103 YEARS AGO in LONG BEACH, CA.
News stories from the local press
LINCOLN MONUMENT IN PACIFIC PARK
Since 1906 the stone foundation originally intended for a soldier’s monument in the southeast corner of Pacific Park had laid unattended. The project itself had a checkered past and was abandoned because of internal jealousies among members of the Sons of the Veterans’ Auxiliary over who would get credit for the monument.
The original contractor was paid a $200 deposit, but was still owed $3,600 for the soldier statue still in his possession. Exhausting all efforts to get paid, the contractor placed the matter in the hands of an attorney. On the next Memorial Day an unusual wood and canvas monument was placed upon the granite base in Pacific Park. The attorney was in the crowd jotting down the names of a number of participants who had originally donated funds. A little later each of these received a letter from the attorney advising them that the use of the pedestal was a confession of liability and the money owed the original contractor must be paid. Not surprisingly, the make-shift monument was removed, and the base remained unused. The contractor did not get his money.
In 1914, Park Superintendent Arthur Falkenhayn suggested the unsightly base be used as the foundation of a drinking fountain to show place the public library. Receiving approval, he surrounded the base of the fountain with flowers. The fountain itself was used as an urn in which he planted coleus vines and other shrubbery. Because of this attention, the local women’s auxiliary of the Grand Army of the Republic decided to rejuvenate the movement to erect a memorial to those who were involved in the Civil War. A monument to Lincoln was decided upon.
The statue was the third of its kind in the United States. It was similar to one located in Lincoln Park, Chicago, designed by Augustus St. Gaudens, and erected there in October 1887. There was a similar monument on the battle field at Gettysburg. The Long Beach monument was 22 feet 8 inches high, 7 feet of this was for the Lincoln statue itself. The weight was 146,100 pounds, cut from granite quarried at Fresno. The base was of solid cement. The cost was $3,000.
On July 3, 1915, at 2 o’clock in the afternoon, thousands cheered when the two American flags draping the figure of Lincoln fell. The guns of the U.S.S. Chattanooga boomed a national salute. The Municipal Band burst into the strains of the Star Spangled Banner. Robert Lincoln had been invited to the unveiling of the Lincoln memorial statue, but he could not come. Instead, Col. James M. Emery, secretary of the Monument Association, gave a presentation address and James Hair recounted the history of the monument movement. In December, an old government surplus cannon and forty cannon balls was given by the U.S. government to the Long Beach Post of the Grand Army of the Republic (G.A.R.). It was placed just south of the Lincoln memorial statue on a pedestal built and donated by Beng Brothers. What happened to the original $3600 1906 soldier statue remains a mystery.
PANCHO VILLA’S WIFE AND CHILD IN LONG BEACH
Senora Juana Torres Villa, wife of Mexican revolutionary Pancho Villa, left Mexico in 1915 and came to Long Beach with the Farias family. The party stayed at the Hotel Alexander a few days, but, because of fears of a plot to kidnap Senora Villa’s baby, Juana Maria, and to harm the young wife, they left the hotel and moved to a house on Ninth Place where they remained for several months.
In September 1915, the Daily Telegram reported a rumor put out by Villa’s opposition that Villa was planning to flee Mexico and seek refuge in Southern California. Pancho Villa was reputedly gathering a big treasure to add to the $5,000,000 in currency and jewels his wife supposedly had with her. When she was interviewed by reporters, Mrs. Villa denied she had brought a fortune in jewels with her when she left Mexico. She also said her husband would not desert Mexico, and if he did it would be with a modest competence hardly termed wealth in this country. Juana said the last word she had from her spouse was from Torreon, declaring the campaign against “Carranza, the traitor,” was going well, and expressing his hope that the country would soon be at peace and that she could return to him. Mrs. Villa said that she did not expect her husband to visit her here, for many reasons, on which she did not elaborate. She said she and her friends were in Long Beach to escape the heat of the summer in Northern Mexico.
The press continued to hound Juana Torres Villa forcing her to leave Long Beach. Her husband was fodder for the press, a man of mystery and glamour. It was said he had a number of women of ill fame with him at all times, and that he kept an American girl a prisoner at Monterey for many months. All of this was denied. What was known was that Villa had killed a Mexican federal army officer near his home at San Andreas. From that time on he was the object of General Porfirio Diaz’s wrath and was hunted in the mountains of Chihuahua. When the Madero revolution started Villa raised an armed force in the San Andreas district and made warfare on the Diaz government. At Chihuahua, after the close of the Madero war, Villa was made a colonel and opened up a number of meat markets there. Villa again took up arms following the death of Madero, killing those who betrayed Madero. His wife was constantly shadowed by the media hoping for additional stories. Juana tried to seek anonymity in Los Angeles, but the news reporters soon tracked her down and published her addresses for all to know.
On November 7, 1915, a robbery occurred in the Villa household. $3000 worth of jewelry and several small items were taken. Rosa Luna, a Long Beach Mexican woman, was arrested and charged with larceny when Senora Villa’s furs were found in her possession. While evidence collected by Long Beach detectives only connected Rosa Luna indirectly with the big robbery, the fact she was in possession of a portion of the loot suggested the job was probably perpetrated by Mexican criminals.
Suspecting a conspiracy aimed at him through his young wife and infant daughter, Pancho Villa sent Andres Farias to Long Beach to look into the matter. While refusing to talk about political matters, Farias hinted the robbery was something more than a mere burglary. He gave the impression that General Villa believed a conspiracy within the Carranza element of Los Angeles was the true cause. Long Beach detectives surmised that documents, of more value to the conventionalist cause of Northern Mexico than were the Villa family jewels, had also been taken. Amidst all this, the Long Beach Press, on December 31, 1915, reported Villa had been in Long Beach living on Pacific Avenue. He had been seen several times emerging from the residence, getting into a large touring car with a retinue of servants.
In January 1916, newsmen pestered Juana Villa with stories that her husband had taken another wife. Wearily she told them “Es un mentira”, it’s a lie. “Adios”. But was it really a lie? Could Villa have been a bigamist? In May 1934, General Francisco Villa’s supposed widow, Dona Luz Corral Vda. de Villa arrived in Hollywood to witness the filming of a movie about her husband’s life. Senora Villa, who lived in a 50-room mansion Villa built for her in Chihuahua, said she wanted to learn for herself how her husband’s life was to be depicted on the screen by Wallace Berry in the film Viva Villa. In commenting on her husband, she said that theirs had been a whirlwind courtship. He had seen her photograph, liked what he saw, and had come to her home at San Andreas, sweeping her off her feet. They were married in May 1911.
If this was true, what of poor Juana Villa? On November 26, 1916, news that she had died in Guadalajara on October 27th reached the Long Beach media. No cause of death was given, but public sentiment against Villa viewed her relationship with him as one of misfortune: “Mrs. Villa was a beautiful young girl, acting as a cashier of the largest store in Torreon, when she had the misfortune to fall under the eye of the bandit. He forced her into a marriage with him.” Previously, before the U.S. entered the Mexican revolution on the side of Villa’s opponent Carranza, their relationship had been viewed as one of love and romance. Now, since the U.S. opposed Villa’s political actions, he was viewed as a cad. Perhaps he was, for as his widow revealed in 1934, he definitely was a womanizer.
Their only child had died in infancy, but Dona Luz had reared five other children of Villa and knew of fifteen more. She said she knew she wasn’t the only woman he ever loved (the OC Register 9/18/02 reported he married 26 times), but she knew that in his heart Pancho had always been true to her. She also felt all his children, legitimate or not, had the perfect right to his name. (Press Telegram 5/17/1934 A3-2)
When the film Viva Villa was released, Pancho Villa’s daughter, Celia, was signed by MGM to appear at openings around the country. The 19-year-old (born in 1915 to another of Villa’s “wives”), was discovered in El Paso, jobless and penniless. Newspaper stories resulted in her deportation to Juarez, Mexico, where she worked as a few weeks as a hat check girl. With the help of MGM, immigration difficulties were straightened out and she was able to enter the United States. Unfortunately, she spoke no English except “Okay”, so her days as a media attraction were numbered. She did enjoy her brief moment of fame, going on grand shopping excursions, with the motion picture company paying the bills. (Press Telegram 4/1/1934 A4)
Another Villa offspring also got to try a hand in the movies. In 1954, Jose Trinidad Villa made his motion picture debut in the adventure-drama Vera Cruz, filmed on location in Mexico. Young Villa (born in 1923), was connected with the Mexico City police department, pursing a career that might have come at odds with his father thirty years earlier. Jose was playing the role of a lancer guard captain attached to the court of Emperor Maximillan in which Burt Lancaster and Gary Cooper stared. As hard-riding and rugged as his colorful father, 31-year-old Jose Trinidad so distinguished himself in tryouts for the role that he was immediately singled out of a field of 150 applicants by producer James Hill, who was unaware he had selected Pancho’s son when he handed him the choice assignment. Villa secured a leave of absence from the police department to try his hand at acting, but he claimed he didn’t intend to make it his life’s work. Villa told reporters that his father was a much better actor than he could ever hope to be, but Jose felt he was much better at keeping law and order. (Press Telegram, Southland 9/19/1954)
In September 2002, another of Villa’s sons, Ernesto Nava, talked about his family history. Nava was born in 1915 to Macedonia Ramirez, whose romance with Villa was interrupted by the Mexican Revolution. As the violence and chaos dragged on and her village of Nazas, in the state of Durango, was burned, Ramirez decided to flee to protect herself and her baby. With the help of a family friend by the name of Nava, whose name she adopted, Ramirez made her way to New Mexico where she raised her only son, working as a maid. Ernesto didn’t learn until he was 5 or 6 who his father was. His mother told him never to tell anyone about his father because she was afraid Villa’s enemies would kill him. Nava, who bore an uncanny resemblance to his father, spent many years in the fields and factories and construction sites of California without mentioning his father’s name, even to his own children. In 2002 his parentage known, Nava, a resident of Hayward, was lauded in the Bay area as a living link to the Mexican Revolution. (OC Register 9/18/2002 10:1)
In 1920, Villa’s enemy Carranza was driven from power, and new President Alvarao Obregon, in order to pacify Villa, granted him and his men land at Canutillo, Durango. On August 9, 1920, Villa surrendered after years of banditry and defiance of both the Mexican and the United States governments. He made a formal statement telling how he and Mexico were tired of fighting. It was time to settle down and go to work. He was anxious to show he could work as well as fight. Each of Villas men were given a small ranch, Villa a larger ranch and a personal bodyguard of fifty men, whom he personally selected. Despite these precautions Villa, who had been born Doroteo Arango, was shot and killed from an ambush by enemies in 1923.
One of Pancho Villa’s most highly regarded fighters lived a long life, dying in Long Beach, at his home at 719 Chestnut, in 1957. Col. David R. Mortera, was head of Villa’s Corps of Engineers. He later served as head of the National Railways and assistant secretary of agriculture. He also held several patents on interlocking concrete blocks, was known as both a mining & structural engineer, dam builder, and as an inventor of a puppet animation process. Mortera was born in Texas in 1880. Schooled at Texas A&M and the University of Iowa, he went to Mexico to fight for a dream of bettering living conditions for the Mexican peasant. Villa wanted to promote him to general, but he declined. His reason was simple. When they captured colonels, they released them or put them in prison. When they captured generals they shot them.
In one battle Mortera’s horse was shot from under him. In his dying throes, the horse kicked Mortera in the head, crushing his skull. His troops thought him dead. But when the battle was over, Indians from a small village dragged him to one of their homes. They summoned an 18-year-old boy who, without formal medical training, attempted to treat Mortera’s head wounds. With a rubber plunger, he applied suction to the top of the colonel’s head. For six months, the Indian boy practiced brain surgery with his plunger, it was the suction which raised the crushed bones from Mortera’s brain. Mortera later arranged for the boy to attend medical school and the Indian was now one of Mexico’s most famous surgeons.
In 1952 Mortera seemed to lose the will to live. He felt he was no longer needed and stopped eating. But his life took on a new lease when he got a job as a structural engineer. On the day he was to report to work a friend offered to drive him. At Magnolia and Wardlow in Long Beach there was a crash, Mortera’s leg was broken and he suffered internal injuries. He lost the will to live and refused to eat. At his death the 5-foot, 8-inch tall man weighed 60 pounds. The cause of his death was listed as self-inflicted starvation.
On May 20, 1915, 1200 high school students gathered in Bixby Park to present a three day historical pageant based on Long Beach’s history. The army of actors represented Spanish soldiers, sailors, friars and caballeros of the days of Cabrillo and the later periods of Governor Borica and the days before the Gringo came. Mingled with these characterizations of the people of the past were more recent scenes such as the sale of the first lot in Long Beach for eighty-five dollars. Real sheep were used in the sheep shearing episode about the Bixby ranch and the pageant closed with a symbolic representation of the progress of Long Beach with waves of the sea.
Before Billy Jean King, many celebrities in the tennis world of yesterday participated in thrilling matches on the courts at the Hotel Virginia. The one that attracted the most attention and proved the most exciting was the women’s singles, in which three successive holders of the national title took part in November and December, 1915.
On November 25, Mrs. Thomas C. Bundy (May Sutton), former national and world champion among women tennis players made her second and successful attempt at a comeback over Molla Bjurstedt, then national champion and holder of numerous other titles. It was a brilliant match, which Mrs. Bundy won in straight sets, 6-1, 6-4. Miss Bjurstedt had beaten her in straight sets shortly before, in a match at San Francisco.
Miss Mary K. Browne, three times national champion, sprung a real surprise by defeating Mrs. Bundy 8-4, 6-3 the very next day after the latter beat the Norwegian player, and, in the third and final chapter of this combat of champions, on the day after that Miss Bjurstedt defeated Miss Brown, 2-6,6-3, 6-4.
The women were engaging in a round robin tournament, and it ended with Mrs. Bundy and Miss Bjurstedt tied for top honors, each having won two matches and lost one among three played in the tournament, and each holding a single victory over the other. The tie was played off December 11 on the Virginia Hotel court. On that occasion, in what was declared “probably the greatest match between two women players ever seen anywhere,” Mrs. Bundy drove, volleyed and smashed her way to a tremendous victory by scores of 6-3, 1-6, 6-2. Many who saw the match hailed it as the greatest exhibition of tennis ever seen.
Mrs. Bundy had had a remarkable career. She won her first championship in 1901 at the age of 13; up until her marriage to Thomas C. Bundy, also a tennis star, in 1912 she suffered but three defeats. In 1906, after five years of unbeatable tennis, she lost her match with Miss Kate Douglas, who had achieved the record of winning the English championship four times in five years. In 1907, however, Miss Sutton returned to England and defeated Douglas in straight sets. After her marriage, May retired from active tournament play. But during the Pacific Coast doubles at Long Beach in 1914 she played a few exhibition matches and was so pleased with her game that she entered the women’s singles championship event a few weeks later and defeated Mary K. Browne in the finals and Florence Sutton in the challenge round. Little wonder then that Southern California and the entire tennis world was thrilled at the comeback she made in the Hotel Virginia tournament in 1915.
Finally, after three failed attempts to get a bond passed to build Belmont Pier, Belmonters succeeded on the fourth try. On January 15th 1914, Belmont Heights residents celebrated when they heard that the pier bond issue had been passed by a vote of 3 to 1.
After numerous labor problems, the pier was officially opened on Christmas Day, a highly appropriate Christmas present from the municipality to the Belmont Heights section of the city. The dedication was simple: Attorney George M. Spicer told the history of the struggle to get the pier built, others who spoke were J.W. Ray and Attorney S.G. Barker who, with Mr. Spicer, Mrs. Virginai Gundry, A.W. Oliver and others were leaders in the various campaigns to get the pier built.
Total cost of the pier at the foot of Thirty-ninth Place was $48,700. Made of reinforced concrete piling, the single deck, wood floored pier (covered in asphalt) stood twenty feet above the ocean. It was 975 feet long, with the width varying from 25 feet to 112 feet at both ends and in the middle. A system of ornamental lights illuminated the pier, and in the middle there were two pergolas. The ocean end was built to accommodate boats. It was the third pier built in Long Beach, following the Magnolia Pier in 1885, and the two Pine Avenue Piers built in 1893 and 1904. Remodeled in 1951 and 1967, and renovated and renamed the Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier in 2005, it is the only remaining pier in Long Beach—a pier built for the sole reason of luring Belmont Height residents to join to City of Long Beach.
THE “JACKRABBIT” ROLLER COASTER
On May 8, 1915, the new $75,000 racing coaster on the Pike officially opened for business. Fireworks, music and special souvenirs given to anyone daring enough to take a ride, marked opening day. Many felt the prestigious addition of the “Jackrabbit” to the Pike would make Long Beach the premier resort city of the entire Pacific Coast. It was the largest coaster on the Pacific Coast and the second largest in the United States, being eclipsed only by the monster structure at Riverview Park, Chicago. The track was almost one mile in length, 300 feet longer than a similar coaster at Venice. It was called a racing coaster because two trains, consisting of three cars holding a maximum of six people, took off together on parallel tracks for a thrilling 2 1/4 minute battle to see who would finish first. The winner was determined by the skill of the riders who had to learn when to lean into a turn, when to pull to the side, and when to do nothing but scream.
But competition was not far behind. The following year neighboring Seal Beach began to build their own amusement park, the highlight of which was a roller coaster deemed to be the largest and longest roller coaster in the world. Edwin James, supervising architect of the Panama-Pacific International Exposition, directed and planned the layout of the new resort which opened April 29, 1916.
Jones moved many of the materials and displays used at the Panama-Pacific exposition to Seal Beach to build the new fun zone. Classic fountains, statues, ornamental light standards, which lent beauty and charm to the great courts and passages between the palaces at the exposition, were transported to the Seal Beach resort. Among the most brilliant display features were the scintillators, comprised of fifty powerful search lights with colored lenses which lit up the sky. They were placed at the extreme end of the 1200 foot pier on a specially constructed pier backed by a tower 65 feet high. It was a remarkable sight.
Long Beach merchants looked upon the Seal Beach venture with interest. Currently there were only about ten businessmen in Seal Beach, not enough to handle all the trade which would come their way. It looked like the ideal time for some local capitalists to expand their organizations.
In October 1915, a $5 million corporation, the California Shipbuilding company, was organized to take over and enlarge the Craig shipyard. The new company expanded the facilities of the Craig shipyard so it could build torpedo boat destroyers as well as government submarines. John F. Craig, though a veteran merchant shipbuilder, had not wanted to seek government contracts. Those anxious to lure the Navy to Long Beach decided to step into the picture and change things. They persuaded Craig to sell, and as part of the transaction Craig agreed not to transact shipbuilding business south of San Francisco for a period of ten years.
The corporation was assured that several of the proposed new sixteen United States submarines would be built by the new company. The maximum cost of each vessel, exclusive of armament and submarine signaling and radio outfits, was fixed by Congress at $550,000 each. George H. Bixby was selected president of the new corporation. The Lake Torpedo Boat company, for years a principal constructor of the United States submarines, with headquarters at Bridgeport, Conn., held a controlling interest in the new Long Beach shipyard. It was hoped that the new organization would give Long Beach worldwide advertising as a construction center for war craft.
The transfer of the Craig plant took place on New Year’s Day 1916. The first government contracted L-6 submarine was launched August 31, 1916, before a cheering crowd of 5000. Embarrassingly, it stuck in the mud, showing the need for more harbor dredging. This was only part of the troubles plaguing the fledgling company. In May 1916, a strike was called. One of the union leaders offered to help get business for the California Shipbuilding company, provided the union was recognized, but management refused to negotiate. They wanted nothing to do with labor unions. The strike continued.
In January 1917, the government canceled its contracts with the company. Part of the problem involved the union disputes, the other dealt with an increase in costs of materials and the shipping charges from the east coast. The cancellation of the three contracts worth over $550,000 each meant the shipyard, one of the largest on the Pacific coast, had to abandon its plans of only building government vessels. In order to survive the company had to get back into building merchant vessels.
It was time for John Craig to step back into the picture. Craig had regretted signing the codicil requiring him to stay out of the shipbuilding business. He petitioned California Shipbuilding asking them for permission to locate another ship plant in Long Beach. They refused. It looked like his chances of getting back into the business he loved in the city he loved were slim. However, in May 1917 the Craig Shipyard Company again came into being. John F. Craig created the new shipyard for his sons, John E. and James G. Craig, and was not mentioned in the new incorporation papers. On December 4, 1917, California Shipbuilding and Craig Shipyard merged. The partners involved in California Shipbuilding had had enough, they put John F. Craig in charge of operations.
But problems were still ahead and John Craig had to face them. In 1918, he was charged with violation of neutrality laws for selling to the Germans. He was found innocent of the charges, but one of his employees, Fred Winkman, was arrested as an alleged alien enemy. In June 1918, the Long Beach police and the American Protective League gathered enough evidence to take Winkman to jail. He was charged with being an alien enemy who failed to register as an alien enemy. He had taken employment in an American shipyard under false pretenses. In May, a Long Beach police officer for the American Protective League and the U.S. secret service, picked up a suspicious clue. Winkman had said he was born in England, however his name was German and his face also appeared to be Germanic. The American Protective League operative working on the case had also lived in England and Winkman’s versions of people, places and life there did not tally with those of the officer. The federal sleuth carried on until damning evidence came to a dramatic climax.
Detailed, minute, technically perfect data was being leaked from the shipyard. The operative asked another employee, one whom he knew he could trust, who would be in the best position to know everything going on at the yard. Fred Winkman was the answer. Winkman was acting superintendent and knew everything that was happening in the shipyard. The sleuth visited Winkman’s home and interrogated his wife, a Canadian woman. According to the Long Beach Press, she did her best to throw off suspicion and withhold evidence, but the operative found Winkman’s signed oath taken on December 16, 1915, applying for American citizenship, hidden in a stocking. Winkman had told his employers and the American Protective League agent he was born in England. In his papers for citizenship he swore he was born at Cologne, Germany, on July 17, 1874. In that affidavit he reported his name to be Frederick Winkmann. He never completed his proceedings for American citizenship, thus he was an alien enemy and he had failed to register. He was interned until the end of World War I.
FORT MAC ARTHUR
In February 1915, a gash was cut on the mesa back of the harbor for a project the enormity of which had people stunned. On a site large enough to hide a city block, a $2,500,000 Coast Artillery post that would be known as Fort Mac Arthur was being built. Plans called for cannons and mortar batteries to be constructed which would command all approaches to the harbor. Once fired these 14-inch armaments would reach 17 miles, out-ranging the biggest weapon then carried on any battleship. Transporting these huge guns had been a Herculean undertaking, necessitating the construction of a railroad from the terminus of the Pacific Electric rail line at Point Firmin to the mesa along perilous switchbacks.
Standing nearly 300 feet above the sea, the vista from this 102-acre tableland stretched hundreds of square miles out to sea. At the mesa’s feet to the south sat the harbor with the city of Long Beach a short distance away. Some were sad to see the fertile mesa converted into a military base. It was one of the most productive barley growing areas in Southern California. According to a story told by old harbor residents, the Dodson brothers took $70,000 clear profit one year from barley grown on the virgin soil. Now the government planned on spending nearly $1 million on buildings to crown this mesa. In fact the post would be a city in itself with its own water and sewer system, electric lighting and gas systems, and a chain of paved roads.
The fort had been named for General Arthur MacArthur, civil war volunteer, Indian fighter, hero of the Philippines and planner of the Long Beach-Los Angeles harbor defenses. He was also the father of World War II General Douglas MacArthur.
In December 1915, the Daily Telegram printed the horoscope of the City of Long Beach done by Emma J. Reid. Reid, who gave a lecture on astrology at the public library, stressed the importance of having the exact date of a birth when doing an astrology chart. This was somewhat difficult for a city like Long Beach, which had incorporated in 1888, disincorporated, and then reincorporated again. Which was the correct “birth” date? According to high school teacher Jane Harnett, 1888 was the birth year of the city. She made an exhaustive search and determined February 10, 1888, was the date of the original incorporation with the election to determine incorporation having taken place on January 30th of the same year.
Given this, Earth and Saturn were in the strong sign of Leo, making Long Beach a Leo city capable of being very influential, a city that could be a leader in great movements for the good of humanity. From other signs, Mrs. Reid predicted Long Beach would have a great number of industrial establishments and institutions of learning. Long Beach would also become a melting pot of religious ideas. However, with Saturn in its 7th house, the City would have to overcome a tendency to bicker internally. Long Beach would have to learn to “pull together” instead of “pull apart”. Petty jealousies would have to be dealt with for Long Beach to achieve her greatness.
In 1946, famed astrologer David Sturgis, who was visiting Long Beach on a lecture tour, analyzed the city’s future using a different date–December 13, 1897, the date Long Beach re-incorporated a second time. The result was somewhat different. Sturgis, who frequently charted the horoscope of cities, said Long Beach’s chart was the most extraordinary of any city he had ever analyzed. He stated that Long Beach was superior, both spiritually and materially to San Francisco and Los Angeles, revealing that Long Beach had a greater destiny than the other two.
On its birthday Dec. 13, 1897, the Sun, Uranus, Saturn, Mars and Venus were concentrated in the sign of Sagittarius. This is the ninth fiery sign of the healthy, wealthy and wise. Its ruler is the ninth planet Jupiter, the most fortunate of all the planets. What this all meant was that Long Beach could expect expansion, prosperity, education, sports and many relations with foreign countries. As a Sagittarius, Long Beach’s color was blue, its jewel the sapphire and its flower the lilac. Sagittarius also governed Australia, Hungary, Spain and the Spanish-speaking countries. South America, Sturgis foretold, would have much to do with the welfare of Long Beach.
Furthermore, Long Beach was born with the moon in the sign of Leo which meant leadership. The city would become a center of a university empire and have one of the best symphonic orchestras in the land. The number 9 was important to Long Beach, there were 9 letters in its name, Sagittarius was the ninth sign of the zodiac, ruled by Jupiter, the ninth planet from the sun. If you wanted to share in the city’s luck you might want to search for a house or business with the numbers 18, 27, 36, 45, 54, 63, 72, 108, 270, 360, 450, 540, 630, 720 —the 9 numbers. Los Angeles, as an example, had Saturn’s adverse 10 letters in its name and would certainly become a city of tragedy. Not so for Long Beach and lucky number 9.
18 – Work begins on new tuna canning plant for Halfhill Co.
20- New Charter of Long Beach duly approved.
2- Patent issued to Los Angeles Submarine Boat Co. on the Cage submarine.
5 – Thomas A. Watson, silent partner of Alexander Graham Bell, visits Long Beach.
9 – Rejuvenated Municipal Auditorium opens following 1913 Empire Day Disaster.
5 – Work starts on the new Belmont Pier.
17 – Frank Sites, local aviator, dies in airplane accident while filming motion picture.
7 – Petrified leg bone of mammoth found at 1864 American Avenue when digging cesspool.
– City Council aids Lincoln memorial: appropriates $500 for monument in Pacific Park.
14 – Restoration work on Rancho Los Cerritos begun.
19 – Second Presbyterian Church is dedicated.
21 – Engineers, in an exhaustive investigation, find great pockets of natural gas under city.
27 – Poly High School students suspended until they furnish proof of withdrawal from fraternity.
1 – City’s population almost doubled in past five years: Census supervisor presents official figures—32,252.
8 – Jackrabbit roller coaster opens on the Pike.
4 – Frank Cates selected as mayor.
– Robert Lincoln sends regrets that he cannot come to the dedication of the Lincoln monument.
17 – Balboa Film Company makes extensive additions: buys more ground, increases stage space and erects new buildings.
3 – Lincoln monument unveiled.
28 – Osa C. Foster to succeed E. W. “Harry” Willey as Municipal Band director.
5 – Long Beach to share in federal assistance for flood control and harbor safety.
18 – Ex-president Taft visits Jotham Bixby.
28 – Reports surface that Pancho Villa is coming to Long Beach with a treasure.
29 – Empire Day Disaster case goes before the California Supreme Court.
2 – Memorial to aviator Cal Rodgers, the first aviator to fly across the continent, placed in the Sun Parlor on the Pine Avenue Pier. Rodgers ended his flight in Long Beach in 1910, and died in an aviation accident here a few months later.
19 – Keels for three submarines awarded Long Beach’s California Shipbuilding Co.
8 – Laughlin Theatre is opened.
30 – Aviator Harry Christofferson announces plans to establish an aviation school in Long Beach.
1 – Natural gas is turned into city pipelines
9 – Long Beach to be the home plant of Golden Grain Breakfast Food Company.
25 – Belmont Pier is opened.
For additional historical information click on: More Long Beach History . You will also find links to Seal Beach and Signal Hill history by clicking on Seal Beach History and Signal Hill History.