I just couldn’t help myself from wanting to know more about the photos and menu when I saw them tucked into the book.  The items are: a Red Sails Inn menu, photos of the outside and inside of the Red Sails Inn, and newspaper clippings about the book.

I had heard of the book before and when I read my great grandmother, Maude Rury’s obituary, it provided the details of it (see my post and then there’s Maude).  My aunt let me borrow the 1936 book, The Tuna Industry of San Diego, and while it is not a topic I would choose, it is a book that my great grandmother was involved in so it piqued my interest.

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The newspaper clippings, though no source is noted, are about the book & a similar WPA project (see the further readings below).  However it is not obvious to me why the menu and photos have been kept.  The restaurant serves sea food and specifically tuna but it seems there must have been more reason to have kept these 8 x 10 photos.

The Red Sails Inn menu says the owner is Joseph Y Viery and gives the address as 654 Harbor St. Foot of G. St. San Diego.  It’s clear that they served breakfast as well as lunch and dinner.  The most expensive item is the top sirloin steak for 60 cents.

When I did a quick search, I found on the Red Sails Inn website that “the original Red Sails Inn was founded in 1935 by Joe Viery on the old Fisherman’s Wharf at the foot of Market Street, near G Street.”  The website also has a photo of the restaurant that is very similar to one we have.

In the 1930 census living in Eden, Alameda County, California there was a Joseph Y Viery who was born in Azores Islands, Portugal.  He is buried in Livermore, California in the St. Michael’s Cemetery and based on the death index he died in December 1952.

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The photo of the outside of the restaurant has the Bell System logo, on the right edge of the building, showing the name “Southern California Telephone Company” and according to the Early Los Angeles Telephone Service website: “…the Pacific Telephone and Telegraph Company took over the operations of the So. Cal Telco in 1947.”  I found a website that shows the history of the Bell System logos and the one in the photo at Red Sails Inn was in use from 1921-1939.  This photo also has an old car but I’m not good at dating cars though this seems to be from the 1930’s time frame.  I’m wondering if this photo was taken near the time when the restaurant opened in 1935, which would have been the year before Maude’s book was published.

The other photo is of the inside of the Red Sails Inn and on the back of it, probably written in my great grandmother’s handwriting, it says:

Red Sales In. ft. G_ St_

Mr. Jos. Y. Viery


Additionally, in the upper right hand there is a number 4 with a circle around it.  Possibly an indicator that there were others in a series.

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This photo shows flowers on the counters that appear to be like those at a funeral and I wonder if this photo was taken in 1952 after Joseph Viery, the proprietor died.  There are no people, no dishes or prepared food in the photo.  The clock indicates it is 2:20 and I would say that is in the afternoon based on the amount of light visible through the windows.  The name of the restaurant is visible in the decor so we know this is the Red Sails Inn.  We can see that they sold cigars, beer (Rainier & Pabst), wines (Hungarian Tokay), Chase & Sanborn coffee, ice cream (and a mixer for shakes or malts) and Hershey’s bars, which match the menu.   In the lower left hand corner it says “Photo, The Sensor Studios, San Diego, Calif”, which I found listed as a photographer in a book called The High Seas Tuna Fishery.  That photo shown in that book is very similar to a photo in my great grandmother’s book but none of the photos in her book provide a source.

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I haven’t done a thorough job researching this but I think I’ve done enough to satisfy my initial curiosity.  Perhaps my great grandmother simply acquired these photos and menu of the Red Sails Inn due to her involvement in writing the book or maybe Mr. Viery is mentioned in the book (though I haven’t found that yet) or perhaps she and Mr. Viery were friends.  Maybe these were simply items that Maude collected for the library displays.  Whatever the case, I think these items are interesting and certainly might be more so for the Viery family.  I’ll probably never know why my great grandmother tucked them into this book.

Now I’m trying to decide if I want to thoroughly read this book.

Further Readings:

Click to read

Booklet of 2 newspaper clippings on tuna industry displays at the library, which were arranged by Maude Rury.

Click to read

Click to read