Want to help solve a mystery? Identify the California landmark in these photos from the 1930s

Unknown oriental gardens 2

My Grammy was quite the shutterbug. And, for the most part, she was really good about organizing her photos chronologically in nice neat photo albums (you know the kind with the thick construction paper pages and photo squares to secure the corners of the photos). In the late 1930s, as a single woman in her 20's she did a few road trips that she documented photographically and then put into a small album that surfaced a few years ago.

Here's where the mystery comes in...

She failed to label one section of photographs in the little album and I have no idea where they were taken.

Here's what I do know:
  • The photos are definitely from one particular road trip.
  • Based on proximity to other labeled photos and the ages of the people in the photos the trip happened around 1937-1939.
  • She took the trip with her widowed father and kid brother. The destination appears to have been Sequoia National Forest based on the photo below (the sign says, "Boundary Sequoia National Forest").

  • The road trip started in Oakland, California. I know from the photo above that they definitely visited the Sequoia National Forest in central California (see the map below) while on the road trip.
  • The Asian gardens in the photographs I've included in this post must have been located somewhere in central or southern-central California.
  • The first photograph (above) looks like the gardens may have been along the coast of California.
  • The sub-tropical plants in the photos of the Asian gardens indicate that the elevation isn't high enough for the climate to get a lot of winter frost and probably not any snow.
Can you help solve the mystery? Does anything in these photographs look familiar?

I would love to know if these gardens still exist, so Hubby and I could take our own road trip to visit them. The statuary in the photographs is amazing. I wonder if any of it still exists.

Unknown oriental gardens 1

Unknown oriental gardens 3

Unknown oriental gardens 4

Unknown oriental gardens 5

Unknown oriental gardens 6
Look at the elephant statuary crossing the bridge (below)
Unknown oriental gardens 7

Unknown oriental gardens 8

Unknown oriental gardens 9
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  1. I believe they come from the Bernheimer oriental Gardens Palisadee.. Tpe it in your search bar and there is a picture of the guy riding the oxen.. Hope this helps.. I love a mystery. Hope this helps

    I try to mark my pictures so I know who it is or where.. I have so many old family photos and we have no idea who they are or what year.

  2. Ding ding ding!!!! I think Elaine solved the mystery! I'm looking at an old photo of the elephants crossing the water and it's identified as being at Bernheimer Oriental Gardens! Hooray!!!!!

    Cindy at Rosehaven Cottage

  3. I love that you're doing this :) I think it keeps Grammy alive(not that I figure she's that far off with so many of us to look out for). Sad that this place is no longer around but lovely that she documented it so beautifully so we can still enjoy it.

  4. That is so cool, love that someone could help you out that quickly.

    Jen @ Muddy Boot Dreams


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