Spend this Saturday with Photo Friends and the LAPL Photo Collection!

This Saturday (December 10th) is all about the LAPL Photo Collection and Photo Friends.

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At 2pm the Photo Collection is teaming up with the UCLA Film & Television Archive for a special presentation. Before Huell Howser, Jack Linkletter sought out the human interest side of Los Angeles through his short-lived television program On the Go.  Join us as Dan Einstein and Mark Quigley of UCLA Film & Television Archive will present an overview of the Archive as a research resource as well as screen clips from recently preserved episodes of the locally-produced, On The Go (KNXT, 1959–60), featuring Vincent Price with William Castle, Hollywood Studio Club and Marineland. Footage courtesy of City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks.

Full details are available on the LAPL website.

sale

In the evening, have fun while knocking out some holiday shopping as Photo Friends presents its first ever rummage sale! We’ll have lots of old exhibit prints available at dirt cheap prices. Perfect for the Los Angeles history buff in your life.

FUTURE STUDIO GALLERY
5558 N. Figueroa St., Los Angeles 90042
Sat. Dec. 10, 2016 (7-10pm)
Also open Sun. Dec. 11 (2-5pm)
Sat. Dec. 17 (2-6pm)
Sun. Dec. 18 (2-5pm)
and by appointment 323-254-4565
futurestudio@sbcglobal.net

An End to the Dry Spell

In 1919, the Eighteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified. One year later, prohibition began. The production, importation, and transportation of alcoholic beverages was now illegal. America went dry – or so it was thought.

Supporters of prohibition believed that getting rid of booze would get rid of America’s social ills – alcoholism, public intoxication, petty crime, poverty, mental illness, venereal disease. Prohibition would also reduce taxes as there would be less need for courts, jails, hospitals, asylums, and other institutions supported by tax dollars. The country would be richer and safer if it were sober.

Unfortunately, as journalist H. L. Mencken noted in 1925:

“Five years of Prohibition have had, at least, this one benign effect: they have completely disposed of all the favorite arguments of the Prohibitionists. … Not only are crime, poverty and disease undiminished, but drunkenness itself, if the police statistics are to be believed, has greatly increased. The land rocks with the scandal. Prohibition has made the use of alcohol devilish and even fashionable, and so vastly augmented the number of users.”

On December 5, 1933, prohibition was repealed, with President Franklin D. Roosevelt declaring, “What America needs now is a drink!” People across the U.S. celebrated and Los Angeles, never a city to miss a party, joined in. The online photo archives of the Los Angeles Public Library show that while certain public officials in L.A. took prohibition very seriously, most of the public took its repeal even more seriously.

Members of the Coast Guard unload 1,200 cases of illegal whiskey found on a fishing boat in San Pedro.

Coast Guard unloading contraband liquor

Herald-Examiner Collection, photo dated March 25, 1932.

An officer takes inventory of liquor that was seized in a raid on a warehouse in Long Beach, California. Police believed the warehouse was being used as a distribution center by bootlegger Tony Carnero (a/k/a The Admiral and Tony the Hat). The liquor was valued at $62,000 — $910,781 in today’s currency.

bootlet liquor distribution by Anthony Carnero

Herald-Examiner Collection, photo taken in 1931.

John L. McDonnell of the District Attorney’s enforcement squad and Pearl Stephenson, secretary to Chief Investigator Lucien Wheeler, dump $45,000 worth of bootleg liquor used as evidence in liquor arrest cases. (Incidentally, that would be the equivalent of $635,000 worth of booze today.)

disposal of liquor during prohibition

Herald-Examiner Collection, photo dated February 16, 1929.

Members of the Sheriff’s office dump wine, whiskey, imported champagne, and various liquors they had confiscated. The alcohol – most of it high-end and meant for Christmas, New Year’s, and other holiday parties – was valued at $150,000 at the time. Today, this contraband booze would be worth roughly $2,004,500.

christmas spirits seized in raids

Herald-Examiner Collection, photo dated January 17, 1927.

Unable to buy a drink legally, many people resorted to partaking of Jamaica Ginger – also known as Jake – in place of a cocktail. Sold as a medicine, this concoction included an additive that affected the nerve cells that control movement, leading to paralysis for some unlucky imbibers. The Herald-Examiner alerted Southern Californians as to the dangers of drinking Jake.

Jamaica Ginger and the trouble it causes

Herald-Examiner Collection, drawings photographed in 1931.

As grapes were no longer becoming wine (with the exception of a select crop used for sacramental wine), the California Vinyardists’ Association created National Grape Week in an effort to dispose of a bumper crop of grapes during Prohibition.

National Grape Week

Security Pacific National Bank Collection, photo dated September 14, 1928.

In spite of the law, Los Angelenos (like folks everywhere) still liked to discuss business, meet friends, and relax over drinks. This elegant home at 4412 Wilshire Boulevard served as a speakeasy during Prohibition.

speakeasy in los angeles residence

Los Angeles Photographers Collection, Marlene Laskey/Wilshire Boulevard Collection,
photographed by Annie Laskey in 1978.

While the complete repeal of Prohibition occurred on December 5, 1933, the Beer and Wine Revenue Act (commonly referred to as the Beer Bill) was put into effect on April 7, 1933. It gave states the right to sell beer and wine. In this photo, crowds wait to enjoy a beer at the Belmont Grill in downtown Los Angeles.

belmont grill

Herald-Examiner Collection, photo dated April 7, 1933.

Here is the scene inside the Belmont Grill that same day.

belmont grill and the beer act

Herald-Examiner Collection, photo dated April 7, 1933.

When the Beer Bill came into effect, Eastside Brewery in Lincoln Heights wasted no time getting back into business. The first truckload of beer rolled away as movie star Jean Harlow christened it with a bottle of (what else?) beer.

jean harlow christens beer truck

Herald-Examiner Collection, photo dated April 7, 1933.

People couldn’t wait until prohibition was repealed to celebrate its repeal! Here, revelers at Club Airport Gardens celebrate the repeal of prohibition on November 8, 1933, with a skeleton of the 18th amendment.

club airport gardens celebrates repeal of prohibition

Herald-Examiner Collection, photo dated November 8, 1933.

With prohibition repealed, the quaint Malamute Saloon, designed to resemble a cozy log cabin, reopened after 13 years. Los Angeles residents and visitors could imbibe while enjoying a somewhat rustic experiment.

malamute saloon

Security Pacific National Bank Collection, photo dated 1933.

A group of Mexican-Americans celebrates the end of Prohibition and the freedom to enjoy a drink with family and friends.

mexican-americans celebrate repeal of prohibition

Shades of L.A.: Mexican-American Community, photo taken by Harvey
(see lower right corner) in 1934.

Disaster Response: The 1933 Long Beach Earthquake

On Friday, March 10, 1933, in the depth of the Great Depression, the Southland experienced a major earthquake, centered off of Long Beach. While named for that city, the event, and the many aftershocks, affected the entire Los Angeles basin and was felt as far south as Tijuana. Some 120 persons were killed (the exact number is disputed*): about half in Long Beach proper and the rest in communities including Compton, Cerritos, and Huntington Beach. Serious property damage occurred throughout the region, including in Los Angeles City itself.

A young seismologist named Charles F. Richter counted seven aftershocks of “marked intensity.” Richter went on to tell the United Press: “Thereafter a series of continuous quakes began. They were too frequent to be correctly tabulated. I should estimate them at from 100 to 200 up to noon Saturday.” (Quoted in Seattle Times,  “12Towns….”) Two years following the event, Richter developed his famous scale which rated the initial 1933 earthquake at 6.4.

Residents and newspapers photographers documented the devastation and the recovery efforts. In this photo essay, we will focus on immediate aid efforts and the resilience of the citizenry.

 

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Security Pacific National Bank Collection, Image #00058879

The earthquake caused widespread devastation, collapsing many buildings, including 70 schools and public buildings such as the Lynwood Theater. Another 50 schools and many other buildings sustained serious damage. Fortunately, the quake occurred at the dinner hour, after school had recessed for the day. Had it happened earlier, the death toll would have been much higher and much younger!

 

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Herald Examiner Collection, #00047523

Rescuers pause to listen for victims who may be trapped in the wreckage of the Stockwell Building in Compton, March 11, 1933. Compton suffered extensive destruction in its core commercial district.

 

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Security Pacific National Bank Collection, #00058878

Medical personnel, including Catholic sisters and staff from U.S. Navy ships at San Pedro were called in to help with the wounded. With hospitals damaged, the wounded were brought to churches, parking lots, and other locations. Another photo, not shown here, shows covered bodies on mattresses behind Seaside Hospital (Herald-Examiner Collection, Image #00057404).

Many were injured or killed by falling bricks in the streets.

 

Making Shift

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Herald Examiner Collection, Image #00057405

In the days following the quake, and with after-shocks coming thick and fast, most families in the quake zone chose to camp outdoors, either in parks or in their own yards. The Long  Beach area was dotted with small fires such as this one. The caption accompanying this photo in the Herald Examiner read: “Through the night of the March 10 earthquake, thousands of men, women and children sat up beside bonfires in vacant lots and yards as they feared to enter their homes lest there be further temblors.”

 

 

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Security Pacific National Bank Collection, Image #00020435

This family in Compton has set up a makeshift camp stove in their yard. The quake took out electric power and officials shut off gas, likely preventing further disasters.

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Security Pacific National Bank Collection, Image #00020448

There’s a lot going on in this photo, including several makeshift stoves with fuel at the ready. The men in charge may be running a pop-up business, catering to those without means to heat food.

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Herald Examiner Collection, Image #00084131

The Community Pulls Together

It takes a community to recover from a disaster. The Herald-Examiner’s caption for the above photo, dated March 14, 1933, read “All Southern California opened its heart and sent food and medicine to the homeless and injured. Volunteer workers are shown carrying boxes of supplies prepared by sympathetic Angelenos.”

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Photo by “Crory,” Herald Examiner Collection, Image #00057407

Residents line up for food and other assistance at Lincoln Park, close by Long Beach City Hall, March 12, 1933, two days after the quake. The Red Cross and Salvation Army set up first aid tents and feeding stations. Long Beach city officials trucked in fresh water. Some restaurants offered what they had on hand at no charge.

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Herald-Examiner Collection, Image #00047510

Commerce must go on. With most stores and businesses at least temporarily uninhabitable, merchants took to the streets to sell their wares. In Compton they were allowed to set up within an undamaged structure — the Oil Exposition building — where they arranged themselves in the same order as their main street shops.

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Frank Bentley, photographer, Herald Examiner Collection, Image #00057399

With power and telephone poles down throughout the region, communication with the outside world was difficult. Ham radio stations were credited with offering the only reliable communication for the first week following the cataclysm. According to some, the first word of the disaster came from a boy’s ham radio station ten minutes after the initial quake. Here, amateur radio enthusiasts, assisted by the Boy Scouts, offer the services of their short-wave radio station. Survivors were able to send messages to anxious loved ones via wireless technology. Press services also availed themselves of on-the-ground reports transmitted via short-wave. With the region under virtual martial law for a number of days, reporters had a difficult time gaining access to the quake zone.

 

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Herald Examiner Collection, Image #00034804

Military personnel called out to assist with the recovery efforts take advantage of coffee and donuts provided by the Salvation Army in Compton. The soldier at right is reading an “EXTRA” addition of the paper with the headline “120 Killed in Quake.” Curiously, the number is fairly accurate.

If not for the newspaper, one might be led to believe this was a photo from World War I. The sailors, referred to in the press as “bluejackets,” carried bayonets while patrolling disaster-stricken streets.

Some of the men pictured appear to be members of the American Legion. The Disaster Relief Committee of the American Legion stepped up to the challenge , distributing supplies and patrolling streets. An interesting press item, copied from a March 16 letter of the American Legion post in Long Beach to his fellow commanders, offers a glimpse at the state of things five days following the quake:

Dear Comrade Commander:

Pay no attention to radio broadcasts, either commercial or amateur, requests for food until broadcast by Colonel A. C. Wyman or Ole Olson. Clothing of all kinds needed, especially men’s shoes. Send to Compton or Long Beach American Legion. Fraternally yours, L.F. Olson, acting disaster relief chairman, The American Legion, Department of California (Coronado Eagle and Journal, March 21, 1933)

 

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American Legion relief station adjacent to the ruins of Compton City Hall, March 13, 1933. Herald Examiner Collection, Image #00047508

 

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Herald Examiner Collection, Image #00084132

Four days after the quake, with most folks still camped out in parks and on golf courses, boredom became an issue. These young women attempt to alleviate the problem with the aid of the old upright at Long Beach’s Bixby Park.

Finding Fault?

Thanks to its location within a major metropolitan area, and with access to trained emergency response and federal assistance, recovery from the Long  Beach earthquake was relatively rapid. Within two weeks most families were able to return to their homes. Lessons were learned. Many who had believed Southern California immune from big earthquakes found out otherwise. The need for construction standards and the risks of building on landfill became apparent. A month following the disaster, the state legislature passed the Field Act, mandating state-approved standards for school-building.

At this writing, fall of 2016, a new geological report suggests that the 1933 earthquake and others of the same era and location may have been caused by indiscriminate oil drilling in Huntington Beach and the resulting effects on soil and fault lines. The past never stays dead and buried.

*Early on, the United Press reported that 151 persons had died in the immediate aftermath of the quake.

 

Selected sources:

“12 Towns Take Stock of Damage Done by Quakes,” Seattle Times, March 12, 1933. Several pages of the Seattle paper are devoted to articles and pictures of the disaster, with information taken from wire services and short-wave radio stations.

“1933 Long Beach Earthquake,” California Department of Conservation website accessed November 11, 2016 (http://www.conservation.ca.gov/cgs/News/pages/longbeach.aspx).

Tim Grobaty, Long Beach Chronicles: From Pioneers to the 1933 Earthquake (Charleston: The History Press, 2012), 148-158.

Clinton B. DeSoto, “Southern California Amateurs Rise to Earthquake Emergency,” QST, May 1933. Reprinted in EverythingRF, 2016, accessed November 11, 2016 (http://www.rfcafe.com/references/qst/california-amateurs-earthquake-emergency-qst-may-1933.htm).

Ron-Gong Lin II, “Southern California’s deadliest quake may have been caused by oil drilling, study says,” Los Angeles Times online, October 31, 2016, accessed November 6, 2016 (http://www.latimes.com/local/la-me-ln-oil-drilling-earthquake-20161031-story.html).

Native American Heritage Month

November is Native American Heritage Month. The land that now constitutes California once housed the most diverse population of indigenous people in the Western hemisphere, with 150 different Native American tribes inhabiting the area. While the population of these native people decreased significantly in the 19th century due to disease (including malaria and cholera epidemics), there are still over one hundred federally recognized Native American tribes in California. The Photo Collection of the Los Angeles Public Library offers a glimpse of Native Americans celebrating holidays, remembering their heritage, and living their lives in Southern California.

Members of the Golden State Gourd Society (which originated in Maywood, California, in 1971) gather at the first annual Kateri Circle pow wow.

Golden State Gourd Society

Shades of L.A., Native American Community; photograph taken in 1990.

Astronaut Robert Crippen (center), who flew on four space shuttle missions (three as commander), is of Cherokee heritage. Here he is photographed with Native American employees of Rockwell International in Thousand Oaks, California. These employees are of Wichita, Comanche, Choctaw, Cheyenne, and Oto tribe heritage.

Native Americans in the Space Race

Shades of L.A., Native American Community, Comanche Community,
Wichita Community, Cherokee Community, Oto Community,
Cheyenne Community, Choctaw Community; photograph taken in 1981.

Margo, a Native American of Comanche and Wichita heritage, attends a pow wow at the Orange County Indian Center in Stanton, California.

orange county indian center

Shades of L.A., Native American Community, Comanche Community,
Wichita Community; photograph taken in 1980.

Two Navajo girls reenact the age-old practice of grinding corn at the South East Indian Center in Huntington Park, California. The ceremony included singers, feather dancers, and gourd music.

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Herald-Examiner Collection; photographed by Myron Dubee on May 21, 1974.

Father Paul Ojibway, a Catholic priest and member of the Fond du Luc Band of Lake Superior Chippewa of Minnesota, sought to build bridges between Native American Catholics and the wider Catholic community. He served in Native American ministries in California for over twenty years, becoming Director of American Indian Studies at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles and also serving as Director of Native American ministries in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Here he is seen serving Mass at a pow wow at St. Francis High School in La Canada.

Father Paul Ojibway

Shades of L.A., Native American Community, photograph taken in 1991.

Navajo artist Kin-ya-onny-beyeh (also known as Carl Nelson Gorman or Carl Gorman) exhibits his artwork in a gallery in Woodland Hills, California.

carl

 

Valley Times Collection; photographed by George Brich on June 20, 1963.

Youngster John Nolan from the Pima Pagago Reservation in Phoenix, Arizona, participates in a Drum and Feather War Dance held at the Burbank recreation hall while Mrs. Fred Gabourie, a Cherokee dancing champion from Burbank, watches.

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Valley Times Collection, photographed by Bob Martin on December 7, 1964.

Carl Fisher, an African American with Choctaw heritage, became an Auxiliary Bishop for the Los Angeles Archdiocese in 1987. He was the first African American Catholic bishop on the West Coast and supervised 70 parishes, 53 elementary schools, and 10 high schools in the San Pedro Pastoral Region. Here he poses with Native Americans at his first mass in the Los Angeles area.

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Shades of L.A.: Native American Community; photograph taken in 1987.

Mary Robinson, a young woman of Choctaw heritage, is photographed at 13 years of age practicing her ballet steps. Mary later moved from Salinas, California, to Los Angeles and became a professional dancer and actress.

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Shades of L.A.: Native American Community, photograph taken in 1927.

A dancer from the Tony Purley Tribal Dancers performs at the sixth annual American Indian Artistry program at the County Museum of Natural History in Exposition Park.

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Herald-Examiner Collection; photograph undated.

Navajo students at Sherman Indian High School in Riverside, California, don native dress and ride on the hood of a car displaying Navajo blankets and a Navajo rug during the school’s Indian Day parade.

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Shades of L.A.: Native American Community; photograph taken in 1970.

Filipino American History Month

October is Filipino American History Month (also known as Filipino American Heritage Month). The Filipino American National Historical Society (FANHS) has been observing October as Filipino American History Month since 1991, with California officially recognizing the month in 2006 when the California Department of Education placed it on its celebrations calendar. Filipino American History Month was established to commemorate the first documented landing (over 425 years ago) of Filipinos in what is now the continental United States. The photo archive of the Los Angeles Public Library has an extensive collection of images documenting the rich history and influence of Filipino Americans in Los Angeles.


Members and friends of Kilusan ng Progresibong Kabataan (Organization of Progressive Youth) attend the East-West Community Partnership Forum held at Castelar Elementary School in Chinatown.

Kilusan ng Progresibong Kabataan (Organization of Progressive Youth)

Shades of L.A.: Filipino American Community,
photograph taken in September, 1996.

Monty Manibog was the first Filipino American attorney to pass the bar and practice law in Southern California. He was also the first Filipino American to serve as councilman and mayor of Monterey Park, holding office from 1976 to 1988.

Monty Manibog

Herald-Examiner Collection, photographed by Paul Chinn, May 22, 1988.

Barbara Gaerlan (Assistant Director of UCLA Center for Southeast Asian Studies, pictured at right) interviews Dr. Virginia Agbayani (Professor Emeritus, Department of Fine Arts, University of the Philippines) at an event held at the Filipino American Library of Los Angeles.

Filipino American Library of Los Angeles

Shades of L.A.: Filipino American Community, photograph taken in 1996.

Members of the Philippine American Annak Ti Batac of Southern California enjoy their annual picnic at the Long Beach Naval Station. Annak Ti Batac translates as “Children of Batac”, Batac being a city (the hometown of former President Ferdinand Marcos) in Ilocos Norte, a province in the northern tip of the Ilocos Region in Luzon, the largest and most populous island in the Philippines.

children of batac

Shades of L.A.: Filipino American Community, photograph taken in 1994.

Filipino American Roman Gabriel (Number 18) was the starting quarterback for the Los Angeles Rams for eleven seasons beginning in the mid-1960s. He was named the NFL Most Valuable Player in 1969 by the AP (Associated Press) and NEA (National Education Association) and also 1969 Player of the Year by the UPI (United Press International).

Roman Gabriel

 Herald-Examiner Collection, photographed by James Roark in 1969.

Joseph Batugos and other prominent members of the Filipino American community in Los Angeles hold a reception for Earl Carroll, president and cofounder of the Philippine American Life and General Insurance Company (Philam Life). Interned in Santo Tomas Prison Camp in Manila from 1942-1945, Carroll was awarded the United States Medal of Freedom for services rendered to American and allied nationals during World War II. He resided in the Philippines for 33 years.

Earl Carroll

Valley Times Collection, photographed by George Brich on January 20, 1964.

Philam Life

Valley Times Collection, photographed by George Brich on January 20, 1964.

A Christmas play is held at a Filipino Christian Church in Los Angeles.

Christmas play at Filipino Christian Church

Shades of L.A.: Filipino American Community, photographed in 1955.

Campers gather around picnic tables at Camp Throne, a summer camp (located in San Dimas) of the Filipino Christian Church.

camp throne

Shades of L.A.: Filipino American Community, photographed in 1955.

Delegates attend the 23rd Annual National Convention of the Filipino Federation of America Inc. at the Moncado Mansion in the West Adams district of Los Angeles. The banner in the background partially reads “Welcome General Moncado, Guest of Honor.” Hilario Camino Moncada, a political activist and mystic, founded the Filipino Federation of America on December 27, 1925, and remained its President until his death in 1956.

convention of Filipino Federation of America

Shades of L.A.: Filipino American Community, photographed on December 28, 1948.

The first annual banquet of the Caballeros de Dimas-Alang, Inc. in Southern California was held at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles. The Caballeros de Dimas-Alang is a Filipino American fraternal organization which began in San Francisco in 1921.

Caballeros de Dimas-Alang

Shades of L.A.: Filipino American Community, photographed on January 15, 1951.

Philippine National Day, also known as Independence Day or Day of Freedom, commemorates the Philippine Declaration of Independence from Spain on June 12, 1898.  In this photo, a group of people stand behind a table covered with Filipino food during a National Day celebration held at CSU Dominguez Hills in Carson, California.

Philippine National Day

Shades of L.A.: Filipino American Community, photographed on June 12
(year unknown). 

Friends head out for a dip in the Colorado Lagoon in Long Beach, California.

Filipino Americans go for a swim in Colorado Lagoon

Shades of L.A.: Filipino American Community, photographed in 1945.

A group of first generation Filipino immigrants, all born and raised in the Philippines, pose for a photo in the Los Angeles Harbor area. One of the men, Romy Madrigal (top row, second from right) became President of the Filipino American Community of Los Angeles. All the men spoke the same common dialect of Cebu and worked in fish canneries located on Terminal Island.

first generation Filipino immigrants in Los Angeles

Shades of L.A.: Filipino American Community, photographed in 1935.

Reverend Casiano Coloma (seated on the far right), minister of the Filipino Christian Church, poses with friends on a bench outside the Los Angeles Public Library.

Reverend Casiano Coloma and friends at Los Angeles Public Library

Shades of L.A.: Filipino American Community, photographed in 1930.

Photographer’s Eye: “Seeing” Downtown with David K. Thompson

Wednesday, October 19, 2016
12:15pm to 1:00pm
Central Library, Meeting Room A

seeing-downton

Reservations not required. Doors open approximately 15 minutes before the start of the program.

“In a series of photographs inspired by the Japanese woodblock printer Hiroshige, local photographer and silkscreen artist David Thompson takes a fresh look at the urban environment of downtown Los Angeles.  As much of the downtown skyline changes, and with it the nature of life of the city, Mr. Thompson focuses on specific ways of truly “looking” at the city’s built environment and architectural legacy.  He explores the value of elevation, projection and compression as conscious ways of seeing the city the lies before us.  He also takes a closer look at downtown streetscapes, the role of “text” in the life of the city and even that most notorious eyesore of urban life:  the parking lot.”

“David K. Thompson was born in New York and raised in Florida, Japan, Ohio, North Carolina, Virginia and Puerto Rico  He has worked — as an editor, diplomat and transactional lawyer — in New York, Washington, D.C., San Francisco, Paris and Los Angeles.  But the longest constant in his working life has been a dedication to silkscreen printing, based, for the most part, on his own photography.  His most recent artwork focuses on city streetscapes, architecture and infrastructure, with a heavy emphasis on Los Angeles.  Based in Pasadena, he actively explores virtually every corner of Los Angeles with his camera.  He has also begun to treat his urban photographic work as an end in itself, often combining it with historic and architectural commentary, drawing in particular on the rich heritage of contemporary newspaper accounts — including especially advertisements — of the city and its occupations.

Sponsored by Photo Friends. Presented by the Los Angeles Public Library Photo Collection.

Additional details available on the LAPL website.

Style and Strength — Historic Los Angeles Architecture

The photo collection of the Los Angeles Public Library contains many photos taken for the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS), the nation’s first federal preservation project. HABS created an archive of drawings and historical reports plus black and white photos documenting the country’s buildings and built environments. The following photos (with captions below each photo) display examples of the unique architecture to be found here in Los Angeles.

KEHE/KFI Radio Broad Studio

The KEHE/KFI studio was built in 1936 and designed in the Streamline Moderne (also referred to as Art Moderne) architectural style, utilizing long lines and aerodynamic curves to create a streamlined and modern look. The KEHE studio was originally constructed for Hearst Radio, Inc. but was sold in 1939 to Earle C. Anthony who took KEHE off the air and ran station KFI in the studio until 1975. The building served various purposes for the local Koreatown community before it was demolished in 2003. (Note: The scrolled grilles over the windows and doors were not an original part of the building but were added in later years for security purposes.) All photos of the radio station were taken in 2004 by photographer and Photo Friends Board Member Tom Zimmerman for the Historic American Buildings Survey.

KEHE/KFI studio

Southeast corner of KEHE/KFI radio broadcast studio on North Vermont Avenue

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Main entrance and tower of KEHE/KFI facing northwest

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Southern side entrance of KEHE/KFI studio facing westward

OLIVE SWITCHING STATION

Located on San Fernando Road, the two-story Olive Switching Station was built between 1916 and 1917 at the mid-point of the electric transmission line that ran from San Francisquito power plant No. 1 to the central receiving station in Los Angeles. This facility of the LADWP (Los Angeles Department of Water and Power) made it possible to repair single circuits without disrupting or diminishing electric service, thus providing reliable utility service to the greater Los Angeles area. The original station has been demolished. All photos of the Olive Switching Station shown below were photographed in 1994 by photographer Bill Agee for the Historic American Buildings Survey.

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View of the northeast side of the Olive Switching Station
from the north side of San Fernando Road facing southwest 

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View of the east corner of the Olive Switching Station
from the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power lot

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View of first room on the first floor and main control panel
of the Olive Switching Station

Swan Hall, Occidental College

Architects Myron Hunt and H.C. Chambers laid out the original master plan for Occidental College in 1914, with an emphasis on healthy and comfortable living. The campus featured many open air spaces, verandas, fireplaces, and assorted greenery. (It was said that Hunt would walk around the campus dropping eucalyptus seeds as he walked.) Swan Hall was designed and built as a men’s dormitory. In 1960, Swan Hall was remodeled and converted from living quarters into administrative offices. In 2011, Swan Hall underwent an expansion that more than doubled its size. The photos below were all taken in 2011 by photographer and Photo Friends Board Member Tom Zimmerman for the Historic American Buildings Survey.

 

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East facade of Swan Hall (with fence surrounding building
during maintenance) as viewed from the northeast

 

North entrance on Swan Hall‘s east facade

This is the third part of a three-part feature on the photos of the Historic American Buildings Survey.

All Hail the King – Or, More Accurately, The Ambassador

It is no small surprise that the Ambassador Hotel was a prominent subject of the Historic American Buildings Survey. The hotel was a part of both Los Angeles and world history. The Los Angeles Public Library photo archive has a number of photos of the hotel.

But first, some history:

Designed by renowned architect Myron Hunt (whose architectural masterpieces include the Rose Bowl Stadium, Occidental College, and Caltech), the hotel opened in 1921 boasting 500 rooms and occupying 23.7 acres at 3400 Wilshire Boulevard. While it eventually sat empty (except for occasional filming) for 15-plus years before its demolition in 2005, it had a glorious heyday. The Ambassador Hotel saw every form of celebrity, from film stars to foreign dignitaries. Bob Hope hosted the 1939 Academy Awards ceremony in its glamorous nightclub, the Cocoanut Grove. Carole Lombard and Joan Crawford competed in the Grove’s Friday night Charleston contests. Nikita Khrushchev stayed at the hotel during his time in America in 1959. Jean Harlow had a residence there for a time, as did Howard Hughes. A young model posed by the pool, she would later become Marilyn Monroe. Bing Crosby started a singing career there, and Sammy Davis and Frank Sinatra performed in the Cocoanut Grove often. Seven presidents including Herbert Hoover, Dwight Eisenhower, JFK, and Richard Nixon stayed there. Haile Selassie, then Emperor of Ethiopia, ate lunch there in 1954. The hotel housed the jury for Charles Manson’s murder trial for nine months in 1971. Presidential hopeful Robert F. Kennedy was shot in the hotel’s kitchen in 1968 after delivering a speech. (He would die the next day in Good Samaritan Hospital.)

Even if you’ve never been to Los Angeles, you have probably seen the Ambassador Hotel. It has been photographed extensively and used in many television shows and films. It appeared in episodes of Beverly Hills 90210, Mod Squad, Starsky and Hutch, Dragnet, and Murder She Wrote. Musicians including Elton John, Guns N’ Roses, Tom Waits, and Beyonce filmed videos there. Its impressive movie portfolio includes Nightmare on Elm Street, Foxy Brown, Lady Killer (with James Cagney), Scream 2, and Forrest Gump. Arnold Schwarzenegger rode a horse through its lobby in True Lies. Richard Gere played a piano in its main ballroom in Pretty Woman. The high school reunion in Romy and Michelle’s High School Reunion occurred at The Ambassador. And most famously (or infamously), The Graduate’s Ben Braddock (Dustin Hoffman) and Mrs. Robinson (Anne Bancroft) conducted their affair in a suite at The Ambassador. (Cue Simon and Garfunkel.)

All of the photographs below (except for the menus shown in separate end section) were taken between January and March 2005 by photographer and Photo Friends Board Member Tom Zimmerman for the Historic American Buildings Survey. Captions are beneath the image.

ambassador hotel embassy ballroom

Ambassador Hotel, Embassy Ballroom. 

ambassador hotel main lobby

Ambassador Hotel, main lobby. 

ambassador hotel honeymoon cottage

Ambassador Hotel, honeymoon cottage interior

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Ambassador Hotel, interior of hotel bar (Note: This is not the Cocoanut Grove.)

ambassador hotel casino level

Ambassador Hotel shop interior, casino level

ambassador hotel and cocoanut grove

Ambassador Hotel and the Cocoanut Grove

ambassador hotel and fountain

Ambassador Hotel and fountain

ambassador hotel cabana

Ambassador Hotel cabana

ambassador hotel southern entrance

Ambassador Hotel southern entrance

 

Would you care to see a menu?

Interested as to what you might have eaten for lunch, dinner, or at a banquet at the Ambassador Hotel? Visit the Menu Collection of the Los Angeles Public Library. For a preview, look below:

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menu for banquet at ambassador hotel

Menu showing what was served at banquet honoring Secretary of War and various governors; banquet was held at Ambassador Hotel circa 1933.

 

a la carte menu at ambassador hotel

a la carte menu for ambassador hotel

A La Carte Menu at Ambassador Hotel

 

cocoanut grove menu cover

Front cover of menu for Cocoanut Grove, autographed by Fred Martin (date unknown; Fred Martin and his orchestra played the Cocoanut Grove numerous times from the 1930s to the 1970s.)

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cocoanut grove menu

Menu for Cocoanut Grove (menu dated December 16, 1944)

Note: This is the second part of a three-part series on the Historic American Buildings Survey.

Feed Your Olympic Fever with Photo Friends

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From L-R: Jim Ruebsamen (former Herald Examiner photographer), Javier Mendoza (also Herald-Ex), writer and Photo Friend David Davis, LAPL Senior Librarian Christina Rice, Dean Musgrove (also Herald Ex), and Olympic gold medalist Paul Gonzales.  (Photo by former Herald Examiner photographer Jim Ober)

Thanks to everyone who came out this past Wednesday for our Photographer’s Eye program with author and PF Board Member David Davis. David treated the crowd to a selection of 1984 Olympics images from the Los Angeles Public Library’s Herald Examiner Collection. We were delighted to have four former Herald Examiner photographers in attendance along with Olympic Gold medalist Paul Gonzales!

OneGoldenMoment

For those of you who cannot get enough of the Summer Games, be sure to check out Photo Friends Publications latest offering, One Golden Moment: The 1984 Olympics Through the Photographic Lens of the Los Angeles Herald Examiner. Written and compiled by David Davis, with a foreward by Paul Gonzales, the book may be purchased through Amazon or at the Library Store who have copies signed by Davis and Gonzales available. Proceeds benefit Photo Friends.

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 Next week, our friends over at the LA84 Foundation will be hosting a book signing with Olympic champion swimmer Shirley Babashoff who is the author of the recently published Making Waves: My Journey to Winning Olympic Gold and Defeating the East German Doping Program (Santa Monica Press). Details about the event are here.

Don’t forget to visit the online Los Angeles Public Library Photo Collection to view hundreds of images relating to the 1932 & 1984 Olympic Games!

Photographer’s Eye: One Golden Moment – The 1984 Olympic Games Through the Lens of the Herald Examiner

Photo Eye

Photographer’s Eye: One Golden Moment – The 1984 Olympic Games Through the Lens of the Herald Examiner

Wednesday, August 10, 2016
12:15pm to 1:00pm
Central Library, Meeting Room A

Reservations not required. Doors open approximately 15 minutes before the start of the program.

The 1984 Los Angeles Olympics were a milestone in the city’s history — and the photographers of the Herald Examiner newspaper were there to capture every thrilling moment, from the triumphs of Carl Lewis, Michael Jordan, Greg Louganis and Mary Lou Retton to the heartbreak experienced by Mary Decker and Evander Holyfield. As the world’s best athletes gather in Brazil for this summer’s Rio Olympics, re-live the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics through the memorable and intimate photographs of the Herald Examiner with David Davis, sports journalist and author of Waterman: The Life and Times of Duke Kahanamoku (University of Nebraska Press).

Sponsored by Photo Friends. Presented by the Los Angeles Public Library Photo Collection.