Happy Birthday, William Shakespeare!
On William Shakespeare’s birthday, April 23, 1902, “a crush of ultra-fashionable ladies and gentlemen” celebrated by dedicating Cumnock Hall—a duplicate of Shakespeare’s house in Stratford. With its “wilderness of flowers [and] furbelows and electric lights in a violet-laden atmosphere,” the dedication was a “magnificent success” according to the Los Angeles Times.
Located on Figueroa, the hall was the new home of the Cumnock School of Expression which offered classes in acting and stagecraft (and even had a Shakespeare Room). Among the most popular were the Shakespeare classes taught by Kate Tupper Gilpin, founder of the Los Angeles Shakespeare Club. For this club, the Bard’s birthday was always an occasion for celebration.
In 1904, the club presented “The Merry Wives of Windsor” to great acclaim…”brilliant work” noted the Los Angeles Times. British-born actor, director and playwright Garnet Holme (author of the Ramona Pageant) “who trained and directed the play, was recipient of a Marie Antoinette basket of La France roses from the cast,” all of whom were amateurs.
The Times concluded “Let no one say, after this, that in the city of Los Angeles the immortal Bard of Avon is unremembered or unsung.”
Situated in downtown LA’s Grand Park, this plaque maps the route of the Los Pobladores. The Pobladores is the term used to describe the 11 founding families who left Mexico (in February 1871) to settle the new El Pueblo de Los Angeles. On August 18, 1871, they arrived at the San Gabriel Mission, to rest and prepare for the last leg of their journey. As a reminder, Los Angeles turns 231 in a couple of weeks, as Los Angeles was formally founded on September 4, 1781. The descendants of Los Pobladores commemorate this journey of their ancestors with an annual walk from the San Gabriel Mission to El Pueblo. This year’s celebration is scheduled for Monday, September 3, 2012.
Here’s a little Los Angeles oil history as reflected in the historic lobby of the Downtown Standard. The Los Angeles Times recently recounted LA’s oil history in its article about the current capping of some of LA’s oldest oil wells:
The sealing of the long-abandoned wells by Allenco Energy to make way for a 45-unit affordable housing project marks the end of an era for the Los Angeles City Oil Field, which sparked Southern California’s oil boom 120 years ago.
The photo above is of the ceiling relief in the historic lobby of the Downtown Standard, built by architect Claud Beelman in 1955 for the Superior Oil Building.
Sharing a couple of scenes with Santa from Los Angeles’ past (via the Los Angeles Public Library Photo Archive) as we wish you all a Merry Christmas!
- Santa visits the Hollywood Canteen (1943)
- The Jung family poses with Santa (1953)
- Stella Gomez eyes Santa (1950s)
- Children enjoy the larger-than-life Santa designed by Shell Oil (1929)
It was just announced that UCLA will house the LAUSD archive. Chances are this LAUSD textbook, “Angelenos: Then and Now” is in the archive as it was used to teach Los Angeles students about those Angelenos who came before them.
May 29, 1973, Los Angeles City Councilman Tom Bradley elected as first African-American mayor of Los Angeles. Nice collection of photos of Tom Bradley at MayorTomBradley.com.
Photo taken May 12, 1966 shows the transformation of Bunker Hill, as Union Bank bldg rises over Victorian houses.