home     >     mcvey hardware     >     annandale

EH_presides_900w644h.jpg

1
E. H. McVey, probably at the 854 Annandale (Eagle Rock Ave?) location.

E.H. — Elijah Halford — McVey (1871-1945) brought wife and son from Indiana to Los Angeles around 1910, where and around when he got into the hardware business in the Annandale section of Highland Park/Eagle Rock.

This page focuses on those Annandale businesses, with the following subsections:

background
854 Annandale
810 Eagle Rock Avenue
later

background

His daughter-in-law Ruth McVey (née Mann) said that E. H. had been associated with the railroad in Indiana. Without digging too deeply, I can find that his father was John Fletcher McVey (1822-76) and his mother was Caroline Askren McVey (1833-81), the sister of John Fletcher’s first wife. More on John Fletcher McVey, going further back, here. E. H.’s grandfather John McVey was born in Virginia in 1790, died in Indiana in 1853.

I notice today (8 November 2013) that E. H. lost his father when he was five, and his mother when he was 10. Wonder who raised him, and whether and how this might have inflected his own character and later trajectory — railroads, California, and impatient passage through at least three businesses (hardware, lunch counter, gasoline station).

E. H. had been a freight conductor for the Pennsylvania Lines (West of Pittsburgh, I & V Division) and for the Vandalia Railroad Company (Vincennes Division); I have here his passes for the years 1903 and 1904 for the first, and 1905-10 for the second. (The Pennsylvania spun off the Vandalia division in 1904, it seems.) I have also his card as a Licensed Automobile or Motorcycle User, City of Indianapolis, dated October 4, 1909. A roster for the Order of Railway Conductors of America, Indianapolis Division 103 for 1909, lists E. H. McVey (living at 910 North Tacoma Ave, and Mrs. E. H. McVey (in the Ladies’ Auxiliary) at 16 North Tacoma Ave. (Presumably the family moved, from near, to further from, the tracks.)

The more significant documents, in terms of this narrative, are passes for E.H. McVey, Wife & dep(endent) Son on various lines between Indiana (and Chicago) and Los Angeles. I do not know if these are for one way (west to east) direction, in which case they would indicate a trip back to Indianapolis, or either way. Several of these are shown below.

EHMcVey_UP-SP_passes_1910_580w200h.jpg

2
Union Pacific (from Ogden to Omaha) issued March 12 and expiring June 30, 1920; Southern Pacific (from Los Angeles to Sparks) issued March 15 and expiring June 30, 1910.

EHMcVey_PL_SP_passes_580w189h.jpg

3
Pennsylvania Lines (from Chicago to Indianapolis) issued March 10 and expiring June 30, 1910, and on the Oregon Short Line / Southern Pacific east of Sparks (from Sparks to Ogden), issued March 14 and expiring June 30, 1910.

EHMcVey_Chicago_pass_1910_275w176h.jpg

4
Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway (from Omaha to Chicago), issued March 2 and expiring June 3, 1910.

I assume that this trip (and some other passes) would deliver E. H. and his family to Los Angeles. His wife was Cora (M. Watson). This is the Eagle Rock that would have greeted them.
 

5
Eagle Rock Valley, approximately from Oak Grove and (now Figueroa); the front of the Gabriellanos in the background hasn’t changed (nothing to do with hardware, though). note streetcar tracks at far right; the cut above the road is still visible today.

E. H. had stores at two locations on Annandale (later North Figueroa). (This same street appears also to have been named Pasadena Avenue, and even Eagle Rock Avenue, at different periods.) It is not easy to connect interior with exterior views.

EH_presides_900w644h.jpg

6
E. H. McVey, probably at the 854 Annandale (Eagle Rock Ave?) location.

Here E. H. presides over one of those stores. His mien, his collection of pulp reading matter, his removal from Indiana to California, from one business to another, suggest he was a restless fellow, maybe a dreamer.

No handtools in sight, but those would be closer to the front, to the sides of and behind the camera. Housewares at left: enamelware kettles and pots, some glassware, jugs, a gas range, bread box, heater, lawn mowers, ash pans, large drip pan, ironing board, measuring cups, whisk and other brooms, strainers and other cooking utensils, skillets, a funnel, watering cans, lids, garbage pails, tubs, possibly some old thermos jugs. Moving around the back wall: paint, various mineral spirits, cabinet hardware, plumbing fixtures including toilet floats and valves, adjustable brass hose nozzles, washboards, oil cans, Liquid Veneer.

A display of knives to the right probably commences the tool section. Bulk nails are in bins along the floor at right. Visible in the back room are hoes and other implements, and what may be barrels of nails. Lots of afternoon light through the window. The calendar on the counter at right may be for 1913.

Popo Mac was a good guy (says Victor) who liked to do things different. After a few years in hardware, he sells the business to McEvers and starts a Rio Grande gas station. Victor remembers spelling the old man at lunch times, when he’d read his grandfather’s detective and cowboy books. A little restaurant follows; Victor remembers sitting at the counter.

854 Annandale

annandale_RMaynard_2_900w553h.jpg

7
Annandale General Hardware & Builders Supply, R. Maynard, Prop. Note new houses at left and left rear, and rooftops and undeveloped hillside through opening at right.

annandale_RMaynard_900w550h.jpg

8
Annandale General Hardware & Builders Supply, R. Maynard, Prop. Next door to Ellis & Sanderson, which would later be Phelps-Shannon, and still later Annandale Hardware, E. H. McVey (evidence being the soffit).

EHMcVey_Cara_Phelps_Shannon_900w672h.jpg

9
E. H. at the wheel, Cara (Cora?) at his side? The Maynard building appears to be gone. Can’t make out the signage (prices?) at left. Extremely faint, to left of Phelps-Shann, something like Real Estate... can just be made out.

phelps_shannon_900w659h.jpg

10
Same day as above image (see produce in car, also signage at left). That could be E. H. and his son Roy...

Who/what was Phelps-Shannon Investment Company? Frank Warner Phelps, B.S. 1900 University of California is described in the UC Alumni Directory 1864-1916 (1916) as secretary of that firm, at Eagle Rock Ave and Glenandale Place, and residence at R.F.D. 1, box 226, Los Angeles.

Several hundred such firms operated in Los Angeles ca 1910, according to the The American Globe 2:6 (April 1911), which lists recent incorporations here. (This is an interesting booster publication.)

EHMcVey_854_annandale_pump_900w620h.jpg

11
Pre-post office?

EHMcVey_854_annandale_from_left_900w624h.jpg

12
Building is set pretty far back from sidewalk.

EHMcVey_Annandale_Red_Crown_900w517h.jpg

13
E. H. steadies self against Red Crown Gasoline pump, unknown gentleman in tie at right. Post Office Station in left storefront (but evidently within the store), mailboxes in front. No signs on lot at left. Appear to be streetcar tracks in foreground.

EHMcVey_854_Annandale_900w534h.jpg

14
854 Annandale. Same day as above? Sign at left (in Post Office Station window) reads An hour’s delay in mailing may result in a day’s delay in delivery. Those windows are clean. Unable to read the language on side of building at right.

EHMcVey_854_interior_left_900w538h.jpg

15
Lawn mowers, rakes, stove pipe, fencing and chicken wire, wash boards, step ladders, paint; illustrations along the upper wall. Little concern for the ceiling.

EHMcVey_854_interior_right_900w521h.jpg

16
Presumably same building and time as previous (854 Annandale) image, because same photo style, and mounted on same scrapbook page. Nail bins along the right.

810 Eagle Rock Avenue

810_annandale_willson_900w646h.jpg

17
This and following image constitute before and after views, from Willson to E. H. McVey. Building still exists (around 7032 North Figueroa); store front to right probably is at corner of Tipton.

810_annandale_EHMcVey_900w630h.jpg

18
The Diamond Tires and Acme Quality Paints signs are not an improvement; neither is addition of E. H. McVey, which lacks the finish of the other window lettering. Victor worked at this store, remembers threading pipe (by hand) in garage located at left of building (not shown in photo, but still exists), in late 1930s.

E H McVey (and others?) kept a Daily Cash Book / Ledger for the business at 810 Annandale. It contains 252 numbered and ruled pages (fewer: pp 101-14 are missing). The recto of the first flyleaf provides this information —

Phone Garv. 915
The Annandale Hdw. / 810 Eagle Rock Ave. / Los Angeles, Calif

— as well as a table of contents. The telephone number is the same as that which appears on the sign above the business at 854 Annandale.

annandale_cashbook_sep1913_900w728h.jpg

19
pages 122-123, Cash Book, September 1913, The Annandale Hdw. 810 Eagle Rock Ave. (Image is composite of four scans.)

The contents of the book do not correspond with the TOC in the front of the ledger —

Pages 1-10 Journal
11-120 Purchase Ledger
121-240 Daily Cash Book
241- Petty Cash Book
242 Money Banked

Actual contents are listed below.

4-7Mdse borrowingslist Mdse (merchandise) borrowed by McVey of Van Wig, and by Van Wig of McVey between 1914 and 1917. Van Wig may be K. W. Van Wig, (later?) an owner of Hyde Park Lumber in Los Angeles.
13-19Purchase ledgerin neat hand
20-23haulinglists income from hauling and Work done with Truck.
24-27Expenses for house (May and June 1921)e.g., sewer tile Tee, 35 feet 1 1/2" black pipe, Cement at Eagle Rock Lmb Co, Labor outside 95.00, Labor JF Watson 75.00, Labor McVey 400.00
27Profit on fireworks 1921against expenses to suppliers Cohen-Strodthoff and Curtis Cunningham
29-32more haulingexpenses and income, including Stock – cost of truck / 350.00
70-99Cash Taken in / Cash Paid out June 1920 through May 1922formatting changes halfway through, from paid in/out on facing pages, to single page for each month. Expenses include different suppliers, clerk hire, rent for store, telephone, water, light, &c.
101-114 have been torn out of book
120-121Tools soldno date; includes shot gun at 6.00
122-247Cash BookSeptember 1913 – October 1918; in different hands, neat pen at first, hurried and rough pencil in later months. clerk hire entries include La McVey (Oct-Dec 1913)

Pages 246-247 shows work behind this statement: Sales from Sept 1st 1913 to Feby 1st 1920 — 77 months amount to 57741.85 averaging 748.50 per month. This does not include anything I failed to collect.

These calculations may indicate that E H McVey was contemplating the sale of his business.

248-252haulingfor January and February 1916, and October-December 1915

See detail of last page below, showing three entries for Mr. Mann (Nos. 17, 18 and 20, for Laths and Plaster). Roy might have made or helped with these deliveries. After his return from AEF duty (as a motorcycle courier), Roy marries Ruth Mann. That’s another story.

annandale_cashbook_dec1915_p252detail_900w600h.jpg

20
Expressing for mo. of Dec. (page 252, detail), Cash Book, September 1913, The Annandale Hdw. 810 Eagle Rock Ave.

Many names and locations are mentioned in the hauling/expressing records.

The business passed out of the family when McEvers bought it (at its 810 Annandale location). Victor worked there.

annandale_interior_disordered_900w620h.jpg

21
Same interior as that in which E. H. presides, but much earlier (probably) or later, given reduced number of fixtures in center aisle, and general sense of disarray. May be the 810 Annandale address.

later

Shown below is a two-page contract for the construction of a gas station (pumps, underground tanks, a steel building, etc.) at the southwest corner of Annandale (now North Figueroa) and Tipton Street (now Way). The contract, on Rapidservice Company letterhead, is dated 19 May and signed by E. H. and his wife Cara (Cora?) M. McVey, on 19 May 1928. It is also addressed to them, at their home, at 6330 Tipton Street, which is up the hill. (I have never gone up Tipton Street.)

EHMcVey_rapidservice_1_19may1928_580w751h.jpg EHMcVey_rapidservice_2_19may1928_580w751h.jpg

22, 23
Handwritten notes dated May 28 and June 5, on the back of the second page, record payments received in the amounts of $1200 and $800 on those dates.

annandale_water_main_ca1938_900w689h.jpg

24
Annandale Hardware at 810 Annandale, ca 1938, when water main was being buried under Annandale (for Colorado River water?). Photo courtesy Eric Warren, historian and author of two books on Eagle Rock (here and here).

Victor reports that he used to cut and thread pipe in the garage at left of the hardware (under the Pioneer Flintkote Roofs sign). Cutting and threading was done manually. The photo indicates that the store occupies two and even three storefronts, with a drug store at the corner.

The Annandale store endures the Depression until 1940 or so, when McEvers closes the business to retire, for a time, in Glendale. Roy drives an oil truck for a paving contractor. (In May 01, Victor clarifies that it was an oiler, a truck that sprayed oil onto road surfaces. He didn’t know such roads in Eagle Rock, so they must have been further out, or in? Roy worked the nozzle mechanism at the back.)

Steve (29 January 2011) says that Roy worked on an oil spreader for the Gilmore Oil Company down near Farmers Market. Gilmore was an important Los Angeles firm, later absorbed by Sunoco, which in turn was absorbed by Mobile. Steve remembered Gilmore Stadium, midget car races, etc., all of which is described in the historical section of the Farmers Market website (view the slideshow, too); the company is described here, in an essay written by Alan Darr. Gilmore Stadium was located west of Curson Avenue, surrounded by Beverly Boulevard, Fairfax Avenue and Third Street (wikipedia). The Pan Pacific Auditorium was located down there (where we used to see the Ice Capades, in the late 50s-early 60s, and where we may conceivably have gone to a hardware show).

Ruth is distressed at this fall in station (even Lois can barely speak of it today, 60 or so years later!). Fortunately, McEvers buys Hollywood-Vermont Hardware, opposite Barnsdall Park, and hires Roy back. Ruth’s sister-in-law Myrtle works there as a bookkeeper.

roy_mcevers_mazda_900w624h.jpg

25
Image cropped from decorative (photo) frame. Could be Hollywood Vermont Hardware. Leroy Arden McVey at left, McEvers at right. Seems to be a door or window halfway back, at right.

roy_mcevers_detail_900w900h.jpg

26
Detail of above. Lamp display, electrical switches, receptacles, sockets behind McEvers. The tonality in this detail is truer to the original print.

roy_mcevers_ceiling_detail_900w387h.jpg

27
Finished (plastered) ceiling appears to give way to open joists in back, from which merchandise hangs. Seems to be plenty of light back there.

I cannot be sure that any of the above interiors show the Hollywood store. Victor came in on Saturdays but also frequented the bookstores around Hollywood & Vine like Bennett’s and Pickwick, most long gone.
 

california_hardware_900w1032h.jpg

28
Undated, poor photocopy, possibly some cropping at bottom. Don’t know why I have this; E. H. or Roy must have made the trip down there, on occasion (for special will-call pickups).

20141207