Monthly Archives: December 2014

Euclid Ave – Ontario, Ca Nativity Rudolph Vargas

My sister lives in a historic downtown area in California just off the Euclid Exit. There are oodles of Huge Old homes in these neighborhoods.




Euclid Ave is a beautiful drive. Not only are their huge old houses and huge trees lining this busy street, there are also huge medians in the center, they are like parks! Grass and trees in the center of the road, its enough room for another 2-3 lanes in there. This photo is of Euclid Ave Circa 1930 but it looks the same today, just the trees are even bigger and fill the sky.


As you head down Euclid towards Holt where I go thrift shopping, you encounter after Thanksgiving these beautiful life size nativity scenes. I have seen them and always found them beautiful. And I also wondered how they came to be. With so many people trying to remove anything religious or showing Jesus from public areas.


So this time I got my camera out and took some photos then went to Google to look up the story behind these displays. Its even more fascinating to hear!


These scenes date to the 1950s, when the city held a carnival in its downtown area that featured rides and treats for the kids.

Found ONE photo  of one of the nativity scenes when searching this out that was from 1967, would love to find more pictures of it back in its early days if anyone else can track any down.


“It was a way for parents to keep their children occupied and watched over while they went and shopped in the stores for Christmas presents,” said David Allen who has researched the history of the Nativity scenes, says the event upset some local ministers.

(Same 1967 scene above now in 2014)


“A group of local ministers went to the city council and said, ‘This is really tacky to have this sort of thing going on on the parkway and we’re destroying the spirit of Christmas. We should do something that’s more religious-themed,”

A group of business leaders decided to commission a well-known sculptor named Rudolph Vargas to build the Nativity scenes. Vargas had built a Nativity display down in San Diego and also designed characters for Disneyland rides, including “Pirates of the Caribbean.”


Rudolph Vargas an immigrant from Mexico in the 1920s, during an era of religious persecution in his native country, Vargas became first a furniture carver, then a mannequin maker, before being discovered by Walt Disney Imagineering, the theme-park designers. Disney used him extensively to model the plaster figures of history and fantasy displayed in the theme parks.

Originally sculpted by Vargas between 1959 and 1968, the Nativity statues are being restored and will be unveiled Nov. 22. 2014. Vargas, who worked on “Mary Poppins” and Disneyland’s It’s a Small World and Pirates of the Caribbean attractions, died in 1986 at age 82.

“Because he was a professional mannequin maker, he had the ability to understand and anticipate where clothing goes on the body,” said Blaine Gibson, who retired recently as director of sculpture for Imagineering. “Most sculptors overemphasize anatomy.”

Between the 1964 New York World’s Fair, for which Vargas created figures of President Abraham Lincoln and the characters of the “Small World” display, to the opening of the Epcot Center in Florida, Vargas was a regular Disney contributor.

An unassuming man, bald, high-domed with a far-seeing look, Vargas earned his living doing what his family called “commercial” work.

“He would work all day in his studio, doing the commercial things, then come home and work till 12 or 1 o’clock on religious figures,” said Vargas’ wife, Margaret.

Info from

Vargas created the first two in 1959, while two Hollywood scenic artists created the backdrops. Ten more scenes went up over the next nine years.”


“The display is on public land and that has led to some controversy. A local atheist filed a legal claim against the city in the 1990s after he saw public workers putting up the scenes. Montclair City Councilman Bill Ruh, who has been involved with the Nativity scenes for more than two decades, says Ontario and other public officials came up with a solution.


“Then-Assemblymember Nell Soto worked with the city and worked with the chamber and the state and managed to get a resolution done that they rented the parkway space for a dollar,” said Ruh. “And no city monies could be used as far as storage was concerned.”

The Kiwanis and other local service clubs now help raise money for the maintenance of the display.”


I found this article about other work Vargas did in a Hospital in Duarte, Ca. The end of the articles says he left his autobiography with Mother Maria who was 85 at the time. I wonder what became of it? I hope it was saved and is in safe hands.

Santa Teresita Hospital pays tribute to ‘El Maestro,’ a carver of wood

June 23, 1988|SIOK-HIAN TAY KELLEY | Times Staff Writer

“Vargas died at Santa Teresita in 1986 at the age of 82. He was commissioned to do the works at the hospital by Mother Margarita Maria, who founded the facility as a women’s tuberculosis sanitarium. The two met in 1932 after Mother Maria saw Vargas’ work at another church and contacted him. Both were natives of Mexico, according to hospital spokeswoman Michele Dulin, and the pair became fast friends until Vargas’ death.

Mother Maria said she wanted classical art, “not something just semi-artistic” on the hospital grounds, to serve as therapy and inspiration for her patients, and the young Vargas was eager to oblige.

The sculptor worked on the religious pieces in between commercial assignments and viewed the carving he did for the hospital as “the one opportunity he had of leaving something behind where he felt it would be cared for and appreciated forever,” said his son, Rudolph Vargas Jr., an electrical engineer in Chatsworth. The artist more often than not was paid only for his materials.

According to the pamphlet, Vargas’ relationship with the sisters “took off strong in the 1950s,” when Mother Maria commissioned him to create an 8-foot crucifix for the hospital’s chapel over objections from the architect, who wanted to order a piece from Europe. The riveting figure of Christ still hangs over the altar. It was Vargas’ greatest pride, said his son, and one of his best works. The 500-pound piece is said to be Vargas’ first major work in which the wood was left in its natural state, and took over a year to complete.

A patio with a waterfall outside the hospital’s intensive care unit was designed by Vargas just before his death. “Here he was in the hospital, supposed to be sick, and he was up at 9 a.m. in the cellars” giving classes to the nuns on how to make ceramic molds, his son recalled.

On the day before he died, Vargas presented Mother Maria, now 85, with two notebooks containing his autobiography, handwritten in Spanish during his hospital stay. “This is my life that I give to you because you have been my inspiration. . . . I am leaving for home tomorrow,” he told her. The books remain in a drawer in her office as part of Vargas’ legacy. On July 10 and Aug. 14, nuns will lead “Vargas Excursions” through the hospital, and Vargas’ son and his daughter, Christina Vargas Rosine, will share anecdotes about him.”

Im even more intrigued to hear about Rudolph Vargas the Artist, the person, what he wrote down in his autobiography and gave to the 85 yr old Maria in the 1980s.

I also found it puzzling that I couldnt find much of his work when looking on the internet. Lots of mentions of it and locations, but very little photos. So I wonder if its in places where they dont allow photography? Or why there is very little when I go searching.

EDITED 12/29

I found some photos of his work at the Hospital!

The Rudolph Vargas Collection at Santa Teresita

You can see the many photos of it below at the link



-Continued original post as followed

I  was able to get out on foot in Ontario, park my van and walk up and get close to all of the scenes. It was moving and made me want to cry, I love history, I love the story of Jesus, I love seeing traditions stand the test of time and shifting culture.

God Bless Ontario for keeping this up and for all of those who were involved in the restoration work to preserve all of these. Merry Christmas!

For more info on the restoration work and process you can read here


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A.D. Way and Elicia Cage Marriage Certificate 1878


Marriage Certificate that is tucked inside the large gold album that came with the batch of Caughill, Stapleton, etc photos I bought in an online auction.

A.D. Way of East Brauch Wamu Co Pa

and Miss Ellicia F. Cage of Little Cooley Crawford Co. Pa.

Married on January 20th 1878.

Pastor Parsonage Edenburg

On Findagrave I found the following

Alicia Fidelia Cage Scott – Born April 25, 1858 Died Aug 4, 1925

Aaron D. Way – Born June 18, 1849 Died Aug 19, 1917

“Alicia was the daughter of John and Marie McCannon Cage. She first married Aaron Delorus “Dell”Way 24 Jan 1878. Together they had 5 known children, four sons, Perl, Lynn, Ovid and Ivan and daughter Bessie Alicia. Aaron and Alicia divorced, he going west to Oregon where he died 1917. Alicia stayed in Stark Co OH. In the ensuing years she married first a Robert Scott at least two more times.She retained the name Scott on her death certificate…why good question. There were no children known from these other marriages. ”

They had 4 children

Perl Duaine Way 1878-1953

Lynn Wallace Way 1881-1971

Ovid Dewane Way 1886-1964

Ivan John Way 1887- 1940

Bessie Alicia Basht 1889-? (Bessie divorced Clarence Russell Basht and married a Mr. Taylor, not sure if that is the link the the Taylor name in some of the other photos from the large batch I have. )


There is also a letter inside inside the original stamped envelope


Letter Stamped Feb 4, 1899

Addressed to

Mrs. A.F. Way, Youngsville, Pa

Inside says

Neligh, Nebraska, Feb 1, 1899

Dear Sister and Children,

We received your letter and was very glad to hear from you. We have had a awful nice winter until the last week. It has been dreadful cold, Last Monday the coldest day it has been for 4 years. It was 26 below zero. But their aint been much snow. Not any sleighing all winter. The big rain we had last summer damaged the corner crop so Vern has had to buy and he has been hauling corn and hay when it is nice weather. Vern did not come back there this winter because He bought the farm where we live and it totally strapped him. But we have the nicest lot of hogs we ever raised and will have some to sell in the spring and has 6 good horses to sell a team as he has more than he needs.

Vern says in regard to the place where Father and Mother live if you will go there and make them as comfortable as you can. When they are through with it you can have it. If it would be any good to you and He thinks the other boys ought to help you once in awhile. Has Rob ever been up to see you since Vern was home and where are you boys. You did not mention them when you wrote. Vern said if you would let one of them young roosters come out here he would make a man out of him. Vern wanted to know if Wall sent you more but he had just bought the place and it took all the spare money he had to pay for that. And if you go out to take care of the old folks you to go rite away and dont forget to ans all his questions. How are Jakes getting along and are they making any money. I must tell you about Verns boys. I made a pair of long over halls and a vest and a shirt for Goldie and dressed her up like a boy and Vern calls her Jake she looks just like a young dutchman and she would rather wear them than her dresses, well I guess I have wrote all the news so I will say good by. with love to all, Your Sister, Etta Cage
P.S. Do you ever crochet lace. I am making some for the girls, some under ware.

Some info searching some of the names

1900 Census Info

Vern V. Cage – ED 7 Custer & Willow Townships, Antelope, Nebraska, United States . Born in Pa Born around March 1865

Wife Ettie Cage- Born in Iowa around April 1872

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Antique Framed Thrift Store Portrait

While browsing a local thrift shop here in Phoenix, Az I came across this photo in the picture and frames section. Not your typical mixed in with more modern wall hangings. I of course new it was an old photo and an old frame. I always pick things like this up and flip them over. This one had writing along the back of the frame in ink marker. Which said the following “Give to Mabel Jaquez, From Mrs Damon Quintana. If living, otherwise Mitzi Harmina, LVQ”



So this of course intrigued me as someone took the time to note who this item should go to. And I wonder if it did?  Then maybe it did and the next person had it and they passed away?

As I was at the cash register buying it the ladies up front commented how it was old. I told them about the writing and they were excited and reading it and told me to please let them know if I end up finding anyone as a result of this photo.

Now the notes on the back do not name who is in the photo, but name the family who had it. So if my research is correct. It said from ” Mrs. Damon Quintana” . Damon and Viola Quintana turn up in the 1940 Census. They also have a child name Mitzi(another name on the photo). I then researched Damon in past census, and found he had a sister named Mabel(another name on the photo) so I believe these are the other names listed. So My guess is this photo may have been the parents or grandparents of Damon or Viola? Viola was born around 1908 in Colorado. They lived in Phoenix, Az it appears till their death which would explain it turning up in the shop here.


Info from the internet

Mary Mabel Jaquez born in Colorado and died in 1996 in San Bernardino, Ca




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Hilda Baker Scrapbook – Mississippi

Found this item in Phoenix, Az at Sweet Salvage in 2014

Scrapbook from the 1930s belonging to Hilda Baker of D’ Lo Mississippi. Her parents were John and Eulah Baker. Hilda was born around 1920. She appeared to put most of the items in this book during 1934 to 1936. It appears her mother, Mary Eulah (Jones) Baker died in 1935 due to complications from surgery.


She resided in D’Lo, Simpson, Mississippi.

Has so many cute little mementos attached inside. Some are missing but many are still intact. Small items attached to a memory with details of many of the memories.

Click on the images to enlarge


Page with cards in their original envelopes attached to open and pull them out. Says “Remember my birthday Feb 29, 1936. I had a surprise party and got about 31 presents in all. $8.35 in money.”


Items inside such as…

Wood Ice Cream Spoon – Helen and I ate some ice cream on the front porch Aug 12, 1934

Cotton – Helen and I hid from somebody in the cotton patch, Guess who?


Piece of thin rope – Remember the ride on the wagon with Helen

Tassle from Daddys Fez

Dentyne, Fairfield and Wrigley’s Gum Wrappers

Christmas Cards

Party Invitations

Lock of Hair – belonging to her little brother Charles Keith Baker when he was 7

Report Cards

Movie star pictures, drawings, letters, etc

I know as a teenager I started a similar scrapbook, not as detailed. But same idea. Im sure she treasured this book and its memories, and it appears Helen was a part of so many of her adventures. I wonder if they remained friends for life?


Filed under Scrapbooks

Alphonse Reandeau and Jackson Children

Photo of Alphonse Reandeau and wife Julia Bertrand.


Parents to Eva Grace Reandeau
Alphonse Reandeau
Born in Jefferson Union South Dakota Aug 25 1872
He died in Washington , Sept 17, 1959
He married Julia Elizabeth Bertrand
She was born 1870 in Jeferson Union SD
Died Mar 1931 in SD
They were married 1889 in Oklahoma

Alphonse’s father was Lezeimer Reandeau and his mother was Mary Petroy

Frank Elroy and Marinda Alma (Sheldon) Jackson

Corda E Jackson Townsley (1895 – 1976)
Vera Lavon Jackson Blunt (1900 – 1995)
Carrol Elroy Jackson (1901 – 1973)

More photos in this batch contain the family names Johndrow, Johndrow, Bedford, Sadie Foster and John Poole, Edmond and Edgar Chausse, Emma, Ben and Bob Remillard.


Photo of the little boy with a violin on the back reads “Lois Gray, his mother was Florence Johndrow and she was the daughter of Isrel Johndrow. She divorces Gray and her aunt and uncle Mose Bedfords adopted him when he was a small child. He died when he was about 21 yrs old. So he was Lois Bedford when he died”

Some of the notes on the photos says “from the estate of Lillie Mildred Jackson Johndrow” and  one says “Identified by M. Virginia Welty”


Filed under Cabinet Cards

Kumiega Photo Album

Photo album with many photographs inside.
Only one photo in the entire album had any clear writing on the back. This one below says “Jadwiga Kumiega Family, Stanley, Joseph and Mary”
Several wedding photos, old black and whites. From what little bit of info I can gather they immigrated from Poland. I am guessing this may be a Kumiega family album but cannot verify as there are no markings on any other photographs.
Found this obituary, It may be for the daughter Mary in the photo
BIERNAT – Mary Ann “Margie” (nee Kumiega) August 10, 2010. Wife of the late Stanley J.; dear mother of Stanley (Linda) and James (Virginia); grandmother of Michael and Matthew; sister of Lucy Michnik, Julie Dominiak and the late Josephine Cieslica, Joseph Kumiega, Helen Piekarski, Stanley Kumiega
1940 Census in Providence, Rhode Island
 Andrew Kumiega  and Jadwiga Kumiega from Poland. Their daughter Mary (Borden) and son in law Leo Borden were listed as living with them
 1929 Immigration to New York via the Majestic
Jadwiga Kumiega age 50 and Mary Kumiega age 18. Living in Rhode Island, if these are the same people.
One of the 8 x 10 portraits inside, there are more weddings, events, anniversary 8 x 10 photos mixed in with snap shots. Many snap shots contain nuns(just a few color photos), so Im curious if one of the family members became a Nun or if they were just visiting Nuns often.
A few other notes on the back of photos
1.Graduation picture signed “To Godmother, Bernadette 1952”
2. Communion photo of a young girl says “Sister Perpetua”
3. Mike Bogacz Cousins from Taunton, Mass
There is writing on the back of several others, may be in Polish. Ive tried typing some into a translator online but its hard to even make out the original writing.
4.Looks like a Holiday Photo around the table with a Turkey and perhaps last names of Stosrkowa / Staszkowa and Cyganowski
5. This is son Franie or Franio between important sisters(The nun photo below has this on the back)
6. Bernatka terar, Mery Martin, Mancia Bernatki
7. Sister Barbara, New York Party, 25th Anniversary


Filed under Photo Albums

Dr. Ezekiel Whitehead and Hetty Thompson


Husband – Dr. Ezekiel Whitehead. Born Nov 20, 1800. Died May 9, 1883. If you go to Findagrave you can find a younger picture of him on the page.


Wife – Hetty Thompson Whitehead. Born March 31, 1811. Died Aug, 18, 1876. ( The three small female photos are Hetty)


The larger photo in the sleeve is labeled “Elizabeth Whitehead” about 1912 in her wedding dress.


On the back of the old photo of Hetty Whitehead it reads “Hatty Whitehead, wife, of Dr. Ezekiel Whitehead, was raised in Oberlin, O. Her brother George Thompson, my great uncle served 5 years in Mo, Penitentiary for trying to help free slaves. He was also a missionary to Liberia, Africa. His son Dr. W. Thompson was a medical for 37 years in So Rhodesia. ”

Signed “2-2-1950 Howard Whitehead M.D.” who was the grandson of Ezekiel Whitehead and died in 1953

I have tried to find the family tree to link George to Hetty but havent found it yet, but when you google George Thompson there are missionary travels documented by him from the 1800’s


From Findagrave

“He first was a lawyer admitted to the bar in New York in 1827. Later he graduated from Ohio Medical College in Cincinnati in 1842 and practiced medicine until his death.”

Other info found on google pertaining to this family.

Howard Whitehead, M. D., has practiced his profession in Columbus with exceptional honor and ability for a period of almost forty years. He was born at Jersey, Licking County, Ohio, August 21, 1868, the son of William Wirt and Paulina (Woodruff) Whitehead. William Whitehead was born near Jersey, Ohio, in 1834 and died in 1902. He was a prosperous farmer of Licking County for many years and later purchased .a well improved farm in Delaware County, Ohio. He was an active member of the Presbyterian Church. Mr. Whitehead was the son of Dr. Ezekiel Whitehead, one of the best known physicians of the early days in Licking County. He was born in Seneca County, New York, November 28, 1800, and was a graduate of the Cincinnati Medical College. Doctor Whitehead practiced medicine at Jersey, Ohio, for more than half a century and his professional records show that during that period he handled 1200 cases alone in obstetrics. He took a most active part in the church and civic life of Jersey. He died in 1883. Paulina (Woodruff) Whitehead, mother of the subject of this sketch, was born near Black Lick, Franklin County, in 1835 and died in 1928. She is buried in Green-lawn Cemetery, Columbus. Their children were : Howard and Homer, born at Jersey, Ohio, August 21, 1870. He is identified with the Ohio State Journal, Columbus, Ohio. Howard Whitehead spent his early boyhood in Licking County and attended the public schools of Jersey. He later was a student at Sunbury High School and attended the normal school at Reynolds-burg, Ohio, after which he taught school for a period of four years. He then took up the study of medicine at Starling Medical College, now the College of Medicine, Ohio State University, from which he received the degree of Doctor of Medicine in 1893. Since that date Doctor Whitehead has practiced his profession in Columbus and has been located in the neighborhood of his present office throughout that number of years, 2241 West Broad Street. On October 22, 1896, Doctor Whitehead married Miss Emma Slack, of Galena, Ohio, the daughter of Henry and Elizabeth Slack, both deceased. She died February 7, 1925, and is buried in Green-lawn Cemetery, Columbus. They had no children. In 1926 as a memorial to her, Doctor Whitehead established a scholarship at Ohio Wesleyan University for the aid of worthy students who lacked the required means to complete their education. Later, Doctor Whitehead married Erma White, the widow of Rev. Postle E. White, a prominent minister of the Methodist Church. At the time of his death in 1925 he was district superintendent of the Zanesville district, residing at Newark, Ohio. By her first marriage Mrs. Whitehead has two children : Dorothy E. White, a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University, now private secretary to the dean of Miami University, Oxford, Ohio ; and Charles Edward, born in 1921, living with his mother at 2239 West Broad Street. Doctor Whitehead is a prominent member of the Glenwood Methodist Episcopal Church, of which he has served as trustee since the date of its organization, 1893. He is affiliated with York Lodge, Free and Accepted Masons, Scioto Consistory, and Knights of Pythias. He is also identified with the Columbus Academy of Medicine, Ohio State Medical Society, and American Medical Association. He is a director of the Columbus Y. M. C. A. from Doctor and Mrs. Whitehead live at 2239 West Broad Street, Columbus


Last photo is a newer 8 x 10 portrait in sleeve with “Howard Whitehead” written on it



Filed under Loose Photos