1776. 1876. Now for 1976!
To the patrons of the Pico House: May you live 100 years!
No North, no South, no East, no West!

William Pridham

Benjamin Hayes

Isaac Lankershim

Rabbi A. W. Edelman

Fort Street, from the Chaparral on Fort Hill

The Round House gardens having been reached, the literary and musical program began. The band played Hail Columbia! and General Phineas Banning, the presiding officer, introduced the Rev. T. T. Packard who delivered the opening prayer. Banning then made a short patriotic address; America was sung by several church choirs of the city; Professor Thomas A. Saxon read the Declaration of Independence; the choirs sang the Red, White and Blue; and J. J. Ayers, as poet of the occasion, read an original poem. Yankee Doodle came after that; and then James G. Eastman, as orator of the day, delivered the address, reviewing the civilization and wonders of every age, and tickling the hearers' vanity with perorations such as this:

When the mournful zephyrs, passing the plain where Marathon once stood, shall find no mound to kiss; when the arch of Titus shall have been obliterated; the Colosseum crumbled into antique dust; the greatness of Athens degenerated into dim tradition; Alexander, Cæsar and Napoleon forgotten; the memories of Independence Hall shall still bloom in imperishable freshness!

At the conclusion of the oration, Jacob A. Moerenhout, the venerable French representative, spoke very appropriately of the relation of France to America in our great Revolutionary struggle; after which the Rev. A. W. Edelman concluded the exercises by pronouncing the benediction. The celebration had a soul in it and no doubt compensated in patriotic sincerity for what it may have lacked in classical elegance.

Incidental to this commemoration, the Literary Committee having in charge the exercises had named Don J. J. Warner, Judge Benjamin Hayes and Dr. J. P. Widney a sub-committee to compile the most interesting data about the old town from the Spanish occupancy by the founding of the Mission at San Gabriel; and on the Fourth of July, or within less than two months after their appointment, the historians produced their report—to which I have already referred—a document, known as An Historical Sketch of Los Angeles County, California, which, in spite of the errors due to the short period allotted the editors, is still interesting and valuable; portraying, as it does, various characteristics of early life in the Southland and preserving to posterity many names and minor facts.

In the summer of 1875, fifteen hundred men began to dig their way into the San Fernando Mountains; and about the end of the first week in September, 1876, the long tunnel was completed—a bore six thousand nine hundred and forty feet in length, beginning twenty-seven miles from Los Angeles. During the course of construction, vast quantities of candles, generally the best, were employed to furnish light for the workmen, H. Newmark & Company supplying most of the illuminants.

Some of the facts concerning the planning, building and attendant celebration of this now famous tunnel should be peculiarly interesting to the Angeleño of to-day, as also to his descendants, for not only do they possess intrinsic historical importance, but they exemplify as well both the comparative insignificance of Los Angeles at the time when this great engineering feat was so successfully undertaken and the occasional futility of human prophecies, even when such prophecies are voiced by those most fitted at the time to deliver them.

I have already mentioned the interview which Governor Downey and I had with Collis P. Huntington, in San Francisco, when we presented the arguments of Los Angeles for the extension of the Southern Pacific Railroad to this point. The greatest difficulty, from an engineering standpoint, was the boring and finishing of the San Fernando tunnel, and the then small town of Los Angeles was compelled to pass through much discouragement before she became the Southern terminus of the road, a selection of the most vital importance to her future prosperity and growth. In the first place, a Mr. Rice, whose office was in Temple Block, represented the Railroad Company in telling the citizens of Los Angeles that if they did not appropriate toward the undertaking two hundred and fifty thousand dollars—then an enormous sum of money—Los Angeles would be left out of the line of travel and the railroad would be built so as to pass several miles inland, compelling our city to make a choice between putting in a branch to connect with the main line or resigning any claim she might have to become a railroad center. In fact, this is precisely what occurred in the case of Visalia and a number of other towns; that is to say: they are to-day the termini of railroad feeders, instead of a part of the main line as they perhaps might have been.

When this threat or warning was delivered, an agitation immediately set in, both to collect the money that the Company demanded and to influence its management to include Los Angeles on the main line. Judge R. M. Widney was one of the prominent figures in the local campaign. The Chamber of Commerce, through its President, Solomon Lazard, also buckled on its armor in behalf of Los Angeles and entered the lists. Notably it sent a telegram to the United States Senate—the railroad, as is well known, having received land-grants of inestimable value from Congress and being considered, therefore, susceptible to influence; and this telegram was penned with such classical eloquence that it poured seventy-five dollars into the coffers of the telegraph company. The net result of the campaign was the decision of the Railroad Company to include Los Angeles among the favored stations.

The politics of the situation having thus been satisfactorily settled, the engineering problems began to cast their shadows. General Stoneman stated that the tunnel bore could not be effected, an opinion which was by no means uncommon at that time. Others again said that people would never be induced to travel through so long a tunnel; still another set of pessimists stated that the winter rains would cause it to cave in, to which Senator Stanford laconically replied that it was "too damned dry in Southern California for any such catastrophe." This railroad and the tunnel, however, were fortunately to become one of those happy instances in which the proposals of man and the disposals of the Lord are identical, for in course of time both found their completion under the able direction of railroad genius, assisted in no small way by the gangs of thousands of Orientals who did the hard road-work.

As in the case with practically every Southern Californian enterprise, the finishing of this great undertaking was accompanied by a rather elaborate celebration. A delegation of San Francisco citizens, one of whom was my brother, met at Newhall a delegation from Los Angeles including S. Lazard[34] and myself, and I thus have the pleasant recollection of having been among the very first who went through the tunnel on that initial trip. Having arrived at Newhall, the citizens of the Northern and Southern cities symbolized, by fraternal handshaking, the completion of this new and strongest bond between them. Amidst general rejoicing, and with thousands of Chinamen lined up on either side of the track, each at full attention and all presenting their—shovels!—General D. D. Colton drove the golden spike which bound the rails from the North with the rails from the South. After considerable speech-making and celebrating, most of the company boarded the train for Los Angeles, where the jollification was concluded with a banquet, a ball, illuminations and other festivities. Possibly due to the great increase in Chinese brought to Southern California through railroad work, repeated demonstrations against the Mongolians were made here at meetings during the summer.

Shortly after the completion of the Southern Pacific Railroad the people of Los Angeles became very much dissatisfied with the Company's method of handling their business, and especially with the arbitrary rulings of J. C. Stubbs in making freight rates. On one occasion, for example, a shipper approached Stubbs and asked for a rate on a carload of potatoes from San Francisco to Tucson. Stubbs asked him how much he expected to pay for the potatoes and what he would get for them; and having obtained this information, he allowed the shipper a small profit and took the balance for freight. This dissatisfaction on the part of an enterprising community accustomed to some liberality found in time such an open expression that Charles F. Crocker, one of the original promoters of the Central, and one of the owners of the Southern Pacific, who had occasionally visited Los Angeles, came down to confer with the City Council at a public meeting.

Crocker, as President of the Central Pacific Railroad Company, was a very important man, and I felt at the time that he was most discourteously received by those with whom he had come to discuss the situation. The meeting, which I attended, was held in the small Council Room, and I well remember the oppressive closeness. The place was, indeed, packed; people were smoking and chewing tobacco; and the reader may perhaps imagine the extreme condition of both the atmosphere and the floor. This, however, was not all: when one of the Councilmen—out of regard, I suppose, for the railroad President's other engagements—asked that Mr. Crocker be permitted to address the City Fathers, J. S. Thompson, a revolutionary Councilman, stood up and declared that the San Francisco magnate would be heard when his time came and—not before! How this lack of consideration impressed the visitor may be seen from the conclusion of my story.

After a while, Crocker was allowed to speak; and in the course of his remarks he stated that the Southern Pacific Railroad Company had invested a great amount of money, and that it was necessary to realize proper interest on their expenditure. Thereupon, Isaac W. Lord, one of the spectators, after whom Lordsburg was named, arose and begged to tell a little story. An ambitious individual, he said, who had once built a hotel on the desert at a cost of one hundred and fifty thousand dollars, was without a guest until, one day, a lone traveler rode across the burning sands and put up for the night at the hostelry. Next morning, the stranger was handed a bill for seventy-five dollars; and upon inquiring why so much had been charged, the proprietor explained that he had spent one hundred and fifty thousand dollars in building the hotel; that the stranger was, thus far, the first and only guest; and that, therefore, he must pay his part of the interest on the investment.

The story, to Mr. Crocker's discomfiture, brought a loud laugh; and it was then, before the laughter had died out, that the famous railroad man, resuming the debate, made his memorable threat:

"If this be the spirit in which Los Angeles proposes to deal with the railroad upon which the town's very vitality must depend, I will make grass to grow in the streets of your city!"

And, considering the fate that has befallen more than one community which coldly regarded the proposals of these same California railroads, Crocker's warning was not without significance.

The Crocker incident having left matters in a worse state than before, Colonel Eldridge E. Hewitt, agent for the Southern Pacific, brought Governor Stanford to my office and introduced him. Stanford stated that his road would soon be in operation and expressed the hope that H. Newmark & Company would patronize it. I told Stanford that our relations with the steamship company had always been very pleasant, but that we would be very glad to give his line a share of our business, if rates were made satisfactory. At the same time, the Southern Pacific Railroad Company, having secured control of the Los Angeles & San Pedro Railroad, issued circulars announcing that steamer freight would henceforth be classified. As this was a violent departure from established precedents, it foreshadowed trouble; and, sure enough, rates moved upward from eight to as high as thirty dollars a ton, according to classification.

H. Newmark & Company and Hellman, Haas & Company, who were the heaviest shippers in Los Angeles, together with a number of other merchants, decided to charter a steamer or sailing vessel. James McFadden, of Santa Ana, owned the tramp steamboat Newport which plied between San Francisco and Newport Landing, in an irregular lumber-trade; and this, after some negotiations, we engaged for three years, on the basis of three dollars per ton. Having made this contract, we entered valiantly into the contest; and, in order suitably to impress the Southern Pacific Railroad Company with our importance, we loaded the vessel, on her initial trip, to the gunwales. Now cargo, on arriving at Wilmington at that time, used to be loaded into cars, brought to Los Angeles and left in the freight shed until we removed it at our convenience; but when the Newport arrived, the vessel was unloaded and the merchandise put into the warehouse at Wilmington, where it was held several days before it was reshipped. On its arrival in Los Angeles, the Railroad Company gave notice that removal must be effected within twenty-four hours, or demurrage would be charged; and since, with the small facilities in those days at our command, so prompt a withdrawal of an entire cargo was a physical impossibility, our expenses were straightway heavily increased.

Subsequent to this first shipment, we adopted a more conservative policy, in spite of which our troubles were to multiply. The Southern Pacific Railroad Company named a rate of three dollars a ton in less than carload lots between San Francisco and way-stations, and this induced many of our country customers to trade in that city. At the same time, the Company carried many lines between San Francisco and Los Angeles free of charge, potatoes and other heavy items being favored. The mask was now discarded, and it became evident that we were engaged in a life-and-death struggle.

Had there been a united front, the moral effect might have sustained us in the unequal contest; but unfortunately, H. Newmark & Company were abandoned by every shipper in Los Angeles except Hellman, Haas & Company, and we soon found that fighting railroad companies recalled the adage, "The game's not worth the candle." At the end of ten months of sacrifices, we invoked the assistance of my former partner and friend, Phineas Banning, who was then associated with the Southern Pacific; and he visited the officials in San Francisco in our behalf. Stanford told him that the Railroad Company, rather than make a single concession, would lose a million dollars in the conflict; but Banning finally induced the Company to buy the Newport, which brought to a close the first fight in Los Angeles against a railroad.

In the winter of 1876-77, a drought almost destroyed the sheep industry in Southern California. As a last resort, the ranchers, seeing the exhausted condition of their ranges, started to drive their sheep to Arizona, New Mexico or Utah; but most of them fell by the way.

Again, we had the coincidence of drought and a fatal epidemic of smallpox, not only leaving death in its wake, but incidentally damaging business a good deal. Mrs. Juan Lanfranco was one of those who died; Mr. and Mrs. Solomon Lazard lost a son, and a grocer by the name of Henry Niedecken, who had a little frame store where the Angelus Hotel now stands, as well as many others, succumbed.


The late seventies were marked by an encouraging awakening of national energy and a growing desire on the part of the Angeleño, notwithstanding the excessive local dullness, to bring the outside world a pace or two nearer; as a result of which, things began to simmer, while there was an unmistakable manifestation on the part of those at places more or less remote to explore the almost unknown Southwest, especially that portion bordering on the Pacific.

I have already noted, with varying dates, the time when patents to land were issued. These dates remind me of the long years during which some of the ranch owners had to wait before they received a clear title to their vast estates. Although, as I have said, the Land Commission was in session during the first decade of my residence here, it was a quarter of a century and more, in some cases, after the Commissioners had completed their reports before the Washington authorities issued the desired patents confirming the Mexican grants; and by that time, not a few of those who had owned the ranches at the beginning of the American occupancy were dead and buried.

William Mulholland, who was really trained for navigation and had followed the sea for four or five years, steered for Los Angeles in 1877 and associated himself with the Los Angeles Water Company, giving his attention especially to hydraulic engineering and passing as it were in 1902, with the rest of the water-plant, to the City when it bought the Company out.

On March 22d, the Common Council changed the name of Nigger Alley, in the adobe days known as Calle de los Negros, to that of Los Angeles Street; and thus faded away a designation of Los Angeles' early gambling district long familiar to old settlers. The same year, the City marshalship, which J. J. Carrillo had held during 1875-76, was discontinued, and J. F. Gerkins was appointed the first Chief of Police.

Part of the property included in the blanket mortgage given by Temple & Workman to E. J. Baldwin was Temple Block; and when this was sold at sheriff's sale in 1877, H. Newmark & Company decided to acquire it if they could. Dan Freeman, acting for Baldwin, was our only competitor; and after a somewhat spirited contest, the property was knocked down to us. In 1909, we sold Temple Block to the City of Los Angeles. Quite a large contribution of money was then made by adjoining landowners, with the understanding that the site would form the nucleus for a civic center; but thus far this solemn promise remains unfulfilled—more's the shame, especially since the obligation is precisely coincidental with the City's needs.

In 1877, Colonel R. S. Baker erected the block bearing his name on the site of the historic adobe home of Don Abel Stearns, the walls of which structure, when demolished, killed two of the workmen. This building, the most modern of that period, immediately became the scene of much retail activity; and three wide-awake merchants—Eugène Germain, George D. Rowan and Rev. B. F. Coulter—moved into it. Germain was the first of these to arrive in Los Angeles, coming in 1870 and, soon after, establishing several trading posts along the line of the Southern Pacific during its construction through Arizona. One day, while inspecting branches in this wild and woolly region, Germain ran into a party of cowboys who were out gunning; and just for a little diversion, they took to peppering the vicinity of his feet, which attention persuaded him into a high-step less graceful than alert. Germain came to occupy many positions of trust, being appointed, in 1889, Commissioner from California to the Paris Exposition, and later American Consul at Zurich, Switzerland. Next among the tenants was George D. Rowan, who opened a grocery store in the Strelitz Block, opposite the old Jail, remaining there until the completion of Baker's building; thus supplying another illustration of the tendency then predominating to gravitate toward the extreme northern end of the town. In several enterprises, Rowan was a pioneer: he brought from Chicago the first phaeton seen on our streets; and in conjunction with Germain, he inaugurated the shipping of California products, in carload lots, to the Eastern market. He was also one of the first to use pennies here. Withdrawing from the grocery trade, in 1882, he busied himself with real estate until 1892, when he retired. A public-spirited man, he had the greatest confidence in the future of Los Angeles, and was instrumental in subdividing much important acreage, including the block between Sixth, Seventh, Hill and Olive streets, which he sold in sixty-foot lots at prices as low as six hundred dollars each. He was a prime mover in having the name of Fort Street altered to that of Broadway, certainly a change of questionable propriety considering the origin of the old name. Rowan died on September 7th, 1901. His sons, R. A. and P. D. Rowan, constitute the firm of R. A. Rowan & Company. Reverend Coulter, father of Frank M. Coulter,[35] brought his family to Los Angeles on September 17th, 1877, and after a short association in the hardware firm of Harper & Coulter, he entered the dry goods field as B. F. Coulter, now the Coulter Dry Goods Company. In 1878, Coulter bought the woolen mills on Pearl Street near Fifth. Coulter was a man of genial temperament and great integrity; and I shall have occasion to speak of him again.

R. F. Del Valle was born in December, 1854, at the Plaza ancestral home, where, before the family's removal to Camulos rancho, I frequently saw him playing when I attended the political councils at his father's home. By the by, I believe that J. L. Brent had his law office there, which may account for those gatherings. Del Valle's boyhood days were spent in and around Los Angeles. He studied law in San Francisco and returned to Los Angeles in 1877, a promising young orator and attorney. Since that period he has been in public life practically all of the time. For some time past he has been a member of the Water Board. He has been frequently honored by the Democratic party, especially in 1880, when as elector he was instructed to vote for our former fellow-townsman, General W. S. Hancock. In 1890, Del Valle married Mrs. Helen Caystile, widow of Thomas Caystile and daughter of Caleb E. White, a Pomona horticulturist and sheepman.

A murder case of the late seventies was notable on account of the tragic fate of two indirect participants. On October 10th, G. M. Waller, custodian of the land company's bath-house at Santa Monica, detected Victor Fonck, who had been warned to keep off the premises, in the act of erecting a private bath-house on the beach, and shot him in the leg, from which wound, after two days, Fonck died. In his defense, Waller claimed that, as watchman, he was acting under orders from E. S. Parker, the land company's agent. Waller was found guilty of involuntary homicide and sentenced on January 25th, 1878, to one year in the Penitentiary. Parker, on the other hand, was convicted of murder in the second degree, and on March 8th was sentenced to ten years' imprisonment. This severe and unexpected punishment caused a mental excitement from which Parker soon died; and, but a few days later, his broken-hearted wife fell dead.

Annual public fairs were centers of social life as late as the middle of the seventies, one being held, about 1876 or 1877, in the old Alameda Street depot, which, decorated with evergreens and flowers, had been transformed into a veritable garden. With succeeding years, these displays, for some time in Horticultural Hall on Temple Street, came to be more and more enchanting. Still later, one or more flower festivals were held in Hazard's Pavilion on Fifth Street, near Olive, that of 1889 in particular attracting, in the phraseology of a local newspaper, "one of the largest and most brilliant gatherings in the history of the city." It is indeed a pity that these charming exhibitions, requiring but the mere bringing together of some of the flowers so bountifully supplied us, have been abandoned.

On February 1st, 1878, twenty-three years after the Odd Fellows first organized here, their newly-constructed hall in the Oxarart Block at 108 North Spring Street was dedicated with elaborate ceremonies.

About 1878, Captain George J. Clarke, who had been Postmaster from 1866 to 1873, and who lived well out of town, offered me sixty feet adjoining my home on Fort Street, a site now occupied by the J. W. Robinson Company. He asked one hundred dollars a foot for the Fort Street frontage alone, but as only sixteen dollars a foot had been paid for the full depth to Hill Street of the piece I already owned, I refused to purchase; nor was I persuaded even when he threatened to erect a livery stable next to my house.

Another item respecting land values, and how they impressed me: in 1878, Nadeau purchased, for twenty thousand dollars, the site of the Nadeau Hotel, whereupon I told him that he was crazy; but later events proved him to have been a better judge than I.

Sometime in the late seventies, Jerry Illich started a chop-house on North Main Street and prospered so well that in time he was able to open a larger and much finer establishment which he called the Maison Dorée. This restaurant was one of the best of the time, and became the rendezvous of men about town. In 1896, Jerry moved again, this time to Third Street opposite the Bradbury Block; and thither went with him his customers of former days. When Illich died in December, 1902, he had the finest restaurant in the city.

In April the Public Library was transferred to the care of the City. In the beginning, as I have stated, a fee of five dollars was charged to patrons; somewhat later, it is my recollection, a legislative enactment permitted a small addition to the tax-rate for the partial support of this worthy enterprise, and this municipal assistance enabled the directors to carry the work along even though the annual membership fee was reduced to four dollars, payable quarterly.

On September 25th, General John C. Frémont arrived in Los Angeles on his way to Arizona, of which Territory he had been appointed Governor; and accompanied by his wife and daughter, he was driven at once to the St. Charles Hotel. There, in response to a demonstration by the citizens, he referred to the great changes which had taken place here during his absence of thirty years. Two days later, General Frémont and family left for Yuma, the explorer traveling that route by means of the iron horse for the first time.

Benjamin Franklin Taylor, the lecturer and author, visited Los Angeles, in 1878, and wrote the sympathetic book, Between the Gates, full of just discrimination and hopeful views respecting the Southland.

Some new ordinances regulating vegetable venders having been passed in the winter of 1878-79, the Chinese peddlers went on a strike, and for some time refused, to the inconvenience of their dependent customers, to supply any truck-farm products.

During the Postmastership of Colonel Isaac R. Dunkelberger, the Post Office was moved, in 1879, to the Oxarart Block on North Spring Street near First. There it continued for eight years, contributing much toward making the neighborhood an important commercial center.

M. J. Newmark, having sold to his partners his interest in the firm of H. Newmark & Company, left Los Angeles, in 1879, for San Francisco, after building a residence on Spring Street next to the southwest corner of Spring and Seventh and adjoining the dwellings owned by Kaspare Cohn and M. A. Newmark. Each of these houses stood on a sixty-foot lot; and to protect themselves from possibly unpleasant neighbors, the holders had bought the corner of Seventh and Spring streets for four hundred and twenty-five dollars. On his departure, M. J. Newmark committed his affairs to my care, desiring to dispose of his place; and I offered it to I. N. Van Nuys for seven thousand five hundred dollars, which represented the cost of the house alone. Times were quite hard in Los Angeles at this period; and when Van Nuys said that he would give six thousand five hundred dollars for it, I accepted his offer and induced the owners to sell to him the corner lot for four hundred and seventy-five dollars. This is the earlier history of the corner now occupied by the I. N. Van Nuys Building, in which the First National Bank conducts its affairs.

Long before there was any necessity for cutting Sixth Street through, east of Main, George Kerckhoff (who, in 1879, had brought his family from Indiana) bought the six acres formerly belonging to the intrepid pioneer, J. J. Warner, and, in the midst of this pretty orchard, built the home in which he continued to reside until 1896, when he died. William G. Kerckhoff, a son, came with his father and almost immediately engaged in the lumber business with James Cuzner. An ordinary man might have found this enterprise sufficient, especially as it expanded with the building up of our Southland communities; but this was not so with the younger Kerckhoff, who in 1892 entered the ice business, after which effort, within ten years, he evolved the San Gabriel Electric Company. Henry E. Huntington then associated himself with this enterprise, somewhat later buying that part of the Kerckhoff property on which the Huntington Building, opposite the Kerckhoff, now stands; and as a result of the working together of two such minds, huge electrical enterprises culminated in the Pacific Light and Power Company.

The year 1879 was tragic in my family. On the 20th of January, our son Philip, only nine years of age, died of diphtheria; and a trifle more than three weeks later, on February 11th, Leo, a baby of three years, succumbed to the same treacherous disease. Barely had the grave closed on the second, when a daughter became seriously ill, and after her recovery, in a fit of awful consternation we fled the plague-infected house and the city, taking with us to San Francisco, Edward, a son of five years. But alas! hardly had we returned to town, when he also died, on March 17th, 1879.

In May, Judge R. M. Widney broached to the Rev. A. M. Hough, Rev. M. M. Bovard, E. F. Spence, Dr. J. P. Widney and G. D. Compton his project for the first Protestant institution of higher learning in Southern California; and meeting with their encouragement, certain land in West Los Angeles, consisting of three hundred and eight acres, was accepted in trust as a gift from I. W. Hellman, J. G. Downey and O. W. Childs, forty acres being later added. In 1880, the first building was put up on Wesley Avenue; and on the sixth of October the college was opened. Most of the projectors were Methodists; and the institution, since known as the University of Southern California, became a Methodist college. The beginning of the institution has been odd: its first department of arts was built, in 1883, at Ontario; while two years later its theological school was opened at San Fernando. Recently, under the energetic administration of President F. D. Bovard, the University has made much progress.

A. B. Chapman, about 1879, joined C. T. Paul in opening a hardware store at 12 Commercial Street, with a little tin-shop opposite; and they soon introduced here the first gasoline stoves, to which the insurance companies at once seriously objected.

Probably the earliest Los Angeles newspaper published in French was a weekly, L'Union Nouvelle, which commenced in 1879 with P. Ganée as editor.

Exceeding the limits of animated editorial debate into which the rival journalists had been drawn in the heated campaign of 1879, William A. Spalding, a reporter on the Evening Express, waited for Joseph D. Lynch, the editor of the Herald, at about eleven o'clock in the morning of August 16th, and peppered away with a bull-dog pistol at his rival, as the latter, who had just left the Pico House, was crossing Spring Street from Temple Block to go to the Herald office. Lynch dropped his cane, and fumbled for his shooting-iron; but by the time he could return the fire, A. de Celis and other citizens had thrust themselves forward, making it doubly perilous to shoot at all. Spalding sent the bullet which wounded, not his adversary, but a bystander, L. A. Major of Compton.

Colonel G. Wiley Wells arrived in 1879, after a Civil War career in which his left arm was permanently crippled. He also served as United States District Attorney in Mississippi, where he prosecuted many of the Ku-Klux Klan, and as United States Consul-General to China, where he had a varied experience with men and affairs. With A. Brunson, he formed the law partnership of Brunson & Wells, having offices in the Baker Block. The next year, Bradner W. Lee, a nephew of Wells, who had arrived here in 1879, was added to the firm. After fifteen years' practice in the local courts, during which time Wells became a noted figure, he retired to private life at Santa Monica, disposing of his extensive law library, consisting of some six thousand volumes, to his successors, Works & Lee.

Henry Milner Mitchell, to whom I have referred as assisting to run down Vasquez, reached Los Angeles by way of Nicaragua in 1868, and was successively a surveyor, a reporter, a law student and, finally, from 1878 to 1879, Sheriff. In 1879, he was admitted to practice before the Supreme Court of California, and in the same year, he married the eldest daughter of Andrew Glassell. Eventually he met a very tragic death: while hunting near the scene of Vasquez's capture, he was shot by a friend who mistook him for a deer.

Colonel Henry Harrison Markham, a New Yorker, pitched his tent in Los Angeles and Pasadena in 1879, and was elected to Congress from the Sixth District, defeating R. F. Del Valle. He succeeded in getting one hundred and fifty thousand dollars for a public building and appropriations for Wilmington and other harbors; and he also aided in establishing army headquarters at Los Angeles for Arizona, New Mexico and Southern California.

Carl Seligman left Germany for America in 1879 and spent a year in San Francisco, after which he removed to Tucson, Arizona. And there he remained, engaged in the wholesale and retail grocery business until, on December 6th, 1885, he married my daughter Ella, following which event he bought an interest in the firm of M. A. Newmark & Company.

The early eighties witnessed a commercial development so marked as to remind one of the proverbial grass that could be heard to grow. During an entire century, business (centered, like social life, more or less about the Plaza) had crawled southward to First Street, a distance of but three or four blocks; and now, in five or six years, trade passed First, extended along both Main and Spring streets and reached almost to, or just beyond Second. At this time, the Baker Block, at the corner of North Main and Arcadia streets, which contained the first town ticket-office of the Southern Pacific Railroad, was still the center of the retail trade of Los Angeles.

And yet some idea of the backwardness of the city, even then, may be obtained from the fact that, in 1880, on the southwest corner of Spring and Second streets where the Hollenbeck Hotel was later built, stood a horse corral; while the old adobe on the lot at the corner of First and Spring streets, which was torn down later to make room for the Hotel Nadeau, was also still there.

Obadiah Truax Barker settled in Los Angeles in 1880 and, with Otto Mueller, started a furniture and carpet business, known as Barker & Mueller's, at 113 North Spring Street. Strange as it seems, however, the newcomers found themselves too far from the business district; and, on Mueller's retiring, O. T. Barker & Sons moved to a store near the Pico House. Now the firm is Barker Brothers.

In fond recollection, the homely cheerfulness of the old-time adobe recurs again and again. The eighties, however, were characterized by another form of dwelling, fashionable and popular; some examples of which, half-ruined, are still to be seen. This was the frame house, large and spacious with wide, high, curving verandas, semicircular bay-windows, towers and cupolas. Flower-bordered lawns generally encircled these residences; there were long, narrow hallways and more spare bedrooms than the less intimate hospitality of to-day suggests or demands.

On January 1st, 1880, the District Court of Los Angeles was abolished to give way to the County Court; on which occasion Don Ygnácio Sepúlveda, the last of the District Court judges, became the first County Judge.

The first cement pavement in the city was laid on Main Street north of First by a man named Floyd. Having bought Temple Block, we were thinking of surrounding it with a wooden sidewalk. Floyd recommended cement, asking me, at the same time, to inspect a bit of pavement which he had just put down. I did so, and took his advice; and from this small beginning has developed the excellent system of paving now enjoyed by Los Angeles.

In 1880, there visited Southern California a man who not only had a varied and most interesting past, but who was destined to have an important future. This was Abbot Kinney, a blood relation of Emerson, Holmes and old General Harrison, and a student of law and medicine, commission merchant, a botanical expert, cigarette manufacturer and member of the United States Geological Survey; a man, too, who had traveled through, and lived long in Europe, Asia and Africa; and who, after seeing most of our own Northwest, was on his way to settle in Florida in search of health. While in San Francisco he heard of the recently-formed Sierra Madre Colony, whither he made haste to go; and after a month or two there, he liked it so well that he decided to remain on the gentle slope, found there a home and lay out a farm. At that time we had a customer by the name of Seabury, who owned one hundred and sixty acres along the foothills; and this land he had mortgaged to us to secure a note. When Kinney came, he bought a place adjoining Seabury's, and this led him to take over the mortgage. In due season, he foreclosed and added the land to his beautiful property, which he named Kinneloa.

All Kinney's combined experience was brought to bear to make his estate pleasurable, not only to himself but for the casual visitor and passer-by; and in a short time he became well known. He also was made a Special Commissioner of the United States to examine into the condition of the Mission Indians of Southern California; and on this commission he served with Helen Hunt Jackson, so famous as H. H. or, especially in California, as the author of Ramona, visiting with her all the well-known Indian rancherías between San Diego and Monterey, in addition to the twenty-one Franciscan Missions.

Toward the end of April, F. P. F. Temple passed away at the Merced Ranch and was buried in the family burying-ground at La Puente. This recalls to mind that, in early days, many families owned a hallowed acre where, as summoned one by one, they were laid side by side in rest eternal.

On May 16th, John W. Bixby died, at his Long Beach estate. About 1871 he had entered his brother Jotham's service, supervising the sheep ranch; and to John Bixby's foresight was attributed, first the renting and later the purchase of the great ranch controlled, through foreclosure of mortgage, by Michael Reese. A year or two before Bixby's death, five thousand acres were set aside for the town of Los Alamitos, but John never saw the realization of his dream to establish there a settlement.

It was on the eighteenth of the same month that my brother found it necessary to visit Carlsbad for the benefit of his health, and the decision occasioned my removal to San Francisco to look after his affairs. What was expected to be a brief absence really lasted until September, 1882, when he and his family returned to America and San Francisco, and I came back to Los Angeles, with which, of course, I had continued in close communication. During our absence, my wife's father, Joseph Newmark, died rather suddenly on October 19th, 1881.

Antonio Franco and Mariana Coronel
From an oil painting in the Coronel Collection

Fourth Street, Looking West from Main

Timms Landing
From a print of the late fifties

Santa Catalina, in the Middle Eighties

Reference has been made to the movement, in 1859, for the division of California into two states. In the spring of 1880, John G. Downey republished the original act and argued that it was still valid; and Dr. J. P. Widney contended that the geographical, topographical, climatic and commercial laws were all working for the separation of California into two distinct civil organizations. Not long after, at a mass-meeting in Los Angeles called to forward the improvement of Wilmington harbor, an Executive Committee consisting of J. G. Downey, W. H. Perry, E. F. Spence, Dr. J. P. Widney, A. B. Moffitt and J. G. Estudillo was named to see what could be done; and this Committee appointed a Legal Committee, consisting of Henry T. Hazard, R. M. Widney, George H. Smith, C. E. Thom, A. Brunson, S. C. Hubbell and H. A. Barclay. The latter Committee endorsed Downey's view that Congress could admit the new State; and it arranged for a convention which met on September 8th, 1881. There the gist of the sentiment was that State division was a necessity, but that the time was not yet ripe!

In 1880, Jotham Bixby & Company sold four thousand acres of their celebrated Cerritos Ranch to an organization known as the American Colony, and in a short time Willmore City, named after W. E. Willmore and the origin of Long Beach, was laid out and widely advertised. Willmore, a teacher, had been fairly successful as a colonizer in Fresno County; but after all his dreaming, hard work and investments, he lost all that he had, like so many others, and died broken-hearted. The earliest recollection I have of a storekeeper at Long Beach was my customer, W. W. Lowe.

At an early period in the development of Santa Monica, as we have seen, Senator Jones built a wharf there; but the Los Angeles & Independence Railroad, expected to become the outlet on the Pacific Coast of a supposedly great mining district in Inyo County, never reached farther east than Los Angeles. The Southern Pacific Railroad Company, desiring to remove this competition, obtained possession of the new road, razed the warehouse and condemned and half dismantled the wharf; and by setting up its terminus at Wilmington, it transferred there the greater part of its shipping and trade. By 1880, Santa Monica, to-day so prosperous, had shrunk to but three hundred and fifty inhabitants.

Competition compelled us, in 1880, to put traveling salesmen into the field—an innovation we introduced with reluctance, involving as it did no little additional expense.

Near the end of August, a Citizens' Committee was appointed to receive and entertain President Rutherford B. Hayes, whose visit to Los Angeles, as the first President to come here, caused quite a stir. His stay was very brief. During the few hours that he was here, he and his party were driven around the neighborhood in open hacks.

In the midst of his successive Greenback campaigns, General Ben. F. Butler sojourned for a few days, in 1880, in Los Angeles and was the recipient of many attentions.

At the beginning of this decade, the Los Angeles & San Pedro Railway was extended to Timms' Landing, the well-known old shipping point; and San Pedro then began to grow in earnest, both on the bluff and in the lowlands bordering on the bay. Wharves were projected; and large vessels, such as would have startled the earlier shippers, yet none too large at that, made fast to their moorings. But the improvement of yesterday must make way for that of to-day, and even now the Harbor Commissioners are razing historic Timms' Point. Penning again this familiar cognomen, I am reminded of what, I dare say, has been generally forgotten, that the Bay of Avalon was also once called Timms' Landing or Cove—after A. W. Timms, under-officer in the United States Navy—and that the name was changed prior to the Bannings' purchase of Catalina.

Frequent reference has been made to those who, in one way or another, sought to infuse new commercial life here and more rapidly to expand the city; but, after all, George Lehman, of whom I have already spoken, was perhaps the pioneer local boomer before that picturesque word had become incorporated in the Angeleño's vocabulary. Nor were his peculiarities in this direction entirely confined to booming, for he did considerable buying as well. Lehman's operations, however, most unfortunately for himself, were conducted at too early a period, and his optimism, together with his extensive, unimproved holdings, wrought his downfall. Besides the Round House and gardens, he owned real estate which would now represent enormous value, in proof of which I have only to mention a few of his possessions at that time: the southwest corner of Sixth and Spring streets; the northeast corner of Sixth and Hill streets; large frontages and many other corners on Main, Spring, Fort and Hill streets. Practically none of this property brought any income, so that when the City began to grade and improve the streets, Lehman's assessments compelled him to give a fifteen thousand dollar blanket mortgage to Lazard Frères of San Francisco.

Lehman soon found himself beyond his depth and defaulted in the payment of both principal and interest. Not only that, but with a complacency and a confidence in the future that were sublime, he refused to sell a single foot of land, and Lazard Frères with a worthy desire, natural to bankers, to turn a piece of paper into something more negotiable, foreclosed the mortgage, in 1879, and shut the gates of the Garden of Paradise forever; and a sheriff's sale was advertised for the purpose of concluding this piece of financial legerdemain. I attended the sale, and still distinctly remember with much amusement some of the incidents.

The vociferous auctioneer mounted the box or barrel provided for him and opened the program by requesting an offer for the corner of Hill and Second streets, a lot one hundred and twenty by one hundred and sixty feet in size. Nor did he request in vain.

One of the heroes of the occasion was Louis Mesmer, a friend of Lehman, whose desire it was to take a talking part in the proceedings, force up the prices and so help the latter. Amidst the familiar, "Going, going, going!" accordingly, the bidding began and, under the incentive of Mesmer's bullish activities, the figures soon reached four hundred dollars, the last bidder being Eugene Meyer, local agent for the mortgagee. At this juncture Mesmer, in his enthusiasm, doubled the bid to eight hundred dollars, expecting, of course, to induce someone to raise the price, already high for that day, still higher.

But "the best-laid schemes o' mice an' men gang aft a-gley." How eagerly Mesmer awaited the fruition of his shrewd manipulation! how he listened in hopeful anticipation to the repeated, "Going, going, going!" of the auctioneer! In vain, however, he waited, in vain he listened. To his mortification and embarrassment, his astounded ear was greeted with the decisive, "Gone!—for eight hundred dollars! Sold to Louis Mesmer!"

Mesmer had bought, for more than it was worth, a piece of property which he did not want, a catastrophe realized as well by all the others present as it was patent to the victim himself. The crowd relished keenly the ludicrous situation in which Mesmer found himself, encumbered as he was with an investment which he had had no intention of making; and throughout the remainder of the contest he was distinguished only by his silence.

Poor old George! His vision was accurate: Los Angeles was to become great, but her splendid expansion was delayed too long for him to realize his dreams. When Lehman died, he was buried in a pauper's grave; and toward the end of the eighties, the adobe Round House, once such a feature of George Lehman's Garden of Paradise, was razed to make way for needed improvements.

I have spoken of the intolerable condition of the atmosphere in the Council Chamber when Charles Crocker made his memorable visit to Los Angeles to consult with the City Fathers. In the eighties, when the Common Council met in the southeast corner of the second floor of Temple Block, the same objectionable use of tobacco prevailed, with the result that the worthy Aldermen could scarcely be distinguished twenty-five feet away from the rough benches on which sat the equally beclouded spectators.

Doubtless the atmosphere of the court room was just as foul when the Mayor, as late at least as 1880, passed judgment each morning, sitting as a Justice, on the crop of disorderlies of the preceding night. Then not infrequently some neighbor or associate of the Mayor himself, caught in the police dragnet, appeared among the drowsy defendants!


The year 1881 opened with what, for Los Angeles, was a curious natural phenomenon—snow falling in February and covering the streets and plains with a white mantle. So rare was the novelty that many residents then saw the oddly-shaped flakes for the first time. It was about that time, according to my recollection, that another attempt was made to advertise Los Angeles through her far-famed climate, an effort which had a very amusing termination. Prominent men of our city invited the California Editorial Association, of which Frank Pixley of the Argonaut was President, to meet in Los Angeles that year, with the far-sighted intention of having them give wider publicity to the charms and fame of our winters. During this convention, a banquet was held in the dining-room of the St. Elmo Hotel, then perhaps called the Cosmopolitan. After a fine repast and a flow of brilliant eloquence, principally devoted to extolling our climatic wonders, the participants dispersed. But what was the surprised embarrassment of the Los Angeles boomers, on making their exit, to find pieces of ice hanging from all points of vantage and an intense cold permeating and stiffening their bones. Thus ended, amid the few icicles Los Angeles has ever known, the first official attempt to extend the celebrity of our glorious and seductive climate.

In February, Nathaniel C. Carter, to whom I have referred as a pioneer in arranging railroad excursions for tourists coming to California, bought from E. J. Baldwin some eleven hundred acres of the Santa Anita Ranch, comprising the northern and wilder portion which sloped down from the base of the Sierra Madre Mountains. This he subdivided, piping water from the hills; and by wide advertising he established Sierra Madre, appropriating the name already selected by a neighboring colony.

In 1881, J. M. Guinn, who for a decade or more had been Principal of the schools at Anaheim, was made Superintendent of Los Angeles City Schools.

A tragedy attracted unusual attention in the early eighties, owing, in part, to the social connections of the persons involved. Francisco, or Chico Forster, as he was popularly called, the sporting son of Don Juan Forster, had been keeping company with a Señorita Abarta, a young woman of superb stature, whose father was French and mother was Mexican; and having promised to marry her, he betrayed her confidence. Her insistence that Forster should keep his word had its dénouement when, one day, at her behest, they visited the Plaza church; but Forster so far endeavored to postpone the ceremony that he returned to the carriage, in which he had left her, declaring that no priest could be found. Then they drove around until they reached the corner of Commercial and Los Angeles streets, half a block from H. Newmark & Company's. There the young woman left the carriage, followed by Forster; and on reaching the sidewalk, she said to him in Spanish, "¿Chico, que vas hacer?" ("What are you going to do?") Forster gave some evasive answer, and Señorita Abarta shot him dead. She was arrested and tried; but owing to the expert evidence in her behalf given by Dr. Joseph Kurtz she was exonerated, to the satisfaction of nearly the entire community. Among those who followed the proceedings closely with a view to publishing the dramatic story was George Butler Griffin, traveler and journalist, who, having recently arrived, had joined the staff of the Express, later becoming somewhat noted as a student of local history.

At a meeting in Turnverein Hall, on March 24th, the German Ladies' Benevolent Society of Los Angeles, so long known for its commendable work, was organized. Mrs. John Milner was elected President; Mrs. D. Mahlstedt, Vice-President; Mrs. John Benner, Secretary; and Mrs. Jacob Kuhrts, Treasurer.

Savarie J., alias Professor Brewster, was a simple-minded freak of the freakish eighties, who dropped into Los Angeles—as such characters generally do—without anyone knowing much about his origin. It was during the time that walking matches were much in vogue, and whenever one of these took place, Savarie J. was sure to participate. He was the only man in town that took Savarie J. seriously, and I assume that he was generally entered rather to attract spectators than for any other purpose. One day the Professor disappeared and no clue to his whereabouts could be discovered until his dead body was found far out on the desert. He had walked once too often and too far!

Fabian was a Frenchman and a jack-at-all-trades doing odd jobs around town, whose temperament and out-spoken way of expressing himself used to produce both amusement and surprise. On one occasion, when he took offense at the daughter of a prominent family for whom he was working, he sought out the lady of the house and said to her: "Madam, your sons are all right, but your daughters are no good!"

Two other names not forgotten by householders of an earlier day in Los Angeles are John Hall and Henry Buddin. The former, whose complexion was as black as his soul was white, came to Los Angeles a great many years ago. He was a whitewasher by trade and followed this calling for a livelihood, later giving it up to run an express wagon; and I can still see John plying about town and driving in summer between Los Angeles and Santa Monica, his wagon piled high with household effects, as our good citizens moved from one dwelling to another or went on their way to the shore of the sea. I remember, also, that one day some unnatural parent left a newborn, white infant on John Hall's steps. He was never able to locate the mother of the little fellow, and therefore took the foundling into his home and raised him as his son. Moses was the name John very appropriately bestowed upon the baby; and the white lad grew into manhood in the midst of this negro family. Like Fabian, Buddin proved himself handy in doing odd jobs of carpentering and upholstering, and was in frequent demand.

On September 5th, at the conclusion of the City's first century, or, more strictly speaking, one hundred years and a day after the founding of Los Angeles, a noteworthy celebration was undertaken. A population of about twelve thousand was all that Los Angeles then boasted; but visitors added greatly to the crowd, and the town took on a true holiday appearance. Main Street was decorated with an arch, bearing the inclusive figures, 1781-1881; and the variegated procession, under the grand marshalship of General George Stoneman, was made up of such vehicles, costumed passengers and riders as suggested at once the motley but interesting character of our city's past. There were old, creaking carretas that had seen service in pioneer days; there were richly-decorated saddles, on which rode gay and expert horsemen; and there were also the more up-to-date and fashionable carriages which, with the advent of transcontinental railroading, had at last reached the Coast. Two Mexican Indian women—one named Benjamina—alternately scowling and smiling, and declared to be, respectively, one hundred and three and one hundred and fourteen years old, formed a feature of the procession. Clouds of dust, from the crowding auditors, greeted the orators of the day, who spoke not only in English and Spanish, but also in French; there were festal games and sports characteristic of the olden time; and the celebration concluded with a Spanish baile, at which dancing was continued until the following morning.

One of the musical celebrities of her time, and a native of Los Angeles of whom the city was justly proud, was Miss Mamie Perry, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. William H. Perry. In 1880, she went to Italy and studied under Sangiovanni and in September, 1881, made her début, singing in Milan, Florence, Mantua and Bologna the title rôle of Petrella's opera, Contessa d'Amalfi. In other cities, she attained further distinction. A musical career was interrupted by her marriage, in 1883, to Charles W. Davis; but, after his untimely death in 1889, Mrs. Perry-Davis returned to Italy, a notable musicale in Turnverein Hall being given, as a farewell honor, on April 22d. Still later, she returned to Los Angeles and married C. Modini Wood.

When the funeral of President Garfield took place at Washington, on September 27th, his memory was also honored in Los Angeles. A procession started at two o'clock from Spring Street and marched to the Plaza, Colonel John O. Wheeler acting as Grand Marshal and George E. Gard, Chief of Police, leading the way. A catafalque, draped with black, star-bedecked silk and green smilax, and surmounted by a shrouded eagle and a little child—Laura Chauvin, daughter of A. C. Chauvin, the grocer—kneeling and representing Columbia lamenting the loss of the martyred chief, was drawn by six horses, followed by the honorary pallbearers and by civic and official bodies. Judge Volney E. Howard, as President, introduced Dr. J. P. Widney, who read the resolutions of condolence, after which A. Brunson delivered the eulogy. Mrs. Garfield, the President's widow, who first came to winter in California in 1899, finally built her own winter home in Pasadena, in October, 1904.

S. A. and M. A. Hamburger, who were engaged in business in Sacramento, concluded they would do better if they secured the right opening in the Southland; and having persuaded their father, Asher Hamburger, to join them in the new enterprise, they came to Los Angeles in November, 1881, and established their present business, under the firm name of A. Hamburger & Sons. D. A. Hamburger, who had been reading law, joined them in January, 1883. For years, until his death on December 2d, 1897, the elder Hamburger participated actively in all the affairs of the concern. They first opened on Main Street near Requena—close to the popular dry-goods store of Dillon & Kenealy, conducted by Richard Dillon & John Kenealy—what was known as the People's Store, occupying a one-story building with a room containing not more than twenty-five hundred square feet; but having outgrown this location, they moved to the Bumiller Block. Again obliged to seek more room, the Phillips Block, at the corner of Spring and Franklin streets, was built for their use on the site of the old City and County Building and the Jail. In 1908, the Hamburgers moved to their extensive building on Broadway and Eighth Street.

Owen Brown, son of the famous John Brown of Ossawatomie, and long the only survivor of the little party that seized the arsenal at Harpers Ferry, came West late in 1881 and settled with his brother Jason, already at Pasadena. A horseback trail up one of the neighboring mountains still leads the traveler to speak in friendly spirit of this late pioneer, who died in 1889 and is buried near the foothills. Five years later, Jason Brown returned to Ohio.

The Daily Times, a Republican sheet started by Nathan Cole and James Gardiner, began on December 4th to be issued six days in the week. Both publishers within a month were succeeded by Yarnell, Caystile & Mathes, owners of the Mirror. So successful was the paper that it soon grew to be a nine-column folio.