A Foul Wind Blows Over Boyle Heights

Oct. 12, 1907
Los Angeles

After repeated complaints to police because half a dozen dead dogs had laid in the streets for two weeks, the health department tried to charge C.T. Hanson, who held the contract for removing carcasses. But according to the city attorney, Hanson was only guilty of not abiding by his contract and nothing more.

In fact, Hanson had tried to get out his contract, claiming that he was losing money, but the city refused.

Rail Bums, Japanese-Style


October 9, 1907hobos
Los Angeles

Where now we fret over every Mexican and Saudi, uh, Iraqi who crosses our border, time was, we fretted over the Japanese.  And rightfully so—they are studious and upright, and therefore cunning.  Oh, wait, that was the stereotype concocted after 1941.  In 1907, they were all hungry railroad tramps.

You will I trust forgive me while I quote liberally from the original text:first

“Sound the alarm…the Japs have scaled the last wall of our complicated civilization.  Having learned how to work, they are now starting in on the science of learning how not to work—invading Vagobondia.  In fact the first crop of oriental Happy Hooligans was reaped yesterday morning.”hobopix

M. Mitsuz and R. Moresons traveled from Japan to Mexico in search of work.  They worked Down South for a spell, “but for some queer reason got an inspiration to go with a trainload of Jap emigrants to Vancouver, where Japs get clumped around by the natives.”

The two aforementioned gentlemen were piled into a cheap day coach, and were “transported over more miles than they thought were on the globe.”  Having made the journey from Japan, this writer feels that to be, likely, highly inaccurate.  In any event, there was apparently no food on the train, as Mitsuz, “who is about the size of a pickled onion, murmured in his dreams the names of luscious Jap dishes that made his pal, Moresons, groan aloud.  When the train passed any place where there were restaurants, their two little noses twitched and sniffed like rabbits.”  Again, without there having been a reporter on the train with them, we can only marvel at the describatory liberties taken herein.  But such was the deft and trenchant reporting of the time.

With dame hunger having taken hold, though while under bond and legally not allowed to leave the train, Mitsuz and Moresons beat it out of the railroad yards and into the nearest eatery:  “They had their first introduction to their ‘ham an,’’ and somebody scooped out for them a restaurant pie resembling two clam shells, with a piece of felt hat for filling.  They devourered it and suffered grievous things in their tummies during the night.  Japanese nightmares, having all those crawly things you see shinning up the sides of rose vases for literary material, must be something fierce.”

That may be so.  (I invite those readers of Japanese ancestry to confirm and clarify.)  

While at the beanery, where our duo “ate until their skins were spread thin,” the train up and left without them, taking all of their belongings with. They ran around for a while, making “rag-time” gestures at officials, who dutifully ignored them.  They climbed into a boxcar hoping to hop a freight north, but were pinched by railyard bulls, who “rounded them into the station with the regular grist of Weary Willies and tomato can bums.”

Messrs. Mitsuz and Moresons face deportation.

The Oddest, Oldest Fellow

Carl Schmidt

October 9, 1907
Los Angeles

The nation’s most senior Odd Fellow, Carl Schmidt of 2729 West Pico Street, died at aged 95, after a brief illness. Schmidt was born in Germany in 1812, and  emigrated to Philadelphia at 18, where he was known as a locksmith of great facility. He joined the Odd Fellow’s Lodge No. 12 at 21, and in 1852 moved with his wife Joanna to Madison, Wisconsin, then a tiny trading post, where he co-founded Lodge No. 17. He maintained active memberhip in this lodge until his passing.

Joanna Schmidt died in 1900, and the following year Carl moved to Los Angeles to live with their daughter, Mrs. Gus Kleaman. A week before his death, Schmidt gained the distinction of being the oldest person to spend an hour under anesthesia, as surgeons attempted to repair a rupture he had suffered at age 8, which had lain fallow for eight decades before becoming an irritation. He appeared to rally from his surgery, but complications set in, and he died at home surrounded by his family. The funeral was held at his bedside, under the auspices of the Odd Fellows.

A Curious Dreamer

Oct. 5, 1907
Los Angeles

Hilliard Stricklin is a man with an urgent desire to do something for his fellow African Americans. He says that he came to Los Angeles from Chattanooga, Tenn., about 1895 with a few dollars in his pocket, worked hard and saved his money until he opened a grocery store at 2053 Santa Fe Ave.

What he wants most is to build a facility for the elderly and for orphaned children, naming it the Stricklin Memorial Home for the Aged in honor of his mother.

Two years earlier, Stricklin bought the old Pertinico Winery on Vermont Avenue just south of Pico, paying about $10,000 ($205,235.70 USD 2005). The white neighbors in Pico Heights assumed Stricklin was bluffing with his talk about helping the elderly until the day piles of lumber and a crowd of workmen appeared on the site.

And then they were furious at the idea. Neighbors accused Stricklin of extorting an extravagant price for the property under the threat of bringing blacks into the area.

[Warning: Dialect ahead]

Mr. Wrong, Edendale-Style

October 3, 1907

It’s 2006, and Edendale is the quaintest durn area of Silver Lake, where you may dine at the Edendale Grill and think back on when Edendale was full of Keystone Kops and horses from Tom Mix’s Mixville Studios.  You can mull over Edendale’s history as the birthing-place of identity politics, where gay rights began and Communists cruised the hills and bohemianism was actually daring.  And now, next time you’re in Edendale, I hope you think of Mr. A. B. Wright.

Mrs. Jennie Gamble bought a lot in Edendale when it was laid out in 1903, and built a nice little four-room cottage.  She decided to sell in 1907, and did so, to the aforementioned Mr. Wright, the $1200 deal was closed, and Mrs. Gamble deposited her deed with a trust company.  All fine and good, except for one thing:  A. B. Wright is black.

The neighborhood went nuts, threatening “dire things” and making uncomplimentary remarks to Mrs. Gamble.  A great banner was raised, announcing a mass meeting set for tonight to protest against the incursion.  

But the protest was averted, as R. R. Carew, original promoter of Edendale and a resident therein, “proved to be the Moses in the present difficulty, and led his people out of trouble.”  And he would have been in trouble indeed, in that he had personally assured prospective homemakers that no black family would be allowed to settle in the community.  What Carew said to Wright is unknown, but Wright did ultimately decide not to move his family into Edendale.


There still aren’t a lot of black people in Edendale. 

About the upcoming Halloween Horrors tour

LOS ANGELES- On Saturday October 21, with a repeat 10/22, the 1947project debuts Halloween Horrors, its most disturbing Crime Bus tour yet. This five-hour jaunt spans downtown, Hollywood, Echo Park and the Eastern San Fernando Valley while offering a grimly hilarious look at more than two dozen peculiar and long-forgotten crimes, including several with a Halloween theme. Vintage crime scene photos are featured, with passengers urged to BYOBB (bring your own barf bag), always a smart idea when Crimebo the Crime Clown is in attendance.
Following September’s three sold-out Real Black Dahlia tours, hosts Kim Cooper and Nathan Marsak have dug into the archives to uncover such terrible tales as the lady dope dealer left with her eyes gouged out on Echo Park’s Lovers’ Lane, the one-time silent screen star who died alone and was gnawed on by her doggy, the trick or treat murder of the handsome hairstylist, the unsolved Hollywood Boulevard "ape man" candy clerk slaying, an astrologer and a palm reader who didn’t foresee being killed by the women they loved, Silver Lake’s exploding gun shop, the poignant death of the bravest dog in Hollywood, plus visits to Bela Lugosi’s home, Crimebo’s tales of Halloween celebrations gone terribly wrong and history of holiday pranks in Los Angeles, plus light-hearted oddities like the mysterious midnight disappearance of thousands of cucumbers from a Hollywood farm.

Crime Bus passengers will make a pit stop at Tai Kim’s East Hollywood Scoops gelato shop, nicknamed Spoocs for the day and featuring a selection of scary Halloween-themed frozen treats like Bloody Mary Gelato, Black Current and Blueberry Sorbet, Kabocha (Japanese pumpkin) and more.
1947project has quickly built a reputation for the most eclectic and well researched crime history tours in the Southland, with its popular Black Dahlia, Pasadena Confidential and Nightmares of Bunker Hill Tours, and feature stories in The Los Angeles Times, Pasadena Weekly (cover story), LA Alternative Press (cover story), BBC News, Pasadena Star-News, KNX News Radio and a "best of LA" nod from Los Angeles Magazine.

Passengers on this eye-opening, funny and informative tour will leave with a new understanding of Halloween in old Los Angeles, and the promise of nightmares. It is highly recommended for natives and newcomers, crime and history buffs and anyone who likes to seek out the unexpected.

For more info, or to reserve your seat, drop us a line.