There are all kinds of old staircases up the hill made the same way as the ones in the photo.
    DQ, I’m not sure what kind of camera they used. I’ve never thought about that! 🙂
    The depression made a huge impact on my grandmother who was very thrifty her whole life. Nothing went to waste. It was hard for me to understand her ways as a child but my mom would always tell me “She’s that way because she lived through the depression.”
    If you’re interested, follow this link for more old family photos:

  7. Great picture! I always get chills when I see old El Lay. The old Eastside makes the chills even deeper. I think of my abuelita whose decision to head north has given rise to 40 plus Chicano, Latino, American, great, grand kids and I don’t even know how many cousins, uncles and aunts now. And all from this little viejita from Durango. Que bonito, no?

  8. wow chimatli, this is solid gold. i would open a gallery with all these great photos and stories. Let me know if you need an assistant lol

  9. Chimatli, those old wooden steps that you see all over the hills of Lincoln Hts were often used to get to the milpas (corn patch’s) or chicken coops, or goat pens that used to be so common in those hills.
    I had a friend up on Thomas St whose neighbors had lots of chickens and when they slaughtered a bunch for food we kids would watch. The old viejito would cut the chickens head off and laugh like hell as we kids would chase the headless chickens all over hills through the bloody grass.
    When we would bring back the dead bloody chicken the old man would tease us, “you chavalo’s are running around like a chicken with his head cut off”
    What Fun!

  10. Great pics chimatli, I love old LA photos. They make me warm and sad inside, like Billy Holiday songs. I have a stash of my abuelo’s old photos I confiscated before they could get lost, those are the real treasure of old school eastlos. I love looking at how different the urban aesthetic was back then. Gracias again.

  11. LA Magazine is inviting people to send photos of themselves “in a favorite old place in LA.” Might be neat to share treasures like this one.

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