The rubble at BADEA Bahrain

The caption on this slide says "Badea Bahrain 57." I did a brief search and didn't find anything specific about Badea, but Bahrain was involved in World War II on the Allied side so this rubble may be the result of bombing. I really don't know. Hopefully a wiser person will come along to provide the real story.

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Security wait at THE BAHRAIN AIRPORT IN 1957

I'm hoping people know what Bahrain looks like now. A place of insane construction of high rises with tourists and banking their major industry. But once upon a time, back in January 1957, this was the airport. Now I want you to wrap your head around this. For those who never experienced flying when it was still sane; when you were treated special. They were really thrilled to have you on board. You weren't treated like a contagious disease that needed to be turned in all directions and then placed in a hermetically sealed capsule and told to sit down and shut up. Not that I hate flying these days. It's a truly joyful experience and the airlines are bending over backwards to fill your every want and need as they pick your pockets. Snork.

Here we have the Bahrain Airport that Donald G. Schnabel visited. I'm guessing security, passport control, took a few moments and then you too could take a seat in the warm sun and wait for your plane to taxi over. Now I'm not saying the service was great. I doubt there were any little bottles of Scotch on board, fresh meals, warm wash clothes. Nope, I'm guessing the best you might hope for was a box of Chicklets to help your ears make it through take off and landing. But it was far more relaxed. Don't these fellas look relaxed?

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The tides is out or RUN AGROUND IN BAHRAIN

You decide. The caption says "Thornburg Bahrain Feb 57." I'm guessing this is not the boat Donald would be leaving on.

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The caption on this slide is "Thornburg guest house Feb 1957." I don't know what the weather is like in February in Bahrain, especially now with climate change, but if there was a nice breeze coming in off the water this porch could be very nice; just string up a hammock and leave me alone. On the other hand, if it's just a hot desert breeze…no thank you.

You can see the jetty in the background that was featured in this post.

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The GARDENERS at Umm as Sabaan

When Donald G. Schnabel visited Bahrain in February 1957 he visited the island Umm as Sabaan where Max Thornburg and his wife lived. Max was a Middle East specialist and an employee of Standard Oil who had been "given" the island as a gift from the ruler of Bahrain. A nice job perk for sure.

These three fellows were the gardeners on the island. I have no other information. No names are written on the slide other than Thornburg.

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I'm guessing these fellows were in their twenties when this shot was taken which would put them in their late 70s to 80s now. It would be fascinating to find out who they were and how their lives progressed. When Thornburg gave the island back to the royal family, which I'm assuming he eventually did, did these gardeners stay on or move on?

Just another glimpse into someone else's past.


The LITTLE ORANGE TREE in Bahrain in 1957

What can you say about such a tiny tree producing such a big piece of fruit? Is the tree large and thriving today? Does it provide shade and wonderful orange blossom scents? It's the little tree that tried and succeeded and was acknowledged for its effort.



A shot of Donald G. Schnabel on the jetty at Umm as Sabaan in Bahrain, 1957. This is the island that had been given to Max Thornburg.

Lovely water.

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You never know where old photographs will lead. I established yesterday that we were heading to Bahrain with Donald Schnabel in 1957. The only reason I knew this was because Donald had written brief captions on his slides. Along with writing "Bahrain Feb 57" he repeatedly wrote "Thornburg" which meant nothing to me. Within moments of doing a search for "Thornburg Bahrain" I found that Donald was the guest, or at least visited with, Max Thornburg and his wife Leila on their private island, Umm as Sabaan. I have two rather blurred photos from this visit with the Thornburg's.

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Max Thornburg was very involved with the Middle East and helped create some of what the world is having to deal with now. You can't think of those countries without thinking of oil and turmoil. Max Thornburg was involved in both.
Max Weston Thornburg (October 10, 1892 – September 21, 1962) was an American petroleum executive and government adviser. He was a petroleum adviser to the United States Department of State and a senior oil executive for the Standard Oil of California (SOCAL) and California-Texas Oil Company, Ltd. (Caltex) in the Middle East including Bahrain and Iran. He was a special assistant to the Undersecretary of State from 1941 to 1943 during World War II.

Thornburg was born in Long Beach, California to Eva Louise (née Holbrook) and Charles Hix Thornburg. He married Leila Baldwin Berry on March 30, 1918 in Lynchburg, Virginia. Leila's father, Rufus Albert Berry, was in the real estate business and also the postmaster in Berkeley, California.

Thornburg received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, Berkeley in 1917, and then a Bachelor of Science (1921), and a degree in chemical engineering (1933), both from UC Berkeley. He also did post-graduate work at the University of Grenoble in 1919. He served in the United States Army from 1917 to 1920, stationed at Camp Lewis, Washington,[5] and in France. He was discharged with the rank of captain.

In June 1936 the Standard Oil Company of California (SOCAL; later Chevron) and the Texas Corporation (Texaco) formed a new entity called California-Texas Oil Company, Ltd. (CALTEX), to market and distribute the crude oil produced by SOCAL east of the Suez Canal and the refined products produced at their new refinery being built on Bahrain Island. Thornburg was named a vice-president of the new entity, CALTEX. James Andrew Moffett, II., was named the chairman, as well as a director, and Howard M. Herron was president.

In the 1930s, the ruler of Bahrain gave the island of Umm as Sabaan as a gift to Thornburg. Later he was a vice president of Bahrain Petroleum Co., Ltd (BAPCO).

Thornburg was named as a "special consultant on international petroleum matters," by Secretary of State Cordell Hull, in August 1941, to serve under Harold L. Ickes, Secretary of the Interior and defense oil coordinator. Thornburg was to keep Ickes informed of the international aspects and problems of petroleum, which was crucial to the war effort both overseas and domestically to keep supplies flowing.

Thornburg died in Santa Monica, California at age 69. He was survived by his wife, Leila (née Berry) Thornburg (September 21, 1893 – October 13, 1969. They had three children, Roann (1919-1983), Priscilla (1922-1988), and Russell (1927-1989). (SOURCE: Wikipedia)
To read an in-depth article about Max Thornburg read The Catalyst of Nationalization: Max Thornburg and the Failure of Private Sector Developmentalism in Iran, 1947-1951 by Linda Wills Qaimmaqami. It's quite interesting to read in light of where we are today so it's worth downloading.

Searching for photos of Max Thornburg brought up only one shot of him with his wife and children. Sadly the link to the actual photo seemed to be dead. However, I did find this video from the July 9, 1951 CBS episode of the Longines Chronoscope show. Max Thornburg is introduced as "the war time petroleum advisor to the Department of State and expert on middle eastern affairs." It's fascinating.