Friday, December 4, 2015

15 Fun Facts About San Bernardino

WHERE "E" STREET MEETS MILL STREET - Driving along Interstate 10 at quick glance it appears to be just one of the many cities that make up the urban puzzle piece that is Southern California. Yet, as many longtime residents will tell you, San Bernardino is very much a city of its own that stands out in the Southern California suburban puzzle, aside from being one of the principle cities in the Inland Empire.

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A photograph of the Inland Center Mall circa 1969. Photograph used under a Creative Commons license.

If people in Southern California never quite were familiar with San Bernardino, well, they, along with much of the country, are now very much aware of this city called San Bernardino.

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Before Sears moved to the Inland Center Mall it was located in downtown San Bernardino as seen in this circa 1955 photograph. Photograph in public domain.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation uses certain criteria to formally declare a crime to be a "terrorist attack." It appears the recent event in San Bernardino is meeting that criteria set by the FBI. Subsequently, what occurred in San Bernardino on December 2, 2015, may end up being the deadliest terrorist attack within the United States since the terror attacks of September 11, 2001.

Given where the investigation of this mass shooting in San Bernardino, which killed 14 people and injured 21, has led, and where it is continuing to lead, this tragedy has not just national implications, but international implications.

Plenty of things have been written, from the San Bernardino Sun to The New York Times, about what occurred and what is continuing to transpire. We are not going to talk about that here. Since the world's eyes are on San Bernardino here are 15 fun facts about San Bernardino, San Bernardino County and the communities around San Bernardino.


The Mountain Goats singing about "San Bernardino."

1 - The First McDonald's Was In San Bernardino

That's right! The mother of fast food, giver of Happy Meals, with all the excitement and controversy that comes with it, began in San Bernardino.

2 - The Rolling Stones Played Their First U.S. Concert in San Bernardino

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The Rolling Stones at The Swing Auditorium in San Bernardino. Photograph used under a Creative Commons license.

It was San Bernardino radio station K/MEN, back when radio was a really big deal, which brought The Rolling Stones for their very first U.S. performance at The Swing Auditorium in San Bernardino. How this radio station in San Bernardino brought them to the U.S. for the first time is a whole story in and of itself, which we will have in the not too distant future. The short story is, in the wake of The British Invasion K/MEN had a connection in London sending them the latest British hit-makers, and basically looking and hoping to find the next Beatles. Well, K/MEN's London connection sent them an album by "this group that is better than The Beatles," as their London connection described The Rolling Stones. Afternoon K/MEN personality Bill Watson played a cut from the album, suddenly the telephone lines were jammed, and "Mr. Kicks," as Bill Watson was known, did something extraordinarily out of the ordinary for top 40 radio and played the entire album.

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Ticket from a later Rolling Stones performance at The Swing Auditorium. Photograph in public domain.

The Rolling Stones had made plans to tour the United States, but Mr. Watson knew they needed to get this band now! Mr. Watson, calling across The Atlantic, finally got in touch in The Rolling Stones' manager Andrew Loog Oldham. After some deals were cut, and told of the reaction of The Rolling Stones, Mick Jagger and company soon took to the U.S. stage for the very first time in San Bernardino thanks to K/MEN.

3 - Lyndon B. Johnson Had A Job As An Elevator Operator In San Bernardino

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The Platt Building in San Bernardino where a future president once worked. Date of photograph unknown. Photograph in public domain.

Future Vice-President and President Lyndon B. Johnson once worked as an elevator operator at a San Bernardino building in 1925. During a 1964 reelection campaign stop in San Bernardino LBJ returned to that building, known as the Platt Building, to operate the elevator once more in front of a few cameras. The Platt Building fell in 1993 after meeting a demolition team under the names of "progress," "redevelopment" and "improvement." Many longtime residents were too happy with this new "improvement," which is to say it was a very conversational move demolishing the Platt Building. Before the Platt Building was torn down the elevator where LBJ worked was saved. 

4 - Home Of The Oldest Operating Jewish Cemetery 

The Home of Eternity Cemetery is the oldest operating Jewish cemetery in Southern California. The land was given to the Jewish community from Mormons in the 1850. 

5 - The Sun Almost Became Apart of the L.A. Times

The San Bernardino Sun has been for many decades, and continues to be, the dominate newspaper in the San Bernardino area (though in the last decade and a half it has faced stiff competition from The Press-Enterprise). Back in the 1960s the Los Angeles Times' then parent company Times-Mirror made an attempt to buy The Sun, but federal government antitrust officials were not too keen on the idea and thus no sale. Today The Sun is apart of the Los Angeles Newspaper Group, which includes, the L.A. Daily News, and Daily Bulletin, Pasadena Star-News, among other Southern California newspapers.

6 -  The Largest City Between L.A. and New Mexico Was Once, Colton

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Certainly not Colton during the Californio era, but rather a photograph of downtown Colton from 1955. Public domain.

Near where current day Colton is there was once a town called Aqua Mansa, which was, for a time, the largest town between Los Angeles and New Mexico. It is a very significant place with its roots going back to Californio days. Its residents included the Wilson family and family member Don Benito Wilson. That Mr. Wilson is better known as Benjamin David Wilson who would go on to be the second elected Mayor of L.A., and whom Mount Wilson is named after. 

7 - What Does L.A.'s MacArthur Park Have To Do With Colton?

The writer of perhaps one of the most perplexing pop songs, "MacArthur Park," made famous twice, first by Richard Harris and later as a disco hit by Donna Summer, lived in the Colton area for a time once upon a time, and his name is Jimmy Webb. Mr. Webb also wrote "Up, Up and Away" as performed by The Fifth Dimension, along with many other songs. Mr. Webb even wrote a song about Colton, "820 Latham Street," perform by The Fifth Dimension (who had many rehearsal sessions in Colton) and The Brooklyn Bridge, which is apparently the Colton address where the girl of his dreams (and muse of many songs) lived. Turns out the girl of Mr. Webb's dream from Colton soon moved to L.A. and worked near MacArthur Park, which is where Mr. Webb and the girl from "820 Latham Street" in Colton spent many afternoons together. MacArthur Park ended up being a very special place for Mr. Webb and his girlfriend from Colton, and so he wrote a (long) song about it.


The Fifth Dimension singing about that girl who lives at "820 Latham Street" in Colton.

8 - Colton's First Marshall 

Virgil Earp, brother of Wyatt Earp, was Colton's first Marshall. The Earp house still stands at 528 West “H” Street in Colton. Please do not disturb the current residents.

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This is a photograph of a Pacific Electric train station in Colton taken long after Virgil Earp was Marshall of Colton. Used under a Creative Commons license.

9 - Home Of The Cursed Fair

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Poster for the 1917 National Orange Show. Author's collection.

Most people who grew up or lived in San Bernardino or the Inland Empire for a time will tell you about the "Curse of the Orange Show." Southern California was a citrus empire, and the annual National Orange Show in San Bernardino was a prominent event showcasing the best of the citrus industry. In its glory days "The Orange Show," as so many locals lovingly call it, featured not just A-list stars, but the very top of A-list stars. It was a very glamorous affair, but it always seem to rain on their parade, and many residents say there is a reason for that. Legend has it The National Orange Show Grounds are built atop of a Native American burial ground. The legend goes since it was built atop of Native American burial grounds a curse was placed on the event that makes it rains every time The National Orange Show is held. Records show that in fact, yes, many times during The National Orange Show it has rained. Coincidence?

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A 1969 ad in the Los Angeles Free Press for The Jimi Hendrix Experience at The Swing Auditorium. Public domain.

(By the way, The Swing Auditorium, where The Rolling Stones played their first U.S. concert as mentioned above, and, also where many bands came through in the 1960s and 1970s, was located on The National Orange Show Grounds. The Swing Auditorium was destroyed by an airplane crash on September 11, 1981.)

10 - San Bernardino Is Bigger Than Switzerland

If you are a regular driver between Southern California and Las Vegas you probably think San Bernardino County is a very large county. You would be right, because that county in the Inland Empire is the largest county within the lower 48 states. San Bernardino County is larger than many states and even many countries. It is bigger than Switzerland. Its record was beat with the admission of Alaska as a state, which has a much larger county.

11 - The Last Two Big California Earthquakes Were In San Bernardino County

The last two magnitude 7-plus earthquakes within California were in San Bernardino County. Those quakes were, the 1992 Landers Earthquake and the 1999 Hector Mine Earthquake.

12 - Home Of The Tallest Mountain Peak In Southern California

Many people really do not like earthquakes, and that is very understandable, but earthquake faults give us in Southern California spectacular hills and mountains. One of those mountains is Mount San Gorgonio. Located in San Bernardino County in the San Bernardino Mountains reaching a peak of 11,503 feet Mount San Gorgonio is the tallest mountain in Southern California. On a very clear day you can see Mount San Gorgonio from downtown Los Angeles and by the beach in Santa Monica.

13 - The 100th In The Nation

In covering the tragic event many reporters from around the country and around the world noted that San Bernardino is not quite a small city, and for good reason. According to the 2010 U.S. Census the 100th largest city in the U.S. is San Bernardino. As well, San Bernardino is the 17th largest city in California.

14 - Where Sammy Davis Jr. Lost His Eye

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Sammy Davis Jr. performing on NBC in 1966. Photograph in public domain.

In 1954 on the way home to L.A. from performing in Las Vegas Sammy Davis Jr. was in a car accident on Route 66 at Cajon Boulevard and Kendall Drive. That is where Sammy Davis Jr. lost his eye. It would be at San Bernardino Community Hospital where Sammy Davis Jr. would recover. While at the hospital his friend, Eddie Cantor, met with him and talked about the similarities between Jewish and black culture. It was at that moment, so the story goes, Sammy would begin his conversion to Judaism. Sammy was so grateful for the services he received at San Bernardino Community Hospital he held an all-star fundraiser at The Swing Auditorium for the hospital.

15 - Home Of The Hell's Angels

Started by the Bishop family in Fontana the motorcycle club that would set the standard for "outlaw motorcycle clubs" and go on to much notoriety began in San Bernardino County.


Certainly not a tune by The Hell's Angels, but rather, a tune from Frank Zappa, who had a studio in Ontario.



Monday, August 31, 2015

For Your Consideration: Bring The Olympics To The Southern California Mountains

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It is the Olympic rings being used in all its glorious public domain. 

HEAPS PEAK IN THE SAN BERNARDINO MOUNTAINS - There is much talk that Los Angeles may be a step closer to hosting the 2024 Summer Olympics. Deals from the L.A. City Council to the International Olympic Committee are still being worked out, and there are a few other things to work out. One of those things to be worked out is competing with other cities around the world to host the games. If all goes well, and many of us hope we receive the answer we are looking for, it would be the third time L.A. will host the Summer Olympics.

Standing at The L.A. Memorial coliseum looking to the north and turning your head to the northeast you can see, provided the inversion layer and its hazy smoggy nastiness is not blocking the view, The Transverse Range, which make up The San Gabriel and San Bernardino Mountains. Having the Summer Olympics in L.A. and throughout Southern California really do make for a perfect fit, but what about The Winter Olympics? I know saying "let's bring The Winter Olympics to Southern California" sounds like a joke, and maybe even a third-tier Woody Allen joke (New York, by the way, has never hosted the Olympic games), but seriously, the powers that be should seriously look at and consider bringing the Winter Olympic games to our local mountains.

Seriously, Could Our Local Mountains Really Host The Olympics?

Yes. The Sochi Olympics wrapped up in February 2014 bringing to end the somewhat contentious XXII Olympic Winter Games. Among the many real or perceived problems, there was one real problem, which is the Sochi games were just a little too warm for the Winter Olympics, which is not unlike our own mountains. The climate in the Sochi area is typically rather mild and Russian officials stored significant amounts of snow for the games, just in case. Nonetheless, despite social issues outside the gates and despite the events in nearby Ukraine, the Sochi games were an overall success.

So, if a place like Sochi with its lack of snow can pull off a Winter Olympics then why cannot our own Southern California mountains, The San Gabriel and San Bernardino Mountains, host the winter games? After all, the weather in our local mountains are about the same as in Sochi, as you never quite know if it is going to be a snowy year or warm year, and if it is a warm year our ski resorts know how to make and store quite of bit of snow.


Where In Our Mountains?


Probably the most logical site for the home-base of the Winter Olympics would be Big Bear, but however events could be spread all over the Transverse Range. Spreading out Olympic events is nothing new. It was done in Sochi, and it was done during the 1984 Summer Olympics and 1932 Summer Olympics in L.A. with many Olympic games spread throughout Southern California.


Sure, there would be some infrastructure that would need to be built, but that would be a boom to the local construction industry.

Okay. All This New Stuff Is Built, But What Happens When The Games Leave?

 

What happens when the Olympics leave the mountain resorts with so much new stuff built? Well, for places in Big Bear, and perhaps other places in the San Bernardino and San Gabriel Mountains, they can now brag and sell their ski resorts as being world famous, and boost their ski resorts from being local destinations to world destinations. What skier would not love to play and ski at an Olympic ski resort?

What About The Mountain Roads?

What about accommodating all the Olympic spectators, and those mountain highways?

Yes, as any person who has driven our mountain highways and roads can attest, the roadways to and around the mountain towns are not the best, and can provide for a white-knuckle ride at times, but this would provide the opportunity to improve the mountain highways.

Furthermore, shuttle service can be provided to and from events, and up and down the mountain. Also, this may be an opportunity to explore other unique forms of transportation, such as a tramway from the base of the mountain to perhaps Big Bear, not unlike the Palm Springs Tram.


Just Where Is Everybody Going To Stay?


In the mountain towns there would be a need to build some new hotels, but there are many hotel and motel rooms down the mountain in the Inland Empire that are underused and could be used to house Winter Olympic spectators.


Of course before, during and right after the Olympic games it will be massive boost to the hospitality industry, and not just in the mountains, but it will have a positive ripple affect throughout Southern California. It is not an unlikely scenario that hotels from Palm Springs to L.A. would be filled up with Winter Olympic spectators. 


What About Traffic Down The Mountain?


What about traffic having a ripple affect in the flat lands? Well, we all worked together during the 1984 games, and during the recent events on Interstate 405, and so why cannot it be that way again for the Winter Olympics?


Consider It and Bring It To Our Mountains!


We say to the powers that be, bring the Winter Olympics to the Southern California Mountains. We have, and could easily have, the infrastructure in place, and hosting the games here you would not have to worry about any possible social problems taking center stage at the games. The United States is a very stable place to hold the Winter Olympics, and our Southern California mountain range will make it even better.


As an added bonus to consider, though it is on a smaller scale, Big Bear has hosted the X-Games, among other such major winter sporting events.


The Winter Olympics in Southern California? Yes, this can be done.


We have already hosted two Summer Olympics, and maybe a third, and now let us take stage in hosting the games The Winter Olympics!


This can be done, and so let us do it!


[NOTE: This originally appeared on this site in February 2014 and has been updated. Also, this site and story is not supported by or affiliated with any local chamber of commerce, booster groups or local Olympic committee. Holding the Winter Olympics in our local mountains is an interested idea to float around and, frankly, something to give serious consideration to.]

 

The Making Excuses Why There Have Been No New Postings Post

WALKING ALONG SEAL BEACH - Well, it has been awhile since there has been any posts on this site. The guy with the big fro who does the writing and blogging on the other end of the computer wants to put more out there about the odd, fun, sad, strange and unique facts about Southern California for you and you.

Why no updates and new postings lately? Well, the joys and ills, mainly ills, of life have come this way. If this blog's page counters are to be believed there are hundreds and even thousands of people who read postings on this site. A big thank you to you. Being a blogger, wanna-be journalist, sometimes actual journalist and writing weird things on social media do not always pay. These things in life are being dealt with, and there are plans for more things to be on this blog very soon. It is not going away.

If you want to write something here feel free to contact the guy behind blog. We can always use help and promotion getting this out there for more people to read.

I have not forgotten about you.

There are a lot of tales to tell of Southern California.


Thursday, July 30, 2015

The Day In 1932 The Summer Olympics Came To L.A.

THE FLAME SHINING BRIGHT ATOP OF THE L.A. MEMORIAL COLISEUM - For the first time since the 1984 Summer Olympics over 7,000 athletes from 177 countries are at Exposition Park competing in 27 different sports for the Special Olympics World Games. This is an amazing event and Southern California is quite lucky to be hosting such an event. (If you have not had a chance to make it to any events you should go, and most sporting events are free.) Just as these games in Los Angeles are underway with the incredible, inspiring athletes doing what they do best word came way that Boston is withdrawing its bid to host the 2024 Summer Olympics.

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The official program of the 1932 Summer Olympics. Photograph in public domain.

What does this mean? Well, even though there has been no official announcement, yet, L.A. is tip-toeing its way back to bidding on hosting the 2024 Summer Olympics. Of course, at this point in the Olympic bidding game, L.A. still has a very long way to go as they have to compete with not just other cities around the United States, but around the world to win hosting the Summer Olympics.

If L.A. is successful in winning the 2024 games The City of Angels would be the only place in the United States to hold three modern Olympic events.

Before we look forward let us look back to the past to one Summer Olympic event. No, not the 1984 Summer Olympics, which, by the way, is often credited for "saving" the modern Olympics by way of over-the-top opening ceremony pageantry and major corporate sponsorship, but the very first Summer Olympics in 1932, officially known as the Games of the X Olympiad, which opened July 30, 1932.

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Opening ceremony of the 1932 Summer Olympics at L.A. Memorial Coliseum. Photograph in public domain. 

How Did L.A. Win the Bid For The 1932 Summer Olympics?

As you may know by now these days a city in the world bidding to host the Olympics, be it the summer or winter event, is a major competitive event in and of itself with a lot of wooing and impressing International Olympic Committee (IOC) officials.

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A parasol for those needing some shade from the summer sun while watching the Summer Olympics. Unclear if this is an official Olympic sanctioned item.

Now to bid for the 1932 summer games L.A. did not have a lot of competition in the bidding process to host the Tenth Modern Olympiad. By not having a lot of competition that is to say L.A. had no competition in bidding to host the games, because L.A. was the only city to bid to host the games.

Why Was L.A. The Only City To Bid On Hosting The 1932 Summer Olympics?

Well, then, as it is now, the decision on where to host the Olympics was made many years in advance. The selection was made at the 23rd IOC Session in Rome, Italy, in 1923, and that decision came on the heels of "the wars to end all wars." Many countries were broke and just weary. So, basically, what was Europe's disadvantage in dealing with the depressing aftermath of World War I was L.A.'s advantage.

The Great Depression Put A Damper On The Olympics

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The official 1932 Summer Olympics' logo. Used under public domain.

While the 1920s were a "Roaring" time by the end of that jazz decade the stock market crash of 1929 ushered in the Great Depression. The depression was so bad that many nations and athletes just simply could not afford the trip to L.A. to compete in the 1932 Olympics. In fact, participation in the 1932 games was the lowest since the 1904 Olympics, with only half as many athletes taking part as had in the 1928 Olympics.

Adding To The L.A. Olympics' Woes Was California's Remoteness

Atop of the many problems The Great Depression brought on what further compounded problems with the 1932 Summer Olympics was the difficulty of reaching Southern California. Hard to even imagine today of such a thing, but California was still a remote, somewhat isolated area of the world. Remember, in 1932 the main mode of transportation was passenger railway, which could take several days, and airline travel was still a very exotic thing. Driving your car or taking a bus cross-country could be a harrowing experience.

The President Did Not Even Attend The Opening Ceremony, Or Any Olympic Event

With the many problems plaguing the U.S. and world President Herbert Hoover did not attend the opening ceremony or any Olympic event in L.A. Yes, Mr. Hoover, by this point not a very popular president, skipped this major event held in his country.

Mr. Hoover would be the second U.S. president to miss the Olympics in the United States held during his term behind President Theodore Roosevelt. Mr. Roosevelt refused to attend the 1904 Summer Olympics held in St. Louis, because St. Louis Mayor David R. Francis declined to let Mr. Roosevelt help officiate the games.

Despite Adverse Conditions The Opening Ceremony Broke Records And Set The Standard For Today's Olympic Opening Ceremonies

With The Great Depression, the President of the United States opting not to attend the games and the problems of just simply getting to Southern California you would think these Olympic games would make the record books for being poorly attended and a general lack of caring for the summer games. Glad to report, you would be wrong.

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Rare color photograph of the opening ceremony of the 1932 Summer Olympics at L.A. Memorial Coliseum. Photograph in public domain.

Turns out over 100,000 people attended the opening ceremony at the Memorial Coliseum, and, according to the Olympic Movement, "Its scale and quality were beyond anything that had come before, creating the first Games we would recognize today."

Furthermore, the 1932 Summer Olympics, according to Olympic officials, "gave birth to the modern format."

The 1932 Summer Games Gave Birth To The Modern Olympic Village

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Rare photograph of the first Olympic Village in Baldwin Hills. Photograph in public domain.

Before the 1932 Summer Olympics athletes, their athletic trainers and other Olympic officials basically had to stay at whatever hotel or other housing they could find, and for Olympic officials that ended up being very expensive. That changed in 1932 with the building of the first modern Olympic Village in Baldwin Hills. Now the males stayed in Baldwin Hills while the female athletes were housed at the Chapman Park Hotel on Wilshire Boulevard.

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The female athletes competing in the 1932 Summer Olympics stayed in style at the Chapman Park Hotel as shown in this postcard. Photograph in public domain.

The idea, and perhaps rough draft, of an Olympic Village came about during the 1924 Summer Olympics in Paris, France, where Olympic organizers built cabins near the Stade Olympique de Colombes to allow the athletes to easily access the Games' venues.

The 1932 Summer Olympics Brought Shorter Games

Before the 1932 Summer Olympics most summer games were around 80 days. By the time the Summer Olympics came to L.A. the days of the games were cut down to 16 days of events. Since then all Summer Olympics have been between 15-to-18 days.

The Victory Podium Was Used For The First Time In L.A.

In what is one of the most iconic sites of every Olympics is the use of the victory podium awarding the gold, silver and bronze metals. This was first introduced during the 1932 Games in L.A.

The 1932 Olympics Is The Reason L.A. Does Not Have a Tenth Street 

Sounds strange, but it is true. When L.A. was selected to host what would be the Games of the X Olympiad, or, the Tenth Modern Olympics, (or rather, being the only one in the class of nations around the world to raise her hands and volunteer to host the games) to honor the occasion the L.A. City Council voted to change the name of Tenth Street to Olympic Boulevard (see what the L.A. City Council they there).

What some people may not know is that Olympic Blvd. is longer than the more famous Wilshire Blvd. as it stretches from Santa Monica all the way across the city to East Los Angeles and into Montebello. 

By the way, here is an interesting side-note: Olympic Blvd. was once a highway of sorts, California State Route 26. 

The Grand Olympic Auditorium In Downtown L.A. Was Built For The 1932 Olympics

Even though there was very little, well, no competition for winning the bid to host the 1932 Olympics the L.A. Olympic committee officials still needed some places and things to impress The IOC. One of those places was the building of The Grand Olympic Auditorium in 1924. When it opened in 1925 it was the largest indoor venue in the U.S. seating over 15,000 people. During the 1932 Games competitions of boxing, wrestling and weightlifting events were held at The Olympic Auditorium.



Friday, July 24, 2015

The Day LAX Was Bombed By The Alphabet Bomber

DRIVING DOWN CENTURY BOULEVARD - Driving down the boulevard amid the towering hotels leading into Los Angeles International Airport suddenly figuring out what lane you need to be in for arrivals or departures sometimes you are held up by airport police checks, and when that happens hopefully you are not running late for your flight. It is said, "everything changed after 9/11," and with that includes posting police officers in airport entrances for random security checks. However, well before the obscene events of September 11, 2001, threats and terror attacks on airports were, unfortunately, nothing too new.

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The iconic Theme Building at LAX. Photograph used under Creative Commons license.

On August 6, 1974, the most deadliest terrorist attack in Los Angeles since the 1910 Los Angeles Times bombing occurred at LAX, which resulted in the death of three people and dozens injured. In fact, it was, at the time, the worst terrorist attack at an American airport.

The 1970s was an overall turbulent era in America, and adding to the turbulence were many nationalist and domestic groups setting off various bombs around the country for mostly political reasons. New York seemed to be the center of these domestic terrorist attacks with many bombs set off in office buildings around Manhattan damaging buildings. San Francisco and the Bay Area also experienced dozens of bombings during this time. L.A. had been mostly spared from these political terrorist attacks.

Today, when a pipe bomb or even simply the threat of a terror attack occurs it causes great fear and panic around the country. Back then in the 1970s, frankly, much like how the British shrugged off IRA attacks, domestic bombings, hijackings and other such terror attacks in the United States were almost accepted as a "normal" way of life in 1970s America.

What Happened?

The 1974 LAX bombing was, at the time, the most destructive, deadliest bombing to ever hit a U.S. airport. The bomb was set off at the Pan American World Airways (Pam Am) terminal about 20 feet from the Pam Am check-in counter. Three people were killed and 36 people were injured.

According to the United Press International news report of the event,

Michael Strong of the police airport detail said he was about 100 yards away when "a tremendous blast shook the area and it was a scene of utter devastation. People were down on the floor crying for help. Bodies were blown all over the lobby. "All I could see was blood. There was blood everywhere," said skycap Gary Cartwright.

Police and federal agents tried to determine the origin of the blast. Investigators said the force indicated an explosive charge equal to about eight pounds of dynamite. 

The Damage

The bomb tore out sections of a concrete wall behind the lockers, hurled some of the lockers through the lobby, ripped into the ceiling shredded baggage and blew out the glass from of the terminal.

The Alphabet Bomber 

The suspect behind the LAX bombing was a Yugoslavian immigrant named Muharem Kurbegovic who claimed to be the leader of Aliens of America. The bomber was dubbed "The Alphabet Bomber" after he dropped off an audiotape at KNXT- TV (now KCBS-TV) following the LAX attack. The audiotape said in part, "The first bomb was marked with the letter A, which stands for airport [...] The second bomb will be associated with the letter L, etc., until our name has been written on the face of this nation in blood."

The second bomb was found inside a locker at the downtown L.A. Greyhound station, which, according to the Los Angeles Police Bomb Squad, was, at the time, the most powerful explosive device they ever handled and defused.

Prior Alphabet Bomber Attacks Before The LAX Bombing

About year before setting off the bomb at the Pam Am terminal The Alphabet Bomber set off firebombs at the homes of two Los Angeles Police commissioners and a judge. Furthermore, Kurbegovic burnt down two Marina Del Rey apartment buildings.

Hoax Attacks On The U.S. Supreme Court Justices

The first public movements concerning The Alphabet Bomber was an audiotape sent to the L.A. Times on July 7, 1974, with Kurbegovic claiming he put nerve gas on tiny lead disks hidden under stamps on postcards mailed that June to all nine justices of the U.S. Supreme Court. As Kurbegovic explained on the tape, "Each postcard shows the Palm Springs home of entertainer Bob Hope and reads as follows: ‘It is justices of your greatness that made this nation so great. Respectfully, Bob Hope’."

The postcards never made it to Supreme Court, and in fact, they never made it out of Southern California, because the nine postcards had been intercepted at the Palm Springs Post Office on June 16, where the canceling machines had broken the tiny vials under the stamps. The postal worker at the Palm Springs Post Office thought they were toy caps.

Turns out the nerve gas was not real as Kurbegovich admitted a few weeks later, in another threatening tape to the L.A. Times, the postcards were a hoax and the liquid in the vials was harmless. In this audiotape Kurbegovich said, “A reasonable man will pause to think if someone points a gun at him whether the gun is loaded or empty."

Note On Public Warnings About 1970s Domestic Terrorist Attacks

It may seem strange for terrorists to call into media outlets and to buildings that were being targeted warning them about an impending terror attacks, but however, in the 1970s many groups behind bombings often telephoned or mailed notices of upcoming terrorists attacks. Certain groups, like The Weather Underground, did this to prevent mass causalities. Leaving messages, be it an audiotape or letter, in seemingly random locations, like a restaurant or telephone booth, was typically the mode of operation for many 1970s domestic terrorists.

Why Did The Alphabet Bomber Do All This? 

It is believed this terrorist committed these acts because judges and commissioners prevented him from opening his own taxi dance hall. A taxi dance hall is where a person can pay a woman to dance with you. Kurbegovic, it turns out, was caught in a taxi dance hall doing a lewd act, which led to his arrest. Kurbegovich believed that arrest would prevent his chances to open his own taxi dance hall business, and threatened his chances of becoming an American citizen.

So, Just What Was The Alphabet Bomber's Main Demand?

Well, simply put, Kurbegovic's main demands of his campaign of terror was to bring an end to immigration and naturalization laws, and ending many laws about sex.

What Happened To The Alphabet Bomber?

He was finally caught after being followed by investigators, and has spent time between high-security prisons and mental facilities.

As the L.A. Times reported,

Oct. 16, 1980: After six days of deliberations, a jury convicted Muharem Kurbegovic of first-degree murder for a 1974 bombing at Los Angeles International Airport that killed three people and injured 36 others.

The jury found the so-called Alphabet Bomber guilty on 25 counts of murder, arson, attempted murder, possession of explosive material and exploding a bomb, The Times reported.

Kurbegovic, 37, an immigrant from Yugoslavia, "acted as his own attorney during the eight-month trial," The Times said.

It is extraordinarily unlikely Kurbegovic will ever be freed.

Was Aliens of America A Large Terrorist Group?

Nope!

Unlike many domestic terrorist groups of the 1970s all investigations show and proved Aliens of America was simply a one-man-act of Kurbegovic.

The Worst Terrorist Attack At An Airport Would Happen Over A Year Later

In summer 1974 the bombing at the Pam Am terminal at LAX was the worst, deadliest terrorist attack at an airport, but, sadly, over a year later that record would be broken.

On December 29, 1975, a bomb exploded at the TWA baggage reclaim terminal at LaGuardia Airport in New York killing 11 people. It is believed Croatian nationalists were likely behind the attack. Still, to this day, the LaGuardia Airport bombing remains unsolved.





Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Here Are 18 Unique Facts About Disneyland

HARBOR BOULEVARD AND KATELLA AVENUE - On July 17, 1955, a place in the middle of orange groves right off the nearly new Santa Ana Freeway, which was then known as U.S. 101, would transform Orange County, and become apart of the landscape of Southern California. Just like the beaches, mountains, strip malls, freeways, Sig-Alerts, earthquakes, growing acceptance of public transportation, police pursuits and the iconic Los Angeles City Hall, Disneyland would and has become apart of Southern California. Whether you love or hate Disneyland, and there are plenty with strong feelings in both camps, you cannot deny the Mouse's influence in shaping Orange County and Southern California.

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The long gone, but never forgotten Peoplemover at Tomorrowland inside Disneyland, circa 1967. Photograph used under a Creative Commons license. 

As July 17, 2015, approaches Disneyland will be celebrating its 60th Anniversary, and here are 18 unique facts about Disneyland, including some bits of information about Disneyland's creator, Walt Disney.

1 - Walt Disney Wanted To Build His Park In Burbank 

When Walt Disney had the idea to build his park he was thinking of something closer to his studios in Burbank. The park, which was originally called Mickey Mouse Park, was planned to be built along Riverside Drive.

So, why do plenty of us now have to make the drive down Interstate 5 to Anaheim rather than up the 5 to Burbank? Turns out Burbank officials really did not like the idea of a "carny atmosphere" in their city. Even though there has been some romanticizing of the early days of amusement parks many such places prior to Disneyland, and for a time after, were often seedy places run by shady people that often attracted seedy, shady people (take a look at The Pike in Long Beach). So, with carnivals and amusement parks having this kind of sordid reputation it is easy to understand why Burbank did not want this kind of place in their city.

2 - The Idea For A Place Like Disneyland Came From An Afternoon At Griffith Park

The story goes Walt Disney was spending the afternoon with his daughters at Griffith Park, and as they were riding the old Merry-Go-Round he noticed how parents had nothing to do. Mr. Disney, like the Burbank city officials, also noticed and observed just how bad these amusement parks really were. In an interview Mr. Disney once said, 

What this country really needs is an amusement park that families can take their children to. They've gotten so honky tonk [sic] with a lot of questionable characters running around, and they're not to safe. They're not well kept. I want to have a place that's as clean as anything could ever be, and all the people in [Disneyland] are first-class citizens, and treated like guests. 

Furthermore, according to a 1963 Canadian documentary Mr. Disney said, 

It came about when my daughters were very young and Saturday was always daddy’s day with the two daughters. So we’d start out and try to go someplace, you know, different things, and I’d take them to the merry-go-round and I took them different places and as I’d sit while they rode the merry-go-round and did all these things… sit on a bench, you know, eating peanuts. I felt that there should be something built, some kind of amusement enterprise built, where the parents and the children could have fun together. So that’s how Disneyland started.

Well, it took many years… it was a period of maybe 15 years developing. I started with many ideas, threw them away, started all over again. And eventually it evolved into what you see today at Disneyland. But it all started from a daddy with two daughters wondering where he could take them where he could have a little fun with them, too.

The very bench from Griffith Park is on display at Opera House on Main Street, U.S.A. at Disneyland with a plaque that reads, “The actual park bench from the Griffith Park Merry-Go-Round in Los Angeles where Walt Disney first dreamed of Disneyland."

3 - Walt Disney Did NOT Name Katella Ave. After His Daughters

Many Disneyana fans and cast members alike often pass along the story that Katella Ave. in Anaheim was named after Walt Disney's daughters, Kate and Ella. Well, it is just that, a story. The name Katella goes way back before Mr. Disney had anything to do with Anaheim, or even the Mouse in his mind.

John and Margaret Rea, and their daughters, named coincidentally Kate and Ella, moved to Anaheim in 1896, and Mr. Rea knew their walnut ranch needed a name, but he wanted a more interesting, memorable name than simply, Rea Ranch.

According to the October 1989 issue of Orange Coast Magazine, Mr. Rea came up with the name like this, 

One evening, the girls were out in the yard when their father called them to dinner. “Kate—Ella, supper!” he called. Suddenly he had an idea. “I have chosen the name,” he announced. “Katella.” The girls were delighted and a big sign went up at the entrance to the family’s land: Katella. 

It was kind of a neat name, and the Anaheim powers that be back then thought so, too. In the early 1900s a school was name Katella School, and by 1934 Katella Ave. came to be. 

4 - The Underground World Under Disneyland Does NOT Exist 

If you grew up in Southern California you probably heard a very popular legend about Disneyland, and that is under "The Happiest Place On Earth" is a complete underground world. Well, that is not true as there is no underground world under Disneyland. There are a couple small passage ways under Disneyland, and that is about it.

It is certainly possibly many people are confusing Disneyland with another Disney park. Walt Disney World, located in another Orange County across the country, does indeed have its own underground world, but only it is not underground. Rather, Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom is built atop of a building that houses its underground complex, which, according to HiddenMickeys.org, "consists of 15 foot high walkways, meeting rooms, computer rooms, etc. with all having exposed utilities (it somewhat resembled a parking garage). "The tunnel complex originates from the castle and spreads out like spokes from a wheel to the other lands. In fact, the bottom two floors of the castle consists of the tunnel complex."

The ground in Florida is not stable enough to build an entire complex literally underground. 

5 - Walt Disney Being Buried At Disneyland Is NOT True 

There are a lot of strange rumors about Walt Disney's body, such as it is being frozen and one day he will be brought back to life. One of the more common myths is Mr. Disney is buried somewhere at Disneyland, but that is not true. Mr. Disney is not buried on the grounds of his creation in Anaheim or frozen at some mysterious lab, but is buried at Forest Lawn in Glendale. 

6 - Walt Disney Was NOT An Anti-Semitic 

Oy Vey! There have been a lot of wild, and down right hilarious allegations made about Mr. Disney, but one of the more serious rumors about Mr. Disney is he was not a fan of the Jewish people. That, gladly to say, is false. As Neil Gabler notes in his 2006 book, Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination, Mr. Disney really was not Anti-Semitic, and had plenty of Jewish people working for him. People who knew him and worked with him never really noticed any hints of Mr. Disney being Anti-Semitic. Furthermore, any Jewish people who worked for Mr. Disney were given Jewish holidays off. At the time what struck people as odd was the Walt Disney Studios were the only major studios not run by Jewish People. 

7 - Disney Did Not Own The Disneyland Hotel Until 1988 

The Disneyland Hotel has been apart of the Anaheim landscape nearly since the park's opening, but Disney did not own The Disneyland Hotel until 1988, because Mr. Disney did not have the money to build it. Mr. Disney knew the little citrus city of Anaheim was some ways away from The City of Angels and other population points, and he wanted visitors to his park to have a place to stay nearby. The problem was building Disneyland caused Mr. Disney to run out of money, and so he turned to some friends in show business for some financial backing.

Mr. Disney first turned to his friend Art Linkletter, but he declined as Mr. Linkletter did not have faith in Disneyland's success. Years later Mr. Linkletter would walk around the park saying, "and that's another million I missed out on."

So, Mr. Disney turned to another well connected friend to finance The Disneyland Hotel, Jack Wrather. Mr. Wrather liked what Mr. Disney was doing and provided the finance needed, but under the agreement the producer of Lassie would own the hotel on West Street across from Disneyland. It was under Mr. Wrather that The Disneyland Hotel saw its major expansions.

Some years later when Mr. Disney had the money to buyout Mr. Wrather's ownership of The Disneyland Hotel the film producer and oil millionaire refused to sell. That would be the case until the death of Mr. Wrather's wife, Bonita Granville, in 1988. Mr. Wrather passed away in 1984, two weeks after Michael Eisner took over Walt Disney Productions, and Mr. Wrather saw to it his wife would hold ownership of the hotel until she decides otherwise or dies. 

8 - One Of Disneyland's First Financial Backers Was ABC 

Today ABC/Disney is one of the world's largest media conglomerates, but in late 1953 Roy Disney met with the then fledgling American Broadcast Company, after meeting with CBS and NBC, to help finance this place called Disneyland. In 1954 ABC agreed to invested $500,000 in Disneyland, which resulted in ABC taking a 34.49 percent ownership and guaranteeing $4.5 million in bank loan, plus $5 million a year for a weekly television program for ABC produced by Walt Disney Productions.

This, of course, explains why the infamous opening day of Disneyland was aired on ABC, with much of the equipment being provided by KABC-TV.

In June 1960 Walt Disney Productions completed the purchase of ABC's share of the company for nearly $7.5 million. It would be the summer of 1995 that Disney would buy ABC from Capital Cities, and the Mouse and Alphabet would be reunited and live happily ever after. 

9 - The Original Name For Disneyland Was, Disneylandia 

Before Mickey Mouse Park and after Disneyland came the name, Disneylandia. Why the name change? Well, in 1954 ABC urged Mr. Disney to change the name from Disneylandia to Disneyland. Mr. Disney listened to ABC's advice, and changed the name. 

10 - The Gold Trimmings Outside Of It’s a Small World Are Made Of Real 22 Karat Gold 

According to Disneyland officials, "For weather durability and un-excelled beauty, 22 karat gold leaf was used for trim throughout the facade." Gold leaf, by the way, is real gold. 

11 - Walt Disney's Second Home Was In Anaheim 

It is unclear if Mr. Disney was ever officially counted by the United States Census Bureau as being an Anaheim resident, but when he was not riding the Little Engines in his Holmby Hills backyard, or at work over at the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, he was spending a lot of time at his other home. His other home was his apartment atop of the Disneyland Fire Station on Main Street, U.S.A. in Anaheim. 

12 - The Matterhorn Has Many Records 

The Matterhorn is one of Disneyland's most iconic attractions, and when the ride opened in 1959 it broke many records. The Matterhorn was the first tubular steel track roller coaster in the world, and was the first roller coaster able to have multiple cars on the same track.

When The Matterhorn was finished it was the tallest structure in Orange County standing at 147 feet. As Orange County fell to suburbanization by the mid-1960s The Matterhorn would lose the title of being the tallest structure in Orange County. 

13 - The Reason For A Basketball Court Inside The Matterhorn Is So The Attraction Could Be Built... Is False 

A popular legend told over and over again is the reason Mr. Disney had a basketball court built inside The Matterhorn is the Anaheim building code at the time did not allow structures that tall unless it was a sports facility. The story goes is that upon learning what Anaheim's building code requires Mr. Disney told his construction workers to put a basketball court inside The Matterhorn, and now, just like that, it is a sports facility that satisfies the Anaheim building code.

The reality is Anaheim never had such a building code, and the basketball court was put in for The Matterhorn cast members to help pass the time during their breaks. 

14 - Cats Keep The Mouses Out Of Disneyland 

About 200 feral cats roam the Disneyland Resort keeping rodents out of the park. Sometimes if you know where to look you can see the cats. Mickey and Minnie Mouse do not seem to be bothered by the cats, and Pluto and Goofy do not ever seem to chase the cats out of the park. 

15 - Walt Disney Spent Time With Disneyland Guests 

Mr. Disney would walk around his creation and even would stand in line with the guests talking with them. Part of this was good public relations, but much of it had to do with Mr. Disney genuinely wanting to create the best place ever. Mr. Disney would walk around looking for problems or things to improve, and Mr. Disney always welcomed suggestions by his guests. 

16 - When Disneyland Opened In 1955 It Was Just One Dollar For Admission 

With admission fees today going into three-to-four digits, depending how many tickets, excuse me, Passports you are buying, it is amazing to think it was just one dollar for admission, and only 50-cents for children. Today, once inside Disneyland, it is very difficult to find anything for just a dollar. 

17 - What Does Disneyland And Knott's Berry Farm Have In Common? 

The founders were both named Walt, or Walter to be precise. Walt Disney and Walter Knott, besides having the same first name, were actually good friends. In fact, Mr. Disney invited Mr. Knott to the opening day of Disneyland.

18 - What Was Walt Disney's Biggest Regret When It Comes To Disneyland?

Mr. Disney's biggest regret about Disneyland was never being able to buy more land. Mr. Disney was barely able to make ends meet when building Disneyland, as evident by needing financial backers such as ABC and Mr. Wrather, and so buying more land was out of the question. Mr. Disney was not too happy when tourist traps and Las Vegas style motels began building around Disneyland, not to mention the tract-housing and general suburbanization of Orange County popping up around and at the edge the park. Ideally, Mr. Disney wanted Disneyland to be isolated from "The Real World," and he was unhappy that buildings from the outside could be seen from inside Disneyland.

By the time Mr. Disney could buy up more land much of the area around Disneyland in Anaheim had been bought and built upon by other developers.


Monday, July 13, 2015

Ten Interesting Facts About Fillmore

WHERE HIGHWAY 126 MEETS CENTRAL AVENUE - With the towering San Cayetano Mountain peak providing a fantastic scenic backdrop the small Ventura County city of Fillmore is a unique fusion of Southern California's past and present. Located in the Santa Clara River Valley, roughly between Santa Clarita and Ventura along State Route 126, in the last week Fillmore has been in the news as the area has been experiencing dozens of small earthquakes. Aside from Mother Nature reminding us we live in earthquake country, there are more interesting things about Fillmore than may meet the eye.

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View of downtown Fillmore. Used under a Creative Commons License.

So, as the city celebrates its 101st anniversary, here are ten interesting facts about "The Last Best Small Town," Fillmore.

1 - The City of Fillmore Is NOT Named After The President

Yes, let us get this one out of the way. Millard Fillmore was the 13th President of the United States, and 12th Vice Present of the United States, and there are several cities, street names and places, like The Fillmore in San Francisco, around the country named after the president, but that city in Ventura County is not one of them. The city name has nothing at all to do with the president.

2 - So, Where Did Fillmore Get Its Name?

Fillmore's name comes not from a former president, but a former general superintendent. The name was J. A. Fillmore, and he was the general superintendent for the pacific division of the Southern Pacific Railroad.

3 - The Railroad Is How Fillmore Came To Be

Like a handful of cities around Southern California the city Fillmore came to be thanks to "The Octopus," Southern Pacific Railroad. In 1887 Southern Pacific built a railroad through the Santa Clara River Valley, and the powers that be at the railroad, and the Southern Pacific was a very large power, established this little town of Fillmore. On July 10, 1914, Fillmore residents voted to incorporate the the town, officially making it the city of Fillmore.

4 - Fillmore's Roots Go Way Back Before The Railroad

On around August 11, 1769, the controversial Spanish Portola expedition came down into the valley from a night's encampment near Rancho Camulos and set up camp in what is now modern day Fillmore. A short time before the full Spanish Portola expedition came into the valley Franciscan Fray Juan Crespi, who had been traveling with the expedition, ventured on his own in a trip to the then unnamed Santa Clara River Valley, and during that lone venture Franciscan Crespi named the valley, CaƱada de Santa Clara.

5 - Hollywood Comes To Fillmore

With its charming small town feeling and look, old trains provided by The Fillmore & Western Railway, citrus fields all around and the city being rather close to the Entertainment Capital of The World, many films and television shows have been filmed in Fillmore. In fact, the City of Fillmore has its own Film Fillmore website where you, whether you are a film student, independent film maker or blockbuster film director, can apply for a film permit.

6 - Badly Hit By The 1994 Northridge Earthquake

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Damaged hotel and theater building in downtown Fillmore following the 1994 earthquake. Photograph by NOAA/NGDC, J. Dewey, U.S. Geological Survey. Image in public domain.

As the Los Angeles film industry has found its way to this little city northwest of The City of Angeles its real life disasters have also been felt in Fillmore. The 1994 Northridge Earthquake still remains the most costly earthquake in American history, and the damage was not confined to the L.A. area. The thrust of that earthquake at 4:31 a.m. moved in a northwest direction, which resulted in severe damage in Fillmore. Its historic downtown area suffered severe damage, and many homes were badly damaged. This bit of recent history is not lost on many Fillmore residents now dealing with and wondering about the dozens of minor earthquakes in recent days.

7 - You Can Still Hear, and Ride, The Old Trains In Fillmore

Fillmore's modern existence came to be thanks to the railroads. Now thanks to The Fillmore & Western Railway you can still ride the old trains. Throughout the year The Fillmore & Western Railway provides train rides along the railway with its locomotives through the Santa Clara River Valley.

8 - Fillmore Has Its Own Newspaper Of Record

While The Ventura County Star is the main newspaper for Ventura County, Fillmore has its own newspaper, The Fillmore Gazette, "The Newspaper of Record for the City of Fillmore."

9 - Fillmore Freeway Debate

The 126 provides a very scenic drive between Ventura and Santa Clarita, and it has become a not-so-secret route between Ventura County and the L.A. area in the last 20 years for commuters not too happy to use U.S. Route 101. With more drivers motoring along highway 126 it has earned a not so great name, Blood Alley, due to the high volume of accidents. In these last couple decades there has been some debate and study whether or not to build a freeway from the Interstate 5 and SR 126 interchange in Santa Clarita to where the 126 becomes a freeway in Santa Paula. This idea has not quite been welcomed by city officials and boosters in Fillmore. City officials fear a freeway will bypass the city, which will cause Fillmore to lose lots of money as motorists would not be traveling through the heart of Fillmore.

As it stands now the California Department of Transportation (CalTrans) has no immediate plans to build a freeway. In the meantime there have been improvements along the 126, such as adding lanes.

10 - It Is Still A Big Agriculture City

In a lot of cities around Southern California you would be very hard-pressed to find a place where the economy is driven by agriculture. The hundreds of citrus groves that once dominated the Southern California landscape gave way to paved roads, tract-housing and strip malls. In Fillmore you can still find rows of citrus trees around the town, and the Fillmore economy is driven by agriculture.


Monday, July 6, 2015

Nine Random Facts About Lomita

PACIFIC COAST HIGHWAY AND NARBONNE AVENUE - A couple miles west off The Harbor Freeway going westbound along P.C.H. you find yourself driving across a city tucked between the city of Los Angeles' Harbor City (or is it Harbor Gateway), The South Bay and The Palos Verdes Peninsula called, Lomita.

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The train depot at The Lomita Railroad Museum. Has this train depot always been in Lomita? Read more to find out. Used under a GNU Free Documentation License.

Like many places across Southern California at first glance Lomita may seem like your typical Southern California suburb, but, like many places throughout Southern California, Lomita, this city of a little over 20,000 residents, has some interesting history and unique connections to some famous people.

If you woke up today thinking, "One day I would really like to know more about Lomita," well, your day has finally arrived, because it is with great pleasure to present you with nine interesting facts about Lomita, otherwise known as, "The Friendly City."

1 - Where Does The Name Come From?

The name itself, Lomita, derives from Spanish, meaning, little hills. Now, just who first officially named the area Lomita is up for debate, and makes for great debates at the Lomita Historical Society. According to Lomita resident and Lomita Historical Society member Brian C. Keith, 

One source claims Lomita was named by the early promoters of the district as they surveyed it from a hillside in Rancho Palos Verdes. Another source claims that "Lomita del Toro", or "little hills of the bull," appears on an early surveyor's map of Rancho San Pedro, just a few miles east of the present day city, implying that Lomita inherited its name from the local fauna.

2 - Torrance Is Kind Of To Blame For Lomita Becoming A City

If there is blame to be assigned how and why Lomita became a city then much of that blame is on the hands of the big South Bay city, Torrance. Lomita originally spanned about seven square miles in unincorporated Los Angeles County, but as Torrance was growing they incorporated more and more of what was considered Lomita. After the end of World War II much of Southern California saw a housing building boom, and Torrance wanted more incorporated city for its growing city. In what remained of then unincorporated Lomita there were plans to build dense housing and high-rise apartments. Lomita's then current residents really did not like this idea, because most of them preferred the "small town" feel and many Lomita residents associated large apartments with the "swinging" lifestyle. After a couple set backs, and fending off Torrance eating up the remains of Lomita, and perhaps using the nearby "Lakewood Plan" as a template on how to become a successful city, on June 30, 1964, Lomita became an incorporated city.

3 - Little Lomita Was Once A Big Farming Town

A little bit before World War II during the 1930s the little town of Lomita was a major supplier of vegetables in the late 1920s and throughout much of the 1930s. At one point Lomita had the unofficial name of, "Celery Capital of the World." At the time most residents of Lomita worked in farming related industries.

4 - Narbonne Avenue Is Named After...

Narbonne Ave. and Narbonne High School in Lomita is named after, Nathaniel A. Narbonne. A sheep rancher who came south from Sacramento in 1852 after trying his luck in "Gold Rush country" Mr. Narbonne acquired about 3,500 acres in 1882 in what is mostly modern day Lomita. Lomita was just a small part of the of Rancho San Pedro, which was granted by the Spanish Empire to Juan Jose Dominguez by King Carlos III of Spain in 1784. The Spanish land-grants by 1860 were facing many problems, including drought, too much rain (both of those seem to be a reoccurring theme in California) and tax issues, among other problems. What were the rancheros problems became Mr. Narbonne's gain.

Available records show Mr. Narbonne did not have much luck in the mountains outside Sacramento striking gold, as was the case with many people hoping for quick riches in The Golden State, but Mr. Narbonne did have luck with sheep and wheat. Coming into Southern California Mr. Narbonne worked with and soon teamed up General Phineas Banning in Wilmington growing wheat and raising sheep on Santa Catalina Island (which is not really "26 miles across the sea" as the song sings, but that story is for another time). With fortunes made in wheat and sheep across the sea Mr. Narbonne bought the land in 1882 that would many decades later become the city of Lomita.

5 - What Does Lomita Have To Do With Japan?

Established as a sister city in October 1981, Lomita became a sister city to Takaishi, Osaka, Japan.

6 - The Gumm Sisters Performed At The Lomita Theater

Located on Narbonne Ave. near 243rd Street was The Lomita Theater, and in 1935 a vaudevillian named Frank A. Gumm rented out theater to showcase the talent of his daughters, Mary Jane, Dorothy Virginia, and Judy. Judy Gumm would soon change her name to, Judy Garland.

7 - From Old Glamorous Hollywood To Old School Punk Rock

Lomita is generally considered to be apart of the South Bay, and a lot of punk rock bands came out of The South Bay, probably the most notable was Black Flag. There was another famous famous punk rock band to come out of the South Bay, and one of those bands came out of Lomita, which was, The Descendants. Lead singer Milo Aukerman was from Lomita, and him and his band-mates spent many days, and many nights, at his Lomita house practicing. Lomita's Mr. Aukerman soon went to college, and earned his doctorate in biology from University of California at San Diego.

8 - There Is A Train Museum In Lomita

It has been there since 1967, but it seems like a good many people do not know that there is a train Museum in Lomita, The Lomita Railroad Museum. Yes, there are a couple train museums in Southern California, The Orange Empire Railway Museum in Perris, and Travel Town at Griffith Park in L.A., but what makes this museum unique is it is purely, "dedicated to the proud era of the steam engine," according to the museum. The colorful replica depot and piped in sounds of the old steam engines give it a Disneyland sort of feel, but there is much to learn and explore. Future museum expansion plans are in the works, which would also be home to the Lomita Historical Society.

At first glance the train depot at the museum may look like a nicely restored train station that once served Lomita, but, prior to the museum being built, there never was a train depot in Lomita. You would be forgiven for mistaking Lomita had its own restored train depot as there are several similar restored and kept up train depots around Southern California. What looks like the old Lomita train depot was really a replica of the Boston & Maine's Greenwood Station in Wakefield, Massachusetts, and that depot in Wakefield was built before the turn of the century. Museum founder Irene Lewis, whose husband Martin Lewis developed and invented Little Engines, which are those little trains you can ride at Griffith Park on Sundays, was looking for authenticity when developing the museum and spent some time and research to figure out just the right building for the museum.

You should go to the museum, and when you decide to visit The Lomita Railroad Museum do know that it is open Thursday through Sunday, 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.

9 - The Lomita Railroad Museum Is Still Looking For "The E Ticket"

The Little Engines developed by Martin Lewis became a good, successful business for the Lewis family, and one person Mr. Lewis sold some of his Little Engines to was one big rail fan, Walt Disney. Mr. Lewis and his Little Engines found their way onto Mr. Disney's Holmby Hills backyard. The man behind the Mouse soon became good friends with the Lewis family. Mr. Lewis past away in 1949, but Irene Lewis kept the Little Engines business going. Being such good friends with the Lewis family Mr. Disney gave Ms. Lewis a ticket to the opening day of Disneyland on, July 17, 1955.

The Lomita Railroad Museum is still looking for that ticket. If you have any information please contact the museum.