Fortuna In 1937 -or- Your MeeMaw Was A Tiny Kid Once
Mike Dronkers / Monday, Feb. 10 @ 12:32 p.m.
This 22-minute film was discovered during a remodel of the Fortuna Theater in Fortuna, California. It was commissioned by the merchants of Fortuna and filmed by the The Alexander Film Company, one of the biggest film advertising businesses at the time, and produced by the Blache' Screen Service in San Francisco as part of their "Buy at Home" series which promoted local small town commerce.
The film shows everyday life in 1937 downtown Fortuna. Well, sort of, about as normal as life can be when a movie company is set up in front of you and is pointing its camera at you. Life was different then, telephone numbers were only four digits long, gasoline service station attendants wore spiffy bow ties and caps while pumping your gas and checking your oil, and high school girls wore uniforms.
00:45 Look for the big salmon hanging above a downtown intersection!
01:10 Fortuna Volunteer Fire Department drill
03:22 American Legion Hall
05:05 Hughes Chevrolet
07:05 Guy Brown Service Station
07:39 Humboldt Milling Company, originally the Springville Mill when Fortuna was first settled
08:14 Goble's Service Station and Groceries at the entrance to Rohner Park
08:31 Morgan's Haberdashery
09:30 Fortuna High School Marching Band. This was the year that the band played at the opening of the Golden Gate Bridge.
10:26 Newell's Candy Shoppe
10:45 Smith's Smoke Shoppe
12:04 Fortuna Meat Market
13:27 Hansen-Hunter Furniture Company, later Lows Furniture in 1953
15:30 Fortuna Bakery
16:35 Bowmans Drug Store
16:52 Shell Service Station and Motel at 8th and Main Streets
17:06 Members of the Fortuna Volunteer Fire Department
17:25 White's Grocery, 12th and Main
17:40 Frasers Department Store
18:17 Friedenbach Brothers Grocery Store, later Daly's, now C. Crane Co.
18:55 Monday Club
19:23 Firemans Pavilion and Fireplace in Rohner Park
After the end of the Fortuna scenes are clips of the Scotia and Robinson Ferry Bridge dedication and also several scenes from a rodeo (called the Horsemen's Fiesta) taking place at Redwood Acres in Eureka.
More about the history of Fortuna is available at sunnyfortuna.com/history/