Mass Vacination Set for All Aboard Train

July 24, 1947
San Bernardino

Ray Thompson, 38-year-old waiter on the Santa Fe Grand Canyon Limited, had a rash. It looked a lot like chickenpox, but after doctors offloaded him Wednesday it was determined he was suffering from smallpox.

Health officers now plan to board the train this morning in San Bernardino, and inoculate the 138 persons still on board before its 11am arrival at Union Station. Anyone who refuses the shot will be taken directly from the train to their home and quarantined for two weeks.

Among the passengers are five carloads of delegates en route to the west coast Lions Club International convention. (What’s a little shot between lions?)

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Kim Cooper

Kim Cooper is the creator of 1947project, the crime-a-day time travel blog that spawned Esotouric’s popular crime bus tours, including The Real Black Dahlia. She is the author of The Kept Girl, the acclaimed historical mystery starring the young Raymond Chandler and the real-life Philip Marlowe, and of The Raymond Chandler Map of Los Angeles. With husband Richard Schave, Kim curates the Salons and forensic science seminars of LAVA- The Los Angeles Visionaries Association. When the third generation Angeleno isn’t combing old newspapers for forgotten scandals, she is a passionate advocate for historic preservation of signage, vernacular architecture and writer’s homes. Kim was for many years the editrix of Scram, a journal of unpopular culture. Her books include Fall in Love For Life, Bubblegum Music is the Naked Truth, Lost in the Grooves and an oral history of Neutral Milk Hotel.

3 thoughts on “Mass Vacination Set for All Aboard Train”

  1. Right you are… the train and station are just meant to be suggestive of a SoCal Santa Fe stop. More problematic was the Hotel Alex image from yesterday’s post. I was looking for Hotel Rosslyn and thinking was “Roslyn,” so got frustrated and went for the next big hotel within spitting distance. Mea culpa. It is fixed now.
  2. Her name was Vesta Belle and she was 17, an honor student at Jefferson High, a mile and a half from her home at 5320 Holmes Ave. You might think she got her name in the paper for earning a scholarship or receiving an academic award.

    Instead, her 14-year-old brother, Carlisle, came home from a playground and found Vesta Belle Sapenter’s body in her bedroom. She was partially undressed and had been strangled with a thin hemp cord. With so many murders of women in Los Angeles, you might expect The Times to give it decent play, but Vesta Belle got two paragraphs on Page 8. Just enough to give a few details and that fact that she was black.

    Public records turn up a bit more: She was born in Texas and her mother’s maiden name was Lavollette. Her younger brother Carlisle got a Social Security card in California (556-40-2045 ) and died in Houston in 1983 at the age of 52. But in all, it was not a good day for newspapering in Los Angeles.

    Here’s a link to some pictures from Jefferson High’s 1947 yearbook:

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