June 21, 2010 16:46 pm · 116 comments

Who are these people, and why was their picture found in a gutter in Walnut Creek over 6-years ago?

Here’s the story, from the person who found the photo:

About 6 1/2 years ago my husband and I lived in downtown Walnut Creek, on the other side of Civic Park. One quiet Sunday evening we were walking downtown to go get something to eat and as we crossed over Broadway right in front of the Police Station I noticed something in the gutter.
In a little pile of leaves was this photograph.  In perfect condition!  I could not believe what I saw.  I put the photo in my pocket and then proceeded to pack it away once I got home and forget about it. We have since moved to Martinez and I have brought this photo out of hiding to see if I can find its true owner.
From the background it looks like the the Benicia Rail Road Bridge. And from her attire I am assuming this was taken in the 30’s.

Does anybody out there know who this couple is, or where their family might be located?

They seem to be local, since the picture was still around our area, and it does look like the Benicia Railroad Bridge in the background.

101 Anonn June 25, 2010 at 12:10 PM


“I Give” already established that the ships traveled from the East Coast to Turkey and the Med together in #94 by contacting the Vallejo Naval museum who contacted a Mare Island retiree. The dates point at the 20’s. Sounded like East coast or Europe is where we should be looking. The key is dialing in on ports with bridges that the ships visited. Does anyone have access to more accurate details of the ships history? That’s the focus in my opinion rather than clothing, hair style etc. Need help finding that port, then work on the people!

102 MO June 25, 2010 at 8:31 PM

I found
Ships of the 39th Destroyer Division

Moored together, probably in San Diego Harbor, California, in 1921. These ships are (from left to right):
USS Edsall (DD-219);
USS McCormick (DD-223);
USS Bulmer (DD-222);
USS Simpson (DD-221);
USS MacLeish (DD-220); and
USS Parrott (DD-218).

Pasted from

But..I’m not sure how to look for Military info that wouldn’t be on Google or in Wikipedia … simple stuff.
I did look for Naval Port Bridges, and of course there are many. And, I’m not sure if either of these ships, or ”any” of them ever were up at Portland OR…but there are lots of iron bridges there. I’ve been viewing what few pictures I could find of Portland. Lots of Naval history.
(the picture of all the ships listed above, is might pretty–click on the link)
Jes sayin’………

103 MO June 25, 2010 at 8:39 PM
104 Anonymous June 25, 2010 at 11:44 PM

An example of Occam’s razor. It is the Carquinez Strait Bridge 1921 taken from what is now the California Maritime Academy looking east. The land mass in the back is out of scale because of the lens. Note the boats on the far shore under magnification and the old C&H. Don’t make it more difficult than it really is. Location is solved, now who are the people? Remember, land forms change over time….look at SF pictures during the 1906 quake showing the east bay an compare them to today.

105 Ancient Mariner June 26, 2010 at 10:38 AM

Sorry #104: facts trump Occam’s Razor. The Carquinez Bridge wasn’t opened until 1927 and is a completely different design from that shown. The supports are different. The shape of the top chord is different. The height is different.
Still looking.

106 MO June 26, 2010 at 8:10 PM

Al Zampa and the Bay Area Bridges
By John V. Robinson

If the link isn’t live here, you can google that book title. Really great pictures.
Further, confusing me.

107 MO June 26, 2010 at 8:47 PM

SO MANY photos, ..some makes it the Martinez-Benicia, some don’t.
Check here and go to ”STREET VIEW” and look at the shape of the top..the differences that would prove the M-B bridge to be the one in the photo…

Shaking head, ….wiping eyes. Going for the Jack Daniels….

108 Pic Hunter June 27, 2010 at 2:54 PM


I am certain this is the Broadway Bridge over the Willamette River in Portland OR.

They are a bunch of new condos where this pic would have been taken from. I could not figure out what was there before.,+Portland,+Multnomah,+Oregon+97227&sll=45.631085,-122.710762&sspn=0.177177,0.308647&ie=UTF8&cd=10&geocode=FYnCtgId6yaw-A&split=0&hq=&hnear=Broadway+Bridge,+Portland,+Multnomah,+Oregon+97227&ll=45.530861,-122.672192&spn=0.005381,0.009645&t=h&z=17

This still does not tell us who is in the picture.

Question for the person that found it: Do you know the exact date and you found the picture? Do you remember the exact location near the WC civic center? Does the photo look original or maybe a copy? The Walnut Creek Veterans Memorial was built about 6 years ago. Maybe this was part of a remembrance?

Total Claycord moment. I was watching some house hunting show in Portland and they briefly showed the bridge. With this picture burned into my retinas, I knew it was it.

109 Ancient Mariner June 27, 2010 at 10:59 PM

Big-time kudos to Pic Hunter #108!
Yes, that’s the bridge all right – all the members are identical to those in the mystery photo. I can sleep now! Thank you!

110 Pic Hunter June 28, 2010 at 4:19 PM

More info…
This location seems to have been to site of the USS Oregon museum. It was dedicated on July 15, 1925(?).

Maybe the two destroyers where there for the event?

111 me3tv June 28, 2010 at 4:46 PM

Love the shot. These old “cans” were of the “four piper” era and are indeed DDs of their day. Great recent book on the death of the USS Edsall early in WWII is “A Blue Sea of Blood” see Amazon . I have interviewed many members of the old US ASIATIC FLEET which was supported by many of these old destroyers at the start of the war. You can listen to some of them on youtube at Meanwhile – the Asiatic Fleet is represented in a blog Once assigned to the Asiatic fleet they stayed until the wipe out in the Java Sea. After that – the surviving old cans like this were moved mostly to Atlantic duties. This photo appears to be in the early to mid thirties from the dress and according to dates of the bridge construction. There may be some USS PARROTT crew still alive. I think the veteran I interviewed some years past at an Asiatic Fleet Reunion was in the Parrott at the Java Sea Battle. They were placed between opposing cruisers to launch all their torpedoes and then to lay smoke. The vet (I’ll have to look up his name) has since died but was at one time mayor of a little town in Idaho. He ran the boilers on the ship. He kept getting orders (on “the tube”) for MORE SMOKE -more smoke. He opened the fuel valves as far as he could and they kept asking for MORE smoke. Finally he smashed the nozzel off the burner with a hammer and got smoke aplenty but also a 12 foot flame out the stack – which melted and bend backwards some. The four cans in that battle were the only survivors (sent away when fuel and ammo ran out and picking the lucky route back to Australia). This veteran was forever after known to his shipmates as “Bent Stack”. CONTACTS for the Asiatic Fleet veterans is noted in the blog. It is worth a question to these great sailors. Not many of the ’20’s and ’30s are left but I do know one hundred year old vet who joined in 1926 – and served as a yeoman for the Asiatic FLeet Admiral mostly out of the USS Blackhawk(destroyer tender). Claud Davis (Milton, FL) was still very sharp two or three years ago. He would remember these ships but probably only from their Asiatic assignments.
This picture is a fascinating glimpse at the pre war destroyer navy. The stories behind it are surely treasures.

112 me3tv June 28, 2010 at 5:19 PM

Correction: “Bent Stack” from the last notes must have been in USS Alden or USS John D. Edwards. USS Parrott was elsewhere at that time. Meanwhile it is notable the Parrott was in the FIRST offensive naval action by the US Navy since the Spanish American War — The attack at Balikpapan. Contact with the veterans organization is suggested – see the blog noted above. They actually have their LAST REUNION in August in Branson, MO.

113 MO June 28, 2010 at 10:13 PM

So glad someone could prove my Portland suspicions.

. (I don’t live too far from Branson).
How to obtain Ship Status, Photographs and Official Documents

114 MO June 28, 2010 at 10:33 PM

On November 20, receives command of U.S.S. Parrott (Destroyer: DD-218).
1924 On June 2, accompanies Admiral Philip Andrews to the King’s Levee at St. James Palace as part of additional duty.
In May, Destroyer Division 39, including U.S.S. Parrott, is ordered to return to the United States.
1925 In June, U.S.S. Parrott joins the Asiatic Fleet.

*The Stewart Allan Manahan Papers,

The USS MacLeish (DD-220) was a destroyer named for Lieutenant Kenneth MacLeish. She was laid down by William Cramp and Sons on 19 August 1919 and launched on 18 December. She was a ship of the Clemson class, which was the oldest class of destroyers to serve in World War II.
History of Service Before World War II

The MacLeish was commissioned on 2 August 1920 and later joined the Pacific Fleet. After a brief period, she left to join the United States Naval Forces that had already gathered in Turkish waters. She operated in the Black Sea and the eastern Mediterranean until 1924, assisting in the evacuation of refugees during the turmoil in that region. The MacLeish protected American interests against harm during the height of the crisis.

The MacLeish returned to Boston, but shipped out again for duty in the Pacific. Sailing from the west coast on 7 May 1925 and arriving at Shanghai on 21 June, the MacLeish joined the Asiatic Fleet and began operations between the Chinese mainland and the Philippines. The MacLeish served in the far western waters of the Pacific from this time until 11 March 1938 when she was decommissioned and entered the Pacific Reserve Fleet at San Diego.

USS Parrott DD-218

The USS Parrott (DD-218) was laid down on 23 July 1919 by the William Cramp and Sons Shipbuilding and Engine Company and launched on 25 November 1919. She was a Clemson-class destroyer named for George Fountain Parrott.
History of Service before World War I

The Parrott was commissioned on 11 May 1920. First captained by Lt. Cmdr. W. C. Wickham, she took her shakedown cruise and was assigned to Destroyer Division 38 in the Pacific. She left Boston on 7 August 1920 and arrived at San Diego on 7 September. She ran exercises in coastal waters before being reassigned to the Atlantic Fleet on 3 December 1921. She then sailed for Philadelphia.

On 12 June 1922, the Parrott left Newport, Rhode Island to report for duty in Turkish waters at Constantinople (now Istanbul). She was ordered to assist in diplomatic and humanitarian efforts in the wake of the conflict between Greece and Turkey. The Parrott served as a communications and station ship in the Black Sea, the Aegean and the Eastern Mediterranean. She evacuated refugees and escorted aid ships.

From 6 July to 24 August 1923, the Parrott continued to operate in the Mediterranean and in 1924 she made visits to Bizerte, Tunis, Leghorn, Genoa, Patmos, Villefranche, Cagliari and Sardinia. She returned to New York in July. The Parrott was reassigned to the Asiatic Fleet and left for Pearl Harbor on 3 January 1925, arriving on 27 April. She sailed to Midway and to China to participate in operations to quell unrest on the Chinese mainland.

On 16 October, the Parrott sailed to the Philippines and began to operate out of Manila from 19 October to 15 March 1926. She then joined the Asiatic Fleet in Chinese waters during the civil unrest and Chinese civil war that erupted around that time. Unlike many ships of her class, the Parrott continued to operate in this region until the outbreak of the Second World War in 1941.


115 Anonymous June 28, 2010 at 11:02 PM

History of USS Parrott DD 218–duty ports etc.

116 I give June 29, 2010 at 12:14 PM

Kudos to PicHunter! Portland it is. Look at pictuce 16 of 39 for the almost exact view. You can match the solid blobs on the bridge above and behind the “kids” in the picture to the counter weights for the draw bridge portion of the bridge.

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