Thursday, March 29, 2012

Discover the Secret Lives of Historic Downtown Los Angeles on this Weekend's FOUR Walking Tours!


The Last Bookstore Presents….

  
The Secret Lives of Historic Downtown Los Angeles


This Saturday April 14th, we will have the HISTORIC DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES 101  walking tour at 11 AM and 2 PM - as well as on Saturday April 22nd also at 11 AM and 2 PM. And this Sunday April 15th and next Sunday April 22nd,  at both 11 AM and 2 PM we will have the HOW DOWNTOWN LOS ANGLES INVENTED THE WILD WEST (and why no one knows it) walking tour.


BRADBURY BUILDING
For the next two weekends - see below for days and times) will be two DIFFERENT guided walking tours of Historic Downtown Los Angeles’ secret past, its present - and its future.

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 and the CONCEPT Fashion Weeks, has brought over 150 businesses, artists and non-profit institutions to Downtown.

Tickets are still available for Saturday April 14th  at 11 AM and 2 PM and Saturday April 21st  at 11AM and 2 PM  for the “Historic Downtown Los Angeles 101” tour that  will be a general introduction to our rapidly developing neighborhood and an overview of the multiple histories of the streets of Broadway, Spring and Main.

Tickets are also still available for the secret LA history as the wildest town in the Wild West in the  "How Downtown Los Angeles Invented The Wild West (and why no one knows it)" tours at 11 AM and 2 PM on both Sunday April 15th and Sunday April 22nd at both 11 AM and at  2 PM.

Wyatt Earp

If you are a participant in Saturday's 'Historic Downtown Los Angeles 101' Tour, you will see the first motion picture theater 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) - 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.

And if you take the "How Los Angeles Invented The Wild West (and why no one knows it" tour this Sunday April 1st at 11 AM and then again at 2 PM - or the the Sunday April 8th tours also at 11 AM and 2 PM, you will discover that long before the famed Western cowtowns and mining camps Tombstone, Dodge City, and Deadwood existed, Los Angeles was the first town where everything that happened in the Wild West, happened here first and that everyone from Wyatt Earp to Judge Roy Bean came to Los Angeles first before going east to help start the Wild West. You will also discover LA was a far ‘wilder’ town than any Western town that followed after it.

And 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 - compared to the average period of 3 or 4 years to 10 years of most cowtowns) and LA was also one of the few towns built upon both cattle and mining.

Tickets for either tour 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.  And custom designed can be developed - by request

The Last Bookstore Presents….

  
The Secret Lives of Historic Downtown Los Angeles


This Saturday March 31st, we will have the HISTORIC DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES 101  walking tour at 11 AM and 2 PM - as well as on Sunday April 7th also at 11 AM and 2 PM. And this Sunday April 1st and next Sunday April 8th,  at both 11 AM and 2 PM we will have the HOW DOWNTOWN LOS ANGLES INVENTED THE WILD WEST (and why no one knows it) walking tour.


BRADBURY BUILDING
For the next two weekends - see below for days and times) will be two DIFFERENT guided walking tours of Historic Downtown Los Angeles’ secret past, its present - and its future.

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 and the CONCEPT Fashion Weeks, has brought over 150 businesses, artists and non-profit institutions to Downtown.

Tickets are still available for Saturday March 31st  at 11 AM and 2 PM and Saturday April 7th  at 11AM and 2 PM  for the “Historic Downtown Los Angeles 101” tour that  will be a general introduction to our rapidly developing neighborhood and an overview of the multiple histories of the streets of Broadway, Spring and Main.

Tickets are also still available for the secret LA history as the wildest town in the Wild West in the  "How Downtown Los Angeles Invented The Wild West (and why no one knows it)" tours at 11 AM and 2 PM on both Sunday April 1st and Sunday April 8th at both 11 AM and at  2 PM.

Wyatt Earp

If you are a participant in Saturday's 'Historic Downtown Los Angeles 101' Tour, you will see the first motion picture theater 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) - 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.

And if you take the "How Los Angeles Invented The Wild West (and why no one knows it" tour this Sunday April 1st at 11 AM and then again at 2 PM - or the the Sunday April 8th tours also at 11 AM and 2 PM, you will discover that long before the famed Western cowtowns and mining camps Tombstone, Dodge City, and Deadwood existed, Los Angeles was the first town where everything that happened in the Wild West, happened here first and that everyone from Wyatt Earp to Judge Roy Bean came to Los Angeles first before going east to help start the Wild West. You will also discover LA was a far ‘wilder’ town than any Western town that followed after it.

And 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 - compared to the average period of 3 or 4 years to 10 years of most cowtowns) and LA was also one of the few towns built upon both cattle and mining.

Tickets for either tour 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.  And custom designed can be developed - by request  for groups of four or more.

We will also be soon starting weekday and 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

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Good News For My Father's 89th Birthday!

Shortly after my family celebrated Christmas, my father was in the middle of a standard medical check-up when he was suddenly rushed into emergency surgery.  They quickly fixed that simple structural problem, but also uncovered another problem with the operation of his heart.  And that was the first serious health problem he had faced in his then 88 years.

After a number of tests, they finally proposed a series of operations to first understand and then solve the problem and the odds they gave him were not favorable.  But to their surprise - after the final operation - the problem had totally vanished - as if it had never been there.  And by his 89th birthday yesterday - he has now recovered every bit of the strength and energy he had before the problem developed.

Even better news, though, is that everything else about his health is doing so well, there is no reason why he will not have another ten years of perfect health before anything else might need a little tinkering with.  And for those who of you do not know him, here is what I wrote about my Dad back when he was still a relative youngster.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Is This the ONLY Photo of the First Fort (1846?) on Fort Moore Hill? Find Out More on THIS Weekend's FOUR Tours of Historic Downtown Los Angeles


See the actual photo yourself on this weekend's - or next weekend's - Walking Tours of Historic Downtown Los Angeles.  But until then - here is the photo and below that - is what is written on the back of the photo:
Now assuming you can enlarge this by dragging the image onto your screen and opening it up - you will see two figures in Victorian clothing just to the right of the weed overgrown dirt mounds in the middle of the picture.  And just below this - is what is written on the back of this photograph:
Breastworks used by Gen Fremont in the early history of Los Angeles situated 12 miles from the city.  (that is followed by what appears to be the writer's initials - possibly starting with a 'J' which I can not further make out)

There are two main questions here.  First - is there any truth to the inscription on the back?  Were these breastworks every used by Fremont - or by anyone - during the Mexican-American War?  And, if so - were they on Fort Moore Hill, overlooking the Plaza area, despite the statement they were 12 miles from the city?

To first address the Fremont question, by not saying that they were built by Fremont, but merely that they had been used by Fremont - that corresponds with the fact that Fremont does not appear to have built any breastworks himself during any of the battles near Los Angeles.

The only battle of any kind in the LA area outside of the pueblo itself during 1846 was the 'Skirmish of the Old Woman's Cannon' north of San Pedro and the two 'major' LA area battles were the 'Battle of  San Gabriel' on January 8th, 1847 and the 'Battle of La Mesa' on January 9th, 1847. And Fremont was not present at any of them, nor would he have had a reason to make any use of anything which might have been built at any of those places.  Additionally neither the terrain nor the lay out of any of those engagements  - and particularly the short  time frame of those battles... appears.... to match  what is seen in the photograph.

Lastly, the signing by General Fremont and Andres Pico of the Cahuenga Capitulation Treaty on January 13, 1847 involved no hostilities of any kind - and no fortifications of any kind were needed or built.

That appears to limit any possible breastworks to Fort More Hill, assuming there is any truth at all to the inscription.  And if the writer meant to say 1/2 miles and just left out the slash line - that would be an accurate description of the site.  Either way, though, no matter what the writer's intentions were regarding the distance, it appears that if this photograph was taken in LA and if the fortification was part of the Mexican-American War - then the photograph must have been taken on Fort Moore Hill.

As for when this installation might have been first built, there are three possible options and one very unlikely option.

Option Number One - These breastworks were constructed (likely by Captain Archibald H. Gillespie USMC) soon after the peaceful occupation of Los Angeles on August 13, 1846 under the command of Commodore Stockton and the then still Col. Fremont.  Some accounts claim some fortifications were built at exactly that time, but I have not seen any first hand sources that confirm that.

Option Number Two - Either those first breastworks were reinforced (assuming they existed) or a totally new set of defenses were built when Gillespie's martinet-like ways angered the citizens of the town, causing them to revolt on September 11th, 1846.  That revolt forced him to retreat with this fifty men to the Hill where he either built a barricade of earth filled sacks or reinforced what had already been built there.

Now this last option seems the most likely to me; that these earthworks were built to deal with a temporary and very dangerous situation since any real long term fort would not be built upon a sloping hillside.`Plus the attackers would be oat a disadvantage by having to attack from an slope with no cover. That would also explain why this site had not been more photographed and publicized as compared to the  far larger and more longer used site at the top of Fort Moore Hill.

Option Number Three - After Los Angels was again peacefully reoccupied on January 10th, 1847,  on January 11th Lt. William H. Emory was ordered by Stockton to design and build a fort to secure the city and he started construction on the 12th.  On January 20th, though, work stopped

Option Number Four - The Mormon Battalion arrived on March 17th under the command Col. Phillip St. George Cooke and he broke ground the new new fort - what became Fort Moore - on April 23rd and it was dedicated on July 4th, 1847.  And while it has been speculated that is was built on the same site as the 'Emory' Fort - and possibly even one or both of the Gillespie 'forts' - none of that has ever been proved and I feel fairly confident that if this photo is of Fort Moore Hill - then it does not show the final spot where Fort Moore was built.

And for the best history of this area in that time - here is an excellent site on the history of Fort Moore.

Now - what can be done next to see if this is a photo of Fort Moore Hill?

1.  Does any one know of any photos of that hill taken in the 1850's, 1860's or 1870's that might at least identify the ridge line at the top of the photo?  Even better yet - is there any photo which also shows these breastworks, if that is indeed what they are?

2.  Are their any diaries or letters that might shed further light on what was built on that hill in the 1840's?

3.  What early surveys and topographical maps exist that could confirm either the ridge line - or maybe even the earthed features shown in the photo?

4.  A better reproduction and enlargement of the photo should enable someone to identify the types of grasses and the shrubs that are in the photo to see if they are typical of the area.  And I might add - photos only a few years part show some hills in this area covered with just grasses while others just a short distance away or a few years later show very different types of vegetation.

5.  Once the photo has been properly enlarged, the clothing on the two figures should be able to be identified as to era and their heights should be able to help establish the approximate height, with and length of the earthworks.

6.  An expert in photography might be able to look at the paper of the original photo and determine when it was printed taken.

7.  I believe I got this from the old Culver archive - since the bar code appears to be one of theirs.  So can anyone tell if the handwriting looks as if it belongs to one of the people who often label their photos? Or might it have been written back when the photo was taken?  The initials just look so... familiar... to me.  Could they be by someone who was working to save LA's history?  And the fact it says - DO NOT USE - on the photo shows the photo service knew it was an original.

And if you have any suggestions or comment - either put them in the remarks or we can talk on this weekend's four tours of Historic Downtown Los Angeles.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Four New Tours This Weekend, Help Solve the Mystery Of Fort Moore Hill & the Mystery of the Soldier Boy and Celebrate Waytt Earp's 140th Birthday!


Before listing our tours of Historic Downtown Los Angeles for the next two weekends, I'd like to announce a new feature here in Historic Downtown Los Angeles.  Every week I will be posting clues about the many  of unsolved mysteries of Historic Downtown Los Angeles - and all of Los Angeles - and you will be invited to help solve these mysteries during our tours.


The first mystery  - which dates back to 1846 -  is linked to just above the purported photo of Fort Moore Hill  which is three photos down....

The Last Bookstore Presents….
  
The Secret Lives of Historic Downtown Los Angeles


This Saturday March 31st  and next Saturday April 6th at both 11 AM and 2 PM we will have the HISTORIC DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES 101 walking tour which is a two hour introduction to the past, present and future of Historic Downtown Los Angeles.  


Then this Sunday April 1st at 11 AM and 2 PM and next Sunday April 8th also at 11AM and 2 PM, we will have the HOW DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES INVENTED THE WILD WEST (and why no one knows it) walking tour where you will discover that everything which ever happened in the Wild West happened here in LA first - and how many of the most famous figures of the American West lived in Los Angeles from the 1820's - to the 1920's - and why no one knows any of this.


And since Wyatt Earp was 140 years old Monday March 19th, both of the two Sunday tours will spend extra time visiting parts of the Downtown that Wyatt Earp and his friends frequented from the Civil War's violent1860's to the boom times of the roaring 1920's.  


Lastly, speaking of the Civil War, another of the mysteries we will be trying to solve involves a photograph of a young boy wearing an army uniform  - taken here in Downtown Los Angeles - in 1865.


All tours are still only $15 per person and start at the THE LAST BOOKSTORE in the Spring Arts Tower at 453 S. Spring Street.

BRADBURY BUILDING
Happy Birthday, Wyatt Earp!


Below is mystery photo number one.
And HERE is  the link
to the story behind this photo.
And at the bottom of the page is mystery photo number two..

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Historic Downtown LA 101 and the Downtown LA Wild West Tours This Saturday and Sunday - March 17th and 18th!


Before listing our tours of Historic Downtown Los Angeles for the next two weekends, I'd like to thank Melanie Kaminiski for the excellent photos she took during one of last week's tours (Historic Downtown 101) which she has put up on her blog, the Metropolitan Money Pit:


http://metropolitanmoneypit.blogspot.com/2012/03/walk-through-history.html

The Last Bookstore Presents….
  
The Secret Lives of Historic Downtown Los Angeles


This Saturday March 17th at 11 AM and 2 PM and the following Saturday March 24th at both 11 AM and 2 PM we will have the HISTORIC DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES 101 tour.  Then at 11AM and 2 PM PM this Sunday March 18th we will have the HOW DOWNTOWN LOS ANGLES INVENTED THE WILD WEST (and why no one knows it) tour.  And next week - there will be an announcement as to any tours on Sunday March 25th - and requests are encouraged. All tours are still only $15 per person and start at the THE LAST BOOKSTORE in the Spring Arts Tower at 453 S. Spring Street.

BRADBURY BUILDING


Thursday, March 08, 2012

THREE Walking Tours of Historic Downtown Los Angeles This Saturday March 10th and Sunday March 11th!


The Last Bookstore Presents….
  
The Secret Lives of Historic Downtown Los Angeles


This Saturday March 10th the 11 AM tour just had four cancellations - so you can still call and reserve those seats and the 2 PM tour  is also still open and next Saturday March 17th both 11 AM and 2 PM we will have the HISTORIC DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES 101  tour and at 2 PM this Sunday March 11th and next Sunday March 18th at both 11 AM and 2 PM we will have the HOW DOWNTOWN LOS ANGLES INVENTED THE WILD WEST (and why no one knows it) tour.


BRADBURY BUILDING
For the next two weekends - see below for days and times) will be two DIFFERENT guided walking tours of Historic Downtown Los Angeles’ secret past, its present - and its future.

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 and the CONCEPT Fashion Weeks, has brought over 150 businesses, artists and non-profit institutions to Downtown.

Tickets are still available for  March 10th  at 11 AM and 2 PM  (the 11 AM just had four cacellations) and March 17th at 11AM and 2 PM  for the “Historic Downtown Los Angeles 101” tour that  will be a general introduction to our rapidly developing neighborhood and an overview of the multiple histories of the streets of Broadway, Spring and Main.

Tickets are also still available for the secret LA history as the wildest town in the Wild West in the  "How Downtown Los Angeles Invented The Wild West (and why no one knows it)" tour at 2 PM  Sunday March 11th and March 18th at both 11 AM and at  2 PM.

Wyatt Earp

If you are a participant in Saturday's 'Historic Downtown Los Angeles 101' Tour, you will see the first motion picture theater 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) - 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.

And if you take this Sundays. "How Los Angeles Invented The Wild West (and why no one knows it" tour that begins at 11 AM and then again at 2 PM  Sunday March 11th and March 18th, you will discover that long before the famed Western cowtowns and mining camps Tombstone, Dodge City, and Deadwood existed, Los Angeles was the first town where everything that happened in the Wild West, happened here first and that everyone from Wyatt Earp to Judge Roy Bean came to Los Angeles first before going east to help start the Wild West. You will also discover LA was a far ‘wilder’ town than any Western town that followed after it.

And 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 - compared to the average period of 3 or 4 years to 10 years of most cowtowns) and LA was also one of the few towns built upon both cattle and mining.

Tickets for either tour 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.  And custom designed can be developed - by request - for groups of four or more.

We will also be soon starting weekday and 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