After the publication of Woody Guthrie in L.A. in 2017, I wasn’t sure what I would research for my next book. But one day I had a call from the California New Car Dealers Association. They had discovered boxes full of old documents that they were going to discard. What I found were the original minutes of the Motor Car Dealers’ Association of Los Angeles from 1905 to 1920. I decided to use these documents as the starting point for research on a new book that will appear in 2023, The Driving Force: How Los Angeles Put People in Cars and Cars on the Road.
Some of the local historical groups got wind of the book and have asked me to speak. This Saturday I am presenting at the historic Bolton Hall located near the Los Angeles River in the beautiful foothill town of Tujunga, which was the scene of the deadly New Years’ Flood of 1934.
After I finish my talk with a few references to the dealership I run, Felix Chevrolet— the 101-year-old Chevy store with the giant Felix the Cat sign on the roof– I will take out my guitar and do one of the songs from my first album, “Don’t Touch My Chevy”. Then I will finish up with my version of Woody Guthrie’s song about the New Years’ Flood. If you cannot visit Tujunga on Saturday but would like to hear the Chevy song, check out the website for Felix Chevrolet. For the Flood song, click on the video featured on my music website.
History of Car Dealerships in Los Angeles
Darryl Holter talks about his new book at the historic Bolton Hall Museum, followed by performances of his songs, “Don’t Touch My Chevy” and, as a special feature for the Tujunga historical group, the Guthrie song, “The LA New Years’ Flood”.
Felix the Cat and Felix Chevrolet grew up together in Los Angeles. The histories of the Cat and the Auto Dealership are inextricably intertwined. The cartoon character, designed by Pat Sullivan, originated in 1919. Winslow B. Felix established Felix Chevrolet in 1921.
But… the history of car dealerships in Los Angeles goes back twenty more years, to the turn of the century, with the names of car makers you may have never heard of before. All were vying for sales in the Los Angeles area.
The speaker for this program is Darryl Holter. Mr. Holter holds a PhD in History from the University of Wisconsin and has taught management and history at UCLA. Mr. Holter left his teaching career in 1995 to assist his father-in-law, Nick Shammas with his auto dealerships. In 1998, Mr. Holter founded the Figueroa Corridor Business Improvement District. He is an Adjunct Professor of History at USC and is currently writing a book on the history of car dealerships on Los Angeles. Mr. Holter will also perform a couple songs following this very interesting program.
Saturday, June 11th, 2022
Bolton Hall Museum
10110 Commerce Avenue in Tujunga
Parking available uphill at the Elks Lodge
Everyone is Welcome
Suggested Donation: $3 per person
More information: https://boltonhall.org/index_files/Page476.htm