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Joe Hinojos

photographer, writer


Joe Hinojos is a photographer and writer with a tremendous body of work, including a portion of Sierra Madre's history.  Joe took many Sierra Madre photos in the late 40s and early 50s.  Joe's photos have been published nationwide, including a battlefield picture used during World War II for American Legion recruiting posters.  More than 40,000 of those posters were distributed nationwide.  Joe has photographed celebrities, regular folk, wars, and events, both national and local.  I was lucky enough to spend a few hours with Joe in October, 2002, and discuss some of Sierra Madre's history, as well as some of his experiences throughout his career.  Joe and I are working on a screensaver of his work, which will be available soon.  He will also be sending me a short biographical summary, which I will post here, and we will be adding to the library of photos that you see below.  We'll keep you posted on that.  The photo at left is of Bill Newberry, Joe in the middle, and Bud Switzer, Sierra Madre friends from the 40s.  The photo at right is of Joe with News Net publisher Bill Coburn, and was taken by Bud Switzer.  We hope you enjoy these photos below, taken by "One-Shot" Joe Hinojos.


Joe Hinojos moved to Sierra Madre in 1920, and attended Sierra Madre Elementary School, except for four months when he attended St. Rita's School where he and Bob Mitchell, later of the world famous Bob Mitchell Boys Choir, appeared in a Christmas extravaganza.  He lived at only two locations in Sierra Madre, including a boyhood home on Grove Street.  Joe is a photographer and writer, and served a stint in World War II, starting in the infantry and working up to an important spot in an Army camp newspaper.  One of his action shots was used nationwide as a recruiting poster by the American Legion, and Joe was the photographer that Gen. "Vinegar" Joe Stilwell (while Stilwell was in command of the 7th Division of Fort Ord) personally placed on the staff of the Fort Ord Panorama on the advice of a junior officer who was well aware of Joe's photographic abilities.   The General was highly pleased when he received the photos that Sgt. Hinojos had taken of the General's daughter Winifred's wedding that he had missed, for he was at this time somewhere on the Burma Road.  Hinojos received a letter in longhand of thanks from the General  which you can find below.  Joe came back to Sierra Madre after the war, and lived here until 1972 when he and the family moved to Leona Valley, CA.  He currently resides in Saugus.  Joe was the "unofficial" town photographer throughout the late 40s, 50s, 60s, and the early part of the 1970s.


Joe will be riding with his old friend Bob Mitchell in the Pioneer Days entry in the 4th of July parade, after which he will be stationed in Memorial Park by the Pioneer Days booth, where he will reminisce about Sierra Madre as far back as 1920.  You can read more about that here.


Joe appeared with old friend Bob Mitchell at the Kiwanis luncheon, click here for photos and video from that luncheon.  At the luncheon, Joe gave me some more photos, which I will be adding to this page shortly.


Bob Mitchell on piano, leader of the Mitchell Boys Choir which appeared in more than 100 films.  This photo was taken at Alverno.  Bob appeared on stage at St. Rita's with Joe in 1922.  Bob was recently honored on his 90th birthday with a party at the Palace in LA.  See above for a link to more of Bob and Joe

Starlet Chilly Williams.  Hinojos tells me that Miss Williams appeared in Life's 50th anniversary issue, in a polka dot dress, and "that picture wasn't as good as this one"

Joe took this photo of a drawing by renowned local artist Alfred Dewey.  That's Dewey on the right, who did a self portrait, adding a mustache and changing his hair style.  The gentleman on the left was real, but the two in the center did not exist.

WWII Gen. Joseph Stillwell, with whom Joe became good friends, at home.  Note the rip in his pants.  This photo made the cover of the Panorama, a Fort Ord newspaper published weekly, circulation 13,000

A letter Joe received from Gen. Stillwell, thanking him for the work he had done photographing the General's daughter's wedding, which he was unable to attend.

Joe was near tears when discussing Jimmy Durante, whom he called one of the nicest guys you'd ever want to meet.

Another photo of Durante, and that's Joe Hinojos by his side.  Don't know who took this picture, I'll check with Joe next time we chat.

Joe's kindergarten class, circa 1920.  Joe's in the second row, right in front of the teacher.

Final congregation in the old Bethany Church, 1956

For a full size picture, one in which you can make out the facial features of almost all the congregation click here, but know that it's going to be a long load, it's a 2 megabyte file.

For an even closer look at the congregation, look here.  It's a 3.3 megabyte download.  For a closer look at the temple click here, that's a  2.5 megabyte download.

A photo from the old St. Rita's Church in Sierra Madre

Sierra Madre Pioneer Days, 1948


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