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Activating The Henry Ford Archive of Innovation

"Liberty Island" Snow Globe

Liberty Island Snow Globe, circa 1995 / THF175423

Mass-produced plastic snow globes (also known as snowdomes) are resonant and enduring objects of American culture. They have been sold as souvenirs and collectibles since the 1950s, but their story is nearly 150 years old.

Water-filled glass snow globes were first introduced at the Paris Universal Exposition of 1878. By 1879, there were at least five companies producing and selling snow globes throughout Europe.

In the early 1920s, snow globes were introduced in the United States, where they became popular collectors’ items. An American, Joseph Garaja, of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, revolutionized the snow globe industry with a new method of assembly, patented in 1929. Hollywood films launched the mass popularity of snow globes, beginning with "Kitty Foyle: The Natural History of a Woman" (1940) and "Citizen Kane" (1941).

Snow Globes Gif

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Julia Child profoundly transformed American cuisine and food culture. Equally distinct as her voice and infectious personality, her legacy continues to inspire chefs of all levels.

In tandem with our limited-time exhibition at Henry Ford Museum of Innovation, Julia Child: A Recipe for Life, Plum Market Kitchen will serve Julia Child-inspired recipes and dishes through September.

Below are five recipes prepared by our talented team of in-house chefs that you can craft at home alongside family and friends.

Looking for other ways to expand your culinary knowledge? Learn more about our “Mastering the Art of Julia Child” programming series.

Tomato Provençal


  • 4 slices rustic French bread
  • ½ bunch fresh parsley
  • ¼ pound fresh basil
  • ¼ pound fresh rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon chopped or sliced garlic
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 12-15 ripe tomatoes
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 325 F.
  2. Lightly toast or dry out the bread slices.
  3. Add the bread, parsley, basil, rosemary and garlic to a food processor and pulse until the mixture is finely chopped and minced together. Add olive oil for moisture as needed.
  4. Cut tomatoes in half on a baking sheet and cover with the bread and herb mixture.
  5. Bake for 20-30 minutes until the topping is golden brown and the tomatoes have softened.
  6. Serve as a side dish with nearly any recipe.



  • 1 eggplant, diced in large chunks
  • 2 zucchinis, diced in large chunks
  • 2 yellow squash, diced in large chunks
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • Olive oil to taste
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
  • ¼ pound fresh basil, thinly sliced
  • 1 large can diced tomatoes
  • Optional: breadcrumbs for topping
  • Optional: Parmesan cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
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What We Wore: Shoes Exhibition Case

From practical footwear to eye-catching fashion statements, Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation’s current What We Wore exhibit is all about shoes. On display are 30 pairs of men’s, women’s and children’s shoes dating from the 1780s to the 2000s.

Each pair offers a bit of footwear history — and, for some perhaps, a familiar style once found in their own closet!

Shoes will be on display until May 24. Here’s a peek at a few examples.

Men's Boudoir Slippers, 1855-1860

Men’s Boudoir Slippers, 1855-1860 / THF31115

Men's embroidered slippers were very popular in the mid-1800s. Ladies magazines often included embroidery patterns for house slippers that a woman might make for her husband as a gift.

Men's Wingtip Shoes, 1945-1955

Men’s Wingtip Oxfords, 1945-1955, Gift of Richard Glenn / THF370088 

The low-sided oxford came into fashion for men’s footwear in the 1910s, along with wingtips (a toe cap in the shape of a bird’s wing embellished with a perforated pattern). White shoes were for summer.

Reebok Pump AXT Cross-Training Shoes, circa 1990

Reebok Pump AXT Cross-Training Shoes, circa 1990 / THF370066

In the 1970s, athletic shoes became big business as the popularity of running and more relaxed dress codes in workplaces and schools led to a boom in the market. Manufacturers developed high-tech features designed for more support and stability. Reebok introduced the Reebok Pump in 1990, a shoe that used inflatable chambers that pumped-up for a custom fit.

Women's Shoes, 1785-1789

Women’s Shoes, 1785-1789, Gift of American Textile History Museum / THF370062 

Before shoemaking became a mechanized industry in the mid-1800s, shoes were made by hand. Amos Boardman created these silk shoes — undoubtedly for a prosperous client— in one of the many small shoemaking home-shops that flourished in late 1700s New England.

Women's Boots, Used by Anna D. Larkin, 1867

Women's Boots, 1867, Gift of Cora D. Maggini, Worn by Angeline (Anna) Duckworth when she married Rufus Larkin in Posey County, Indiana, in September 1867 / THF158262 

Sandals from ancient Greece or Rome inspired these 1860s shoes — footwear designed to reveal pretty-colored silk stockings beneath!

Women's Platform Shoes, 1945-1950

Women’s Platform Shoes, 1945-1950, Gift of American Textile History Museum, Donated to ATHM by Sharon and Phil Ferraguto / THF370078

Introduced in the late 1930s, platform shoes remained popular through the 1940s. These eye-catching examples sport cherry red, ivory and gray reptile leather.

Glitter Jelly Sandals, circa 1990

Women’s Glitter Jelly Sandals, circa 1990 / THF172055

Jelly shoes were a favorite among young women in the 1980s and 1990s. Made of PVC plastic, the shoes came in a rainbow of colors. Sandals were the most popular.

Girls' Slippers, circa 1850

Girls’ Slippers, circa 1850 / THF156007

In the mid-1800s, girls wore slippers with ribbon ties for formal occasions. For everyday? Low boots.

Boys' Boots, circa 1865

Boys’ Boots, circa 1865 / THF156008

Children’s clothing has increasingly included images that have appeal for a child. These are an early example — Civil War-era boots with a figure of a dashing Zouave soldier.

Saddle Oxfords, 1955-1965

Saddle Oxfords, 1955-1965, Gift of Randolph C. and Nancy M. Carey / THF78930

The saddle shoe, with its contrasting color leather “saddle,” is a style icon. Worn by uniformed schoolkids since the 1930s and by “bobby soxer” teens in the 1940s and 1950s, the saddle shoe has an enduring link to youth culture.

Jeanine Head Miller is curator of domestic life at The Henry Ford.

What We Wore, Henry Ford Museum, fashion, by Jeanine Head Miller, 20th century

Staff member riding the Evo electric zero-turning riding mower.

The Henry Ford has a grounds crew that works year-round to keep the expansive lawns in tip-top condition. Green practices have driven much of the care from the beginning. The millponds in Liberty Craftworks and behind A Taste of History are all part of a natural water filtration system that allows residue to settle out of rainwater runoff before it enters the Rouge River. That’s just one part of water management at The Henry Ford, however, because that water is also reused to irrigate the lawns.

The irrigation system keeps the yards lush. Thus, mowing consumes many an hour in the grounds crew’s schedule. A grant from the Aptiv Foundation Inc. funded purchase of a new Evo electric zero-turn riding mower. The 74-inch width means the grounds crew can cut more grass in a day (and the battery will power up to 8 hours of work on a single charge).

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lawn care, nature, Greenfield Village, by Debra A. Reid, #Behind The Scenes @ The Henry Ford


On Aug. 23, 2022, Trey Mendez had his first crossword puzzle published in The New York Times. Like many creative types, crossword constructors — cruciverbalists, if you’re feeling dapper and Latinate — tend toward the autobiographical, and the theme of Mendez’s puzzle was no exception.

As a self-described “New Yorker with a mailing address in California who currently lives in Zagreb, Croatia,” his puzzle’s long, marquee answers were phrases about air travel whose first and last two letters were state abbreviations, as though the answers were linking those two states in flight. FLYING TIME, which starts with Florida and ends with Maine, thus was clued as “Duration of air travel from Miami to Bangor?”; VAPOR TRAIL as “What follows a plane going from Richmond to Chicago?”; and so on, out toward the horizon.

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The Henry Ford’s radio collections hold a variety of strange-looking objects, many with hidden purposes, including a radio receiver that was used during “space” travelers Jeannette and Jean Piccard’s stratospheric balloon ascension near The Henry Ford in 1934. Photo by Trevor Naud  THF155560

In my own collection as The Henry Ford’s curator of communications and information technology, there are many objects with lively backstories. The radio collections alone are rife with curiosities: a WWI-era field radio used in a 1924 experiment to “listen” to Mars. Another radio shares similarities with the 1901 Sweepstakes race car — a 1905 Telimco radio created by the eccentric science fiction publisher Hugo Gernsback was once believed to be a replica but is now understood to be an original. Espionage radios too: a muddy-looking lump of clay with a secret homing beacon inside that is meant to look like tiger scat or “dog doo.”

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T-1151 Doo Radio Transmitters, circa 1970. Photo by Trevor Naud / THF189735

These joke shop antics may seem humorous but quickly reveal an ominous angle as further research determined that these transmitters were used for reconnaissance by the CIA during the Vietnam War.

This post was adapted from an article written by Kristen Gallerneaux, curator of communication & information technology with photos by Trevor Naud, in the Winter-Spring 2023 issue of The Henry Ford Magazine.
In the interview that follows, Kristen Gallerneaux, curator of communication and information technology speaks with curator of agriculture and the environment Debra Reid about some of the stories concerning past uses of these sites. Beyond three-dimensional artifacts at The Henry Ford, there are intriguing narratives that can be divined from the very landscapes on which our campus sits — from Oakwood Boulevard to the Ford Rouge Factory Tour. 

Jim Johnson, director of Greenfield Village and curator of historic structures and landscapes, and Debra Reid, curator of agriculture and the environment, stand in the shadow of Greenfield Village’s oldest tree, an Eastern white oak that took root over 400 years ago. The two are committed to understanding more — and discovering things anew — about the land that The Henry Ford has called home for almost 100 years. 

Kristen- As a 94-year-old institution, we have occupied this site for almost a century. But I’ve always been interested in finding ways to be more inclusive of stories about prior uses and past occupants too, especially knowing that the River Rouge oxbow flows through the back of Greenfield Village. This river was an important trade and industry route as well as an important resource for the Indigenous people who used this land before us. How do we “read” storied environments like these to understand them better today? 

Debra- Downriver from our main campus, we have the Ford Rouge Factory Tour. That site is sometimes described as being an unused “wasteland” before it was developed for the original industrial complex. But there were Indigenous people living in the eluvial bottoms who were foraging in those rich areas — and later, French-owned ribbon farms, general and market garden farms.

In my research with French records and plat maps, there is strong evidence of complex history in the area surrounding what later became the Rouge plant. By 1915 and 1917, plat maps show who owned the land, and in Henry Ford’s correspondence, we can see how he systematically began to purchase land in this area. Eventually, 1,500 acres were identified for the Rouge plant’s site. You can extrapolate interesting histories from what happens along the Rouge River, and there is much more research needed. 

Kristen- There have been so many fascinating stories connected to waterways in the metro Detroit area and across the border into Canada. But the presence of Indigenous people that preceded and coexisted in this area, alongside the founding of Detroit, has often been washed away by the dominating spotlight of industrial histories.

Debra- And also “washed away” in the sense that when industrialists acquire 1,500 acres on a river, what disappears because of that? There were also ancient mounds and sand dunes near Zug Island, which were taken down by a glass factory across the river in Delray. The sands from mounds became the raw product for the glass plant. [Editor’s note: Zug Island sits at the confluence of the Detroit River and the mouth of the Rouge River. Before European arrival, it was an ancient burial ground but was heavily industrialized in the 1890s.] Their archeological remains were disseminated.

So, if we think of industrial destruction of evidence of Indigenous presence as a typical approach for the time and we head back upriver to the Rouge plant, what, if anything, remained of an archeological record when construction began there? Images show how soil was removed down to the bedrock to put in pilings, which obliterated the archaeological evidence. But even before Ford, in 1889, the Detroit International Exposition & Fair was held not far from this site, which I discovered while researching the Detroit Central Market. There is an article that shows our market building, and it also mentions leveling mounds in preparation for the fair.

On streets not far from The Henry Ford’s campus, enormous piles of buffalo bones once sat in the late 19th century, waiting to be rendered down for use in a wide range of consumer products. / From The Burton Historical Collection, Detroit Public Library

Kristen- I know of a street in Delray called Carbon Street and once found an incredible image from the late 19th century of men standing on that street on top of enormous piles of buffalo bones that were going to be rendered down for things like pigments. Once you see these images, it’s hard to forget them.

Debra- Yes! And those bones were charred — basically obliterated — and found their way into a wide range of consumer products. The buffalo were annihilated on the U.S. Plains after European arrival, and the bones of bison were shipped to places like Detroit. This was a huge stove-making city, and the blacking made from the bones was used to keep stoves black. Pharmaceutical industries also used the bones, and they were processed into bone meal fertilizer and other agricultural byproducts. So the material rendered from the bones in that image impacts farming, consumerism, medicine...

Kristen- was even used as pigment in “bone black” printing ink. Which means that people were literally receiving information and viewing printed images by “reading” buffalo byproducts. The onion layers of history keep opening. It can get quite overwhelming if you think about it too much. 

This post was adapted from an article in the Winter-Spring 2023 issue of The Henry Ford Magazine.

At The Henry Ford, we often undertake detective work within our own collections as we seek to deepen our knowledge of objects, their contexts, and reevaluate their histories. Sometimes our investigations leave us with more questions than when we started. But with object-based research, there are very rare and special “eureka” moments that can simultaneously reveal an answer and unsettle everything we thought was true.

A perfect example came with the reevaluation of Henry Ford’s first race car, the Sweepstakes, which is celebrated for its win at a Grosse Pointe, Michigan, racing event held on Oct. 10, 1901. This victory in turn revived Henry Ford’s credibility as a businessman and helped secure the funding that eventually led to the founding of Ford Motor Company in 1903.

In the interview below, Matt Anderson, curator of transportation, speaks with Kristen Gallerneaux, curator of communications and information technology, about how the discovery of a "replica-turned-real" was made.

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Artist Lillian Schwartz produced cutting-edge films, videos and multimedia works, including the print Boulez Conducting / THF188554

Member Preview: March 24, 2023
Open to Public: March 25-Jan. 1, 2024

Spring 2023 marks the debut of a new collections gallery in Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation. You can find it behind the Heroes of the Sky exhibit and by the new permanent exhibit, Miniature Moments: A Journey Through Hallmark® Keepsake Ornaments (see story on Page 64). The Henry Ford’s Lillian Schwartz collection is the first to be exhibited in the new space, which is set to host temporary exhibitions of significant collections going forward.

A donation from the Schwartz family in 2020, the material acquired from multimedia artist Lillian Schwartz’s body of work includes thousands of objects, from films and videos to 2D artwork, sculptures, personal papers, computer hardware and film editing equipment.

The approximately 1,800-square-foot gallery will be split into three sections for the Schwartz exhibition, expounding on three core themes, from the artist’s transition from childhood to adulthood, her introduction to the Bell Laboratories in the late ‘60s through early ‘70s and her penchant for pushing the media she worked with to its limits. Expect to see a newly restored kinetic sculpture, Proxima Centauri, that has not been on exhibit in a museum in decades, along with rarely shown mixed-media works, Schwartz’s early films and a humorous series about early internet web searches, among many other artifacts.

This post was adapted from an article in the Winter-Spring 2023 issue of The Henry Ford Magazine. More about The Henry Ford’s acquisition of works from groundbreaking multimedia artist Lillian Schwartz in the January-May 2022 issue of The Henry Ford Magazine.

Citizen Preservationalist
Photo courtesy of Bobby Green

The City of the Future. Los Angeles wore the label for most of the 20th century. The moniker implied an optimistic destiny for a city whose status as a world capital was predicated on the automobile.

With this mentality came developers whose regard for the past was nonexistent. At the century’s halfway mark, awareness of the slow disappearance of the city’s past was still to be realized. Los Angeles, at this point, was still focused on the future, and the building boom was unabated.

The preservation of America’s past has a legacy of being an uphill battle for many urban areas in all 50 states. For those cities that have formalized preservation organizations, the work is ongoing, with successes tempered by the destruction of the large and small. The Los Angeles Conservancy has been at the vanguard of preservation efforts in the LA area for over 40 years. Its ModCom Committee was an indication of the strength of a new generation of citizen preservationists who sought out and identified nontraditional buildings for preserving and designating as landmarks. Among the structures that were the object of their focus were midcentury residential and commercial structures. But they were also seeking the under-the radar movements such as the diminishing Googie style with its striking coffee shops, bowling alleys, car washes, motels and gas stations — objects that Los Angeles was noted for. These atypical architectural forms rarely caught the eye of mainstream preservation efforts until renewed interest in this area of study was launched by the 1972 publication of Robert Venturi, Denise Scott Brown and Steven Izenour’s Learning from Las Vegas. Their observations-initiated books and essays that revealed the built environment, including the roadside, and their anonymous creators. Books by John Margolies, John Baeder, Richard Gutman, and my own publication, California Crazy, sparked intensive research and sent many nascent preservationists throughout cities, suburbs and remotely traveled roads, investigating and identifying the postwar and oddball remains of a recent past.

Enter one Bobby Green, a Southern California businessman who is helping reverse the unchecked process of eliminating building types that had once been a defining component of LA’s identity. Investing his passion and purse to save and bring back LA’s past, Green’s tale is a preservation success story with a very nontraditional approach — told here through three of his most challenging restored historic properties to date. 

Idle Hour

The first opportunity to save a programmatic landmark and create a successful business came to Green by way of Chris Nichols, editor at Los Angeles Magazine and one of the city’s most knowledgeable historians. Nichols, a seasoned preservation activist, was well aware of the Idle Hour, a massive barrel-shaped building in the flatlands of the San Fernando Valley. Built as a taproom and cafe in 1941 by Michael Connolly, a film technician at Universal Studios, the building slipped into the hands of his wife after a divorce. By 1971, it had been sold to a couple that created a flamenco dinner theater called La Caña that closed in 1984. The building languished for years, its tenuous condition making it ripe for demolition. Nichols took it upon himself to fight to get the building landmarked, which he accomplished in 2010. Green knew of the building since it was in a neighborhood where he had gone to junior high school. Informed by Nichols that the structure would be auctioned, Green made the purchase a reality in 2011. As he stated at the time, “This is the first time we get to restore history.”

Idle Hour 1941
The Idle Hour Cafe was built in the 1940s and lured thirsty patrons with “idle hours” to come and imbibe until the 1960s. / Photo courtesy of 1933 Group

Faced with a landmark that needed a lot of help, the challenge to create not only a viable business but one that honored the architectural integrity of the building proved a daunting task (and one that would ultimately be a $2 million investment). Part of the process was to validate the idea that the remnants of Los Angeles’ past could be preserved and have a successful secondary life. With this in mind, the restoration began. Rather than having to develop a theme as he had done with previous bars (see sidebar on Page 35), the building came with an affixed history. Green did thorough research, digging for every available photo and interviewing all parties associated with the building.

Fortunately, the structure had retained most of its integrity, but the barrel itself had sustained acute rot, prompting the replacement of all the exterior wood. Stained glass windows were restored and hardware matching the original was sourced.

Because the property included room for an outdoor patio, one was erected. As an added bonus, Nichols once again steered Green to a replica of the giant Bulldog Cafe that was housed in the Petersen Automotive Museum. As part of an upgrading, they were eliminating the set piece but were happy to donate it to whomever would take it off their hands. For Green, it was a no-brainer. The dog was disassembled and carted off to Idle Hour’s patio where it was reconstructed and made into a private dining room. Voila! Two programmatic buildings on the same lot.

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The pipe-smoking pup is now a centerpiece of Idle Hour’s outdoor patio that also doubles as a private dining area. / Photo courtesy of William Bradford

Formosa Cafe

The Formosa Cafe was a unique opportunity to rehabilitate and restore a legendary restaurant from Hollywood’s past. Opened in 1939, its proximity to the movie studio across the street made it a convenient watering hole for actors and actresses. It’s smoky atmosphere practically begged gossip scribes to transcribe the goings-on within its Chinese-themed depths, an aesthetic heavily informed by its Hong Kong-born co-owner and longtime chef Lem Quon.

Filmmaker John Waters paid the ultimate compliment to the newly restored Formosa Cafe declaring, “I always thought this is exactly what Hollywood should look like.” / Photo courtesy of William Bradford

Like many fabled places, it was transformed multiple times through the years under the guidance of original owner Jimmy Bernstein, and later with Quon, who became Bernstein’s partner a couple of decades later. By 2011, it was about to be closed, but developers of the property and the adjoining shopping center were enlightened enough to want to save the restaurant from demolition and regain its former status.

The restaurant’s situation had been closely watched by Green, who was among the bidders asking to restore the restaurant. Based on previous work, the 1933 Group received the commission in January 2017. The restoration effort received an additional boost from the LA Conservancy, which encouraged them to apply for the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Partners in Preservation: Main Streets, which awarded them a $150,000 grant.

Tasked with bringing back the Formosa’s glory years, Green envisioned a revival that would eclipse even the best of the restaurant’s former days. This included meticulously restoring the Red Car rail line addition from 1939 that clung to the side of the restaurant. Peeling back the layers of the 1902 streetcar required time-consuming patience and a staff of experts. The retention of the famous celebrity photographs that lined the walls also demanded an intense commitment. All the images were removed, cataloged, restored and rehung exactly where they had been. Contemporary light fixtures were replaced with Chinese lanterns that were not part of the original interior but inspired by the set decorations when the movie L.A. Confidential used the bar for location filming. Artifacts used in the filming of 1937’s The Good Earth were brought from China, used in the movie and sold off. One ornate bar was installed in the Yee Mee Loo restaurant in downtown LA’s Chinatown. Eventually, it ended up in Green’s hands and is now featured in a new section of the Formosa.

Bobby Green committed to not only preserving but celebrating that the Formosa Cafe’s ownership of what is most likely the last surviving 800 series train/trolley car in the world, dating back more than 115 years. He also gave careful consideration to how the cafe would exhibit images and themes about Asians in Hollywood history. / Photo courtesy of 1933 Group

When told that legendary LA gangsters Bugsy Siegel and Mickey Cohen frequented the place and ran a bookmaking racket in a back room, Green responded by featuring a section of the restaurant dedicated to the hoodlums. A bonus was discovered when a submerged drop box for Siegel’s money was found while restoring the floor. The safe is now prominently featured at the foot of one of the booths.

Tail o' The Pup

Veloz and Yolanda, a well-known Hollywood dance team, named their new 1946 investment Tail o’ the Pup in a humorous nod to the nearby fine-dining establishment Tail o’ the Cock. Located curbside on La Cienega Boulevard, the diner received a movie premiere-style opening and never turned back. A stalwart hot dog stand, it served up red hots that “snapped” at that location until the mid-‘80s, when real estate demands forced the new owners to move several blocks away. In 2005, the stand once again faced eviction from developers. The owners closed down and pulled up stakes, transporting the giant wiener to a warehouse. All the while, Green was keeping his eye on the activity and finally made the move to buy the stand and all of the rights to the name in 2018.

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Previously hidden away in a storage facility waiting to be saved, the refurbished structure now serves its dogs (aka pups), burgers, fries and milkshakes in style at its new location on Santa Monica Boulevard. / Photo courtesy of 1933 Group

Then began the hard work. The structure was moved to the 1933 Group’s Burbank warehouse where restoration progressed for two years. To accommodate his vision, they had to update virtually every surface while still maintaining the original structure. There was no rush because a location for the Pup was pending. The dog was taken apart and its metal midsection reinforced from the inside. The wood frame and stucco ends of the bun and wiener were refurbished. The door of the hot dog also served as its awning and when opened had to be manually operated. Knowing its weight would be a problem, Green stepped in and devised a motorized apparatus that now opens the door with a flick of a switch. He calls this “common sense engineering,” born from his experience owning his own automotive speed shop.

When a location was finally found on Santa Monica Boulevard, only blocks from its original placement, the fact that it was part of Route 66 only added to its roadside credentials. Facing the street, the Pup is a stand-alone structure on a plot that housed a former restaurant. Prior to that, it was the 1972 studio for the rock band The Doors, who recorded their final album there.

Bobby Green purchased the rights to the Tail o’ The Pup moniker and promised to restore Hollywood’s favorite hot dog stand to look and function the way it did for some 60 years prior. / Photo courtesy of 1933 Group

This area was converted to a full-scale kitchen and indoor dining area with a second-story patio. With its complex complete, Tail o’ The Pup was back in service in pristine condition. Another Los Angeles icon saved and ready to serve.

This post was adapted from an article written by Jim Heimann in the Winter-Spring 2023 issue of The Henry Ford Magazine.