LAhistory
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 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.”

While we may not remember who won the Oscars for best actor or actress in 1972, those attending the Academy Awards on April 10 at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion will never forget the moving tribute to Charlie Chaplin. He received the longest standing ovation in Oscar history—12 minutes—when he came on stage. He had lived with his family in Switzerland since 1952, vowing never to return to the United States when he learned that the immigration service would deny him a re-entry visa because of his leftist leanings. His appearance at the Academy Awards on April 10 was the first time he was in the U.S. after 20 years.  According to the LA Times, “…there wasn’t a dry eye in the house when Jack Lemmon gave him his famous Little Tramp hat and cane.”

And, according to The Academy’s web site, the best actress was Jane Fonda in “Klute” and best actor was Gene Hackman in “The French Connection” which also won best picture.

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.

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.

Today is the official start of Dodger baseball! In honor, here’s a couple of vintage Dodger photos, including this one of Sandy Koufax taken almost 50 years ago (April 2, 1963). The other features Dodger Stadium during the 1965 World Series. Today’s pregame ceremony celebrates the 50th and 25th anniversaries of the club’s 1963 and 1988 World Series championships.

The $100 million upgrade to Dodger Stadium has several musing on the past, present and future of Chávez Ravine. In Los Angeles Review of Books, Sam Lubell writes that approaching Dodger Stadium “feels a bit like stepping back in time, back to a very specific midcentury Los Angeles when technology was the answer, when the future could bring anything, and when optimism wasn’t optional.”

Los Angeles Times architectural critic Christopher Hawthorne details the efforts to transform Dodger Stadium from a privatized space into a more public one. Hawthorne notes, “The team has now spent nearly a decade longer in Chavez Ravine than it did in Ebbets Field.”

While we’re always excited for another season of Dodger baseball, our excitement is informed with the memory of the Chávez Ravine’s painful past, as illustrated with Ry Cooder’s song “3rd Base, Dodger Stadium," off his Chávez Ravine album:

Mister, you’re a baseball man, as anyone can plainly see.
The straightest game in this great land. Take a little tip from me.
I work here nights, parking cars, underneath the moon and stars.
The same ones that we all knew back in 1952.
And if you want to know where a local boy like me is coming from:
3rd base, Dodger Stadium.

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.

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.

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.

“An important epoch in the history of Los Angeles” was marked 110 years ago today (on March 28, 1903), according to the Los Angeles Times. The event was the laying of the cornerstone for the new Chamber of Commerce building on Broadway, its 5th home since its founding in 1888.

An estimated 8,000 people were “congested in the block and surrounding buildings…So dense was the throng in the street that all traffic was barred, the electric cars…Flags fluttered in the breeze from the tops of many buildings in the vicinity, lending a gala appearance to the scene.” Reading like a press release, the LA Times reported, “Under a turquoise sky, flecked with fleecy clouds that linked mountain and sea with a filmy band, and in the presence of a great assemblage of citizens and visitors, the principal foundation stone of the new structure was placed in position by the Grand Lodge and Masons of California.” The Masons were present in full force – 800 of them from all over Southern California parading from the Masonic Temple on Hill Street to the Chamber site at 103 South Broadway.

The ceremonies, as you might imagine, were mostly speechifying. On a less serious note, the newspaper published a tribute to the chamber by an anonymous poet:

How dear to our hearts is the Chamber of Commerce
With its hall of exhibits that all of us know;
The elephant, turtles and eke the big pumpkins
And ev’ry old freak that this climate can grow;
The tempting display of the fruits of the orchards
And all the good things that abound in the land;
The board of directors, the obliging attendants,
And genial Frank Wiggins who gives the glad hand—
That dear old Frank Wiggins, the long legged Wiggins,
The wonderful Wiggins who gives the glad hand!


In 1903, newspaper readers knew Frank Wiggins as the legendary secretary of the Chamber, tireless and innovative promoter of Los Angeles, and creator of a larger-than-life elephant made of walnuts.

Presumably on purpose 21 years later, on March 28, 1924, the Chamber celebrated the laying of another cornerstone for another bigger and better building at 1151-12th Street.  In all, the Chamber has occupied 8 building locations in Los Angeles. This year, the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce celebrates its 125th anniversary.

Looking forward to attending this event on Monday evening: 


huntingtonlibrary:

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.
Looking forward to attending this event on Monday evening:

huntingtonlibrary:

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.

On March 27, 1987, the band U2 recorded the “Where the Streets Have No Name” video atop a downtown Los Angeles building at 7th & Main.

usclibraries:

“Merry Xmas” greetings from Venice Beach in 1951.
Part of the Los Angeles Examiner Collection in the USC Digital Library.

usclibraries:

“Merry Xmas” greetings from Venice Beach in 1951.

Part of the Los Angeles Examiner Collection in the USC Digital Library.