Friday, July 14, 2006

Celebrating the Past

July 14, 1907
Los Angeles

Led by the Rev. Juan Caballeria (or Cabelleria), the city is preparing to celebrate its 126th anniversary Aug. 2 with concerts, Mass in the Plaza church and cannon fire. The old artillery piece will be lit by Gen. Jose Aguilar, a former member of the Mexican army who battled the Americans and later joined Gen. John C. Fremont.

Wearing his uniform and sword, Aguilar, who is nearly 100 years old, will fire the cannon when the flags of Spain, Mexico and the United States are raised in the order they appeared over the city. The cannon will also be fired at noon and sunset.

The Times notes that Caballeria has played a crucial role in removing more recent modifications to the old church and is restoring it to the way it appeared in its prime. “His has been a work of returning to their proper places the old canvases, the quaintly carved wooden images and the many articles in use in the earliest days,” The Times says.

“Many of the paintings are invaluable and that was a serious loss sustained recently when a thief climbed through one of the windows and cut from their frames two of the paintings of Father Tanquery. These were the last two of the 14 stations of the cross. Yesterday, they were replaced with paintings of Senor Jesus Gonzales ... who was brought here several months ago to take up the work in restoration of the old church.”

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Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Into the Pit

July 12, 1907
Los Angeles

Gas Co. employees found a man scalded over the lower half of his body wandering the yards at Center and Aliso after he fell into a vat of boiling water produced by the carbon pit. The man, who was unidentified but believed to be J. Cochran of 232 E. 1st St., was so badly burned that much of his skin tore away when he ripped off his clothes.

Gas workers called General Hospital, which held a contract for serving the company, but after waiting 45 minutes for an ambulance while trying to allay the man’s pain, they called the Receiving Hospital, which sent an ambulance immediately. The two emergency crews arrived at the same time and the man was finally taken to a hospital.

The Times said: “He was very much dazed by pain and but little could be gained from him. At midnight, his condition was serious. At first, information was refused at the hospital, but later it was learned that there was some chance for recovery."

There was apparently no follow-up to the story, so it’s impossible to tell whether J. Cochran survived.

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Shout Out to

American Society for Quality (

Container Components (

Ameritech (

Kaiser Permanente (

Hurry Back!

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Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Oh You Poor Things

July 11, 1907
Los Angeles

Among the presentations at the current educators convention is a seminar on teaching the arts. If you have ever attended a colloquium on arts education or listened to arts educators, these comments from another era sound depressingly familiar, and for all the progress that may have been made, we have learned so little.

Of course, there are some chestnuts, such as all good art is calming, uplifting and tames the most savage of us; that art only exists if it is useful. “That which is truly cultural is also useful and only that which has utilitarian value can be cultural.”

But my heart sank when I read this:

“The time will come when art teaching will not be considered a luxury but a necessity to the growth and progress of the nation. Let us rejoice that we are facing the sunrise and not the sunset of our culture.”

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Monday, July 10, 2006

And Show Them How to Run Casinos

July 10, 1907
Los Angeles

Among the features of an educational conference being held in Los Angeles is a group of Native American students brought by Francis E. Leupp, the commissioner of Indian Affairs.

A Times editorial praised Leupp, saying: “He appears to be guided by great common sense and good judgment while actuated by a sincere affection and regard for the noblest savage race that ever inhabited the Earth.”

In a speech to the conference, Leupp said Native Americans had been misunderstood on the East Coast as well as in the West. “In the East, the Indian is regarded as a perfect being who should have everything he wants while in the West the disposition has been to treat him like a dog. Neither view is just to the Indian. He surely has his faults but at the same time he is far from being the hopeless creature that many have painted him to be.”

Not that Native Americans should be coddled, as shown in the excerpt, above right. Apparently The Times endorsed some governmental “tough love” with Indian nations.

The Times praised the current treatment of Native Americans after years of brutality and neglect, saying: “As a nation, we must rejoice in what is being done for our red brethren. The disgrace of a century of dishonor bids fair to be erased as far as may be by the century of honor and justice in the dawn of which we now stand.”

Native American joke: BIA stands for “Boss Indians Around.”

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Sunday, July 09, 2006

A New Prison for Lost Souls

July 9, 1907
Los Angeles

Grace Methodist Episcopal Church on Hewitt Street was barren; the pastor had gone away and the congregation had moved on. And so the City Council, in struggling to house inmates at the crowded, filthy prison on West 4th Street, decided to lease the old church for $100 ($2,052.36 USD 2005) a month as a temporary jail until a larger facility could be built “more nearly adequate for a city of the size of Los Angeles,” The Times said.

In discussing the move, Councilman Wallace berated his fellow lawmakers for neglecting the jail and said the council members were far worse criminals for their neglect than anyone housed in the crumbling structure.

“In the present building there is almost an utter absence of ventilation. We have a building with but one open front, and we fill that front with offices. It appears that we have built a jail to keep the foul air of the prison from escaping that we desire to confine it there, keeping it away from the world.”

Wallace added that on a recent visit to the jail, he found several youths being held with hardened criminals. After learning that they had been caught “bathing improperly clad in a dam back of Eastlake Park” he persuaded police to free them.

“We have been looking complacently at conditions that were condemned 100 years ago,” Wallace said. “We are criminally responsible if we permit conditions to exist at the city prison that make such things possible. It is high time that we do something in the interest of common decency.”

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