Friday, March 07, 2008

Souvenir Friday- Leather Coin Purse and Esther Update

One of two different leather coin purses I own that were made in Germany. I believe this purse was made around 1959 to coincide with the opening of the Matterhorn attraction. The leather is hand dyed and tooled and the image does not do justice the fine work and pastel colors for this purse. An unusual souvenir that did not last long, although the plate with the same artwork is relatively easy to find.

And thanks to Chris from O.C. History Roundup here is a little bit of more information on Esther.

Esther F. was born on Nov. 20, 1908 and grew up on her family’s farm in Willow Springs, Kansas. She came to Southern California in about 1936. Sometime during or soon after WWII, she married Loren S., a carpenter from Los Angeles. They made their home just north of Echo Park.

Loren was born in Oregon in 1899, but later came to live in Los Angeles. He spent the war working in Vallejo – probably at the Mare Island shipyard – before returning to L.A.

Sometime between 1948 and 1950, Loren and Esther moved down to Garden Grove, where they would live for the rest of their lives.

I have a document that shows that Loren worked for “O’Neil Construction,” but I think that may be an error. The scrapbook’s 1954 photo of the castle under construction suggests that Loren actually worked for McNeil (rather than O’Neil) Construction Co., which had the contract to build Disneyland.

Obviously, Esther later worked at Disneyland herself, (from at least 1958 until at least 1960,) but it seems that most of her married life was spent as a homemaker.

Loren died at home at age 82, in Oct. 1981. Esther followed, the day after her 81st birthday, in 1989. They are both buried at Westminster Memorial Park in Westminster, California.

- Chris Jepsen, local historian

Here is a photo from McNeil Construction company, who had the contract to build Disneyland.

Thanks Chris for the information. And the McNeil Construction photo is from the Anaheim Public Library.


Jason Schultz said...

And here I thought finding out her last name yesterday was revelatory. :) Good to know some of her history... thanks Chris!

Thufer said...

thanks, that means a lot (somehow) to know a little of ester.

Major Pepperidge said...

That little coin purse is super nice! It looks brand new.

It's interesting that Esther's husband was probably involved in the construction of Disneyland, it makes he ties to the park even deeper!

The Viewliner Limited said...

Awesome information. True Disneyland history. Thanks Matterhorn. P.S. great souvenir purse.

Chris Jepsen said...

You're quite welcome. Thanks for sharing it all with us in the first place, Matterhorn.

I was as curious about Esther as everyone else, so I put my research know-how to work, and the story slowly unfolded.

I left out a few personal details and the last names, not wanting to annoy any living family members. Also, I didn't think those details were important to understanding Esther and where this scrapbook came from.

outsidetheberm said...

Nice work, guys! Quite impressive. It's always great to have the details.

And here's an unexpected TGIF freebie: we posted something new today! Take a look if you liked the old Movieworld Museum in Buena Park.