American Historic Towns
Historic Towns of The Western States

Edited by Lyman P. Powell
G. P. Putnam' Sons
New York and London
The Knickerbocker Press


"VERY near the terrestrial paradise," said the old Spanish explorer of the sunlit country, where stood in a later century the pueblo of Los Angeles. Very near the terrestrial paradise has it seemed to weary travellers, hopeful invalids, and delighted home makers, who have from year to year wandered across the desert to find rest, health, and comfort in a climate where the terms winter and summer are misnomers, where snows are seen only on the mountain tops above the flowering plain, where severe heats are unknown, and where Nature rewards those who seek her gifts in largest measure. Climate and situation are the environing elements which count for most in the development of the history of Los Angeles. These are responsible both for the easy, courteous, pleasure loving lives of the Spanish rancheros, and the strenuous, vivid, progressive, municipal experiences of the Americans in this modern "pleasure city."

Los Angeles treasures the memory of ancient Spanish days of daring and romance, among which lie the beginnings of its civil life. All that is left of the old Pueblo de Nuestra Senora la Reina de los Angeles may be seen now clustered about the old plaza, with its church, in what is known as Sonora town. Here the sun baked adobe walls of the houses nestle, with their Mexican residents, in the midst of the bustling city, awaiting the final decay which marks the passing of the Pueblo.

Precedent to later social conditions of ease, the careful student will find in the lives of the earlier settlers of Alta California a strong, vital, self sacrificing religious impulse, which, upon Pacific as upon Atlantic shores, induced the initial movement in a civilization which moved to its attempted end indifferent to climate or environment, and using the material only to subserve the interests of the dominant spiritual. Junipero Serra, with his mission settlers of 1769, was in subtlest ways akin to the Pilgrim Fathers of the preceding century. As Los Angeles was but a humble dependent on San Gabriel Mission, its beginnings may best be traced in connection with the history of the mission fathers, the earliest colonizers and civilizers of the sunset land. Their unstinted and self sacrificing devotion to the Indians of California, their great mission trade schools, where not only the salvation of souls but the training of the minds and hands of the neophytes was undertaken, their wise administration of their trusts, both spiritual and material, make this initial movement in the colonization of California one of the brightest incidents in the story of the Golden West.

Out of the mists of romance which envelop the earlier explorers of the Pacific Coasts appear the forms of Cabrillo and Vizcaino, the first historic visitors to Southern California.

It may be that Francisco de Ulloa had in 1539 gained from the. Pacific a glimpse of the land, or that Hernando de Alarcon from the Gila country saw the plain of Los Angeles in 1540. Sure it is that Cabrillo in 1542, and Vizcaino in 1603 visited San Diego and San Pedro, the port of Los Angeles. The latter landed at San Diego, seeking a suitable port for ships engaged in trade with the Philippines, dug wells, and erected a church tent for three friars who were of the party, and then for 166 years this "fair land without snow" drops out of history. It is left to its Indian residents, left treasuring its resources for future generations, for new peoples.

In 1769 came Junipero Serra, saint, hero, and Franciscan father. In him the romance of missionary enterprise finds embodiment; with him and his missions the colonization of Alta California began. The missions in the peninsula of Lower California were, by the expulsion of the Jesuits in 1767, left in charge of the Franciscans, and Serra's burning zeal for the conversion of the Indians led him to urge the prosecution of a long cherished plan of the Government. This was to provide the Manila ships with good ports on the northwest coasts and to promote settlements there. There was a union of spiritual and physical forces, soldiers under the military government of Portola cooperating with the missionaries under Serra. Four expeditions, two proceeding by sea and two by land, were reunited at San Diego, where, on July 16th, the noble missionary dedicated the first mission in Alta California. It was but two years later that the Mission San Gabriel Arcangel was founded, with solemn chants of Veni, Creator Spiritus and Te Deum Laudamus, and in the presence of many Indians. Serra, who had entered in a litter the land of promise where his zeal and courage were to accomplish so much, had already travelled toward San Francisco, crossing mountain and desert on foot, and establishing the Mission of San Carlos. The missions were firmly organized and devoutly conducted, and there were eighteen of them by the end of the century. Forty padres had gathered in these first industrial training schools a population of 13,500 converted Indian neophytes, to whom they had taught the arts of civilization.

San Gabriel became one of the richest missions. Its church has never been disused; today it welcomes strangers as in the time when it received those weary pilgrims, the founders of Los Angeles, who came from Loreto across the deserts of Colorado, on the route first taken by Anza through the San Gorgonio pass, and were provided by the hospitable fathers with all that was needed for rest and refreshment. The centre of the civilized and agricultural life of the district, San Gabriel, was a great material as well as spiritual force. It had its guard of ten soldiers and its three padres. Two of these, Cruzado and Sanchez, ministered side by side to the California Indians for thirty years, and the latter had a missionary experience of fifty five years.

The name of Los Angeles is first found in the Mission report of 1773. It is given to the river first named Porzinucula discovered by Portola's expedition of 1769. This discovery, as recorded by Padre Crespi, was made upon the anniversary of the feast of our Lady of Angels. The Pueblo de Nuestra Senora la Reina de los Angeles was founded in 1781. Till then there had been in the new country only missions and presidios, the military stations; but the settlement of colonies in pueblos was part of the original Spanish plan, and the necessity of obtaining additional supplies for the use of the presidios gave the needed stimulus.

Under instructions issued by Governor Nerve a site for a dam was first selected, water being then as now a primary essential. The pueblo was placed on high land near these facilities for irrigation, a plaza of two hundred by three hundred varas being laid out, with corners facing the cardinal points, so that three streets should run perpendicularly from each of its four sides, that no street might be swept by the winds. Yet tradition saith that Los Angeles winds have not kept always to the cardinal points. Solares, or house lots, of twenty by forty varas were given to settlers in numbers equal to the available suertes, fieldlots. Two suertes of dry, and two of irrigable land, were given to each family. One fourth of the suertes were left vacant, as realangas or government lands, while a number, called proprios, were reserved for municipal expenses. Colonists received ten dollars a month each, for two years; also regular rations, seeds, clothing, and live stock. Twelve men with their families, including eleven women and twenty six children, were the colonizers of Los Angeles. They were principally Spanish soldiers. On September 14, 1781, the plaza of the new town was solemnly dedicated by the mission priests, who came in procession from San Gabriel, attended by Indian neophytes and a guard of soldiers. To the twelve settlers, twelve building lots were given. These were laid out on three sides of the plaza, while the fourth was reserved for a church and public buildings. In 1786 the Governor sent Jose Arguello to formally renew the leases of houses, lots, and branding irons. At this time not one settler could sign his name. A small church was erected in 1784. It was but twenty three by fifty feet in size, and was served by the padres of San Gabriel. One of these, Padre Oumetz, was for thirty years a companion of Serra in his missionary labors. He died at San Gabriel in 1811. It was at least twenty years before Los Angeles ceased to be dependent on San Gabriel and to develop a small trade of its own. Outside the pueblo provisional grants of ranchos were soon made. The largest and best of all of these was known later as Los Nietos, and was given to the heirs of Manuel Nito by Figueroa, who divided it into tracts in 1834. The Dominguez rancho, given by Pages to Don Jose Dominguez, was regranted by Sola in 1822 to Sergeant Christobal Dominguez. La Zanja, the home of the Verdugos, the Encino and the Simi ranchos, Las Virgines, El Conejo Santa Ana, the Bartolo Tapia and Antonio Maria ranchos, were the homes of such families as the Picos and Ortegas, whose wealth and power contributed to the future glory of the pueblo near which they lived, while the Felix ran ch was actually within the pueblo bounds.

Settled largely by soldiers, Los Angeles came under military government and was slow to develop self governing local principles. It was ruled by commissionados, of whom Felix was the first, and by alcaldes. But local jurisdiction was limited, and cases went beyond the towns to be decided by military garrisons a hundred miles away. By 1810 the population was 365 and the crops in the fertile, well watered plain amazingly large. By 1820 the ninety one pobladores now occupying the town site were able to supply much produce to the presidios, while 56,600 vines were flourishing in the vineyards about San Gabriel.

In 1814 Padre Gil Taboada laid the cornerstone of a new church, but the site was changed and there was difficulty in raising the necessary funds; so the building was not completed until 1822. The builders were Indian neophytes, who were paid at the rate of one real 12 1/2 cts.) a day. The citizens contributed five hundred cattle, and the missions subscribed seven barrels of brandy, worth $575, wine, cattle, and mules. A new government building was added, and both this and the church were surrounded by houses of the aristocracy. Ignacio Coronel was one who at this time petitioned for a house lot near the "new" church. The first resident priest, Fray Geromino Boscana, took possession of his parish house in a town of six hundred souls. The church was enlarged in 1841, and reroofed in 1861. Education in Los Angeles began with a village school taught by Maxima Pina, who began his labors in 1790, receiving a salary of $140 a year. Coronel was a later teacher.

In 1822 California became a province of the Mexican Empire, the military office was abolished, the alcaldes were retained, a secretary and treasurer were added, and an elective body, the Ayuntanmiento, was established. Thus the government of Los Angeles went on about as it had gone under the rule of Spain. The Ayuntarniento was elected anually until 1839, and proved a most versatile body, constantly changing its political attitudes during the controversies of later years.

The mission fathers made little objection to this change of government, but when, in 1824, Mexico became a republic and Alta California its territory, they opposed themselves to the ruling powers. From this time on the Mexican Government pressed its plans of secularization until, in 1834, the ruin of the missions was complete, and that of the gentle Indians, whose rights they had hitherto guarded, was begun.

Durant Cilly, a visitor to Los Angeles in 1827, found a "city of gardens," and in 1830, a prosperous year of large crops, there were one thousand inhabitants who, by vessels landing at the port of San Pedro, engaged in a large trade in hides and tallow.

In 1818 the first American arrived in Los Angeles. He was followed by a succession of trappers and hunters. There was Captain Paty who, with a party of Kentucky trappers, visited the town and was baptized into the Catholic faith at San Diego, Don Pico acting as sponsor. Pryor's party settled in the pueblo, and built houses and planted vineyards. Next came sailors of the brig Danube, which went ashore off San Pedro on Christmas Eve, 1828. These were all hospitably welcomed in Los Angeles. Samuel Prentice of Connecticut came, and John Gronigen, the first German settler, planted his vineyard on the ground afterwards occupied by the Domingo block. A trade with Santa Fe sprang up, and Wolfskill, who came with a party of trappers in 1830, brought Mojave blankets, exchanging them for mules. In 1832-33 more Americans came from New Mexico. There were Paulding, Carpenter and Chard, Moses Carson, and later Benjamin Hayes, who was for eleven years district judge of Los Angeles, and, after 1847, more trappers and many sailors, who were willing to remain and plough land. Last of all came the American merchant, farmer, and speculator. By 1836, there were in Los Angeles forty six foreigners, of whom twenty one were Americans; also 553 Indians, the remaining 2228 inhabitants of the district being Mexicans and Spaniards, the latter of pure Castilian blood, with a generous and wise pride in a high descent, the aristocrats of the coast.

Slight attempts at ship building were made at San Pedro in 1831, Padre Sanchez of San Gabriel aiding Wolf skill, Pryor, Prentice, Fount, and Loughlin to build a schooner. In 1833, when Antonio Osio had charge of the port trade, Los Angeles shipped one hundred thousand hides and twenty five thousand centals of tallow, but the trade slackened after the secularization in 1834. The cattle of San Gabriel were all slaughtered, and by 1840 the mission live stock had disappeared. Padre Estenga in 1845 gave up the mission estates to the Government.

A strenuous and important period in the history of the town followed. From 1831 to 1840 the Angelenos held themselves largely responsible for the salvation of California, as they understood it; and Los Angeles became the centre of political agitation. The South was divided against the North, and often against itself, and many typical California battles, terrific in bluster and intent, but bloodless in reality, occurred near the old pueblo.

It was during the banishment of Jose Carrillo, with whom Vincente Sanchez, alcalde of Los Angeles, had quarrelled, that the trouble with Victoria, the Mexican Governor, came. Sanchez had been deposed by the Ayuntamiento, but was reinstated as alcalde by Victoria, who at the same time ordered the imprisonment of eight prominent citizens. An insurgent army defeated Victoria in a fight near Los Angeles, and the Governor, deserted by his army, surrendered to Echeandia December 4, 1831, and was allowed to depart the country. Sanchez was put in irons. One hundred citizens took part in this battle.

Los Angeles was made not only a city but the capital in 1835, and soon became the storm centre of the country. There may have been lack of zeal in providing necessary public buildings for the Government, but there was none at all in furnishing abundantly that quality of fiery zeal essential to Mexican revolutions. Governor Carrillo made the town his residence in 1838. Alvarado succeeded him when the plots and counterplots of the disputacions had sent Carrillo to the North.

Jose Figueroa made an able governor, but he died in 1835, and a period of conflict, during which Los Angeles, as the capital of the South, was arrayed against the North, followed. Alvarado, who had declared California a sovereign state, entered the town in 1837 and subdued the Mexican sympathizers. Two years later Alvarado divided Alta California into two districts, making Los Angeles the capital of the South, with Santiago Arguello as prefect.

Great efforts were at this time made to beautify the city, and there were gay scenes in these days in the old pueblo. The owners of the great ranches entertained largely, visiting from house to house, dressing gayly, and engaging in all sorts of equestrian sports. The men lived in their saddles; the women were the gayest and sweetest of hostesses, while they were yet domestic, and brought up large families easily in the free, open air life which the conditions of fined climate and rich soil made possible. When Micheltorena in 1842 made his capital in Los Angeles, the gayeties reached their height; he was received with enthusiasm by the Ayuntamiento; there were speeches, salutes, and illuminations; balls and sports alternated with juntas and revolutions. Yet Los Angeles was glad to be rid of Micheltorena when he removed to Monterey, and its citizens were foremost in a revolt against him in 1845, and fought him without the city in a battle where there was much cannonading and no bloodshed. Pio Pico was head of the Commission which met in Los Angeles and banished Micheltorena.

The city remained the capital of the department of the South, and Pio Pico was Governor while Jose Castro acted as General. Castro again went to the North and soon joined Carrillo against Pico in a new quarrel of North and South.

It was in 1846, when California was rent with the controversy between Castro, representing the military, and Pico, the civil power, and the March Assembly was in session at Los Angeles, that the approach of the forces of the United States, under Stockton and Fremont, forced the contending commanders to unite at Los Angeles in opposition to a common foe.

Abel Stearns, the confidential agent of the United States in the South, owned a warehouse in San Pedro. John Forster was made, in 1843, captain of the port; in 1845 Commodore Jones landed here to make his apologies to Micheltorena for his premature raising of the Stars and Stripes at Monterey. Here Micheltorena embarked for exile; and here, in 1846, Commodore Stockton disembarked with his sailors for the capture of Los Angeles, having already raised the American flag at Monterey. Refusing all the attempts at conciliation offered by Pico and Castro, Stockton united his forces with those of the California battalion under Fremont, who had landed at San Diego, entered Los Angeles, and raised the American flag at 4 P.M. of August 13, 1846.

Pico and Castro had left the city to escape the dishonor of surrender, and the frightened inhabitants had fled to the neighboring ranchos, but returned to their homes before night, attracted by the irresistible strains of a brass band, and assured that they would be left unharmed.

Stockton ordered the election of new alcaldes, and appointed Fremont military commander of the district. When both commanders returned to the North, Gillespie, with a garrison of fifty men, was left in charge of Los Angeles. He Weems to have interered with the amusements of the people, and to have made himself needlessly unpopular. A revolt was organized, and Flores, one of Castro's generals, appeared, with three hundred men at his back, and summoned the garrison to surrender. This Gillespie did, after bravely holding Fort Hill for a time. The Americans took ship from San Pedro on October 4th.

The reconquest of Los Angeles took place on January 18th. General Kearny, with Kit Carson as guide, had succeeded in joining Stockton at San Diego, and the united forces, after a two hours' engagement at San Gabriel and another brief skirmish without the city, entered Los Angeles, while the leaders of the revolt fled to Cahuenga, and surrendered to Fremont, who made generous terms of capitulation with Andres Pico, Flores, and Manuel. This clemency endeared him to the Californians. It became his boast that he could ride unharmed alone from one end of the conquered country to the other. Stockton made him Governor of Los Angeles while the controversy between Kearny and Stockton, as to which was the chief authority in the conduct of affairs in the new country, was in progress. Fremont chose to obey Stockton, with whom he had worked in unison during the Northern conquests and before the arrival of Kearny. Kearny was technically in the right in demanding the submission of Fremont, as the court martial of the latter (in Washington, at a later day) made evident; but under the circumstances of the quarrel of the two leaders at Los Angeles, Fremont's allegiance to Stockton seems to have been his only manly course.

This was an era in which Los Angeles grew from an easy going Spanish pueblo into a progressive American city. Nowhere have Americans stood more completely in the position of conquerors in a new land. Called upon to improvise hastily a government for a large body of strangers, these citizens showed, together with carelessness and over hastiness,and an indifference to the rights of strangers, both Indians and Spaniards, of which we cannot be proud, some of our best national traits. From the first, the pioneers were courageous and teachable, and succeeded, after many mistakes, in building up a permanent, well organized, and progressive municipality. General Fremont was undoubtedly most popular among the Spanish people. His youth enabled him to enter in a large degree into their sports; his clemency in pardoning Flores and the other generals of the rebellion won their applause.

It was from his gubernatorial residence, the old two story adobe at the corner of Aliso and Los Angeles Streets, that Fremont set forth with Jesus Pico and Jacob Dodson for his famous mustang ride to Monterey. The feat, with its object, to defend his position as Governor against Kearny, was such as to appeal to the imagination of the people of Los Angeles, both Mexican rancheros and American trappers and sailors. Over desert and mountain the three riders flew, leaving on the morning of March 22d and reaching Monterey, five hundred miles away, on the afternoon of the fourth day. The return was accomplished with equal speed, so that the trip of one thousand miles was made in a little over eight days. Fremont did great service in the Senate of the United States, where he pleaded for the land rights of Indian and Spanish residents, and in later years, when his influence aided in the exclusion of slavery from the new State of California. The town council was reestablished in 1847, Don Jose Salazar and Don Enrique Abila being alcaldès; but in 1848 Governor Mason dissolved the council and installed Stephen G. Foster as alcalde. A semi military rule was kept up under Colonel Stevenson until May, 1849, when a new ayuntamiento was established.

The cattle trade was at its best from 1850 to 1860, when in one year one hundred thousand hides at $15 apiece were shipped from San Pedro, but the business was injured by the drouth of 1863 and 1864. The town grew slowly, increasing in orchards and vineyards, its ranchos, many new ones having been granted by Pico in. 1846, sheltered in the bend of the Los Angeles River, which, by ancient decree, is, from the mountains down, the property of the city. In r851 Los Angeles grapes brought in San Francisco 20 cts. a pound; at the mines, $1. The city escaped the excitement of the gold fever, although the yellow metal was first discovered near Los Angeles in 1835. Among the noted Spanish families at the time of the conquest were the Lugos, the Sepulvedas, the Bandinis, the Estudillos, the Oliveros, the Picos, and the Coronels. Prominent among the pioneers of old Los Angeles were the Workmans, Temples, and Wolfskills, David W. Alexander, Colonel Couts, and Governor Downey, Judge J. R. Scott and Benjamin D. Wilson, Robert S. Baker and Hugo Reid. Hon. H. C. Foster, one of the. early mayors of Los Angeles, became a resident of the city in 1847. Governor Pio Pico, who had fled at the approach of Stockton to save the "honor" of Mexico, returned and became a conspicuous private citizen. He lived to a great age, duly performing his duty as a registered voter.

It was Don Antonio Coronel, dead but a decade, who most picturesquely and honorably represented to the new Los Angeles the old regime. He was of "courtly presence, ripe experience, high integrity, and great personal fascination," and was to his latest days "a quenchless patriot, white haired, clear eyed, and supple," the life of any circle he might be persuaded to adorn. His father, Don Ignacio Coronel, came to the town with the Hijar. Colony. He was a man of note and opened in 1839 a school, much needed, if the fact be true that there were then in the pueblo but fifty four men who could read and write. Antonio was in 1843 Visitador del Sud under the Mexican, and in 1853 Mayor of Los Angeles under the American, Government. He was a warm friend of Helen Hunt Jackson, who thoroughly identified herself with the interests of the older peoples of Los Angeles and its environs.

Up to 1852 the houses in Los Angeles were of adobe, the sun baked brick of the country, and these were comfortable indeed, cool in summer and warm in winter. It was in one of these ample residences, that of Colonel J. G. Nichols, that the Rev. J. W. Brier, of the M. E. Church, held the first regular Protestant service, and in another that the Rev. Dr. Wicks, a Presbyterian, opened the first English speaking school. These events were in 1850, so that church and school were ready to receive the first American child (Gregg Nichols, who was born in April, 1851).

The corner of Third and Main Streets blossomed into brick in 1852, in the new, proud, one story building, serving, in 1859, as the home of Captain Winfield S. Hancock, who was always exceedingly popular in Los Angeles. He revisited the city a few years before his death, and received an enthusiastic ovation.

In 1849 San Pedro had the first steamer, the old Gold Hunter, and by 1859 the Senator made three monthly trips. There was now a stage line to San Diego, and overland stages left for the East three times a week. Frequent freight trains passed between the city and Salt Lake, but it was not until the coming of the several railroads that Los Angeles attained its phenomenal growth and became the great city of the Southwest. Set richly between the sparkling waves of the Pacific and the jasper heights of the Sierra Madre Mountains, Los Angeles now rests in its fertile plains, a radiating jewel, its suburbs climbing the bases of its hills, its roads ascending canons, its sparkling beaches curving sharply inward from the sea. Its clustered cottages are surrounded with trees and flowers, which bloom throughout the year in inconceivable profusion. Its streets are lined with graceful pepper and eucalyptus trees, its palatial homes are set amid tropic foliage, its hills are crowned with public institutions. The southern portion of the city is level, but on the north and south are hills. Within the city limits, at a level of three hundred feet above the sea, may be found great variety of location, while seven public parks, soon to be united by boulevards, add to the beauty of the natural scenery. No wonder that in twenty years the population has grown from 11,000 to 103,000 - increased during the winter months by thousands of tourists, who are brought easily to the gates of this city of the sunset land. Its daring trolleys mount the great hills from rose garden to snowy height, its railroads, entering from east and north, bear the charmed traveller through sunny ranches of olive and walnut tree, through great vineyards and orange orchards; and to ships entering the harbor at San Pedro are revealed the beauties of flowerswept hills, which in their season flaunt their fields of yellow poppy toward the sea.

The saddest event in the history of modern Los Angeles was the land boom, which, after first enriching and then ruining many inhabitants, collapsed in 1889, leaving the town prostrate. The rise in values was so rapid that a corner lot costing in 1851 thirty dollars, and worth in 1860 $300 a front foot, increased by 1870 to $500 and by 1880 to $1,000 a front foot. In 1889 its sale was pushed to $2,500. Other lots worth in 1883 $20, brought in 1889 $800 a front foot. Lands outside the town, worth up to 1868 $1 an acre, brought, in 1887, $1,000.

The effects of this over expansion on the young, vigorous, richly dowered community were, however, but temporary; the city of the Angels arose from temporary defeat to enter at once upon an era of growth and prosperity unexampled in the history of cities, and all but magic in its extent.

A dozen lines of railroads centre in the city, whose trade extends from Fresno on the north to the easternmost limits of Arizona. Eighteen years ago the city adopted a successful scheme of electric lighting, and its trolley system is one of the best in the United States. For the last decade the building trades have been rapidly growing. Building permits to the value of $23,000,000 have been issued, and in 1900 alone $2,700,000 was invested in new buildings.

The city has 200 miles of paved streets, 330 miles of sidewalks, and 160 miles of sewers; but its complete and perfect system of irrigation is one of its greatest beauties. The "Zanjero" has from its earliest years been an important municipal functionary, and the flowing of well kept channels of fine water, in sparkling zanjos along the sides of the principal streets, adds to the beauty of roads and grounds, while through a system of new and beautiful parks the visitor can obtain some of the finest views in the world by simply driving about the city.

If the traveller seek the suburbs he will drive for mile after mile through groves of orange and lemon, fig, peach, pear, and apricot orchards; he will see on one side of the town great sweeps of almond and walnut trees; on another, ranches planted in vineyard and olive. There are, perhaps, three million fruit trees growing in the district, half of which are in full bearing. The land bears, too, great crops of alfalfa, which in fertile places is cut from three to six times a year. Oranges, of course, are the chief export; but there are, besides, wine, brandy, wheat and barley, sugar cane, and all varieties of fresh vegetables. If the tenderfoot hear that Los Angeles corn grows sometimes to a height of twenty feet, that pumpkins weighing four hundred pounds have been raised, or even that holes from which beets have been pulled are of a size sufficient for fence posts, he need not doubt. There are three large beet sugar factories, and in the county $100,000 worth of olives, and more than that of honey, are annually produced.

The population of the city is cosmopolitan, as may be known from the fact that, in addition to the exceptionally good English papers of the city, organs in German, French, Spanish, Italian, Basque, and Chinese are issued. A large number of Chinese, several thousand, are engaged in raising vegetables or in domestic labor of the several kinds. As in all California towns, they have a residence section of their own, and are quiet, orderly, reliable, and useful.

Los Angeles is a city of churches, and its philanthropies are many; its educational advantages are remarkably good. At the head of a noticeably complete system of training stands the University of Southern California, which opened its doors in 1880, with Dr. Bovard as President. Its College of Medicine is a well equipped institution, and its progress is identified with the name of Dr. J. P. Widney. An exceptionally fine normal school completes the training given by the public school system, with its high schools and fifty five grammar schools, all housed in buildings which might be the pride of any community. The buildings which house its free library system, its City Hall, and its County Court House, are well conceived for their several purposes, and architecturally of great beauty.

But Los Angeles is above all a city of homes and of gardens. The mildness of the climate permits the most delicate plants and trees to flourish throughout the winter. Giant bananas, fan and date palms rise above the houses, and at Christmas are seen hedges of callas, geraniums ten feet high, heliotropes covering whole sides of houses, and such wealth of roses and orange blossoms as baffles description.

A feature of Los Angeles is its beautiful sea beaches. Easily accessible by trolley and by rail, Santa Monica, Redondo, Lpng Beach, and San Pedro provide unsurpassed facilities to the citizens, and the island of Santa Catalina, twenty miles off the coast, is even more attractive - a seashore resort where bathing is a comfortable pastime every day in the year, and where fishermen find delights unending.

The construction of the Government breakwater at San Pedro is a great commercial enterprise and will be of certain benefit to the city, which will thus gain a larger share of the increasing trade with the Orient. Three million dollars have been appropriated for deepening the water over the bar, so that large vessels may come to the wharf. Dry docks and fortifications are to follow; and a new railway, with its terminal at San Pedro, will connect Los Angeles with Salt Lake City, and open to trade a new and rich section of country in southern Nevada and in Utah.

Historic towns of the Western States

Return to History at Rays Place