Los Angeles in the 1900s

by George Garrigues

A collection of contemporary articles, advertisements and illustrations about the City of the Angels at the turn of the last century.

From the Los Angeles Times, Midwinter Issue, January 1, 1901

Click to go to a year in the life of a fascinating city.
AN OVERVIEW
If You Were Living in L.A. a Hundred Years Ago

SPECIAL REPORTS
The Life of Al Levy (1860-1941)
Los Angeles Baseball Club Statistics
Los Angeles City Streets of 1904
Mayors of Los Angeles at the Turn of the Century
Honor Roll: Slain Police Officers
Why Does ‘Downtown’ Say South Park Is Where It Ain’t?
Sarah Bernhardt Plays in Venice

MAPS AND MEMORIES
The Block Just West of the Present L.A. Times
Santa Fe’s La Grande Station
Street Railways of Southern California
Mortuaries

PICTURE PAGES
Angel’s Flight and Third Street
Hazard’s Pavilion and the Auditorium
Pigeons Near the Park, Alas . . .
San Pedro and the Harbor
Sawtelle and the Veterans Hospital
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The wording in Roman type is that of the original source, but the presentation is optimized for the Web. Original headlines are in Roman; my own headlines and comments are in sans-serif type.

Minor typographical errors are corrected, or in some cases, made.

Omissions in content are indicated by ellipses (three dots).

 
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He Usually Lived With a Female: The Life of a California Newspaperman
 
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A separate Web site with articles on Los Angeles in the 1920s and 1930s)

Los Angeles in the 1900s

1900

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Photos and Drawings

3 die in collapse of Third Street Tunnel; safety petition goes to City Council; “coon show” raises funds for orphans. Workmen dig out victims of tunnel collapse; Ellen Beach Yaw (Lark Ellen).
Laborer injured in mishap at Broadway Tunnel; city attorney rejects responsibility for worker safety; industrial exposition planned. Continental Oil Co. of Los Angeles. Eight badly drawn oil wells; a plinth with a badly drawn oil barrel on top.
Los Angeles Herald supports Board of Education policy forbidding married teachers. Papita, Paderewski, ‘Parisian Romance’ are choices for L.A. theatergoers. Papinta the Flame Dancer, and her and her husband’s tomb.
William Jennings Bryan cheered; tips to women about safety on streetcars. A woman shows the right and wrong way to get on and off a streetcar.
Holdup of a streetcar; Times publisher charged with wielding a machete; other crime stories; kids eating garbage. H. Jevne bakery department. Drawings: Woman carrying cake, Jevne grocery (exterior). Photo: Harrison Gray Otis in uniform. Orange crate label.
June Store managers think about closing Saturday afternoons during the heat of summer. Mullen & Bluett Clothing Co.; Herald Publishing Co. Two boys in suits; carrier on bicycle delivering paper to camper.
July Bastille Ball; nugget-bearing Klondike prospector gets married; ice truck hits cyclist. Do Your Ants Bother You?
August Coins taken from a corpse cause a stink in the county offices; water problems. The Up-to-Date Department Store. Vandergrift rotary washer; coins; cartoons of people cussing.
September Lawyers, judges, doctors, merchants and some funny guys gather to fete the Conservative Life Insurance Co., to eat and to smoke cigars. Van Nuys Hotel; Chinese reading wall posters; Dr. Walter Lindley and his private hospital.
October Los Angeles population hits 102,479; city celebrates Halloween. Ringling Brothers Circus. The five Ringling Brothers; house of former Mayor W.H. Workman.
November Storm cuts off L.A. from the rest of the world; streetcar and trains stranded by floods; African-American social events listed. Morosco’s Burbank Theater; Orpheum; Los Angeles Theater; Blanchard Hall; trained animal shows; Velodrome races; USC-L.A. High football game. Stevens A.M.E. Church; District Attorney James C. Rives; a zebu.
December Meredith P. Snyder is elected mayor. London Clothing Company (Harris & Frank) Commotion on the street as a well-dressed man drives up in a new automobile.

1901

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Angelinos tell what resolutions should be made in Los Angeles for the first year of the 20th Century. City Librarian Mary L. Jones; Hotel Coronado Del Mar; the Braly Block at Fourth and Spring Streets
White folks form a committee to help Negroes found a church; Presbyterians plan a convention. Southern California Wine Company; Marshutz the Optician Man in knickerbockers offers glass of wine to seated woman; spectacles.
Shriners are feted; policemen gain glory by stopping runaway horses. ”Fair Angelina Welcomes the Shriners and Gives Them the Freedom of the City.“
The 600 teachers of Los Angeles make heavy use of the city library. Men's styles at the Mullen & Bluett Clothing Co. Man in striped suit, hat, with cane.
Judge Widney sells the San Fernando water system; Chinese immigrants arraigned. Politician gives newspaper reporter a mechanical drubbing.
June Pressure mounts to complete Sunset Boulevard between Los Angeles and Hollywood and to pave Seventh Street. Burlington Northern Excursions; Brent’s Furniture credit store. Man and woman read magazine on train.
July Fourth of July: Westlake Park is a dream of beauty under gorgeous lights. Some carouse too much. Westlake Park, the lake, a boat and boathouse, trees.
August L.A. baseball team reorganized, wins two games. London Clothing Company (Harris & Frank) Man in a suit; two boys in suits, both short and long pants.
September Los Angeles Times scoffs at unions’ Labor Day parade and festivities; a sailor is beaten at President McKinley memorial rally. Anti-union political cartoon.
October Judge turns down free-speech complaint against L.A. mayor; Ladies' day at the races; C.F. Lummis to lead group to New Mexico; WCTU letter. Getz Fine Tailoring, American Dye Works. Men in fine suits, elegant woman in horseless carriage; screaming eagle on American shield.
November Minstrel show planned. Three white people in blackface.
December A Hawaii sugar baron complains about the work ethic of newly arrived Puerto Rican laborers. HJK Old Bourbon Whisky, Cuticura Soap, Barker's furniture, Puritas Root Beer and others.

1902

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Old Calvary Cemetery (now the site of Cathedral High School) is rundown and decrepit; Chinese interpreter wins fee in court; banquet for Col. Griffith Old Calvary Cemetery; Col. Griffith J. Griffith
A woman claims title to almost all of Garvanza; city water board organizes; African-American social events. Mammoth Shoe House. Trojan warrior bearing shield of ‘Mammoth Shoe House’ steps on prostrate ’competitors.’
Mormon elder invites self to a Methodist meeting to defend his faith; a socialist speaks at another place. Methodist minister Thomas C. Iliff.
Temple Beth Israel is dedicated; rural mail delivery begins in bucolic Eagle Rock. Temple Beth Israel on Olive Street; typical Eagle Rock home; local school; the Rock.
Angelinos of many nationalities celebrate annual L.A. Festival. Caricatures of civic leaders in minstrel blackface; a “horse fiddle” noisemaker.
June The Times accuses Herald reporters of boozing in a bar and carousing with low women in their rooms. The Hamburger Store (bathing suits). Cartoon of the Police Commission white-washing the Vienna Buffet; two women in bathing suits playing leapfrog.
July A mechanical computer is unveiled in L.A.; cop nabs bicyclists; Hollywood wants Sunset Boulevard finished. Dr. O.C. Joslen, specialist in “Men’s Diseases Only.“ Tate’s Arithmometer; handsome Cr. Joslen, with trimmed beard and handlebar mustache.
August Mexican laborers chase train crew that caused death of child; wireless is working; Mrs. Bradbury ill; “coon sketch” on the bill at Chutes Park. Electricity, magnetism and music will cure many diseases. Chutes Park slide and theater.
September Times employment policy; non-union carpenters in San Pedro. Owl Drug Company. Owls on pedestals; fully dressed woman with a home steam bath; cartoon plugging a bug-killer.
October Youth gets two years for stealing seven cents; black held for trial on white man’s testimony. Ville de Paris women’s store. Fancy woman in a fancy dress.
November Music, vaudeville, theater and other amusements. Los Angeles Theater, Orpheum, Morosco’s Burbank Theater, Blanchard Hall, baseball, Chutes Theater, Santa Monica Plunge. Tenor Andreas Dippel, Chutes Park and Theater, Santa Monica Plunge.
December Huge Bimini Baths indoor plunge to open on western outskirts of city. Aerial photo of Bimini in the 1920s; modern street sign.

1903

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Singers turn Third Street tunnel into an auditorium; Booker T. Washington speaks; poem by publisher’s wife. Third Street tunnel; Booker T. Washington; well-dressed woman at train station.
Unsanitary conditions in Chinatown; Carrie Nation’s sister; boxing match. Cartoon of rat carrying cheese in bandana; Hazard’s Pavilion.
Runaway train, stage review, fire in brothel and other news snippets. Ocean Park Improvement Company shills for ”This Gay Resort.” Rear Admiral Winfield Scott Schley; sheet music; fully dressed people on beach; Ocean Park scene; the Chutes.
Cleaner drinking water; cops told to quit politics; rich toffs feed selves in downtown hotel; George F. Bovard chosen USC president. “Richly trimmed Easter hats” (Marvel Millinery). Women in hats, flowers, Van Nuys Hotel dining room.
Theodore Roosevelt comes to town for the Los Angeles Fiesta; history of the Fiesta. Christopher‘s Delicacy Parlors. Cartoon of TR and parade participants; TR and baby; Westminster Hotel; young man and woman simpering at each other over ice cream.
June Luxurious Mason Opera House opens; mayor finds a 10-year-old elevator boy F.B. Silverwood, L.A. Ice & Cold Storage (Puritas Water). Mason Opera House; startled Uncle Sam confronts a question mark with arms. Scientist and a huge microscope.
July Temple Baptist Church is founded; Good Samaritan Hospital plans new building; Coast League prepares to join national minor leagues association Cook’s Mineral Water; Blair’s Shoe Store; Cadillac and Duryea automobiles. Two photos of Robert J. Burdette; a high-top shoe with a man’s picture on it; a Caddy and a Duryea.
August City-county merger will be studied. Charles W. Ennis clothiers. A really snotty looking dude in a double-breasted suit.
September Police keep order at back-to-school sales; beautiful South Park is lauded. Hamburger’s school supplies. Cartoon: children in classroom; new house in Hollywood; South Park.
October Free-speech enthusiasts are arrested by police. Dr. A.J. Stevens; cartoon on ‘Prosperity in Los Angeles.‘
November Remarkable no-hitter pitched by Angels’ Newton; Griffith pleads innocent; real Indians whip USC team. E.J. (Doc) Newton; Griffith J. Griffith; football cartoon.
December The Los Angeles Examiner prints its first edition; the Times scoffs. The Examiner‘s building on Broadway, between 5th and 6th.

1904

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USC in uproar over paying a football player; Negroes sue theater for discrimination; fire kills fireman‘s son; Immaculate Heart sisters plan an academy; El Camino Real will be revived; Hollywood voters reject saloons; ‘Colored Citizens’ column. LAFD Lieut. George W. Bright; entertainer Ernest Hogan; A.M.E. Bishop B.F. Lee; caricatures of C.D. Willard, Charles F. Lummis, A.P. Fleming, O.W. Longdon, H.R. McNoble, Methodist Bishop J.H. Johnson.
Police arrest prostitutes; ‘radium’ mines; Lark Ellen to return home. Carpenters in “crib” district; women being booked; Ellen Beach Yaw.
Card sharks, hookers lie waiting in Sawtelle for soft-headed veterans. Southern Pacific’s California Limited. Cigarette-smoking veterans playing cards; train travelers.
Woodmen of the World hold mass initiation atop Mt. Lowe. Kakiuchi Bros. Japanese curios. Woodmen, Mt. Lowe railway, Alpine Tavern, Japanese arch.
Sunset Blvd. opened; long-distance telephone concert; L.A. High girls’ basketball team beats Glendale. Cecilian, the Perfect Piano Player. Autos, streetcar on Sunset Blvd.; Hollywood Hotel; girls’ team; player piano.
June Normal School head fired; dispute over church bell; Chinatown gamblers nabbed. L.A. Times subscription promotion. Graphophone talking machine.
July Department store takes workers to the beach; two debutantes profiled. Woodbury Business College. Pacific Electric car; Madge Nave and Amy Morrow.
August Valley farmers sue L.A. over water; Examiner ridicules Harrison Gray Otis, Times, Herald. San Fernando Valley map; cartoon about Otis.
September ‘Kid McCoy’; smoking room in theater; burned horse. Norman Selby, or ’Kid McCoy’; cartoon of Charles F. Eyton.
October Moving the Public Library; pickpockets. Unique Cloak & Suit House Good-looking woman in a spiffy dress.
November Eliza A. Otis dies; the Griffiths are divorced. Eliza A. Otis; Mrs. Griffith J. Griffith; Vandel Griffith.
December Barney Oldfield. Coulter Dry Goods Co. Rag doll in cute dress.

1905

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L.A. man elected U.S. Senator; prohibition billboard defaced; Buena Vista renaming protest. Broadway Department Store. Five women in hats and winter dresses; Frank J. Flint; prohibition bar and jail cartoon.
Bright future seen for suburban residential community of Hollywood; streetcar signals being repaired downtown. Auto Vehicle Co. (successor to Parrott Carriage Mfg. Co.) Orchard, PE car, tree-shrouded Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood Hotel, Bevill-Stern residence, Letts Gardens, Hollywood High School, First & Spring Sts., drawings of buggies.
Violent storm wrecks ships, tears apart Venice shorefront.
Baseball fans in near-riot; L.A.’s first playground; ruined post office to be razed. Baseball cartoon.
Girls’ basketball; Japanese jiujitsu. New Westgate (Brentwood) tract. Old Soldiers’ Home (three views).
June Bad roads; theater sprinklers; Spanish comedy. Auto Vehicle Co.; Broadway Department Store. Department store exterior; Japanese woman; Model K Tourist Runabout.
July Venice-of-America opens; women’s tennis; fireworks injuries. Crowded Venice; Eleanor Peralta with racket.
August Owens River project; Death Valley Scotty; coroner on trial. Watts subdivision; Broadway Department Store. Fred Eaton; Scotty; courtroom sketch of judge Henry C. Austin, defendant L.G. Holland, witness Eliza Flick; three men in suits at train station.
September Women‘s suffrage; Lummis and the library staff; bike messengers needed. Charles F. Lummis.
October Mob attacks Negro officer; millionaires want to sell booze; ground broken for Hamburger department store; float decorator named; wealthy gamblers nabbed; man in airship escapes irate cop. Fawcett Robinson; M.A. Hamburger; street scene at Fifth and Broadway.
November Fire destroys Bimini Baths; Capt. Auble named police chief Walter Harris Co.; classified ads. Bimini; Walter F. Auble; Negro stereotypes (cartoon); man and boys in new duds.
December Fire at Coronado Hotel; The Prince of Pilsen Southern Calif. Music Co. Fire Chief Walter Lips; horse and carriage; firemen; chorus girls; little girl and music-maker.

1906

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Express campaign against the evils of Ascot Park. McWhorter Bros.; Phonograph Agency County supervisors in action; gas stove; Edison phonograph
Hotel Alexandria will open; Owens River project begins; ex-chief Elton in jail. Hotel Alexandria; Owens River; crowded public schools (cartoon); ex-Chief Elton.
Chinese shoot at the flag; floods shut down L.A.; cop accused by Negroes; new school superintendent; a cow with two udders. Shredded flags; Ernest Carroll Moore.
San Francisco earthquake. Devastation in San Francisco; Thaddeus S.C. Lowe.
Sarah Bernhardt; Santa Fe freight depot; roller skating; Chinese laundries; bank clerks and Saturday nights. Sarah Bernhardt; Santa Fe depot; SoCal Institute of Architecture, Shriner’ fez, 2 women blowing horns.
June Calif.–Hawaii yacht race; half-holidays; automobiles; labor news. Dolson Motor Car Co. Margery Sinclair; Dolson auto; Pismo Beach.
July Pentecostal movement; Elks Lodge; woman police officer; fire chief’s horse Broadway Department Store (boys’ wear) Angels Flight and Crocker Mansion; Officer Jessie McDonald; Chinese queues used for clothesline.
August Plan unveiled to consolidate city and county. Boundaries for proposed city-county boroughs.
September Construction half-holidays; armed man threatens Watts; 2 engines crash; streetcar hit milk wagon; ‘Owl’ service. Consolidated Bank of Los Angeles; radium-and-milk cancer treatments. Workman going to bank; Dr. H. Russell Burner waggling his finger.
October Smallpox vaccination; Prohibitionists nominate Negro; canned Mexican food; women in nighties. Bartlett Music Co. Workers in cannery; dog listening to Victrola.
November Edward Kern named police chief; crowd watches ‘th’ illiction returns’; annexation vote slated; Griffith Park roads; Venice population. Edward Kern; election-night crowd in front of Times building.
December Harbor cannon; councilman subpoenaed; ghouls rob Calvary Cemetery; wife dies of overdose; suitor loses girlfriend in court; 38 mph speeders; hot suppers for saleswomen; city death rate; radium doctor sued. Hamburger’s Department Store. Deadman’s Island at San Pedro; man in tight collar and peculiar bathrobe tries to look insouciant.

1907

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Bryan visits L.A. again; New Year celebration; No Smoking in City Council; L.A.’s first adult school; The Palms. Jesse Moore whisky at Lagomarsino Co. Man throwing something weird at two howling cats; Polytechnic High School.
Explosion kills 4; San Pedro City Hall to be built; gorilla mauls teen; annexation loses in a rain-soaked vote; Palms Depot. Cawston Ostrich Farm; various theaters. Explosion victims; San Pedro City Hall; ostriches; Chutes amusement park.
Bullock‘s, Central department store; irate pedestrian pinched. Fiske Talking Machine Co. Bullock’s; downtown map; Edison cylinder record.
Mexicans suffer from housing cleanup; Lillian Russell late for her show. Slums being destroyed; Lillian Russell; overhead map of Ohio Street.
Mother’s Congress; women’s news; flophouse bedbugs; Charlie’s Butte. Mmes. F.W. Force, C.W. Rogers and J.F. Kanst; Charlie’s Butte.
June Owens River bonds approved; benefit show for theater workers; retail clerks fear loss of Saturday evenings; editorial praises women’s virtue. Los Angeles Green Trading Stamp Co. Yet another Harrison Gray Otis cartoon; Broadway and City Hall; a pouter pigeon; strongman Al Treloar; actress Faye Bainter; green stamps.
July Elevated railroad to Pasadena; Women’s Parliament; tetatus anti-toxin; Anti-Faker Society; filthy bakeries; streetcar conductors; judge rules against police. Pacific Electric building.
August City-county consolidation; soda water quenches thirst; construction in The Palms; woman attorney argues for chiropractor. Mustachioed members of consolidation committeee; Fosgate’s Mission Soda Fountain, "the largest in the world.".
September Labor Day at Chutes Park; SPCA animal shelter. The Chutes.
October Big German party; Agricultural Park to become the city’s; municipal workers get paid; boy breaks arm; aged Odd fellow dies; horse owner fined. Dr. Henry Herbert; gold coins.
November Jail for auto speeders? Diatribe against Japanese.
Special Report: Death of Police Officer Patrick H. Lyons, November 30, 1907,
December Architect presents “City Beautiful” plan for L.A.; Poly High ends rugby season; Jewish refugees arrive Proposed widening of Fifth Street; street lamps.
More articles about L.A. in 1907 from Larry Harnisch’s Los Angeles Demythified site.

1908

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Police brutality; Times & labor; autos explore Big Tujunga; telegraphers being trained. Autos fording stream; ‘1908’ jumping into air (cartoon); telegraphers; Elysian Park; Fernando Nelson.
Bekins heiress fined for speeding at 23 mph; pauper seeks citizenship. Ruth Bekins; Andrew Sackey; L.A. Basin at night from Mt. Wilson.
‘Krazy Kat’ artist illustrates Britt-Nelson prize fight; tour of Aqueduct route.
President Roosevelt’s ‘Great White Fleet’ steams through Santa Monica Bay. Gaumont Chronophone Theater. Eight battleships, with their smoke fouling the air; same ships in San Pedro Harbor.
Police march; Aqueduct complaints; oil gusher; 8th & Broadway building; Negro pastor; public comfort station. 'Peter Thompson' - style sailor suits at Hamburger's department store. Little girl in a flouncy dress; a corset cover; police march; oil fields; 8th & Broadway area (map); the Rev. R.W. Hollman.
June Gun registration planned; airplane vs.dirigible race eyed; Japanese berry growers suffer losses. Maxim silencers. Maxim gun silencer; berry farmer; L.A. produce mart.
July Newspaper artist; motorized fire engines; actor McKee Rankin; wireless talks to Arctic; stage reviews. Baseball fans in streetcar; McKee Rankin; Merced Theater.
August New Hamburger’s Department Store opens; city officials visit red-light district; dog catcher arraigned. Exterior and interior of Hamburger’s Department Store at 8th and Broadway.
September Motorcyclist dies at Agricultural Park races; 8-year-old boy runs 8 miles in marathon. John F. Derkum, Howard Shafer.
October Salvation Army arrests; Negroes protest The Clansman. $12 men's suits at the Broadway; Herald want ads. Central Park; cartoon: Salvation Army, a cop, the Devil; young men in spiffy suits; puzzled couple looking for a house to rent.
November Fire on Broadway; unusual aircraft; danger in bread and jam. Broadway fire; aircraft; J.S. Zerbe; J.H. Klassen; Edgar B. Smith.
December Aeronaut drops fake bomb on City Hall; auditor refuses to pay bill for coroner; Times attacks Express (again). Dirigible airship; Roy Knabenshue; City Hall from the air.

1909

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School bonds approved; one lawyer slugs another; Santa Claus steals. H.J. Harrell, M.M. Marshall, Lillian Johnson, high school students; Fred H. Killick, voter; Isidore B. Dockweiler and Thomas Lee Woolwine, attorneys.
Christian Science church; Laurel Canyon. Second Church of Christ, Scientist, on West Adams; trackless trolleys; Laurel Canyon road; fire in canyon; cartoon character Mutt.
Mayor Harper resigns; George Alexander elected. Mayor Harper, Mrs. Harper and all the little Harpers; Fred C. Wheeler; George Alexander.
Damming and beautifying the L.A. River; suffrage meeting; Lankershim son gets a traffic ticket Drawing of L.A. River plan; map of area.
Men plan to oust women from Animal League; Mothers Day catches on; Pasadena-L.A. train. Newell E. Vinson; Horace N. Dobbins; map; proposed building and subway.
June YMCA summer program. Pig ‘n’ Whistle. Pig playing a fife; Roy Porter, J.T. Lillard, W.F. Hughes and Theodore Fulton, almost all with handsome moustaches.
July Elks Convention comes to town; workers arrested in destruction of San Pedro dock. Cobs cigars. Men dressed up as oranges; a hand holding a stogie.
August Publicity agent's version of an actress's lost pocketbook? Six theaters, a taxi service, a baseball game, a motor race and two ostrich farms. Actress Helena Frederick.
September Facts, Features and Fancies for Women: How to clean a corset, fashion trends; 'negress' is arrested Sapollo soap Suspicious husband checking his wife's corset; grinning black child with (of course) a watermelon
October Woman is called for jury duty in Superior Court; police chief says, 'No' to women jurors Kabo corsets Los Angeles County Courthouse; Police Chief Edward F. Dishman; woman in a corset fussing with her hair and looking smug
November Mother's Indian blood cries for vengeance; cinema owner nabbed for allowing kids to watch his movies; young wife tries to kill self because her husband forbade her to go to the flicks Mrs. Dorothy Nichols, whose husband carried off their baby; map of streets between Highland Park and L.A.
December Jonathan Club high jinks; 2 women cross desert in a Buick; Times slams departing school chief. Amos Yeager and Billy Clark, dressed as women, Henry Krohn; Buick White Streak car; Ernest Carroll Moore.
Los Angeles history
Los Angeles history