Saturday, February 10, 2007

Architectural Ramblings

Feb. 10, 1907
Los Angeles

The Times features a hillside home "near the ostrich farm" in Pasadena. Presumably that was the Cawston farm in South Pasadena. (What, South Pasadena, again?) Unfortunately, many of the homes photographed for The Times in 1907 have been torn down in the city of Los Angeles, replaced by parking lots, warehouses, etc. Not so in suburban South Pasadena.
E-mail: lmharnisch (AT)

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Friday, February 09, 2007

From the Pen of George M. Cohan

Feb. 9, 1907
Los Angeles
E-mail: lmharnisch (AT)

Labels: , , , ,

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Blogging the Wolfe Book, Our Story So Far

Larry Harnisch (described by James Ellroy as a Dahlia scholar/Dahlia freak, take your pick) is blogging in real time as he reads Donald H. Wolfe's "The Black Dahlia Files: The Mob, the Mogul and the Murder That Transfixed Los Angeles."

Part 1, Blogging the Wolfe Book
Part 2, The Monster
Part 3, Extra! Extra!
Part 4, Sniff Test
Part 5, Weather Report
Part 6, The Boy on the Bicycle
Part 7, A "C" From the Health Inspector
Part 8, Neutral Milk Hotel
Part 9, A Moment of Silence, Please
Part 10, The Riddler

And this, not the Wolfe book, but something more enduring, an installment in the "Bunny Brown and His Sister Sue" series, one of my mother's childhood favorites.
Part 11, The Thrill Is Gone
Part 12, I'm My Own Grandpaw
Part 13, The Subject Is Roses
Part 14, Teutonic Thoroughness
Part 15, Time for a Reality Check
Part 16, a Moment of Silence
Part 17, The Lookies
Part 18, Uncle Vern
Part 19, The Houyhnhnms
Part 20, The FBI Story
Above, another of my mother's favorite childhood books.
Part 21, The Cloudy Crystal Ball
Part 22, The Funny Papers
Part 23, The Pinata
Part 24, He Walked by Night
Part 25, Loyalty
Part 26, Missing Man Formation
Part 27, Collecting Our Thoughts
Part 28, A Rain Check
Part 29, Wreck of the Old 97

Part 30, Tick, Tick, Tick

Part 31, Phoning It InMedium Image
Part 32, Foxy Grandpa
Part 33, Pied Type
Part 34, Limbo
Part 35, Paint by Numbers
Part 36, Bust of a Man
Part 37, Mystery Woman
Part 38, Slasher Flick
Part 39, Aiding and Abetting
Part 40, Who Was That Masked Man?
Part 41, The Whole Nine Yards
Part 42, The Face Is Familiar
Part 43, Our Far-Flung Correspondents
Part 44, Honored Guests

Large Image
Part 45, Nothing but Compost
Part 46, Snooze Alarm
Part 47, Wax On, Wax Off
Part 48, An Army of One
Part 49, Family Ties
Part 50, Trying to Make It Real Compared to What
Part 51, Slinging Hash
Part 52, The Numbers Game
Part 53, Imagine My Surprise
Part 54, Tell It to the Marines
Part 55, Evil Genius
Part 56, The Lady in Red
Part 57, Lines of History
Part 58, The Countdown Begins
Part 59, Pleas and Thank-Yous
Part 60, Deuteronomy 33:24
Part 61, Request Line I
Part 62, Request Line II
Part 63, Request Line III
Part 64, Request Line IV
Part 65, Request Line V
Part 66, Request Line VI
Part 67, A Mystery Solved
Part 68, Request Line VII
Part 69, Courtesy Card
Part 70, Request Line VIII
Part 71, Request Line IX
Part 72, How to Fake a Document
Part 73, The Old Spuriousity Shoppe
Part 74, Request Line X
Part 75, Request Line XI
Part 76, Request Line XII
Part 77, Request Line XIII
Part 78, Request Line XIV
Part 79 (I can't believe it myself), Request Line XV
Part 80, Request Line XVI
Part 81, Request Line XVII
Part 82, L.A. Abortions in the 1940s
Part 83, Request Line XVIII
Part 84, Request Line XIX
Part 85, Request Line XX
Part 86, Request Line XXI
Part 87, Request Line XXII
Part 88, The Two-Minute Executive Summary

free page hit counter

Labels: , , , , , ,

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.

E-mail: lmharnisch (AT)

Labels: , , , , ,

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Court Briefs

Feb. 7, 1907
Los Angeles

A Child's Testimony

Charles Babbitt is sentenced to 30 days in jail on charges of domestic violence after the testimony of his 6-year-old son. “Papa hit me with a whip and it cut my head,” the boy said. “Then he hit mama.” “The man blinked his eyes and said that he did it because he was drunk” The Times says.

Ross' Widow Arrested

Mary Ross, whose husband was killed by Officer Hoover, is fined $50 after being arrested in a raid on a rooming house that was selling liquor without a license. Ross was among the women seized at the establishment of Mrs. Mary Cooper, 261½ S. Los Angeles St. William Ross, who fatally shot Officer C.A May, was buried in potter’s field, The Times says.

Fined for Blind Pig

Frank Stadler pleads guilty to running a blind pig called the Mechanics Club, 1466 Channing St., and is ordered to pay a $50 fine.

Chinese Lottery Case

E.S. Patton is sent to jail after failing to pay a $50 fine for selling Chinese lottery tickets. Patton is the first white man to be fined for such sales, The Times says.

A Familiar Face

Patrol officers recognized J.W. Mason, who had just gotten out of jail, and watched as he found “a drunken, well-dressed man and lured him into a doorway,” The Times says. He was given 20 days in jail for disorderly conduct.

E-mail: lmharnisch (AT)

Labels: , , , , ,

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Incendiary Ramblings

Feb. 5, 2007
Los Angeles

Here’s an architectural drawing of the O.T. Johnson Building, which burned in yesterday’s fire.

Looking north on Broadway at 4th Street. The burned structures are at the right.

And here are some snaps of the damaged structures:

E-mail: lmharnisch (AT)

Labels: , , , ,

Monday, February 05, 2007

Centennial Ramblings

Feb. 5, 2007
Sierra Madre

Because it’s celebrating its centennial this month, I paid a visit to Sierra Madre and while savoring a cinnamon dolce latte at the local Starbucks, watched the sun set on a historic Union 76 ball. A perfect fusion of two projects.

And here’s Sierra Madre’s Old North Church, with the artillery piece in the park across the street. Note the problem I encountered with lighting. Architectural photography is surely not my forte.

Now for the business at hand. I’ve often thought that with a century of lawmaking under its belt, the state Legislature might want to take the afternoon off. After all, with more than a century of making laws, what’s left to regulate?

The Times provides a tidy answer to my question:

· The Senate unanimously passes a ban on docking horses’ tails and prohibits anyone from bringing horses with docked tails into the state. Those who own horses with docked tails would have to register them with the local county officials.

· The Senate passes a bill authorizing the governor to declare “Bud and Arbor Day.”

· The Senate passes a bill setting dairy standards and a bill to keep the polls open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.

· A committee urges the Senate to pass Sen. Black’s tax exemption bill for all the buildings at Stanford as well as the bonds the university holds in trust.

· Sen. Wolfe introduces a bill making all robberies committed with a deadly weapon between sunset and sunrise punishable by death or life in prison.

· Assemblyman Grove L. Johnson introduces a “no seat, no fare” bill providing that railroad passengers who cannot find a seat need not pay. The bill would include streetcars.

· Assemblyman Johnson introduces a bill requiring firearms dealers to keep records of gun buyers’ names and addresses.

· The Assembly passes a bill by the late Assemblyman Burke making it illegal to spit on sidewalks or in trains, cars and other public conveyances.

· Sen. Sanford introduces a bill seeking to restrict corporate donations to political campaigns. I’m so glad the Senate wrapped that up 100 years ago so it can get on to more pressing matters.

E-mail: lmharnisch (AT)

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Architectural Ramblings

Feb. 4, 2007
South Pasadena

The Times publishes three architectural drawings of “artistic bungalows” prepared by the firm of Wilson and Barnes. One is being built by W.E. Fox on Columbia near Sunset Boulevard, the second by Dr. T.H. Lowers on Main Street in Alhambra and the third by A.J. Padau on Marengo in South Pasadena “near the Monrovia car line.”

The Times says of Padau’s home: “This, perhaps, is the best located of the three houses, as from its windows can be seen the entire panorama of mountain and valley to the north and east. It is strictly modern in its design. A feature of the exterior is the broad span from corner to corner of the porch, affording an unobstructed view from the large living room in the front of the house. There are five rooms in the little structure. The cost was $2,500 ($51,308.93 USD 2005).”

Here’s the home I found at 1517 Marengo, which is similar to the design (note the front porch) but has many minor differences.

Ps. Jim Draeger of the Wisconsin Historical Society sends along a link to the patent for Ducker Portable Homes, which I wrote about here.

E-mail: lmharnisch (AT)

Labels: , , , , ,