Sunday, July 24, 2011

This Sunday July 24th Find Out How Los Angeles Invented the Wild West (and why no one knows it!)


TODAY - Sunday July 24th - at 11 AM and at 2:30 PM
Discover) where the West really started - Downtown Los Angeles!


To celebrate this  National Day of the American Cowboy, THE LAST BOOKSTORES’s Tours of Historic Downtown LA presents its latest guided walking tour - “How Los Angeles Invented the Wild West (and why no one knows it!)”  on Sunday July 24th from 11 AM - 1:30 PM and from 2:30 PM until 5 PM.  Call 213-804-8396 for more information or reservations.  And still only $15 per person.

WILD WEST TOURS
This Sunday July 24th you will find out that long before the famed Western cowtowns and mining camps Tombstone, Dodge City, and Deadwood existed, Los Angeles was the first town where all the trappings of the Wild West were created.   You will also discover LA was a far ‘wilder’ town than any Western town that followed after it. Tours, led by Brady Westwater, will begin at the 10,000  square foot THE LAST BOOKSTONE - 453 S. Spring Street - and the Western Tour will run from 2:30 PM - 5 PM Saturday July 23rd and on Sunday July 24th from 11 AM until 1:30 PM and then also from 2:30 PM until 5 PM.  Call 213-804-8396 for reservations.

Description of what WILD WEST TOUR will cover.
Besides ‘inventing’ the original Wild West, Los Angeles also remained part of the Wild West for far longer than other place (from 25 years to over 90 years - depending upon the definition of the term - compared to the average period of 3 or 4 years to 10 years of other towns) and LA was also one of the few towns built upon both cattle and mining.

It started in the 1820’s when Los Angeles (founded in 1781) became the end of the Old Spanish Trail and the Western end of the Sant√© Fe Trail.  During that time LA was regularly visited by many of the early West’s leading mountain Men and fur trappers and a number of these early pioneers ended up settling down in Los Angeles.  Los Angeles was also home to the first Western gold rush in 1843 - five years before gold was discovered by John Marshall (who also spent time in Los Angeles) at Sutter’s Mill.

As the largest city in California, Los Angeles was also involved in multiple revolutions and insurrections during both the Spanish and Mexican eras and the exporting of hides from San Pedro starting in the 1820’s made LA the first major cowtown west of the Rockies.  And after the Gold Rush started, Los Angeles rancho owners made cattle drives to Northern California gold camps, a full fifteen years before the first cattle drives left Texas.

The money from those cattle started Los Angeles’s first boom and immediately made LA a magnet for gamblers, bandits and get rich quick artists.   And many of them were the most hardened criminals who were run out of the gold camps by vigilantes.

That’s possibly why when one historian states that from 1870 to 1885, the five Kansas cowtowns of Abilene, Caldwell, Dodge City, Ellsworth and Wichita had a total of 45 homicides during fifteen years, about of three per year per town - in contrast, Los Angeles, when it’s Wild West days were just getting started in 1850, had 31 homicides in a one year - more than all five major Kansas cowtowns had - combined - over 15 years.  

And on a per capita basis LA’s murder comes to 1,240 homicides per 100,000 while the national rate even in the lawless 1990’s was… 9 per 100,000.

So LA didn’t just have the highest murder rate in the old West doing the 1850’s - frontier Los Angeles had the highest homicide rate in all of American history.  And even those statistics were likely surpassed in the middle and late 1850’s when it was commonly said - and only partly in jest - that LA had close to a murder a day every day of the year.

So LA’s secret Wild West history isn't just that LA was the wildest town in the history of the Wild West - - but that LA was single-handedly practically as wild as the entire rest of the West put together.

But that is the only the start.   Besides murders, frontier Los Angeles was also home to stage robberies, multiple vigilante or rangers organizations (the first one in 1836), far grander saloons and gambling halls than any other cowtown, countless posses that regularly rode over multiple counties, jail breaks, lynchings (including one led by the Mayor),  far more gun fights than any other Western town, some of largest man hunts in Western history, bandit gangs that dwarfed those that terrorized other cowtowns, a 10 year two family blood feud that began with two murders and ended up in the ‘Shootout at the Bella Union Hotel’ and more sheriffs, marshals, deputies and police officers who lost their lives in the line of duty than in any other town, including one marshal who was killed his own deputy. 

And almost all of this happened 10 years before Dodge City existed, 15 years before Deadwood was founded and 20 years before Tombstone dug its first mine. 

But  even during the comparatively quiet  1870’s - after its peak years - when the rest of the West was just… beginning its heyday… this ‘quieter’   and the always entertaining  stage robberies of Dick Fellows.  And LA’s Wild West history continued on until  continued on with a final train robbery in the 1890’s in the San Fernando Valley in the 1890’s  and Wyatt Earp being hired for special assignments by the LAPD in the 1900’s and 1910s.

This makes LA the only place in the West with an uninterrupted Wild West history that ran uninterrupted for almost  100 years - from Jedediah Smith, Kit Carson and Peg Leg Smith in the mid-to late 1820's to Wyatt Earp in the late  1910’s.

That’s why it’s not surprising many famous characters of the Old West began their careers in Los Angeles. Wyatt Earp worked here as a teamster or stage driver when he was in his teens, Judge Roy Bean - later to be famed as the law West of the Pecos (and played by Paul Newman) - was head of the Los Angeles Rangers in LA before there was even anything West of the Pecos, the lost Dutchman of the Lost Dutchman mine began his mining career here, Outlaw Belle Starr's outlaw son was born here and Kit Carson and Jon C. Fremont both visited here several times before fighting here during the Mexican War.

And that’s only the start of how LA invented the Wild West. 

Because after rest of the West died down elsewhere, many of the leading characters of the era moved - or returned to -  LA from the  1880’s to the 1920’s, which is one reason why much of early Downtown was built by mining and cattle money.   Many of them then also helped reinvent the Wild West in one more way.  But this time in was for the Hollywood Western films that told the all stories of all the now famous Cowtowns and Mining camps of the Wild West - all of them with just one exception.

Los Angeles.  The place where the Wild West started - and where it ended.

And if you want to find out reason why that happened and why no one knows about this secret history of Los Angeles - or many of the other of many secret histories of Los Angeles - that will all be explained on this weekend’s tours.  

And, again, for reservations or more information - call 213-804-8396.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

How Los Angeles Invented the Wild West (and why no one knows it!) TWO MORE TOURS ADDED THIS WEEKEND!



Celebrate the National Day of the American Cowboy this Saturday (and Sunday) where the West really started - Downtown Los Angeles!

To celebrate this Saturday’s National Day of the American Cowboy, THE LAST BOOKSTORES’s Tours of Historic Downtown LA presents its latest guided walking tour - “How Los Angeles Invented the Wild West (and why no one knows it!)”  on both this Saturday afternoon, July 23rd  from 2:30 - 5 PM, and on Sunday July 24th from 11 AM - 1:30 PM and from 2:30 PM until 5 PM.  Call 213-804-8396 for more information or reservations.  And still only $15 per person.

WILD WEST TOURS

This Saturday and Sunday, you will find out that long before the famed Western cowtowns and mining camps Tombstone, Dodge City, and Deadwood existed, Los Angeles was the first town where all the trappings of the Wild West were created.   You will also discover LA was a far ‘wilder’ town than any Western town that followed after it. Tours, led by Brady Westwater, will begin at the 10,000  square foot THE LAST BOOKSTONE - 453 S. Spring Street - and the Western Tour will run from 2:30 PM - 5 PM Saturday July 23rd and on Sunday July 24th from 11 AM until 1:30 PM and then also from 2:30 PM until 5 PM.  Call 213-804-8396 for reservations.

Description of what WILD WEST TOUR will cover.
Besides ‘inventing’ the original Wild West, Los Angeles also remained part of the Wild West for far longer than other place (from 25 years to over 90 years - depending upon the definition of the term - compared to the average period of 3 or 4 years to 10 years of other towns) and LA was also one of the few towns built upon both cattle and mining.

It started in the 1820’s when Los Angeles (founded in 1781) became the end of the Old Spanish Trail and the Western end of the Sant√© Fe Trail.  During that time LA was regularly visited by many of the early West’s leading mountain Men and fur trappers and a number of these early pioneers ended up settling down in Los Angeles.  Los Angeles was also home to the first Western gold rush in 1843 - five years before gold was discovered by John Marshall (who also spent time in Los Angeles) at Sutter’s Mill.

As the largest city in California, Los Angeles was also involved in multiple revolutions and insurrections during both the Spanish and Mexican eras and the exporting of hides from San Pedro starting in the 1820’s made LA the first major cowtown west of the Rockies.  And after the Gold Rush started, Los Angeles rancho owners made cattle drives to Northern California gold camps, a full fifteen years before the first cattle drives left Texas.

The money from those cattle started Los Angeles’s first boom and immediately made LA a magnet for gamblers, bandits and get rich quick artists.   And many of them were the most hardened criminals who were run out of the gold camps by vigilantes.

That’s possibly why when one historian states that from 1870 to 1885, the five Kansas cowtowns of Abilene, Caldwell, Dodge City, Ellsworth and Wichita had a total of 45 homicides during fifteen years, about of three per year per town - in contrast, Los Angeles, when it’s Wild West days were just getting started in 1850, had 31 homicides in a one year - more than all five major Kansas cowtowns had - combined - over 15 years.  

And on a per capita basis LA’s murder comes to 1,240 homicides per 100,000 while the national rate even in the lawless 1990’s was… 9 per 100,000.

So LA didn’t just have the highest murder rate in the old West doing the 1850’s - frontier Los Angeles had the highest homicide rate in all of American history.  And even those statistics were likely surpassed in the middle and late 1850’s when it was commonly said - and only partly in jest - that LA had close to a murder a day every day of the year.

So LA’s secret Wild West history isn't just that LA was the wildest town in the history of the Wild West - - but that LA was single-handedly practically as wild as the entire rest of the West put together.

But that is the only the start.   Besides murders, frontier Los Angeles was also home to stage robberies, multiple vigilante or rangers organizations (the first one in 1836), far grander saloons and gambling halls than any other cowtown, countless posses that regularly rode over multiple counties, jail breaks, lynchings (including one led by the Mayor),  far more gun fights than any other Western town, some of largest man hunts in Western history, bandit gangs that dwarfed those that terrorized other cowtowns, a 10 year two family blood feud that began with two murders and ended up in the ‘Shootout at the Bella Union Hotel’ and more sheriffs, marshals, deputies and police officers who lost their lives in the line of duty than in any other town, including one marshal who was killed his own deputy. 

And almost all of this happened 10 years before Dodge City existed, 15 years before Deadwood was founded and 20 years before Tombstone dug its first mine. 

But  even during the comparatively quiet  1870’s - after its peak years - when the rest of the West was just… beginning its heyday… this ‘quieter’   and the always entertaining  stage robberies of Dick Fellows.  And LA’s Wild West history continued on until  continued on with a final train robbery in the 1890’s in the San Fernando Valley in the 1890’s  and Wyatt Earp being hired for special assignments by the LAPD in the 1900’s and 1910s.

This makes LA the only place in the West with an uninterrupted Wild West history that ran uninterrupted for almost  100 years - from Jedediah Smith, Kit Carson and Peg Leg Smith in the mid-to late 1820's to Wyatt Earp in the late  1910’s.

That’s why it’s not surprising many famous characters of the Old West began their careers in Los Angeles. Wyatt Earp worked here as a teamster or stage driver when he was in his teens, Judge Roy Bean - later to be famed as the law West of the Pecos (and played by Paul Newman) - was head of the Los Angeles Rangers in LA before there was even anything West of the Pecos, the lost Dutchman of the Lost Dutchman mine began his mining career here, Outlaw Belle Starr's outlaw son was born here and Kit Carson and Jon C. Fremont both visited here several times before fighting here during the Mexican War.

And that’s only the start of how LA invented the Wild West. 

Because after rest of the West died down elsewhere, many of the leading characters of the era moved - or returned to -  LA from the  1880’s to the 1920’s, which is one reason why much of early Downtown was built by mining and cattle money.   Many of them then also helped reinvent the Wild West in one more way.  But this time in was for the Hollywood Western films that told the all stories of all the now famous Cowtowns and Mining camps of the Wild West - all of them with just one exception.

Los Angeles.  The place where the Wild West started - and where it ended.

And if you want to find out reason why that happened and why no one knows about this secret history of Los Angeles - or many of the other of many secret histories of Los Angeles - that will all be explained on this weekend’s tours.  

And, again, for reservations or more information - call 213-804-8396.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Escape Carmageddon! Take a Historic Downtown Los Angeles Walking Tour! Our Sunday July 17th Tour - 'How Los Angeles Invented the Wild West!


Escape Carmageddon by fleeing east by car - or bike or take the subway Downtown for our Sunday July 17th walking tour from 11 AM - 1:30 PM.

The Last Bookstore's newest tour - 'How Los Angeles Invented The Wild West - will premiere this Sunday, July 17th, the weekend before next Saturday's  'National Day of the American Cowboy festivities.  This tour will then be repeated on both Saturday July 23rd and Sunday July 24th if you miss this special preview.
Our newest tour will feature the hidden Western history of Los Angeles and it will uncover LA's secret origins as the toughest cow town in the history of the Wild West long before the Wild West existed anywhere else - and long before Los Angeles invented the Western film.  

Learn what Wyatt Earp, Judge Roy Bean  (all the law West of the Pecos), Peg Leg Smith, Belle Star, Peg Leg Smith, the Dutchman of the Los Dutchman Mine, the Dalton Brothers, Liver-Eating Johnson, Death Valley Scotty and many, many other were all doing in Los Angeles.

And usual, this new walking tour will start at THE LAST BOOKSTORE at 453 S. Spring Street, at the corner of 5th Spring and each tour is still only $15 and you can reserve in advance by calling 213-804-8396.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Escape Carmageddon! Take one of THREE different Historic Downtown Los Angeles Walking Tours! Saturday July 16th and Sunday July 17th!

Escape Carmageddon by fleeing east by car and checking into a hotel Downtown hotel for the weekend - or bike or take the subway Downtown for one of our three different walking tours Saturday July 16th or Sunday, July 17th from 11 AM until 1:30 PM.

The Last Bookstore's newest tour - How Los Angeles Invented The Wild West - will premiere this Sunday, July 17th, the weekend before next Saturday's  'National Day of the American Cowboy festivities.  This tour will then be repeated on both Saturday July 23rd and Sunday July 24th if you miss this special preview.

Our newest tour will feature the hidden Western history of Los Angeles and it will uncover LA's secret origins as the toughest cow town in the history of the Wild West long before it invented the Western film.  It will also illustrate how parts of that culture still remain alive today.

And usual, this new walking tour will start at THE LAST BOOKSTORE at 453 S. Spring Street, at the corner of 5th Spring and each tour is still only $15 and you can reserve in advance by calling 213-804-8396

Next, this Saturday's (July 16th) event will be our popular Historic Downtown 101 Tour - see description below. 

And - by special request - one can also arrange for a tour of Main Street from Historic Downtown to the Plaza and back on Spring Street on either Saturday or Sunday afternoon  starting at 2:30 by calling and requesting a reservation.  This tour will focus on how LA & Downtown developed in the 19th and 20th centuries - and how it is now developing in the 21st Century.
And, again, each tour is only $15 and you can reserve in advance for all the tours by calling 213-804-8396

The Last Bookstore Presents….
  
The Secret Lives of Downtown

A series of guided walking tours of Historic Downtown Los Angeles’s secret past, its present - and its future.

The “Historic Downtown 101” tour is a general introduction to our rapidly developing neighborhood and an overview of the multiple histories of the streets of Broadway, Spring and Main.  All tours begin at THE LAST BOOKSTORE at 453 S. Spring Street in the Spring Arts Tower and will be led by long time Downtown resident Brady Westwater who, besides being involved with the Downtown LA Neighborhood Council, the Historic Downtown BID, Gallery Row, Art Walk, and the BOXeight & CONCEPT Fashion Weeks, has brought over 150 businesses, artists and non-profit institutions to Downtown.

If you are a participant, you will see where first motion picture theater was built,  the place where Babe Ruth signed his contract with the Yankees, the hotel where Charlie Chaplin lived when he made his early films (and the place where he made his Los Angeles vaudeville debut in 1910), where Bing Crosby was discovered - plus the homes and haunts of everyone from actor Nicholas Cage, the Black Dahlia, Rudolph Valentino, LA’s version of Jack the Ripper, President Teddy Roosevelt, the Night Stalker, western outlaw Emmet Dalton,  actor Ryan Gosling and more.  And you will also visit where O. J. Simpson bought his knife.

You’ll explore an intersection where all four buildings were often visited by gunfighter/sheriff Wyatt Earp since they were all built or occupied by friends of his from Tombstone during the shoot-out at the OK Corral.  At this intersection you will also discover what John Wayne, a prime minister of Italy, Houdini, Winston Churchill, boxer Jack Dempsey, Greta Garbo, President Woodrow Wilson and multiple Mexican boxing champions all had in common here.

You will also see where the first new lofts were opened, the places where Gallery Row and the Art Walk began and where Fashion Week returned to Downtown.  You will see many of the new boutiques, designer showrooms and stores that have recently opened in the area along with getting a sneak preview of what will soon be happening in the area.

Tickets for all this are only $15 per person - free for children under 8 - and reservations can be made by calling Brady Westwater at 213-804-8396 or emailing bradywestwater@gmail.com.  All credit card orders will be processed  at Last Bookstore and cash payments may be made at the start of the tour.   All proceeds will go towards the revitalization and the study of the history of the neighborhood.  

Lastly, future tours will feature specialized areas of interest such as architecture, art of all kinds, shopping and food, single streets, sports (from steer wrestling to Luchador wrestlers to a Sumo wrestler), transportation, specific periods of history, the hidden Wild West history of Los Angeles, movie locations, Downtown after hours and many other aspects of the neighborhood.  

We will also be soon starting weekday & evening tours on what it's like to live in Downtown Los Angeles. You will be introduced to the many of stores, restaurants, bars, and entertainment venues (and often their owners, too) - along with being given previews of one of a kind special events - so you can get a feel for what it is like to live in Downtown Los Angeles.

We expect this tour to be popular with not only people considering moving to Downtown and people who work in Downtown and who would like to know what to do after hours in Downtown - but also to recent and even long established Downtown residents who want to know more about their neighborhood.

For future updates and more information go to www.historicdowntownlosangeles.blogspot.com

Saturday, July 02, 2011

THREE Cool Historic Things to do in Historic Downtown Los Angeles this 4th of July Weekend

First, of course, is The Last Bookstore's 11 AM to 1:30 PM walking tour of the secret histories of Historic Downtown Los Angeles Sunday, July 3rd.  Two and one-half hours of stories - and rare historic photographs - about the past, present and future of Historic Downtown for only $15!  All tours start at The Last Bookstore in the Spring Arts Tower 453 S. Spring at its 5th St. door. Call 213-804-8396 or just show up.

You can also call for a special 4th of July tour day/or  night - hours of your choosing and the bookstore will be open until 11 PM Saturday, 5 PM on Sunday and on the 4th, it will close early at 6 PM.
(photo courtsey of brighamyen.com)
And among the hidden in plain view secrets on these tours - is not just the oldest flagpole in LA - but the very first flagpole ever put in front of any commercial  building  in Los Angeles - clear back in the 1860's.
For more details of the tours go to:
http://historicdowntownlosangeles.blogspot.com/2011/06/this-weekends-tours-of-secret-lives-of.html

Above is a photo of the Bradbury Building which we will be visiting. You can see other photos of this building on this great a great LA-centric photo  blog:
http://laplaces.blogspot.com/2009/05/bradbury-building.html

SECOND, if you have not yet been to... LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes (aka - LA PLAZA)...  a just opened museum about the stories of Mexican American in Los Angeles - shame on you!

But your oversight is, unfortunately, totally understandable as this superb museum has so far gotten shamefully little press.  However, the good news on this 4th of July weekend is that your procrastination will pay off for since admission tickets are $2 off.  The museum is located at 501 N. Main Street - across from the Plaza and Olvera Street) in two historic old buildings, the 1883 Plaza House and the 1888 Vickry-Brunswig Building.
(photos courtesy of blogdowntown,  walknride LA and DiscoverLA)

The museum will be open from noon to 7 PM both Sunday and Monday, but you must enter by 6 PM to be admitted and it is better to allow two full hours to fully see everything

THIRD, and speaking of saving money, METROPOLIS BOOKS, also on Main Street between 4th and 5th, has a July sale with 20% off all new books - and a full 50% off of all used books!  They are located at 440 S. Main Street.  Their phone number is 213-612-0174 and their web address is http://www.metropolisbooksla.com/

Metropolis Books is Downtown's only general interest new book store and it always has a superb collection of new books on Los Angeles and Downtown in particular.

So come this Saturday July 2nd and visit all three places - or on Sunday July 3rd plus onMonday the 4th, you can call and ask for a special tour of Historic Downtown on Monday after which (or even before) you can also see the... LA PLAZA.

Metropolis Books Has Big July Summer Sale!

Metropolis Books is Downtown's only general interest new book store and it always has a superb collection of new books on Los Angeles and Downtown in particular.

Don't miss this one of a kind sale!

440 S. Main Street
LA  CA 90013
213-612-0174
www.MetropolisBooksLA.com



METROPOLIS BOOKS
JULY CLEARANCE SALE!

20% OFF NEW BOOKS

50% OFF ALL USED BOOKS