July 15, 1927
Of our common cohort Latrodectus—the black widow—there is in the Times no mention whatsoever until this day in 1927. For it was on this day that Bureau of Housing and Sanitation officials were alerted to the presence of one lone lady in a pile of trash lumber at 147 North Hoover Street—a specimen believed to have come in a crate of fruit from Hawaii.
But worry not! general public, says M. S. Siegel, Chief Supervisor of the Department, for we have destroyed the specimen, burned the lumber, and saturated the ground with gasoline! No other reports of the spiders have been made in Los Angeles, and so far as Siegel knows, there are no more of the type in our geographic region.
But he spoke too soon: it was the beginning of the end. July 19, 1927:
From here, the paper goes spider-nutty. 147 North Hoover was apparently our arachnid Alamogordo, for few days passed in the late 20s without mention of some terrible arachattack:
(Personally, I’m of the opinion that the area always had the spiders hanging about in our privies and junk cars and whatnot, and the Times just felt it needed something new to harp on. And what better? After all, they’re colored…[they’ve got “black” right in the name!] And they’re women.)
(And that whole sexual cannibalism thing is a little suspect.)