A Holiday Reminder from your Friends at 1947project

 clarklobby

stillindangerDecember 30, 1927
Los Angeles

Christmas is over.  Get rid of the tree.  Especially if your tree is absurdly large, and its explosion into flame is going to ignite humans.

W. A. Thomas, 2317 Scarff Street, was sitting on a balcony of the Clark Hotel above just such a repulsively titanic symbol of holiday cheer when the spangled, glittering, belighted thing short-circuited.  A pop, a flash, a sudden roar, and the tapering fir became a sheath of flame.  As did Thomas.  He went to Georgia Street Receiving with second and third-degree burns of the face, neck, chest, arms and hands.  A Mrs. Ethel Williams of Phoenix took some lesser burns to the face, neck, arms and hands as well.

It would be some years before the advent of the aluminum, flameless variety.  (Should you own the Decemberween version of this style, the time is still now to box & basement your shiny friend.)  Thank you for your kind attention.

A chunk of bog and thou

September 7, 1927
Los Angeles

When, oh when, oh when will something be done to soothe the smoldering peat fires that spill noxious smoke and gas from the vicinity of Jefferson and Hauser Streets in the Baldwin Hills? For more than two years the fire has crept inexorably deeper into the peat beds, and now twelve acres are burning just under the topsoil, endangering the health of 200,000 local lungs and the ankles of any local foolish enough to tramp through the booby-trapped fields. Forget the living! What of the mummies?!

Former City Councilman Mallard has issues a plea on behalf of his neighborhood that the City Council take this "rank poison" threat seriously and extinguish the blaze immediately. He even tells them how to do it: through steam shovels that can expose the burning beds, so water can be introduced. Of course, Mallard’s suggestion that the fire be fought in the manner of William Mulholland’s aqueduct project—get it done first, then get the permits—seems in retrospect to be in somewhat less than good taste, but the St. Francis dam disaster is still six months away, and the Mullholland name an untarnished example of Angeleno ingenuity.

*

In New York City, pioneer developer Gaylord Wilshire has died. In recent years, he devoted himself to promoting an electric "health belt" of his own invention, the “I-ON-A-CO.”

Only in LA: Peat Fires, Mature Mermaids and Baboon Co-Pilots

August 10, 1927
Los Angeles 

At Hauser and Jefferson today, Vernadine Burke and Margaret Goesman, both 16, sank up to their ankles in the burning peat that was combusting merrily away beneath the surface. In trying to extricate themselves, the horrified girls also scorched their hands. They were treated at Receiving Hospital and released.

At the Biltmore, manager and VP James Woods was deftly fending off the insistent demands of Captain J.M. Burman, mariner, aviator and San Pedro resident, that the hotel back his scheme to fly from Japan to Los Angeles with his pet baboon as his co-pilot. Burman states he is ideally suited for such a flight because he knows all the Pacific mountain peaks by which he and his monkey pal would steer.

And in Venice, Mrs. Anna E. Van Skike was planning to celebrate her 67th birthday with a 25-mile swim from Point Dume back to her home shore, in recognition of the good health that regular swimming has brought her. Her doctors declared she had tuberculosis at 55 and would surely die, but swimming chased the lung blots away for the Oklahoma native. Hundreds turned out in 1924 to watch the lady dive off the Venice pier, swim ten miles along the shore and sing the "Star Spangled Banner" from the waves on her return.

This is Van Skike’s seventh birthday distance swim, and her longest, and will be done with the support, encouragement and liberal doses of hot coffee from lifeguards Slert and Kinney, who will row their boat in the wake of the olive oil-coated "aged mermaid." She’ll begin the feat at 2am and hopes to be home in time for dinner, though she often quips she would "rather swim than eat" and avoids fried food and pastry for their waterlogging effects. She prefers the pre-dawn hours for her feats, as the water is calmer then, and she is subject to seasickness in heavy surf. She has founded a distance swimming club, and recommends the activity to all.

anna e van skike

Come Meet Frankie the Fire Goat & the Ashettes

Now that the ash from the Griffith Park and Catalina firestorms has settled, citizens want to know what local governments plan do to protect our precious parks from more devastating fires. One solution that’s been proposed is simple, inexpensive and ecological: hire herds of trained fire goats to eat the dry brush before it has a chance to burn. The online Fire Goats Petition has been signed by more than 900 people and featured on KABC news, KFI’s John and Ken Show, KFWB, KTLK, LA CityBeat and LAObserved.

On Wednesday evening, May 23, community members come together at a Griffith Park Community Meeting called by Councilman Tom LaBonge to discuss the future of the park post-fire and to salute the brave LAFD Officers who served on the fire line. Refreshments will be served. The meeting starts at 6pm, but outside the venue at 5:30pm, members of the public and media will have a chance to learn more about the Fire Goats from a very special group of humans and animals.

Frankie the Fire Goat, animal ambassador for fire safety, will be on hand in his cute little fire hat to pose for photos solo and with his members of his beautiful showgirl fan club, The Ashettes. Also attending is Frankie’s shepherdess, Sarah Bunten of Nanny and Billy’s Vegetative Management, to answer questions about her nine years experience clearing brush with managed herds, including her current work for the Getty Museum. Kim Cooper, author of the Fire Goat Petition will be present, as will Judy Cairns from Peck Park Goats, a citizens group dedicated to retaining Sarah’s herd year-round at San Pedro’s Peck Park, where they would be part of an urban farm youth educational program when not clearing brush at other SoCal sites.

Managed grazing by hired herds might sound like an oddball idea, but it’s been enthusiastically embraced in Northern California, which has spent the past 16 years since the deadly 1991 Oakland Hills Conflagration largely fire-free, in stark contrast to flame-swept SoCal. Why are goats the best choice to clear deadly dry brush from our hills and canyons? SAVINGS: acre-for-acre, the cost for a goat herd to clear land is about half the cost of human brush clearing, and goats aren’t just immune to poison oak, they eat it! EFFICIENCY: a herd of 350 goats can clear an acre in a day, leaving the grass cropped down to putting green height and dangerous dry brush eliminated. Plus they can get into areas that humans can’t safely reach. ENVIRONMENT: unlike gasoline-powered brush clearing tools, goats are quiet and nearly carbon-neutral, and they fertilize the land as they work. CHARISMA: goats are so cute, they’re a perfect advertisement for fire safety, an issue we all need to be more aware of.

Please come out Wednesday to learn more about this innovative fire fighting technique, discuss the future of Griffith Park and give a big thank you to the fire fighters who did such a wonderful job two weeks ago.

Location: Friendship Auditorium, 3201 Riverside Drive, LA 90027
Time: Weds 5/23 at 5:30pm (Fire Goat meet and greet); 6pm (Community Meeting)

Frankie is looking forward to meeting you! 

Dolled as a Dapper Dad

March 31, 1927
Pasadena

paircladFourteen year-old Wilbur Garner had a lady-friend, and an older one at that, his inamoratette a fifteen year-old Eula Rittgers. They showed great attachment to one another at their Seventh Day Adventist School. When they decided to exchange biblical dullsville for the world’s treasures, they outfoxed the Man by turning li’l Eula into aeula boy. Inside a church  wastebasket was found the Eula’s hair, and persons conforming to the two young boys’ description were spotted in Eagle Rock. A fashionable bobbed ‘do meets a Joan of Arc act. Appropriately observant.  Guess they were absent the day they covered Deuteronomy 22:5.

jimmydavisIn yet more fifteen year-old news, or, that is to say, further news of fifteen year-olds, fifteen year-old Jimmy Davis and an unnamed pal of his broke into the Monterey Park home of John W. Hardman, stealing fountain pens and trinkets and, more absurdly, did Jimmy garb himself in Hardman’s best suit, silk shirt and black & white scarf. Figuring himself too conspicuous for his own good, Jimmy and pal returned to the house, threw the clothes on the floor and, afraid of being traced through fingerprints (his being known to local authorities for his repeated burglaries and check forgings), lit fire to the house. The house smoldered for some time before being rescued by the fire department, and Jimmy is now cooling his heels in juvenile hall.

A Secretary’s Sacrifice


Feb. 27, 1907
Los Angeles

A thick cloud of smoke from a raging fire in the basement swept through the Germain building on South Spring Street at lunch hour, engulfing businessmen and office workers. In a fraction of a second, the building’s occupants were transformed from powerful executives conducting elaborate stock deals into blind and struggling humans groping on their knees through the hallways to save their lives.

 

There were many daring rescues and examples of selfless sacrifice. One man was saved as he was about to commit suicide rather than die in the fire. Firefighters battled the blaze until they were at the point of collapse, left to revive themselves and then returned. The only fatality was Emma Stewart, a secretary who died because she turned back from her flight to telephone her employer about the fire.

Her last words were: “Mr. Germain, there is a fire in the basement. Come quickly.â€Â

Reporter E.O. Sawyer dragged her to safety after finding her next to the telephone, the receiver hanging loose from its hook. Doctors spent an hour trying to revive her but she never regained consciousness.

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Lmharnisch.blogspot.com

E-mail: lmharnisch (AT) gmail.com




Incendiary Ramblings

Feb. 5, 2007
Los Angeles

Here’s an architectural drawing of the O.T. Johnson Building, which burned in yesterday’s fire.


Looking north on Broadway at 4th Street. The burned structures are at the right.

And here are some snaps of the damaged structures:


Lmharnisch.com
Lmharnisch.blogspot.com

E-mail: lmharnisch (AT) gmail.com




The Deadly Inferno

Oct. 26, 1907
Los Angeles

Two women in the West Adams District were badly burned and expected to die after a bowl of gasoline they were using to clean a soiled dress exploded, engulfing an apartment at 42 St. James Park in flames.

Mrs. James P. Burns (identified helpfully by The Times as the wife of James P. Burns) and maid Catherine Blake had spread a dress across a table and wrapped their hands with rags soaked in gasoline to clean it. Because the electric lights weren