Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Santa Monica Pier

The Santa Monica Municipal Pier took eighteen months to build and opened in September 1909. The Pier was rebuilt a total of two times in 1917 and 1924. This photograph shows the original construction, using cement piles, which it was believed would withstand storms and wear. The Santa Monica Pier was designated a landmark in 1976.

The Santa Moncia Pier was also a film location for a handful of movies (Source AFI Database) -

The Son of Kong (1933) from RKO Radio Pictures, Inc. was a sequel to King Kong. The Strange Bargain (1949) was a suspense thriller directed by Will Price. The framed suspect throws a gun that he believes was the murder/suicide weapon off the Santa Monica Pier. Released on April 1, 1950, Everybody's Dancin', starred western swing star Spade Cooley who televised his weekly show from the Santa Monica Pier in 1948. The movie premise follows a family who run the Waltzland Ballroom on Santa Monica Pier during World War I. Quicksand came out in 1950 starring Mickey Rooney, whose petty theft of $20 in cash snowballs into murder and blackmail. A lot of the action in the film takes place on the Pier, with the main characters heading back to the Pier at the end of the film. Pretty Maids All in a Row opened in Los Angeles on May 10, 1971, starring Rock Hudson and Angie Dickinson in a coming of age farce that included murder. Roger Vadim directed this film. The Santa Monica Pier is featured when a car is driven off of its end. Cactus in the Snow, released in 1972 starred Richard Thomas in a story about a young man trying to experience life before being deployed to Vietnam. Several scenes were shot at the carousel on the Pier. Harry and Tonto starred Art Carney, who is a man in his 70s who has been displaced from his apartment in New York, along with his cat, Tonto. They wend their way west after many misadventures.

Santa Monica Municipal Airport Control Tower

Airplanes shown on the tarmac near the Santa Monica Municipal Airport Control Tower. Santa Monica Airport was previously known as Clover Field. The rotating beacon was moved from Downey in 1952 and installed at SMO. The control tower was designated as a City of Santa Monica landmark in 1988. The image is from the Santa Monica Environmental and Public Works Management Collection.

Trailer life in Santa Monica

In the 1930s trailers could be spotted on Santa Monica Beach full of visitors enjoying the sand and surf. The Miramar Trailer park was located north of the pier in this photograph from 1935. Douglas Aircraft experienced a boom during World War II, when the aircraft factory ran three shifts, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week to meet production demands. At one time during the peak in employment in the mid-1940s, 44,000 people worked at the Santa Monica facility. With this massive influx of workers, demands for housing in the area grew resulting in zoning for residential housing up to the perimeter of the airport in Santa Monica and Los Angeles. Trailer parks sprung up all around Santa Monica to accommodate workers. The two remaining trailer parks in the City are Village Trailer Park on Colorado Avenue and Mountain View Mobile Inn on Stewart Street.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Portrait on Santa Monica Pier

Families visited the Santa Monica Pier in their best finery to have a portrait taken. Pictured here are Selena McDonald Brunson and Charles E.A. Brunson holding their first born, Donald A. Brunson, the first African-American baby born in Santa Monica in 1907. Charles E.A. Brunson had a cleaning business in Santa Monica. He was an expressman at one time, then worked custodial service for two banks, one the Merchants Bank in Santa Monica.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Ostrich Farm

The Ostrich Farm was established in 1889 at Hill Street, between Main Street and Washington Blvd. on Ocean Park, on a 7 acre tract with 34 fenced-in birds. The ostrich farm began in Cahuenga Valley, was in Griffith Park and finally moved to Santa Monica. The farm owner, Dr. Charles S. Sketchley, an Englishman, brought the birds from South Africa where he had an ostrich farm. His plan was to build a park and menagerie, which was finally moved to Santa Monica for accessibility. The birds' large, plumy, white feathers were harvested about every eight weeks and used as decoration on hats worn by ladies. When the park lost its appeal as a tourist attraction, the remaining ostriches were moved to Anaheim in 1895.