A.C. Brown worked as a commercial photographer between the 1950s and 1970s. HSLB has 34,000 4×5 inch negatives made by Brown. HSLB is currently processing park of this collection with support from the Long Beach Navy Memorial Heritage Association.
At the end of World War II, the Navy remained a large local presence, but many facilities were converted to civilian uses. A.C. Brown was there to document the changes. In the harbor, commercial shippers imported goods from around the world and sent domestic products to foreign markets. Commercial airliners landed at the airport more often than fighter planes took off. Wartime prosperity translated into civilian development. Consumers, with savings accumulated during the war, were eager to buy things that had not been available in wartime.
In Long Beach, Brown photographed new suburban housing tracts in Lakewood and Los Altos as well as well as new houses in North and West Long Beach. He also photographed new homes constructed on previous farms and vacant lots. Former soldiers and defense workers moved into these houses and started families during the post-war baby boom. To serve those new households developers constructed grocery stores, pharmacies, furniture stores, and gas stations along with restaurants and specialty shops. At the same time, factories that had been producing war material began making washers, dryers, and televisions; new warehouses and business parks sprang up to house the new activity. All of these developments were photographed by Brown.
Women at Alamitos Beach, c. 1950-1960, 016
The Pacific Coast Club Library, c. 1950-1960, 024
Fiesta in Hinshaw Park, 1972, 727760 4
Beach umbrellas and Shuffleboard at the Pacific Coast Club, c. 1950-1960, 019
Family in 1960 Pontiac Convertible Coupe at drive-thru window, c. 1960, 036
Carousel at The Pike, 571574
Band playing at the Pacific Coast Club, 602998 A
Farmers and Merchants Lakewood branch opening,1966, 655068 A
Long Beach Public Library North Branch, 1962, 004
Women on the beach in front of the Pacific Coast Club, C. 1950-1960, 015
Large machines in factory, C. 1960-1970, 077
Circle Liquor Delicatessen, 1966, 665501 A
Alma at the Fiesta Festival at Hinshaw Park, 1970, 789291
Market and Orange Street intersection, 1962, 006
Circle Drive-in Theatre Marquee, 1958, 001
Catalina Casino in Avalon on Santa Catalina Island, 1955-1965, 005