Thursday, August 27, 2015

Three Century-Old Photos of a Pigeon Ranch Near Los Angeles, California

Hundreds of pigeons flock about a large coop on a pigeon ranch near the Los Angeles River.

Photograph of hundreds of pigeons flocking about a large dovecoat at the Los Angeles Pigeon Farm on the Los Angeles River in Cypress Park, Los Angeles, just past the Riverside bridge at the junction of Verdugo Road and San Fernando Boulevard, ca. 1900.

20,000 pigeons under the care of a superintendant and three helpers (no one in image). About 300 to 500 squabs would be dressed each day for market. The pigeons consume 1,500 pounds of grain each day. The slope of the Verdugo Hills is in the left background.
Credit: USC Libraries Special Collections. Glass Plate negative.

Pigeon ranch, Los Angeles, California.

View of numerous doves and pigeons perching on top of pigeon cotes in the Los Angeles pigeon farm near the coast line S. P. R. R. (Southern Pacific Rail Road).

Historical Background: The California Pigeon Farm was established in 1898 by J. Y. Johnson. It was located alongside the Los Angeles River across from Elysian Park, near the intersection of West Dayton and Avenue 20, later renamed Figueroa and San Fernando Road, respectively. The farm benefited from its proximity to the railroad tracks, where the free-flying pigeons could scavenge for grain that dropped from the railroad cars. The farm's principal product was squab, but it also generated large quantities of fertilizer, which it sold to local orchards and farms.

In February 1914, heavy rains caused the Los Angeles river to flood, and much of the farm was washed away. The Los Angeles Times reported that the loss was valued at $50,000.

Picture Date: between 1907 and 1914. Author: Edw, H. Mitchell.

Three large bird coops covered in pigeons on a pigeon ranch on the Los Angeles River, ca.1900.
Credit: USC Libraries Special Collections. Glass Plate negative.