Tuesday, June 24, 2008

POSTCARD HISTORY LESSON - The first gondola in Alamitos Bay

Is this an image of the "first gondola in Alamitos Bay"?
It could be.

We're not certain at this point just how many gondolas there were in Alamitos Bay's original fleet. We know that the community was modeled after Abbot Kinney's Venice, just a little ways up the coast.

It is believed that the gondoliers who initially inhabited the canals of Naples had followed John Scarpa's lead, jumping on their boats and rowing south in search of work in a new venue. Another possibility is that the gondolas in Alamitos Bay's first fleet had been brought over from Venice, but I think the more cost-saving choice of hiring locals from Venice, California was probably employed.

In previous posts we've covered some of the methods used in the early twentieth century to create postcard images. I believe that, like many others, this was based on a monochrome photo, with colors and details (like people's faces) added later by artists.
I don't know when the postcard was produced, but it's postmarked in 1919.

Looking at the bow of the gondola we notice that she carried a flag in the canon, had a smooth deck and a five-fingered ferro.

And of course my analysis would not be complete without pointing out that amazing hat!
I'm sure it was the height of fashion in 1919.

The gondolier appears to be wearing a hat of his own. It could be a dark captain's hat, Greek fisherman's hat or something similar. Many boaters wore them, including John Scarpa.

In case you're wondering, I do not believe that we're looking at John Scarpa and his gondola here. I'll dedicate a post to the subject in the future, including a side-by-side comparison.

In the mean time, take a good look at the face on the gondolier in the postcard picture.

I'm pretty sure that, like so many of us gondoliers today - that guy loves his job!

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