Thursday, February 08, 2007

Peace Returns to Buena Vista Street

Feb. 8, 1907
Los Angeles

About 1903, Charles E. Donnatin, former Pacific Electric Railway superintendent, apparently said something about the young woman across the street at the Stewart home, Savoy Street and Buena Vista (now 1301 N. Broadway).

The woman’s mother was furious and soon a 5-gallon oil can appeared in the Stewart’s yard saying “C.E.D. has been” with the implication that Donnatin had been “canned” from his job.

Denials and increasingly angry words were exchanged between the Stewarts and the Donnatins, and more items appeared in the Stewarts’ yard. An awning across the porch was painted with an attack on Donnatin and pieces of old billboards were set up on the lawn. Two tall poles were planted in the yard and on the line strung between them the Stewarts hung a series of 5-gallon oil cans painted with slogans about Donnatin. The cans became an irresistible target for neighborhood boys armed with rocks and the entire yard was eventually filled with trash, The Times says.

The feud ended up in court in 1905 as Donnatin accused the Stewarts of disturbing the peace, but the case was dismissed and the lawn display remained.

And then, everything was gone. “As day dawned yesterday on a little cottage over on Buena Vista Street, life flickered from the body of aged Mrs. James Stewart and with the going out of her breath evidences of a neighborhood feud as suddenly disappeared,” The Times says.

Donnatin died in 1933 at the age of 84. He had come to Los Angeles as a master car builder for the Southern Pacific. He was founder and president of the Southern California Building and Loan Assn.

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