Park Street Frozen in Time

Gary Lenhart recently shared colorized versions of these two photographs of Park Street on Facebook.

Park Street Frozen in Time

The two photos shown above often come up as topics of conversation on social media. They are seldom shown as a pair, however. These photos were taken minutes apart some time after 1906. The photographer stood on the east side of Park Street and Central Avenue.

British photographer Simon Clay noticed this immediately when he was setting up to shoot the “now” photographs for the book East Bay Then & Now that Eric J. Kos and I wrote in 2004.

Clay’s clue was the automobile. If you look closely, you will notice that it is in both photos. The photographer featured the 1905 Ford Model E Delivery Car in the photograph on the left. The photo on the right shows the same automobile in the distance, passing a horse-drawn, smoke-belching apparatus while heading north toward Santa Clara Avenue.

Clay also noticed the photography shop on Park Street in the photograph on the left. Close inspection reveals two women and two small children in front of the store with the word “photography”emblazoned in large, fancy print.

The sign tells us that Oscar DeJoiner owned the shop. The sign also informs passersby that DeJoiner sold postcards.

Gary Lenhart recently shared colorized postcards made from the above photographs on Facebook. Lenhart is the webmaster of His site contains photographs, maps, postcards and history and is definitely worth a visit.

DeJoiner, an artist and photographer, was born in 1860 in Kentucky. He made his living as a portrait and landscape painter.

He moved to San Francisco in 1894. After the Great San Francisco Earthquake and Fire of 1906 he moved across the San Francisco Bay to Alameda. By then he had clearly turned to photography to earn a living.

He lived on Regent Street. These two photographs may have been taken shortly after his arrival in Alameda to advertise his new studio. He was showing off this studio and his family. Is that his 1905 Ford? Was he showing that off, too? The 1920 Federal Census lists him as living in Santa Cruz.

He died in Los Angeles on Dec. 5, 1924.

Courtesy Gary Lenhart    Seeing them brought back memories of my co-publisher Eric J. Kos and I using them in our 2004 book East Bay Then and Now. Our London publisher Chrysalis Books sent British photographer Simon Clay to photograph the “now” shots for the book. Simon immediately noticed something very interesting. Eric and I researched the photo and came up with the reason we think the photographs were taken.