Los Angeles in the 1900s

April 1909

From the Los Angeles Examiner of April 18, 1909.

Diagram by Charles Owens of the “Examiner” Art Staff Showing How the River Bed Will Look If Plans of Improvement Association Are Carried to Completion, and Portraits of Two of Those Favoring the Project. At the Upper Left Is Shown the Basin Into Which the Waters of the Arroyo and the River Empty, the Source of the Water to be Dammed.


Of note in this illustratiion is the unembarrassed display of the discharges from smoke stacks (a symbol of industrial prosperity), with the prevailing west winds blowing the fumes toward the east side of the L.A. River. There are five horse-drawn delivery wagons and one automobile. (The artist shows absolutely no knowledge of how to design a dam.)
The top photo is of association president C.H. Clayton and the other is of J.M. Flowers.


By Horace W. Karr

To convert the unsightly Los Angeles River into a beautiful fresh water lake is the plan of the Federated Improvement Association. It is a mammoth undertaking and may not be realized for several years, . . .

J.M. Flowers, treasurer of the association, conceived the idea . . . .

The . . . most expensive feature . . . will be the erection of a dam . . . between Seventh and Ninth streets, the main body of the lake extending as far north as Elysian Park. . . .

It is the opinion of those who have investigated the plan that there is sufficient water at all times of the year to keep the lake at a reasonable height.

While the stream appears to be shallow for the carrying out of the scheme, it is believed with a weir from shore to shorethere would soon be a great body of water and that it would be kept clear and pure throughout the year.

In the rainy season it would be necessary to open the locks and, this done, it is believed that there would be no possibility of property destruction through floods.

Navigable bodies of water on the inland are novelties in Southern California, and the Federated Club believes that with the proposed lake a

reality an attraction will be added to Los Angeles that will help materially in spreading her fame as the “City Beautiful.”

The lake will be kept at a depth that will permit of navigation by sale boats, motor boats, canoes and other small craft . . . .

From the top of the banks to the water's edge will be built beautiful terraces with myriads of flowers, palms, shrubbery and other greenery as artistic embellishments. The banks will then compare well with the famous Hudson River. . . .

[The association] will endeavor to have the bridges that span the river made as attractive as possible and to induce property owners on either side of the river to keep their holdings in good repair.

Thousands of electric lights, located on the dam, bridges and banks, will make the lake most picturesque by night, and it no doubt will be one of the most favored amusement features of Los Angeles.

Where they will get the money to carry out this plan is to be decided later. . . .

The map at right (from Google) shows the approximate area illustrated at the top of this page. The concrete dam would have been built just about where the I-10 Santa Monica Freeway crosses the L.A. River today and the lake would have backed up northward behind it.

The 1909 plan (far left) would have had a lagoon where the Arroyo Seco runs into the L.A. River, backing up to Elysian Park (about where the Pasadena Freeway runs today). The color photo (from the L.A. River Connection) shows what the confluence looks like today.

From the Los Angeles Examiner of April 24, 1909


Political Equality League Adopts Plans to Increase Popularity of Great Movement

An enthusiastic meeting of the Los Angeles Political Equality League held at the Women's club house yesterday afternoon took definite action upon the different processes to be followed to make more popular the movement for Women’s Suffrage.

It was agreed that there would be a night devoted to visiting the bazar to be held at Labor Union Temple beginning next Wednesday, and Mrs. Noel of the Women’s Label League announced that there would be a booth at the bazar dedicated to the suffrage cause.

Mrs. George Drake Ruddy presided at the meeting and read . . . [a] letter from Mme. Severance, president emeritus of all the women's leagues. . . .

George Edward Graham of the “Examiner” . . . urged the women not to leave their cause in the hands of a few energetic workers, but to extend it by

mouth-to-mouth advertising, so that working women and girls — who it had been shown by the “Examiner” poll were heartily in favor of suffrage — will be encouraged to become . . . active workers in the ranks of those demanding the right to vote.

A discussion . . . was participated in by Mrs. C.C. McComas, Mrs. Cora Lewis, Mrs. Noel Mann of Pasadena, Mrs. Munn, Mrs. Littell and Mrs. Kenney.

A resolution was adopted calling upon all sufragettes to visit the office of the Los Angeles “Examiner” and at the information bureau sign the petition which is to be sent to Washington on behalf of universal suffrage for women.

[Notes: Punctuation and grammar have been cleaned up in the article.

[The Women's Label League was an outgrowth of the burgeoning labor-union movement in the early part of the 20th Century. The Examiner was actively courting union readers.]

From the Los Angeles Examiner of April 24, 1909


“Jack” Lankershim, son of Col. J.B. Lankershim, yesterday paid his first fine for violating the speed ordinance.

Motorcycle Policemen Humphrey and Coe paced the Lankershim machine for several blocks along West Seventh street Thursday afternoon. Their speedometers showed that Lankershim's car was traveling 27 miles an hour when it ought not to have been running faster than 20 miles.

Lankershim yesterday appeared before Police Judge Ross and paid a fine of $15. . . .

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