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.â€Â

“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.â€Â

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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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,â€Â The Times says.

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

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Stuck Fast


Jan. 30, 1907
Los Angeles

Recent rains have left the city’s streets in terrible shape, as The Times shows in a photo taken at 1st Street and Spring.

This wagon, pulled by a strong team, plunged up to its hubs in one of the potholes and the horses were unable to free it. “Under the whip and vociferous admonitions of their driver, they were helpless to pull it out from the stinking muck in which, hub deep, it stood,â€Â The Times says.

The driver abandoned the wagon, The Times says, posing an obstacle to other traffic.

“Street conditions in Los Angeles never were so bad as they are today under our new-fangled, high-salaried and pompous Board of Public Works. When we had a street superintendent it was sometimes possible to ‘get a move on,’ â€Â The Times says.

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