Two
necessary components remained crucially relevant for creating a cohesive
understanding of the Ford Factory building on 777 S Santa Fe – a Sanborn
Insurance Company map and an article from the historic LA Times. Locating both
components placed large amounts of tension on me, but ultimately taught me the necessary
skills involved in gathering historic context on my property.

While
in pursuit of locating my site, a multitude of problems occurred as I tried to
locate the exact site from the Sanborn Insurance Co. maps. When I accessed their
digital library, there remained to be dozens of maps to browse through with
multiple volumes and time periods. Many of the maps either left out street
names or had appeared in a backward orientation. The original designated number
pertaining to my section of the key map would not appear on the detailed map.
The site seemed archaic and had been difficult to navigate. The problem remained
that my parcel kept on being cut-off and not included. The order map happened
to not be sequential because as I arrived within close proximity to my site,
the following map would jump to a different section of Los Angeles. I then
changed the library to show me results from 1906-1955 volume two, instead of
1880 volume two. After an endless struggle, I finally understood how to interpret
the maps; on the very map, it gives you the designated number in the perimeter of
the map that corresponds to which map will include your exact site, which then
led me directly to my site.

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When
discovering the Ford Factory building on the Sanborn map, it remained as a long,
rectangular structure that spanned the length of the entire block. Its
surrounding streets still existed as Santa Fe Avenue, E 7th Street,
and Violet Street. There happens to still be a narrow unnamed street running next
to the factory’s long side which stands parallel to Santa Fe Avenue. On the
structure, many markings had been made. It exposed the structure’s entrances,
exits, stairs, and walls.

When
I browsed for a sufficient article, I ran a detailed search and it presented me
with hundreds of articles. I scanned through all of the articles from the first
page and had no luck. I then created a sequence where I would check the first
and last articles from each page. Furthermore, my site happened to be one of the
many Ford factories. This added a layer of difficulty because I had to verify
that the article had been referring to the factory in Santa Fe and not Detroit,
Michigan. An hour later, I changed the search from “Ford Factory Los Angeles
Santa Fe” to “Ford Factory building Santa Fe” and then found my article as the
first result.

Even
though it nearly took me three hours to locate the site and an hour to find the
article, never giving up remained as a crucial lesson I took away from this
assignment. If one cannot successfully gather the historical contexts necessary
on their site, they will be disadvantaged and have no knowledge as to why the
property and its surroundings look the way it does today.