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.

2 thoughts on “Salinas River Flooding, Circa 1900s

  1. If you can, search for this location in Google Maps or Google Earth:
    36°37’46.22″ N 121°40’01.89″ W

    I tried to create a link to the street view:,-121.6667602,3a,75y,210.76h,85.96t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1s36FFoTU_DLBxH2gcs5TiOw!2e0!7i16384!8i8192

    It’s the location of a small community south of Salinas, called Old Hilltown, right off of the Salinas River, west of Spreckels. The mountains in the background of the street view at those coordinates look very similar to the photo above. For a period of time before the highway bridge crossing the river was built, this was the site of a ferry crossing, so it would make sense to have some businesses there.

    That’s my best guess at least.

    • An excellent guess, I think. Thank you, Nick! The outline of the mountains seems to match. Hilltown, from some quick online searches, was the site of Salinas’ first post office in 1854. The post office was moved a decade later to Salinas. (From Salinas Valley: An Illustrated History by Jennie Dennis Verardo.)

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