23 November 2012

Carbon Canyon Historical Artifact #28: A La Vida Mineral Springs Ashtray

It might be appropriate (or not) that this installment comes as some of the history posts here deal with the fire history of Carbon Canyon.

In any case, here is an ashtray that might have been found in a motel room, the restaurant, or other
public areas of the La Vida Mineral Springs resort, which operated from the 1910s to the 1980s, located on the Brea side of the Canyon, a short distance east of Olinda Village.

Interestingly, the wording notes that the resort was in Placentia, not Brea, and this was the location generally assigned to the facility in its earlier years.  For example, directory listings from the 1920s always gave Placentia as the city of location, as did most of the soda bottles using water from La Vida that were issued from the late 1920s (some did say Fullerton, which is where one of the bottling plants was located, while others were bottled in northern California plants such as at Sacramento and Stockton.) 

Notably, the early black-and-white real photo postcards that show the site in the late 1920s or early 1930s invariably will say "La Vida Mineral Springs, Calif," and omit the nearest city or town.

It doesn't appear to be until well after World War II when the the location was given as Brea--these are found on the color postcards that look to have produced in the 1950s and 1960s, as well as other artifacts like matchbooks.

Given this, it appears that this ashtray goes back to the earlier days, perhaps from the 1930s or 1940s, though there is no obvious way to discern the date (the words "MINERAL SPRINGS" appear to look somewhat like Art Deco, which was everywhere in the Thirties.)  It's a utilitarian item, to be sure, but is still one little historical tidbit to add to the history of Carbon Canyon's most notable historic site.


Jeff Fischer said...

It's hard to say for sure without a sense of scale for the ashtray, but the indentations around the edge make it look like it was designed for cigars, not cigarettes. Not sure that's of any real significance, unless there was a period of time where cigar ashtrays were more common.

prs said...

Hi Jeff, you know, the indentations are also rounded as if they would fit cigars, but I wonder if they could be used for both. If the tray was old enough, cigars were probably a lot more common in the, say, 30s and 40s than the 60s or 70s. Thanks for the comment.

sweetsimplicity said...

how neat!

prs said...

Hi sweetsimplicity, thanks for the comment and look for a post on another interesting La Vida item in the not-too-disant future.