Sunday, January 24, 2010

Sheriff's Office Annual Report, 1959

Today I'm just sharing one of my favorite bits of graphic art in the Orange County Archives. The cover of the Sheriff's 1959 Annual Report is a wonderful slice of Mid-Century Orange County. Oddly enough, the style of the individual illustrations is more 1930s than 1950s, but the subject matter captures the look and feel of post-war O.C. Unfortunately, we don't know who the artist was.
This fanciful view of the coast (above) might be intended to represent any of several O.C. seaside communities. The topography looks a bit like San Clemente, but the oil derricks on the horizon (in neighboring Huntington Beach?) would tend to indicate Newport Beach. Note Catalina Island in the background and a "TIKI" bar in the foreground.
Dad mows the lawn in front of his new Modern tract home while Junior flies a kite. The tract undoubtedly took the place of an old orange grove, which is why remnants of a eucalyptus wind break can still be seen in the background.
Ten years earlier, agriculture would have played a much larger role on the cover of this report. But by 1959, orange trees and row crops were definitely fading away, with suburbia taking their place. And finally, we have a nod to Orange County's industrial growth. There are still more than a few of these crate-like buildings with snappy Googiesque entryways scattered around the industrial parks of Orange County. It appears this particular fictional building belonged to the "ABCDE Company," which probably made some kind of aerospace components.
Sorry there isn't a bit more substance to this post, but you have to admit the pictures are pretty great, no?


EDGE4194 said...

yes chris, they are. thanks for sharing these!

Vintage Disneyland Tickets said...

Wow, nice find! Sometimes the best stuff is in odd items like this. Interesting there is no Disneyland or Knott's reference.

Roy Bauer said...

Do you suppose the county had an art department back then? Probably not. I bet someone at the county could answer this question. Nice stuff, despite the hideous orange. I took a close look and could find no indication of a signature or initials, which suggests that he (she?) didn't take himself very seriously.