Saturday, June 1, 2013

Now What?!

Well, with yesterday’s post, it could be said that that was the end of a series. I’ve brought you from the story of Gregory Bean and his health issues back in time through the generations preceding him—tracing, where possible, the Marfan syndrome indicators that led to his early death—and then back again to the present. A family history flashback, if you will.

While there are none left of this immediate Bean and Woodworth line, you have to remember that part of the reason this whole series started was also because of a box I inherited—a box full of photographs of unidentified people. Some were relatives, I’m sure. Others may have been friends. I have no way of knowing. But I still want to tell their stories, even if there are no words provided with which to tell those stories.

Humor me in these rough spots—these speechless moments when I just can’t stand there, staring. As much as I can’t stand not talking, I’d like to take a few posts to share some of the remainder of these photographs from the Bean family. I’d especially like to share the ones that have some sort of hint scrawled on the back of the picture, if nothing else.

And then, I leave it up to the facility of those ubiquitous search engines—those mysterious algorithms whose knack at connecting readers with writers never seems to fail.

If, in the next few days, any of these memories triggers a remembrance, please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments. Above all, if you know any of the persons named, please feel free to share the photos, pass the word along—and, more to the point, leave a comment to say how you’re connected.

It would mean so much to me to see some of these faded memories reconnect with a real live person today.

William Samuel Bean Alameda California resident in business suit and hat possibly late 1920s

William S Bean of Alameda California standing with another man near steps and pillars with lion statues
Photographs, above: Just two examples of the pictures saved in Bill Bean’s collection—unnamed, undated, and still defying me to find a clue. In this case, the building in the background just screams to be identified. It has the feeling of a Hearst Castle, but not quite the grand scale. The derrick in the background provides another hint—but to what? These two guys almost look like they are hamming it up as if they were on the set of a movie. The only thing I can say with certainty is that Bill is the gentleman standing to the right in each picture.


  1. I recommend you contact Lorraine Arnold @LegacyRoots. She specializes in Historical buildings and businesses and did an amazing job helping me identify a building in a photo of my great-grandfather back in January

    1. Oh, I remember that, Smadar. Thanks for the reminder! I'll get in touch with her.

  2. Could it be a movie set, an area where large props were constructed..just a thought. Perhaps someone will come by with an answer for you..:)

    1. With hills like that, plus the derrick, makes me think of central California. Hopefully, someone will come by with the answer, as you mentioned. Just takes patience...although I may jump the gun and follow Smadar's suggestion. I'm not really the patient kind!

  3. What a challenge! My husband and I have been pouring over the internet. He thinks because of the oil derricks in the back ground that it was during the Oil boom and that it looks like one of the men may be a lawyer because of the type of case he is carrying. If you look at the architect of the building it may be a courthouse. The closest one we found that had the big arched door and windows along with square windows is this one found at

  4. How many entrances have lions on gateposts as in this picture?? I don't suppose there is a way to look that up? Or maybe the question is, how many places in California? And I really like Smadar's suggestion.

    The men are so physically similar, they could be related. They both have elongated bodies, I believe, and I have learned all too well the meaning of that body shape from your just-finished series of posts.

  5. Jacqi when I look at my unidentified photos, I always think about the fact that people were not as snap happy then as they are today. Even when my husband and I first married some years ago, picture taking was not what it is today with the ability to immediately view your picture and selectively decide what is saved and processed. Not knowing if the picture would turn out and coupled with the expense of having the film developed were enough to temper our snap happy finger and while we definitely captured the significant moments and people in our life, the point was, we didn't take pictures carelessly. So when I see the old unidentified photos, I always think that likely the pictures held some real significance which pains me all the more to not know the people and story behind the picture.

    I hope that sharing these online will lead you to answers. Keep us posted!

  6. Intriguing shot - it does indeed appear to be "southern California" in appearance. The man with the bag almost screams "Doctor" to me... perhaps this is a hospital?

    The oil derricks are likely just that - but they also used similar structures for holding searchlights and beacons for early air travel days (1925-1935).

  7. shows an intriguing shot labeled "intage Long Beach CA California Postcard Oil Well in Every Yard" - I think I might be seeing things - but the "head" in the wall looks like a lion...


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