Catalina Landings Complicated

July 30, 1907
Avalon, Catalina Island 

Who owns the sea, the islands and their calm coves? Is it god, or man who lays claim upon places of value in the world?

On Santa Catalina Island, a consortium run by the Banning family has seized control of most of the landable sections of the Avalon cove, and demands a 12 1/2% cut of all ship’s profits for the privilege of using the wharves. Most of the island’s boatmen agreed to pony up for the Santa Catalina Island Company surcharge, but a few rebelious sorts sniffed they’d find their own landings, thankyouverymuch.

Pity the unfortunate passengers who go out fishing with these rebels, quite unaware that permission to land on dry wood does not come with the price of passage! At Avalon today, an independent boatman named "Chappie" returned with a party of four and sought to land at the wharf, as a lady was aboard. He got into a physical altercation with an officer of the SCIC, and clouted the man with his gaff hook, then was swatted with a billyclub and knocked unconscious for ten minutes.

The lady was allowed to disembark onto the wharf, where is was discovered she had suffered a nasty wound straight through the web of her hand, from someone’s swinging blade unseen. The punchy "Chappie" meanwhile put his male passengers ashore along the beach, a most ignoble end to a day’s sport fishing.

Landlord Beware

July 11, 1907
San Pedro

When poolhall manager G.M. Woodward’s rented house on 17th Street burned on June 29, landlord Mrs. M. Sweetman was grateful no one was killed. But after discovering the fire was intentionally set by Woodward, who had hopes of claiming $1100 insurance on his furnishings, she is fuming herself. Woodward is in County Jail, unable to make his bail.

Meanwhile, passengers on the North German Lloyd liner Kronprinz Wilhelm arrived in Hoboken with a terrifying tale of their ship having struck an iceberg in the North Atlantic on July 8. Authoress Gertrude Atherton and statesman Baron Speck Von Sternberg were among the shaken travellers.

Further Dispatches from Divorce Court

May 30, 1907
Los Angeles


Call me an embittered divorcée—male though I may be—but it seems I can’t get enough of any tale involving marital disharmony (cf. May 25, or more saliently, May 17).  Those in the thrall of wedded bliss, or, more likely, righteous pique, tut-tut our modern divorce rate.  Well…

Old soldier Alonzo Stuart, 70, met Ida, 38, at a Sawtelle church.  She spoke to him without an introduction (!) and during said discussion he revealed he owned an acre down on Fourth Street.  They took a stroll to go look at the property, whereafter she promised to be a good and loving wife.  He deeded her the acre.  We know where this is going.

A good and loving wife she was not, as was evident on the very day of their marriage.  While eating iced cream in Eastlake Park, the elder Stuart laid his arm affectionately across the shoulder of his new bride, but she moved her chair away, saying she did not care to be slobbered over.  Stuart pal Frank Conckling recounts further tales of newlywedded smoochiness, including this one, after his visit to the Stuart’s Sawtelle home on Sixth:  “She was sitting outside reading a murder story from a sensational paper.  I asked her where Stuart was, and she said:  ‘He’s inside cleaning up his dirt.’  I went in and found him down on his knees, scrubbing the floor.”  Ida also reportedly stated to her husband that she was not going to be dictated to “by any damn man.”

At the trial, Alonzo admitted to being, at times, remorse and sullen, but only because his heart was grieving.  And yes, he did brandish a pistol, but was calm and quiet and in fact perfectly good natured while doing so.

Ida recounted that they argued frequently—for example, she wished to go to the beach without him.  “The last fuss we had was over religion,” she said.  “There are so many different kinds of religion in Sawtelle.”

The value of the disputed property is $1,400.

Death Comes A-Reaping

deathscytheMr. and Mrs. Simon Condon are building a home on the corner of Long Beach Boulevard and Sixty-First Street, an activity oft interrupted by Simon’s destructive rampages.  It would seem that Mrs. Condon holds the family purse-strings, which Mr. Condon deems unfair (and objects to strongly) in that the house-building money came from a $1,000 injury settlement, the result of his meat-packing accident at the Simon Maier Packing Company.  

And so Simon attempted to murder his wife with a scythe, whereafter Mrs. Condon had no recourse but to call the local constable.  Simon stated to the officer that he will indeed succeed in killing her if he doesn’t get the money.  

Jailhouse investigation reveals Mr. Condon to be neither intoxicated nor insane.

A Fish Story

May 8, 1907
Long Beach

While fishing off the Long Beach pier, Harry Hamilton, a visitor from Prince Edwards Island, Nova Scotia, made a spectacular catch, which required a hard and frenzied battle to drag the creature from its briny home up to pier-level. It was only after subduing the finny fellow that Hamilton realized that his valuables–$325 in cash, a ticket home, and a diamond ring–were no longer in his pocket.

It is unknown if his property fell into the water while Hamilton was preoccupied with his catch, or were they snatched by a pickpocket, but the sad fact remains that Harry Hamilton, who was this morning well equipped to enjoy his stay in Fiesta-time Los Angeles, now possesses just his luggage and a large fish. Anyone who wishes to buy said fish may contact Hamilton c/o this website.

One Less Sailor in Pedro

May 6, 1907
San Pedro

The British bark Falls of Gary arrived in San Pedro tonight, 144 days from Antwerp, journeying around the Horn to bring a load of cement to Los Angeles. An uneventful journey, except that they arrived one man short. James Milligan, cook and steward, had been drinking heavily before the vessel set off. At one day out he was put to bed by shipmates and when sought again, had vanished. The disappearance is being considered a suicide.

Not a shocking story in and of itself–but one must wonder: cement? Had Los Angeles not evolved to the point of discovering the wonders of water mixed with gypsum? Granted, I love Hassids and Quentin Metsys and Belgian chocolate, but what makes Flemish cement so precious that it must be imported here on three-masted vessels flying the flag of Edward VII?

Watch Out!

April 24, 1947
Santa Monica 

When Antoine Busier agreed to purchase eleven trays of golden trinkets for $197.60 from the Elgin National Jewelry Company of Illinois, he thought he was getting a fine bargain. It was only after he had taken possession of the gewgaws that he began to suspect he might have been taken.

He addressed an inquiry to the celebrated Elgin National Watch Company to confirm that he was dealing with so esteemed a firm… only to discover that they did not offer gold collar buttons of the sort he had obtained, and further that they knew nothing of the agent who had sealed the deal.

Antoine Busier had made two payments at this stage; he did not extend the third. The Elgin Jewelry Company subsequently assigned the debt to F. R. Robertson, and it was he who met Busier in the courtroom of Superior Court Judge Wilbur today to demand the remaining $98.80, plus court costs.

Busier suggested to Judge Wilbur that the items might not truly be gold, freeing him of the obligation to complete the purchase. Accordingly, the Judge sent out for a bath of muriatic acid, and dropped a few of the shining pieces into the liquid. The golden surface bubbled briefly, then fell away, revealing plain metal below.

The case continues tomorrow, but courtroom observers suspect it will fall in Busier’s favor. 

Fashion Week

Clarence Westfall, 22 years old, was taken into custody at San Pedro yesterday afternoon when a boat from San Diego docked. He was arrested for having masqueraded in female attire and was taken to the Central Police Station, where he told a story that nearly resulted in his being liberated. When the police received the report from the station at San Pedro, however, that Westfall, in posing as a woman, had endeavored to be assigned to a woman