BELIEVE IT OR NOT… IT’S TRUE

  • Long Beach Men Going Bald -             The stock market of 2018 is soaring and diving at a pace rarely seen before in American economics. But did you know there may be another unforeseen consequence besides a fluctuating portfolio? Baldness! It happened before, and was believed to have been caused by the great San Francisco earthquake of 1906…sort of!             There were tough times economically in Southern California following the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. The stock market plunged, banks were consolidated, and there was limited new construction, causing the development of Naples and other Long Beach communities to falter. Treasurers of Long Beach fraternal organizations were disappearing with the group’s money, the Pacific Electric was cutting back on the scheduled runs to Long Beach because of a decrease in ridership, and rumors were circulating that the […]
  • What to do with a dead whale - On December 27, 2017, a juvenile fin whale was found dead near Pier T in Long Beach.  There was debate as to how to get rid of the carcass, but ways could be found by looking back into Long Beach’s past. Would you pay to see a dead whale?  Folks back in 1911 would, paying 25 cents ($6.50 in today’s money) for that honor.  Back then seeing a whale, even a dead one, was quite a novelty. As many as 2500 would flock to Long Beach to catch a glimpse of one of the leviathans captured by Captain John D. Loop, who vowed to resurrect the whaling industry in Southern California.  When he harpooned a whale he would place them on a big barge and tow them to the Pine […]

EARLY LONG BEACH SUBDIVISIONS

  • From Farms To Subdivisions - RAILROADS Real estate development in Long Beach started when a sandy, curly haired Englishman with a high broad forehead and blue eyes, William Erwin Willmore, conceived of the idea of founding a colony.  In 1880 Willmore’s plan for his American Colony began to take shape when he met with Jotham Bixby to discuss the subdivision of the Rancho Los Cerritos. Willmore hired Charles Healey to prepare a map of the project which Willmore called the American Colony. Though he originally hoped to purchase 10,000 acres, Willmore scaled down his dream upon the recommendations of Healey to 4,000 acres, 350 of which would form his townsite of Willmore City.  Judge Robert M. Widney, a Los Angeles attorney, was the money man behind William Willmore in his early endeavors. It was Widney […]
  • Willmore City and American Colony subdivisions - Willmore City District  William Willmore founded Willmore City which later became Long Beach Today the Willmore District of Long Beach extends from the Los Angeles River to Pacific Avenue, and from 4th Street to Anaheim Street.  It encompasses parts of the original town of Willmore City, organized by city founder William Willmore.  Willmore had started his American Colony in 1882 when he purchased 4000 acres of the Cerritos Rancho.  Since every colony needed to have a townsite where people could go to shop and socialize, Willmore set aside 350 acres for his city. The town site was on a mesa about twenty feet above the beach, encompassing an area from the ocean to 10th street and from the river to Alamitos Avenue.  American Avenue, 124 feet wide, extended through the […]
  • Alamitos Subdivisions - Alamitos Townsite History There was a tremendous land boom in Southern California when the new transcontinental Santa Fe railroad was completed in 1885.  A price war developed between the Santa Fe and the older Southern Pacific with tickets falling from $52.50 in 1883 to $4 in 1886. Thousands moved to the Southland, many of them to Willmore City (which would become Long Beach). Captain Charles T. Healey, who surveyed the original Willmore City townsite in 1882, also laid out the new Alamitos townsite (also referred to as Alamitos Beach townsite) in 1886.  The dividing line between Rancho Los Cerritos and Rancho Alamitos was present day Alamitos Boulevard, and on the other side of the boundary with Long Beach John Bixby and his associates began selling land.  Their townsite was 20 […]

WHAT WAS HAPPENING 100+ YEARS AGO TODAY

  • 1918 - News stories from the local press 1918 In 1918 America was at war and the entire country was doing what they could to help the war effort.  But some wondered if liberties were being threatened.   AMERICAN PROTECTIVE LEAGUE   Vigilantes or patriots?  Some weren’t sure if the American Protective League (APL), a private organization that worked with federal law enforcement agencies in support of the anti German movement during World War I, was a good thing or a bad thing.  Formed by a wealthy Chicago businessman, A.M. Briggs, it had 250,000 dues-paying members in 600 cities throughout the United States.  It wasn’t just Germans the group went after—draft dodgers, anarchist, pacifists and labor unions were also targeted as being “un-American.”  It was a genuine secret society replete with oath […]
  • 1917 – Long Beach and WWI - News stories from the local press 1917     LONG BEACH AND WORLD WAR I   On April 2, 1917, President Wilson announced what many believed was inevitable—war between Germany and the United States.  The war in Europe had been raging since July 1914, but it was Germany’s policy of unrestricted submarine warfare and an attempt by Germany to get Mexico to join the war in return for the territories of Texas, New Mexico and Arizona, that prompted Woodrow Wilson’s action.  At a patriotic rally held in the Long Beach Municipal Auditorium on April 4, 1917, the entire German population of Long Beach expressed full accord with the United States and President Wilson.  Arthur Falkenhayn, who had served in the German army in his youth and now was a florist, presented […]
  • 1916 - News stories from the local press 1916 WOODROW WILSON WINS ELECTION BECAUSE OF LONG BEACH            The United States presidential election of 1916 had incumbent President Woodrow Wilson, the Democratic candidate, pitted against Supreme Court Justice Charles Evans Hughes, representing the Republican party.  After a hard-fought contest, Wilson defeated Hughes by nearly 600,000 votes in the popular vote and secured a narrow majority in the Electoral College by winning several swing states with razor-thin margins.  One of those states was California, and many believe the reason the California electoral vote went for Wilson was because of Long Beach.           In November 1916, Long Beach became the pivotal point in keeping President Woodrow Wilson in office, all because of a misunderstanding. Events began on a hot day in August 1916.  Governor Hiram Johnson […]

WOMEN’S HISTORY

  • Iva Tutt, Electrical Pioneer - It’s difficult to imagine a world without electricity, but it wasn’t until October 21, 1879, after spending more than $40,000 in fruitless experiments that Thomas Edison invented the incandescent lamp, and it wasn’t until 1887 that he perfected electric lighting. From 1895-1899 Long Beach made international news, not because of its growth, tourist attractions, or weather, but because of an oddity: Mrs. Iva E. Tutt, the world’s first female electrician.  On September 6, 1895, the Long Beach Electric Light Company incorporated with Iva Tutt as sole member, owner and manager.  Her company contracted with the town of Long Beach to erect and maintain poles, wires and lamps for lighting the municipality, and to furnish the electricity for one year, beginning October 1, 1895, at the rated of $42 a month. […]
  • Frog Farms - Opportunities to be an independent women were out there for farm women as well as those who lived in cities.  The Los Angeles Times Woman and Home section of March, 7, 1897, described a new and profitable enterprise for women—frog farming.  Author Millicent Arrowpoint quickly dismissed the mistaken notion that eating frog legs was restricted to “eccentric and abnormal French people.”  Diners in Boston, New York and Philadelphia were consuming hundreds of pounds of this juicy, flavorsome flesh daily, driving the price for a pound of legs up to $1 a pound.  The reason the price was so high was that few people had thought to farm frogs.  The procedure was simple.  First the enterprising woman needed to be close to a railroad with a refrigerated car (to transport the […]
  • Nellie Campbell, Potato Chip Queen - Some women in the early 1900s did improve their lot in life, other than by a well-connected marriage.  Miss Nellie Campbell, the Potato Chip Queen, was such an example. Miss Campbell came to Long Beach for her health and wanted to stay.  When her money ran out she realized she either had to return to her relatives back East or earn her own living.  One memorable day in 1908 she bought some potato chips which turned out to be limp and tasteless.  This got her thinking.  She went to the public library, read several cookbooks, and started experimenting.  She bought a sack of potatoes, a new pan, and a gallon of olive oil.  The chips she prepared were crisp and delicious.  She convinced local markets and restaurants to buy them […]

LONG BEACH PUBLIC LIBRARY HISTORY AND MEMORIES

  • Long Beach Public Library History - Beginnings            The history of Long Beach Public Library began in 1893 when the Reverend Sidney C. Kendell came to Long Beach as head of the First Congregational Church.   He found the nucleus of a library in the church, consisting of a small collection of miscellaneous books, belonging to the Women’s Christian Temperance Union.  There was unmistakable evidence that none of the volumes had been opened for years.  Reverend Kendall called a meeting of a number of patriotic citizens, told them what he had found, and urged that steps be taken toward founding a public library and reading room.  From this first meeting the Long Beach Library Association was formally organized.             Local resident J.W. Birt agreed that starting a circulating library in Long Beach […]
  • Margaret Durnin – Library Friend & Supporter - Favorite Long Beach Public Library Memories  If you’re reading this, chances are that libraries hold a most important place in your heart. Many of you may have worked there, but for some of us they simply are reminders of a favorite childhood activity; or provide a quiet place to study; or they offer computers for school work, or rows of mysteries or biographies.  For others they offer a safe haven after school or from life on the street, or even just a warm hello and a smile.  For Ray Bradbury the library offered a free university, for others a chance to learn English or read the latest news, receive help with homework, find a picture book to share with a little brother. Perhaps that’s why the FRIENDS of the Library […]
  • Aaron Day – Library Friend & Supporter - Celebrating National Library Week/Month My first experience with a Library began many years ago, when I was in grade school. I was so happy when I was eight years old, and finally able to get a library card. It was a wonderful learning experience. As a teenager, I continued to use the Library, for class assignments, research, and my own personal enjoyment. It was during that period that I began to read and enjoy some of the Classics such as, Black Beauty, Tom Sawyer, Little Women, Paul Bunyan, Robin Hood, and others. I also enjoyed magazines such as, Popular Science, National Geographic, True Detective, Life, Ebony, and many others. I learned about so many different cultures. Throughout the years, no matter where I have lived, the Public Library has been […]