John Scarpa and his gondola can be seen in this early monochrome postcard from 1907.
Scarpa is said to have arrived in Newport in '06 or '07.
As such, this may be the earliest image we have of him in this waterway.
The setting of this scene is the estuary commonly known today as the "Back Bay".
The point of view is probably somewhere near Jamboree and the 73 fwy.
Back in the 1900's that area was referred to as the "Inland Passage".
Today it is one of the few remaining estuaries in Southern California.
This place, where fresh and saltwater mix, is home to as many as two hundred species of birds.
Several of those species are endangered.
During winter months, the bird population can swell to over thirty-thousand.
The image on this postcard appears to be an artist rendering made to look like a photo.
We can't be certain of this, but what we're looking at may actually be a painting produced to resemble a photo.