The Old Watchman

Dec. 31, 1907
Los Angeles

His name was W.H. Reynolds and the old watchman for E.H. Howard Contracting had laid out all night after being beaten up and thrown in the weeds by two robbers who said they were garbage men looking for the closest dump.

A woman who saw the assault contacted the University Station and police searched all night in the area around Alameda Street and Washington Boulevard, where Reynolds lived in a small, ragged tent. It wasn

The Old Men in Blue

Dec. 30, 1907
Los Angeles

James Sullivan, 64, was a prisoner of the Confederates held at Belle Isle, Libby and Andersonville, where he and war correspondent Albert D. Richardson escaped by tunneling for three months with a spoon.

Henry Russell, formerly of the 4th Cavalry, was held at Andersonville and Benjamin L. Gorsuch of the 1st Maryland Infantry was captured and sent to Belle Isle. James Sherwood was with the 10th New Jersey. John Ryan, 77, was with 7th New York Heavy Artillery.

And then there

Architectural Ramblings

Dec. 28, 2006
Los Angeles

As promised, here are some photos of a few neighborhoods I visited recently.

Views of South Pasadena

First, a few shots of South Pasadena taken along Mission and El Centro to contrast with the views from 1907, then a visit to the 4600 block of South Wesley Avenue. Note the various states of preservation and decay, along with generous layers of stucco.

Views of Wesley Avenue

I always seem to run across interesting cars, a Corvair on Wesley and an old jalopy in South Pasadena.

And here

Crime Bus to the Atomic Frolic, Las Vegas weekender Jan. 26-28

Gentle rider,

We’ll be crossing state lines and violating the Mann Act next month, when the Crime Bus rolls from downtown Los Angeles to Las Vegas on Friday January 26 to take a luxury coach full of party people to the first ever Mondo Lounge Atomic Frolic weekend at the Aruba Hotel. The price is $130/RT (including your Atomic Frolic ticket), and we’ll have you home late Sunday January 28.

Organized by members of the Los Angeles ModCom architectural preservation league now resident in LV, the event celebrates the style, music, art and culture of the great American cocktail era, with live bands, naked girls, neon and architectural tours, lectures (including one by our own Nathan Marsak), best-dressed Fez contests, beat poetry, documentaries, DJs, pajama parties and similar silliness.

So where does the Crime Bus come in? We’ll be transporting many of the Los Angeles attendees, with the weekend’s celebration starting the minute the bus doors close. There will be cool tunes and films, good company, games and surprises, with a detour through historic and scenic Route 66, a meal stop at a suitably retro establishment, and the debut of a new Crime Bus tour featuring tales of high weirdness from the high desert.

The crimes of old Route 66 are nothing like the citified tales told on previous Crime Bus tours. For more than a century, bad people have done terrible things under the vast desert sky, and all too often they’ve gotten away with it. High desert crimes are also odder than city crimes. On the Crime Bus, passengers will boggle at the tale of the Indian guide who cleverly spirited a new bride away from her young husband in 1920, giggle at the hijinks surrounding the premature 1890 death announcement of Wells Fargo messenger Ed Knickerbocker, shudder at the ghastly 1946 RV vacation of 10-year-old John Oedekerk, bit by a rabid dog in Indiana and chased across the country by needle-wielding public health officials, gape at the courage of cross-dressing 1930s teen Martha Adams who ran away from her religious maniac family with 53 cents in her pocket, and marvel at the miraculous tale of the 6-year-old girl kidnapped, bound and left in the hills in 1983 who was rescued when an airsick helicopter searcher landed to vomit and saw her Raggedy Ann doll in the dirt.

The Atomic Frolic is a benefit for the support of protecting modernism in Las Vegas, something that’s long overdue. And tickets are just $30. We hope to see many of our Crime Bus friends in Las Vegas during the last weekend of January. For more info on the Atomic Frolic, please visit
Want a spot on the bus? me to reserve. Again, it’s $130 R/T for the bus and the event.

A Gruesome First

Dec. 27, 1907
Henryetta, Okla., by the Associated Press

A little more than a month after Oklahoma achieved statehood, James Garden became a wretched statistic: the first black to be lynched there.

On Dec. 24, Garden went to see liveryman Albert Bates about renting a rig. When Bates refused, Garden accused him of racism, went across the street to get a gun, returned and shot Bates to death.

By nightfall, a group of 100 men stormed the jail, fought off police officers and hanged Garden from a telegraph pole in the center of town, then used his body for target practice, riddling it with bullets.

Blunder the Double Eagle

Dec. 26, 1907
Pittsburgh, by direct wire to The Times

As Christmas celebrations concluded at Knoxville Presbyterian Church, the congregation presented the Rev. W.A. Jones with $100 ($2,052.36 USD 2005). A banker who was among the worshipers made a point of getting freshly minted gold pieces to present to the pastor.

But the $20 Double Eagles, newly redesigned by sculptor Augustus St.-Gaudens at the request of President Theodore Roosevelt, had a terrible flaw, in Jones

Knocking at the Bar

Dec. 25, 1907
Los Angeles

There are precisely two African American attorneys in Los Angeles and their appearance against one another in court provides a bit of amusement for The Times. We can dispense with the news article and its unfortunate use of dialect rather quickly: Paul M. Nash was suing G.T. Crawford, an African American waiter, for attorneys fees after representing his wife in a divorce. Crawford was represented by Charles S. Darden.

Like most mainstream newspapers of the period, The Times rarely wrote about African Americans and stories always identified them as: