From the Archives: Evicted families live in car


After World War II, Los Angeles experienced an acute housing shortage. Evictions grew.

This photo accompanied an article in the Aug. 6, 1946, Los Angeles Times that reported:

“If you are tired enough you can sleep anywhere.”

The is the only reason Floyd Heagle, 33, a painting contractor, and seven relatives, including five children from 10 to 1½ years of age, have been able to live in an automobile near one of the city’s parks.

They have been living, or rather existing, in the car for three weeks. And to add to their woes, Heagle’s wife Ruth, 28, was taken to General Hospital Sunday with an undiagnosed illness. For several nights they slept in the park but they were evicted from that, too, when a nearby resident complained to police.


Heagle, his wife, their three children, Geraldine, 10; Floyd Jr., 7½; Adrian, 1½; and his cousin, Mrs. Dorothy Johnson, 28, and her two children, Priscilla, 9, and Jimmy, 2, were evicted from their home in Highland Park district three weeks ago. They had lived there three and a half years. Mrs. Johnson’s husband was reported missing in action during the war.

“I’ve traced down every lead I could for a house,” Heagle said, “but when I get there it’s always gone. It’s incredible but there isn’t a house for us anywhere.”

The two families are staying near Echo Park Lake, where cooking and sanitation facilities are available. The children now can play in the park. But Heagle fears to look ahead to the winter months.

There is no further mention of these families in the Los Angeles Times.

Another photo of the Heagle family is online: Evictees camping out. This photo is in the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner collection at the Los Angeles Public Library. The Herald-Examiner caption reported:

“Mr. and Mrs. Floyd Heagle, children Geraldine and Floyd Jr., camping out in Echo Park on July 24, 1946. They join Los Angeles’ ever-growing legion of those evicted from their homes.

This post was originally published on Oct. 13, 2015.

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