Los Angeles in the 1900s

Mayor Arthur C. Harper


George Garrigues


From the Los Angeles Times, December 26, 1948
Mayor Harper’s photo is from the Los Angeles Public Library Collection


According to Leonard and Dale Pitt’s fine reference work, Los Angeles From A to Z, an Encyclopedia of the City and County, Mayor Arthur Cyprian Harper

won praise for initiating plans for a new civic center, but encouraged vice and corruption in city hall. In his run for office he had the backing of the unpopular Southern Pacific Railroad machine. Once elected, Harper fostered a sugar company stock speculation scheme to line his own pockets and backed private interests who were attempting to steal the city-owned Los Angeles River bed. The rakish Harper also frequented downtown brothels. His blatant misdeeds touched off a recall drive, which forced his resignation and the election of a reform regime.

Mayors of the City of Los Angeles

Click on a name to read his obituary.
The Mayor
Dates of Birth and Death
Served as Mayor
Sept. 23, 1855–March 12, 1934
Dec. 15, 1898–Dec. 12, 1900
1859–April 7, 1937
Dec. 16, 1896 - Dec. 15, 1898,
Dec. 12, 1900–Dec. 8, 1904
and 1919-1921
1858–March 7, 1944
Dec. 8, 1904–Dec. 13, 1906
1866–Dec. 25, 1948
Dec. 13, 1906–March 11, 1909
1859–April 24, 1944
March 15, 1909–March 26, 1909
1839–Aug. 2, 1923
March 26, 1909–July 1913
To read more about any of these men, go to the Site Search Engine and type in the mayor’s last name.

The best single source for biographies of all Los Angeles mayors (through Tom Bradley) is Biographical Dictionary of American Mayors, 1820-1980, edited by Melvin G. Holli and Peter d’A. Jones, published by Greenwood Press in 1981.

Los Angeles history