What was happening 100+ years ago


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 and rituals and it was sanctioned by the U.S. Justice Department.  Membership gave every associate the authority to be a national policeman.  Usually the fist place put under surveillance was the local school.  The old (Federal) Bureau of Investigation and the War Department’s Intelligence Division requested the APL report on “seditious and disloyal” conversation. Long Beach was quite active in the movement. On May 2, 1918, A. Ferdinand Louis Teriller, a pastry chef, was arrested by members of the APL and Long Beach police. He had been accused of making seditious and unpatriotic utterances.   Found on his possession were documents in Spanish and a letter bearing the stamp of a German consul.  A bottle containing enough cyanide to kill 10 or 15 people was found in his room. The maximum sentence for “un-American” statements was a fine of $200 and 90 days in County jail, however APL members in Long Beach didn’t think this was […]

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 a little red white and blue bouquet to all in attendance. On April 6th war was officially declared by the United States and Washington was quick to act to protect itself from alien enemies.  On April 16th, the Long Beach Chief of Police received instructions from the capitol advising it was unlawful for aliens to have any firearms, weapons or implements of war in their possession.  They were also prohibited from access to any kind of signaling device or any form of cipher code.  Also, five hundred forty-one Long Beach men immediately joined the American Protective League which rounded up pro-Germans and draft evaders.  According to the Daily Telegram of December 20, 1918, Long Beach had the best per capita record of catching and convicting pro-Germans than any other city in the west.   Sabotage On April 3, 1917, a telegram was sent to Long Beach from Sacramento telling of a rumored plot to blow up the […]


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 of California, running for the U.S. Senate on the Republican ticket, and Charles Evans Hughes, GOP candidate for president, had both checked into the Hotel Virginia. Neither was purportedly aware of the other’s presence.  Hughes checked out a short time later and, to his surprise and only after he had arrived in Los Angeles, learned of Johnson’s presence at the Virginia.  Johnson and his followers remained in their quarters until after Hughes had left and considered that Hughes had snubbed them when they learned of his leaving.      Proud Californians, piqued because they considered their favorite son had been purposely ignored, went to the polls en masse.  And the rock-ribbed Republican state of California amazingly voted for Woodrow Wilson, Democrat.      Voting over the nation was close, and it was California that defeated Hughes and re-elected Wilson.  Long Beach, solidly Republican, also voted Democrat allowing Wilson to win California’s electoral vote by a slim 3,000 ballots. […]

1915 Long Beach

103 YEARS AGO in LONG BEACH, CA. News stories from the local press  1915 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 […]

1914 Long Beach

News stories from the local press.

1913 Long Beach

105 YEARS AGO in LONG BEACH, CA. News stories from the local press 1913     THE EMPIRE DAY DISASTER The Irish had their holiday, Saint Patrick’s Day, the Italians Columbus Day, why not a holiday for British Americans?  In 1913, 20,000 former British subjects living in Southern California chose May 24th, Empire Day, as their day to celebrate.  The British holiday began in 1838 to commemorate young queen Victoria’s birthday.  When she died in 1901 her subjects still wanted to honor her accomplishments so Parliament issued a proclamation establishing May 24th as Empire Day.  Now the first Empire Day celebration on the west coast was to be held in Long Beach, California. The Daily Telegram of May 23, 1913 described what was supposed to have happened: “The greatest British celebration ever held on foreign soil. That is what the committee in charge of the arrangements for the big Empire Day celebration to be held in this city tomorrow expects the fete to be.  From all over the southland will come those who formerly lived under the British flag.  Drawing card features of the day will be the presence of the British man-of-war, Shearwater, 60 of whose sailors will act as an escort for the veterans in the parade; there will be a big program of athletic stunts, national games, the parade, music and the natural attractions of Long Beach.  The parade will be  elaborate, with several floats each representing dominions or possessions of the English nation, the participants of each float being natives of the that particular country represented.  The parade will reach the auditorium where speeches will be made.  Five hundred dollars worth of prizes will be given to the winners of the various contests.”  What was to have been a […]