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.


Inspired by the birthday wishlist of LA Brain Terrain blogiste Adrienne Crew, Rodger Jacobs has posted his own five-things-most-desired list, and asks that your humble editrix do the same. It is not nice to stir peoples’ covetousness. I can not rest until such a selection is compiled. And so:

1) a landscape by Léon Spilliaert 

2) a green Fortuny Delphos gown 

3) the full set of Grandville’s fleurs animes, still in the book and not canibalized for prints.

4) an image of Bruges by Fernand Khnopff

5) A forty-year-old dioscora macrostachys from the California Cactus Center

Tagging: Nathan Marsak, Richard Schave, Ryan at Losanjealous, L.A. City Nerd 

Mayor Harper Likes to Watch Young Girls — Hurdle Tombstones!

May 3, 1907
Los Angeles

The old cemetery adjacent to Los Angeles High School was a lonely and forlorn place, until a throng of young ladies from the HS girls’ track team made it their training quarters. The fair hurdlers and sprinters had important dates upcoming, and the disused graveyard was the only place they could practice–until the grizzled old caretaker descended on the girls as they footed it in and out among the memorials. He was responsible to the Mayor for the condition of the place, he told them, and if he let girls practice there, then boys would come ’round, and if boys came ’round, then the peace of the place would forever be destroyed. So the girls would have to go, he insisted.

Naturally, wind of this got to Mayor Harper, who disclaimed all complicity with the cruel edict, and went on to state that he likes to see girls leap over monuments and generally make the place lively. “Why, it’s good for them. Let the girls hop over tombstones if they want to. I like to have them,” said Mayor Harper. “If the girls are anything like they used to be they’re welcome to all the room they want.” Harper even went so far as to flourish the official pen and scribble out a permit allowing the girls to roam at will in the old Los Angeles cemetery adjoining the High School building, provided they did not desecrate any graves.

And that, children, is how young girls in the bloom of youth, their airy flights and frolics so delightful to the eye, got their graveyard privileges restored.

Train Electro-Charged!

May 2, 1907
Los Angeles

Area men Peter Matlock, Morris Ross, and D. J. Berry were waiting for the Pacific Electric car at the Pine Avenue station with the usual mob making the usual Thursday afternoon rush, and had the good fortune to be at the forefront of the throng.

Though when the trolley approached and they grasped the metal guard rails to pull themselves on board, the crowd leapt back as the three men began convulsing in bizarre contortionist fits. With super-human strength they tore themselves from the train, falling heavily to the pavement, dazed and shocked beyond measure, their blistered hands a testament to the defective wiring and improper grounding–that most base, yet heady, of electrical cocktails–that had caused 500 volts to course through the car.

With stern reserve and newfound respect for Mr. Edison, they still caught the next car home.

Lovely Mount Kalmia

A little bird sent us the above holiday card, issued from the magical Mount Kalmia seven years before the estate, overlooking the Sunset Strip, was the site of an especially seedy real estate scam. Somehow we doubt Johnny Depp has managed to preserve the landscaping…

Do Not Mess with a Woodman

April 26, 1907
Los Angeles

Thomas Cash, State Deputy Treasurer of the Woodmen of the World, was sleeping in his room at 852 Stephenson Avenue early this morning when awakened by a rustling in his adjoining office. Cash armed himself with what was nearest—a sturdy shoe—and advanced on the burglar, who fled, but Cash gave chase. Cornering the housebreaker at the end of the hall, Cash dealt a fearsome blow to the intruder’s face with his shoe. From there they grappled and struggled and rolled onto the rear porch, where the burglar made a wild leap sixteen feet into the back yard and, after having to clamber over a barbed-wire topped fence, disappeared. As a relic of the desperate battle, Cash has the collar and shirt front of the burglar. Other than that, Cash came away without so much as a scratch.

Whither Our Useful Friends, the Corpses?

April 23, 1907
Los Angeles
Traffic in the Dead was the topic before the Board of Supervisors today.  There is a “disgraceful scrabble for bodies,” stated Supervisor Alexander, chairman of the County Hospital Committee.  Supervisor Patterson remarked as well that “the officials of the institutions where these poor unfortunates die are simply hounded for the bodies.”  It seems that while forty-six cadavers of unclaimed indigents were, in March alone, distributed among the the likes of the Los Angeles College of Osteopathy, Pacific College of Osteopathy, USC and the College of Physicians, there was still a shortage, despite the contention of A. B. Shaw of Los Angeles College of Osteopathy that “the death rate at the County Hospital is much in excess of any proper need of all the medical schools of this county.”  In the interest of rational cadaver distribution (especially one carried out in more seemly a manner), permits shall now henceforth be issued to those qualified Angelenos who, in the interest of anatomical research, approach poor houses, public hospitals, county jails, State prisons and undertakers for pickings.

Toe-Bling, 1907 Style

April 22, 1907
San Bernadino
The trial of R. Patterson begins here today, wherein the accused must answer to the charge of robbery.  Patterson, a brakeman on the Santa Fe line, became acquainted with a young Pole, a tailor, en route from New York to Los Angeles.<!– D([“mb”,”

Dogs and Whisky: Saviors of Man

April 21, 1907
Mr. Lorenzo La Frank was working on his ranch in Newhall when attacked and bitten by a rattlesnake, which leaped and fastened itself upon his back, twisting itself around his suspenders.  But La Frank’s brave and faithful dog leapt as well, tearing the snake from his master.  La Frank was admitted to County Hospital with a thinning of the blood, a condition peculiar and particular to a rattler’s bite.  Given as bethinned blood soaks through the walls of vessels, ending up in the lungs, La Frank is being administered copious whisky to combat the pneumonia he has subsequently contracted.    La Frank is expected to recover in full.

Strange Recluse Spied in Santa Anita Canyon

April 19, 1907
north of Monrovia

It seems the rumors are true: there really is a wild man living in the remote reaches of Big Santa Anita Canyon! He was seen this week by two brave boys from Monrovia, Charles Crandall and Sherman Black, who climbed high into the hills, past the old Sturtevant camp, to the West Fork, then about two miles above Clam Shell Canon. It was there they encountered the living myth.

The wild man has long been rumored to live in the caves high above civilization, and to be insane. The creature the Monrovians spied was old and yellow skinned, with long claws on his hands, a wild beard and stooped figure. He was surprised in the doorway of his rude dwelling, a windowless concrete hut with live oak rafters, but slammed the door when they attempted to make conversation.

The young men of Monrovia are not to be so easily snubbed. Even now, an exploration party is being assembled, with the intention of learning more about what makes the wild man tick.