On April 12, 1909, Los Angeles shops closed and thousands lined the streets for the funeral of Madame Modjeska at St. Vibiana’s Cathedral. Born in Poland, Helena Modjeska was a famous 19th-century Shakespearean actress who emigrated to California in 1876. Though she settled in Orange County (Santiago Canyon), she was beloved in Los Angeles (and the U.S) as “Angelenos really felt Modjeska belonged to them,” according to 1953 article “Madame Modjeska in California.”)
Most pictures of the popular 19th-century Shakespearean actress, Helena Modjeska, show her costumed in one of her notable roles including Macbeth, Cleopatra, or Mary Stuart. Here she is shown (center, back row) in San Juan Capistrano with her Orange County friends, including Judge Richard Egan. Noted horticulturist and champion of California’s native wildflowers, Theodore Payne had his first job at Madame Mojeska’s ranch (and published his recollections “Life on the Modjeska Ranch in the Gay Nineties”). One of Payne’s favorite memories is of a dance on the veranda of her home, Arden, in Santiago Canyon: “There was Madame Modjeska, one of the greatest actresses the world has ever known….dancing with Jose Serrano, wearing a big Mexican sombrero. What a picturesque scene.”
After the funeral, Madame Modjeska’s casket was sent by rail to New York for another funeral and finally by ship and land to her native Poland where she was buried. And more than 100 years later, “America is awash in Modjeskiana” according to Beth Holmgran in her 2012 biography of the famous Polish-American actress, “Starring Madame Modjeska.”
On April 4, 1850, Los Angeles was incorporated as a U.S. city (official California statute). What was known as Pueblo de Los Angeles had become the City of Los Angeles. Should note that Los Angeles became a U.S. city before California became a U.S. state.
In 1950, Los Angeles Mayor Bowron (dressed as a gentleman of the early days) led the festivities celebrating 100 years as a U.S. city. And while April 4, 1850 can be considered one birthday, Los Angeles also celebrates its founding on September 4, 1781. Photo comes from the Herald Examiner Collection of the Los Angeles Public Library.
Wishing all a Happy Easter with the 1938 menu from Pasadena’s historic Vista del Arroyo, once a posh resort and now the Richard H. Chambers U.S. Court of Appeals. Take a look inside this menu for a glimpse of fine Easter dining circa 1938.
This menu comes from the wonderful collection of menus archived by the Los Angeles Public Library.
With the Dodgers and the Angels playing tonight the second in their 3-game preseason Freeway Series, this image reminds us of what the Angels were doing 42 years ago today — getting ready to open their first season in Southern California. They were also filming the scenes for “The Birth of a Ball Club,” a TV special that aired just over a month later as part of the CBS Summer Sports Spectacular. The Angels played their first season in the now-gone Wrigley Field.
As you can see, this image comes the CBS Archives and was shared online via Getty Images.
Looking forward to attending this event on Monday evening:
Today on Verso, a preview of “Better Living Through Electricity,” an upcoming panel discussion tied to Form and Landscape: Southern California Edison and the Los Angeles Basin, 1940–1990, part of the Getty’s Pacific Standard Time Presents: Modern Architecture in L.A.
This free event will take place at The Huntington on April 1.
image caption: Joseph Fadler, Pokey’s Restaurant (Beverly Drive at Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles), 1955. Southern California Edison Photographs and Negatives. Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.
“Merry Xmas” greetings from Venice Beach in 1951.
Part of the Los Angeles Examiner Collection in the USC Digital Library.