Tuesday, June 9, 2009

One big, happy city

June 9, 1909, and the headline (on pg. 3) in the Los Angeles Times is:

STRONG, UNITED PULL FOR JOINING CITIES. [yes, there was a period in the headline]

Plan as Submitted for Consolidation of Los Angeles, San Pedro and Wilmington Receives Hearty Indorsement from Many Sources.

The story announced the kick-off of a signature gathering campaign conducted by "Trained canvassers" (wonder how they got their training?). The goal was 13,000 signatures inside of a week that would go before the City Council, and force a summer election to unite the three cities.

It was all tied into the development of the harbor, of course, and long range plans of $3 million in bonds were raised as well. Folks were told that the harbor could just not be built unless all the cities were united. Right.

It gets complicated, but 'the harbor' was a work-in-progress. Construction on the rock breakwater had only begun ten years earlier. You can see the partially-completed breakwater in the 1908 photo above. Settling which city--Long Beach or Los Angeles--owned what part of the harbor had been settled only a year before, in 1908. So the journey from mudflats to international shipping port had barely begun.

The photo, btw, shows the "Great White Fleet" arriving in the harbor, to be greeted by thousands of folks--many of whom parked their crankshaft cars near the bluffs. I found it at the LA Library, but it's also reprinted in a fun book: Port of Los Angeles: An Illustrated History from 1850 to 1945 . Most local libraries have it, but an owned copy--complete with an elephant on the cover--would look mightily impressive on your coffee table.

No comments: