Local Twins Compile New Book “Early Burbank”

By On April 8, 2014

For a stroll back in time, pick up a copy of Early Burbank.

Identical twins, Jamie, left, and Erin Schonauer, have compiled almost 200 historical photographs for their book "Early Burbank" being released on April 14. (photo courtesy of Jamie and Erin Schonauer)

Identical twins, Jamie, left, and Erin Schonauer, have compiled almost 200 historical photographs for their book “Early Burbank” being released on April 14. (photo courtesy of Jamie and Erin Schonauer)

There are great historic photographs, such as the first brick building in town, as well as shots of San Fernando Boulevard — one taken in 1913 with horse-drawn wagons along the road and another in 1928 with Ford Model Ts. In the “Media Moves In” chapter, there are photos of Walt Disney discussing plans to build Disneyland and Dan Rowan and Dick Martin from “Laugh-In.”

Burbank identical twins Erin and Jamie Schonauer have compiled almost 200 historical photographs into “Early Burbank”, a paperback book that will be released on April 14.

The book was published by Arcadia Publishing, a company that works with individuals, historians and historical societies to publish books that preserve the history of local communities through its Images of America series.

The authors will give a talk about Burbank’s history and sell and sign their book from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m., April 26, at the Buena Vista Library.

The book took more than a year to complete and approximately covers the years from the late 1800s to the 1970s.

The biggest challenge of the book, the authors said, was narrowing down the photos provided by the websites Burbankia and GoDickson.com and organizations like the Burbank Tournament of Roses Assn., Burbank Historical Society and Burbank Aviation Museum and those taken by the authors.

Erin’s favorite photograph is in the Burbank Tournament of Roses Assn. chapter called “In Bloom.” The float that appeared in the 1939 Rose Parade was titled “Tally-Ho of 1889” and it was built by Burbank public school teachers and students.

“It’s a really fun photo,” she said. “It gives the viewer an inside look at how the float turned out.”

Jamie’s favorite can be found in the aviation chapter, “Come Fly With Me.”

“There is a section about the women who worked at Lockheed during World War II,” she said. “One image is of two women in a fuselage using riveting guns. It shows how the women had to step up and take responsibility to build those big aircraft.”

To choose the book’s topics, they were inspired by images on the city seal that connote entertainment, City Hall and aviation. The authors spent time talking to people with ties to the town’s history. One of those was Lansing White, the grandson of Earl L. White, who started the city’s first radio station KELW in 1927. He also developed the Magnolia Park area.

The three most interesting people they interviewed, they said, were Fermer Kellogg, aviation historian Ron Dickson and Erik Andersen, the historian from the Burbank Tournament of Roses.

Jamie found interesting the stories behind each float and how much work went into them.

Longtime resident Kellogg gave the authors a nice image of Empire China Factory.

“He had wonderful insight into how Burbank was back in the 1920s and about how his father worked at the Empire China Company,” Erin said. “They made china dishes, pitchers and dinnerware.”

Lockheed pilots would often use the seven large kilns as landmarks to locate the runway and sometimes when the planes flew low, the vibration would cause the china to rattle and break, Jamie said.

Ron Dickson provided photos taken in the 1930s of early air racers James Wedell and Roscoe Turner at United Airport, which became Union Air Terminal and then Lockheed Air Terminal.

They plan to continue writing books in the genres of history as well as children’s books.

They grew up in suburbs of Chicago and they decided to become a writing team as a career in grad school at San Francisco State University. They have lived in Burbank for eight years.

The books will be available at arcadiapublishing.com and local retailers.