October 31, 1907
Everyone loves Hallowe’en high jinks—the artfully tossed toilet tissue, the odd splattered egg. In 1907, of course, kids were simpler. They just caused railroad collisions and overturned buildings.
That the honest pleasures of simple thievery and gunplay would suffice: Mrs. W. Baker of 1211 Westlake Blvd. lost her potted plants, and her front gate, in fact numerous complaints came from the Westlake district of purloined porch furniture, and again, mysteriously, missing gates. Horse and buggies were stolen, and young men fired their guns at random, and we assume that a jack-o-lantern may have been smashed. But can a good time go too far?
Rail-greasings were the order of the evening’s festivities, as twenty-five yards of rail were greased at Santa Barbara and Vermont Avenue, causing the collision of two street cars; passengers were jolted, but none were injured. Similarly, a Grand and Downey Avenue car collided with a Vermont car, and a Vermont car crashed into a Redondo car, and a West Eleventh Street car slammed into a Grand Avenue car—Los Angeles Railway called out 100 men, fitted with sand and rags, to identify and correct grease traps and prevent further hooliganism. Pacific Electric men found oiled rails at two spots in Pasadena, and corrected the traps before more mayhem ensued. A tie was also placed across the Downey Avenue line, and a straw dummy was set up between the rails of the Pasadena short line.
Most remarkably, some students of Archimedes used a lever to overturn an entire real estate office. The 12×20 foot structure, at Avenue 46 and Pasadena Avenue, was filled with $500 ($10,261.79USD 2005) in new furniture that realtor W. H. Gilbert had recently purchased for his home; after overturning the building the vandals set about smashing all the furniture.
And so went another Los Angeles Hallowe’en, filled with holiday release. One wonders if there wasn’t a budding Sylvestre Matuschka in the spirited mix.