Charlie Guidotti’s School Photo


Group photo of Salinas Valley School Children

 Availability status:  SOLD

Size of photo without cardboard mat:  About 7 x 5″

Photographer unknown, photo is glued onto cardboard mat.

A wonderful original group photo, albeit in very rough shape, that had belonged to Charlie Guidotti. You can see that it looks like he (or someone) was practicing their handwriting on the back, underneath the name at the top. This photo, labeled on the plastic covering as “Salinas Valley School Children 1920s” was found in Pacific Grove, CA, so if the label is correct, we don’t know for sure, it stayed local. We’re counting 79 children, ages ranging from about six to teen-age and two teachers (if the gentleman in suit and tie on the right is a teacher.) But which boy in the photo could be Charlie?

There are a couple of Charles Guidottis born in Monte Carrasso, Switzerland, of Italian descent, who made their way to California, both born in 1883 according to their WWII Draft Registration cards. This photo, however, is probably from the mid-1910s to early 1920s, and does not fit their particular time-frame. However, the 1920 Federal Census shows a Carlo Guidotti, born about 1908, living in Alisal Township, Monterey County, CA. His parents are Fernando and Maria Guidotti, born in Switzerland, and siblings Primo, Americo, Emma, Louis, Bianca, Florina. The family’s native language on this census is said to be German, and the children are born in California. It’s not certain whether the Charles listed below in the 1930 Salinas city directory is the same Charles. But it’s an interesting part of Salinas history, even if not.

Guidotti Brothers, French and Italian Restaurant, and grocery, 308 N. Main, Salinas


In searching for more on the Guidotti family, it gets complicated:  For instance, we find two wives named Bruna on the 1930 census, one in Alisal Township, and the other in Castroville Township (Castroville Township, by the looks of it, is now Prunedale.) Also, two men named Primo. We’ll leave the search here with the certainty that it would involve more time to sort out family members. The name of the school also will require more research.

Sources:  R. L. Polk & Co.’s Classified Buyer’s Guide of Salinas, Monterey and Pacific Grove (California) 1930. p. 34. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995.

The National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; Draft Registration Cards for Fourth Registration for California, 04/27/1942 – 04/27/1942; NAI Number: 603155; Record Group Title: Records of the Selective Service System; Record Group Number: 147. (

Year: 1930; Census Place: Alisal, Monterey, California; Roll: 179; Page: 6A; Enumeration District: 0010; Image: 282.0; FHL microfilm: 2339914. (

Year: 1930; Census Place: Castroville, Monterey, California; Roll: 179; Page: 7B; Enumeration District: 0014; Image: 407.0; FHL microfilm: 2339914. (

Year: 1920; Census Place: Alisal, Monterey, California; Roll: T625_122; Page: 8B; Enumeration District: 2; Image: 634. (

Salinas River Flooding, Circa 1900s

Salinas River Flooding 1900s - 1910s p1

Copy of old photo originally taken circa 1900s. Unknown photographer.

Price:  $15.00          Size:  10 x 8″

The first in a series of (mostly) copies of old photos of Salinas, California and environs:

This one was labelled on the plastic sleeve as  “Salinas River, Flooded, 1900s.”  It shows two horse and buggy sets and a third horse-drawn vehicle, maybe a wagon, it’s hard to tell. In any case, all three are being driven up a wide, flooded dirt road, traveling toward the photographer. The lighting doesn’t let us pick out too many details for drivers and passengers. And the photo’s exact location is unknown at the moment, but within the scene we find a couple of great clues:  In addition to some farm buildings, a weather vane and a utility pole, we see a couple of two-story wooden buildings – the one on our right, shows “Tavern” painted on the side, (see the horse standing in front?) and the one on our left appears to say “Riverside Hotel.” Hats off to you if you can make out the sign above the entrance way (Pederson?) In the far distance is part of the mountain range that surrounds the Salinas Valley. All in all, a great photo….but we’ll keep looking for that hotel.

Update:  Be sure to read the comment from Nick dated October 8, 2018 and click on the Google map view he included. The location of our photo appears to have been the small community of Hilltown, south of Salinas.

Launtz Millinery, Salinas, CA

Launtz Millinery tc1

Antique trade card, circa 1890 – 1891.     Size:  About 2 and 5/8 x 4 and 1/2″

Price:  $15.00

This trade card is the first in a new category that we’re labeling “Breakthroughs”  (for lack of a better term.) I’ve asked around at ephemera trade shows and antique stores, but so far, no one recognizes this type as belonging under a certain title. They show variations on people and animals “breaking through” the envelope or paper – sort of a “here I am, coming to you in the mail” type of thing. They seem to have been quite popular, and can be seen on trade cards like this one, and on old postcards or cards in general. We have a number of them here at Laurel Cottage that we’ll be posting. On a similar note, check out an earlier offering entitled, “Into The Envelope” that has rather a “pre-breakthrough” theme, and another related one, “A Token Of Love.”

Anyway, this one shows a charming drawing of a little girl’s face, in semi-profile, advertising Mrs. Launtz’s millinery:

“Mrs. M. Launtz. Dealer in Millinery, Fancy Goods, Ladies’ Furnishing Goods, Etc. Cor. Main and Alsal Sts., under Pacific Hall, Salinas City, Cal.”

That’s the corner of Main and Alisal. The San Jose (includes Monterey County) city directory for 1890 – 1891 shows this proprietress as living at this same address. M. Launtz was not found in other online records, though likely she would have been found on the 1890 Federal Census if most of that had not been destroyed by fire in 1921. But what was Pacific Hall? I took a trip down to Old Town and inquired with the very knowledgeable Trish, at Destination Salinas. I found out that whichever building that had housed Mrs. M’s millinery in 1890 and ’91, no longer exists. (Damaged in the 1906 San Francisco earthquake? This is just speculation.) But per Trish, early Salinas fraternal organizations had dance halls, and these halls were located on the second, rather than ground, floor. So, one possibility is that Pacific Hall was one such fraternal upstairs dance hall, with Mrs. M. Launtz’s millinery located just below.

More from the 1890 – 1891 city directory

Going page by page through the same 1890 – ’91 city directory lent a little more info:  Mrs. M. Launtz had two single ladies working for her as milliners – Miss Emma Benjamin and Miss Emma Gibson, address given as corner of Main and Alisal (however it is unclear whether this was the girls’ residence also, or just M. Launtz’s.)

An entry under “Baptist Church” gave the address as corner of Main and Alisal.

The Jeffery House, illustrated below, showed up for various residents as both a business and residence address. One would think that if Mrs. M. and the others at Main and Alisal were located at the Jefferey House, that the listings would be stated as such. So, it would seem like the millinery was not in this building, but of course, we can’t be sure.

Jeffery House

One more very interesting tidbit from the directory was listed under “Agricultural Hall” corner of Main and Alisal. Hmmm, Pacific Hall and Agricultural Hall…intriguing!

UPDATE:  Per an informed reader (thanks, Joe!) the Launtz millinery (today’s address 301 Main St. in the Bank Building) shows up on a wonderful map, dated August 1886, entitled the Sanborn Fire Insurance Map, online at Library of Congress. Excerpt below, page 6 of 8. Millinery is abbreviated “Milly” (bottom left). The Sanborn Abbreviation Glossary has a full list of interesting (and logical for fire insurance) entries, such as B.C. for brick chimney, S.P. for stove pipe and Shooks meaning dismantled wooden box parts.

Sources:  San Jose City Directory, Including Santa Clara, Santa Cruz and Monterey Counties, 1890-1891. pp. 760-761, 769, 773-774, 776. Publisher:  F. M. Husted, San Francisco. Web accessed April 4, 2015. ( U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989)

Sullivan, Trish. Per web author’s visit to Destination Salinas, 222 Main St., Salinas, CA. April 4, 2015.

Jeffery House/Salinas. TC-303489; K-62. Token Catalog. Web accessed April 5, 2015.

Image 6 of Sanborn Fire Insurance Map, August 1886. Accessed January 8, 2022.

Glossary of Abbreviations and Obscure Terminology in Sanborn Fire Insurance Atlases. Compiled by California State University, Northridge (CSUN) Map Library. Accessed January 8, 2022.

Salinas Rodeo Girls

SRG pc1SRG pc2

“Showing their Levi’s, California Rodeo, Salinas, July 13 – 16, 1939”

Great vintage postcard showing photo of seven beautiful cowgirls lined up and posing in their dungarees, boots, hats, and western shirts. Photo taken at the Salinas, California Rodeo grounds for the July 1939 four-day event. If you look closely you will see two horses with their riders in the background.

Divided back, unused postcard. Publisher unknown, S-34 (series 34 or number S34)  Circa 1939.

Availability status:  SOLD. (This postcard is the second of two of the same photo – both were sold.)