East of East

East of East: Mapping Community Narratives

A Project of the South El Monte Arts Posse

Albert Locks

Albert Locks has lived in South El Monte all his life. His family moved into South El Monte and what was then Canta Ranas in 1949. His family has moved several times yet he still owns the house he has lived in since birth. Descriptions of the town, his life, what South EL Monte was like in the 1960’s-1970’s. Mention of the Stanley’s who once owned most of the property in the area.

Interview Synopsis: 

0:30 Introduction. Parents had house in South El Monte, then outside city limits. Born in Upland in 1949. House on Durphy. Velma and David Locks from Minnesota/Canada and Oklahoma. They are okies from the Great Depression. Mother was interested in acting, and took a variety of jobs, had beauty shop. Father’s family moved to Azusa in 1924 stayed in boarding house and worked for Getty Oil, became a welder. They met in her beauty salon. Father became pipe welder and helped built Hoover Dam, stayed in company housing. Parents married in 1940, father moved a lot and they went back to Tulsa and other places in Midwest. 

5:25 Moved to EL Monte from Ontario, family member died, and they moved to permanently settle down. In 1949 they moved to El Monte, kept two homes and when they built the Whittier Dam and Egg Lake, everyone had to move. They built a new school in 1955. They bought a house by dam for $500, they bought it and moved to the other house. The original house got larger and they added a new house and other buildings on the lot. They owned a gas station. They leased some of the other land and moved the houses to their current locations. They moved the house 5 miles. Some buildings were sold
Did they live in Canta Ranas? 

10:00 talks about his brothers, went to locals- Temple School (old core of engineers school), Ethel school, talks about the old schools in the system. The Valley Lindo School District. Rosemead High School. (mountain view opened in 1970, and South El Monte in 1982). Built after Whittier earthquake. 

13:00 Going to school and growing up in the down. Still a small town at the time. Hated riding the school bus. Bought 49 Chevy, it was a low rider, got ticket. Talks about car culture, he has a large series of cars. Would go to old Irwindale drag strip. 

17:30 did some sports in high school, a series of different sport, his favorite was wrestling. 

19:25 he was drawn to practical skills and classes, took up welding and metal shop. Had a few part time jobs

21.00 Rio Hondo College, he got certificate and later got certified for welding. Didn’t graduate. He joined the union in 1978 and worked for 28. Worked for LA water District rest of his career. 

23:30 in high school he liked to go to dances. On the music that he liked, beatles etc. 

27:14 father served in World War I, for Canada. Father only had eighth grade education. His brother was higher rank. 

29:00 On his son and his first wife. On how he met his wife, she hosted a party that he went to. 

31:01 story of his neighbors in South El Monte. David Martinez, Lizzy Martinez, and he tells story of various other neighbors. One neighbor had a well known band in the area. Named various other neighbors on each street, talks about which families moved out and which have stayed there over the years. Some of the families have been there since the 1930’s. 

37;00 Description of the street and the area around it., 

39:00 Story of the Stanley’s, who owned all the land at Canta Ranas, and description of the farm operation. 

42:00 the construction of the freeways 

45:00 on the neighborhood, tells story of racing go-carts in the area.

Albert Locks