Soccer Returns

Feb. 23, 1907
Los Angeles

The Scotch Thistles beat the English Victorias 3-2 in Southern California’s first soccer game since the Caledonians and the Pasadena team met at Agricultural Park in 1890, The Times says.

Despite the poor condition of the field, the players displayed excellent skill and teamwork. The Times said the teams were only formed three months before and notes that more teams were expected next year.

“As a good, healthful sport, requiring both athletic training and skill, ‘soccer’ seems to have a place to fill here as elsewhere. Apparently, however, it is even less qualified than rugby to take the place of American football,” The Times says.

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Speaking of the Weather

Feb. 22, 1907
Los Angeles

Here’s how The Times weather stories read a century ago:

“For all the daylight hours yesterday, the rain drizzled down, much of the time like a heavy Scotch mist, but toward nightfall the storm deepened and the rain began to fall in earnest. For two hours in the early part of the night there was a constant downpour that soon set the gutters running full and brought about the usual results to the streets near the hill district.

“The wash from the highways intersecting the hills poured down onto the streets of the business section and deposits of sand and gravel caused much inconvenience to electric cars. At several of the intersections on Broadway and Hill streets, men were stationed with shovels to keep the tracks passable for cars.

“The rain disarranged schedules for several of the car lines and much trouble was experienced on both the Belt line and the Brooklyn Avenue line to get the cars around the numerous curves overwashed with gravel.”

“No special damage was done by the storm in Garvanza, although the streets were cut up in some cases. At Highland Park, a swift current flowed down Pasadena Avenue, cutting that street badly in several places.

“Right in the midst of yesterday’s rain, a water pipe on Broadway in front of the Ville de Paris broke and when workmen made excavations to mend the pipe, the water got beyond control and shot up into the air on a level with the fourth story of the building. Hundreds of pedestrians stopped in the rain to watch the great fountain play and it added much to the waters rushing down the street.”

Normally, I don’t like to merely copy what ran in The Times, but sometimes it’s impossible to rewrite the stories and preserve the original flavor.

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Worst in Show

Feb. 21, 1907
Los Angeles

Someone who hates animals is at work in Angeleno Heights, having poisoned 10 valuable dogs and several cats, The Times says.

The killer has an eye for purebreds, the paper says, avoiding mutts and mongrels.

“Detective George Home of 901 Carrillo St. lost a fine bulldog and Patrolman C.L. Johnson of Bellevue Avenue lost a trained birddog which he had for 15 years,” The Times says.

The killer’s methods remain a mystery. Many of the poisoned animals were never allowed out of the yard and one Saint Bernard was always kept chained up, the newspaper says.

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Skeet Shoot

Feb. 19, 1907
Los Angeles

A quick trip to the Thomas Bros. will show that Los Angeles County doesn’t look like this, but it’s not for lack of trying. The wealthy men of Los Angeles and Orange counties are furious with one another over an attempt by Assemblyman Phil Stanton to give Los Angeles County a strip of coastal communities as far south as Newport Beach.

The arguments in favor are simple: Los Angeles County money built those communities and Orange County is, at least as far as the Angelenos are concerned, poorly run.

The Orange County faction accuses its northern neighbors of a land grab and notes the distance people would have to travel to serve on juries, for example. The Orange County businessmen say wealthy Los Angeles members of the Bolsa Chica Gun Club are seeking revenge after losing a lawsuit in Santa Ana against local peat farmers who were hunting ducks in the area.

Bonus fact: The Times says that Los Angeles has abandoned its efforts to annex San Pedro. (For now, anyway).

The rising city: Brentwood.

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Architectural Ramblings

Feb. 18, 2007
Los Angeles

The buildings featured in The Times for this week have been torn down, but in glancing through the listings, I found the sale by the Althouse brothers of a lot at 3006 S. La Salle.

3006 S. La Salle

I can’t say the house was particularly remarkable, although it’s nice and I was happy to find it still standing. Even so, it was an interesting neighborhood to visit and the house at 2921 S. La Salle cries out for rehabbing.

This house is in the 2900 block; I didn’t get the exact address.

2921 S. La Salle

3015 S. La Salle

3027 S. La Salle

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12th Street Ragged

Above, a vanished landmark: The Schermerhorn Inn, at Potter Park, a street that has disappeared.

Feb. 17, 1907
Los Angeles

West 12th Street between Main and Hoover is maddeningly crooked, but how to fix it? One set of residents has agreed to cut the boulevard through front yards because having the street as straight as an engineer’s ruler will raise property values. The other set says that homes will be ruined and that residents will be assessed too much to pay for the work.

Those in favor of the improvement include W.H. O’Melveny (hm. Isn’t that a familiar name?) while opposition is led by Mr. Kincaid, the developer of the Kincaid Tract.

“When the matter was brought up before the City Council several weeks ago, there was a merry tussle, but the side favoring the proposition won out,” The Times says.

Alas, city planners in 1907 failed to anticipate a large sports arena blocking traffic.

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Shattered Lives

Feb. 14-15, 1907
Los Angeles

An 11:30 a.m. blast caused by an accumulation of gas shattered the Rawson building at 114 W. 2nd St. in an explosion blamed on a gas company employee who struck a match to check the meter. Four people were killed immediately while three more died of their injuries and 30 were hurt, some of them so badly that their crushed limbs were amputated.

The explosion killed two waitresses, La Von Meyers and Annie Crawford; retired farmer John W. Main; and tailor J.M.C. Fuentes. Charles G. Haggerdy, who worked in a tailor shop, died a few days later of his injuries, as did janitor Ferdinand Stephen.

Waitress May Anderson, 25, who also worked at the Anchor Laundry, lingered for months before she died. “Although she suffered excruciating pain, she bore up bravely,” The Times said. “The doctors and nurses said that only her grit kept her alive. She realized that she could not live, however, and her great regret was that she would have to part from her mother, a devoted and constant attendant at the hospital cot.”

Mr. Cressaty, the restaurant proprietor, said it was only after he made a series of complaints to the Los Angeles Gas and Electric Co. that Harvey A. Holderman came to inspect the meter and called for assistance.

“It is at this point that stories conflict,” The Times says. “It was asserted by some of the restaurant employees who escaped that [Charles J.] Blumenthal or Holderman lit a match to make an inspection under the floor of the supposed leaky pipes. They had already turned off the gas at the main.”

Although gas company officials denied that the workers struck a match, one company employee testified at the inquest that inspectors sometimes used matches for illumination because they didn’t have flashlights.

A fund drive to aid victims of the explosion raised nearly $10,000 ($205,235.70 USD 2005).

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Twin Celebrations

Feb.13, 1907
Los Angeles

An enormous masked ball for the city’s elite was staged on Mardi Gras at Kramer’s Studio and Dancing Academy, 1500 S. Figueroa.

Kramer’s Hall, as it was informally known.

The Times, in a rare bylined article-by Katherine Thompson-gives
an exhaustive account of decorations and costumes. Rather than list all the women’s outfits, I’ll only comment on them: Spanish senoritas, flower girls, cowboys and a couple of ladies dressed as Chinese girls, which seems a peculiar choice given the attitude toward the Chinese in Los Angeles at the time.

One woman dressed as “My Lady Nicotine” her gown decorated with what The Times estimated, perhaps in exaggeration, as a thousand cigar bands. Several others were dressed as “Night.”

Costumes for the men included cowboys or vaqueros, a Spanish grandee, a French pastry cook and a cardinal.

The other celebration underway was the first anniversary of the Hotel Alexandria, which marked the occasion with a massive fireworks display.

“At 8 o’clock last night, several thousand dollars worth of fireworks were set off from the roof of the Alexandria,” The Times says. “One particularly attractive piece pictured the great lobby of the building. During the evening a Hungarian quartette furnished music.”

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A large (20×30) reproduction of Elizabeth Short’s mug shot has appeared on EBay at a starting price of $250, or $400 under “buy it now” in an auction by mermaidfx. The word “rare” is ridiculously common on EBay, surpassed only by “MIB” and “L@@K.” This is not a rare image, but is widely copied. And folks, the asking price is absurd.

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