Saturday, August 05, 2006

From the Florentine Gardens

Friday, August 04, 2006

One Name in Many Accents: America

Aug. 4, 1907
Galveston, Texas

The Times reports on the Jewish Territorial Organization headed by author and playwright Israel Zangwill and banker Jacob Schiff to help Jews fleeing persecution in Russia.

In July, the first group of 50 immigrants arrived in Galveston to be hosted and then dispersed throughout the American Southwest. “Whenever an agent of the branch society heard of a Hebrew in stricken Russia who planned a journey to America, he called upon him,” The Times said. “Go to Galveston,” he advised. “Join us and find a home in the West.”

“The growing cities and towns of the West and Southwest sent news of their urgent needs and among these the newcomers were divided because the demand was far greater than the supply, for all through the West the cry is for more workers,” The Times said.

The newcomers spoke in Yiddish, German and Polish, but “America in a dozen different accents always sounds like ‘America,’ ” The Times said.

“The sound of splashing came from the bathrooms. It had been three weeks since any of the party had enjoyed a fresh-water event of the nature. It wrought a transformation. High Russian boots that had been worn outside went inside of wide Russian trousers. Blouses and shirts that had once waved full length in the breeze were stowed away in the manner of an American.”

The Galveston Plan
brought about 10,000 Jews to America between 1907 and 1914.

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Thursday, August 03, 2006

Was That an Earthquake?

Aug. 3, 1907
Los Angeles

An enormous explosion shattered the night in the Dayton Heights neighborhood near what is now Virgil Avenue and Middlebury Street.

“The shock of the explosion awakened people for blocks around, many of them rushing out of doors in their nightclothes, fearing that an earthquake had occurred,” The Times said. “Several men were on the scene in a few minutes.”

Neighbors discovered Mrs. William Morley, dazed and stumbling outside the smoking ruin that was once her six-room home. Morley said she had gone to the kitchen to cook something and when she struck a match to light her gasoline stove, the blast blew out the walls of the house, which burned to the ground.

“She did not say how she happened to be up at that hour, fully dressed,” The Times said. “The mysterious feature about the case is the fact that the explosion was strong enough to wreck the building and still left the woman uninjured.”

The house was valued at $1,000 ($20,523.57 USD 2005) and the contents at $500 ($10,261.79 USD 2005). Domania has the current values.
Above, a home-wrecking gasoline stove.

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Wednesday, August 02, 2006

The Frustrations of Research

Aug. 2, 1907
Los Angeles

The Times reports the death of Dr. Lucy Hall-Brown, a prominent woman physician who was active in the Red Cross. Although we know where she lived (Vermont and 30th Street), we have no idea where she went to school, her age or whether she had any survivors. Nor are we told why she was buried at the Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, N.Y., rather than Los Angeles.

A Google search reveals that Hall-Brown was a frequent correspondent with Clara Barton, but not much more.

Still, it’s worth looking at any woman doctor from this period in history, so we can mine The Times obituary from some interesting facts: We know that she attended a Red Cross conference at Karlsruhe, Germany, in 1887 and another one in Vienna in 1897.

The Times also says she attended the International Congress of Medicine and Electro-Therapeutics in Paris in 1900 and was a member of the American Social Science Association. She made 25 trips to Japan, most recently in a 1906 tour sponsored by The Times, was a guest lecturer on hygiene and physiology at schools in Tokyo, Yokohama, Kyoto and Kobe, and had returned to Los Angeles in July after a recent visit.

Her memorial was held at the Garret funeral home, 1237 S. Flower St., performed by the Rev. William Horace Day, the minister at First Congregational Church of Los Angeles at 8th Street and Hook. He later became the first president of Pomona College and died in 1942.

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Tuesday, August 01, 2006

The Angry Swarm

Aug. 1, 1907
Los Angeles

A mass of bees “wandering in from the country” swirled along Broadway, forcing dainty young women and the toughest police officer to seek cover in a vain attempt to avoid being stung.

“Whether attracted to the neighborhood by the bevy of pretty girls who happened to be there or by the flowered hats on display in the show windows is not known,” The Times said.

The bees appeared around 6th Street and South Broadway, where women dropped their packages and hiked their skirts to run for safety. The sight of all those women’s stockings “would have caused a barber’s pole to blush,” The Times said.

A patrolman came to investigate the ruckus and was stung. “From the entrance to Mercantile Place to the car tracks on Broadway the bees covered the pavement,” The Times said.

Fanciful or not, the newspaper reported that one of the bees became enchanted with a Victrola in a music shop playing “Honey, I’ll Sure Be Yours” and came off second best with the phonograph.

After about an hour, the bees drifted up Broadway. At 3rd Street, a frightened woman deserted her flower stand, and at 2nd Street, the merchants discussed whether to call the Fire Department. But before firefighters could respond, the bees moved on toward Buena Vista (later renamed as a continuation of North Broadway).

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Shout Out!

Stanford University:

Harvard University

STF Productions:


NATO Defence College:

UCI Medical Center

Hurry back!

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Monday, July 31, 2006

She Winged Him

July 31, 1907
Los Angeles

After a delay due to illness, newsboy Charles “Winnipeg” Wilson took the stand to testify against Evelyn Ferguson, who is accused of shooting him because he was attacking her friend Grace Ryan.

Although “she was not in a condition at the time of the shooting to remember much about how it happened,” Ryan testified that she and Ferguson had returned from a day at the beach when they began fighting with Wilson and a group of companions.

Wilson testified that he and his friends, including a police officer named Norris, had also spent the day at the beach and on the way back to his room, stopped to buy some beer. When they arrived at his room, a fight broke out between him and Ferguson, who was accused of grabbing Officer Norris’ pistol and shooting Wilson in the back.

Unfortunately, nothing further can be found on this case. But one lesson is the age-old truth that alcohol and firearms do not mix.

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Sunday, July 30, 2006

Tragic Traffic

July 30, 1907
Los Angeles

A horse and buggy had been hitched outside Jevne’s grocery store at 6th Street and Broadway when a furniture van hit the buggy, frightening the horse.

As the terrified animal ran down Broadway, it swerved onto the sidewalk at 7th Street to avoid a streetcar and plunged through a plate glass window in the lobby of the Hotel Lankershim, scattering a room full of guests.

“The horse was so severely cut in the neck, front legs and shoulder that it was killed,” The Times said.

Above, the Hotel Lankershim.

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