Friday, April 27, 2012

Southern Pacific in Santa Monica

Senator John P. Jones, half-owner of the land that became Santa Monica, developed a private steam powered rail service from the Long Wharf in Santa Monica to Los Angeles called the Los Angeles & Independent Railroad (LA & I) beginning in October 1875. The line was intended to expand over the Cajon Pass into San Bernardino and later to the Cerro Gordo mines in Panamint, near Death Valley.
Long Wharf Pier built by the Southern Pacific Railroad Company in 1893

Collins Potter Huntington, one of the Big Four who purchased Southern Pacific Railroad in 1868 was also interested in expanding in the same area under development by Senator Jones. Huntington vowed to "...cave him [Senator Jones] down the bank." Jones failed to realize expanding the private LA &I railroad line when he, like many other millionaires in 1876 was impacted by Black Friday, August 27, when Comstock speculations fell. Jones lost his fortune and ability to continue with construction. Southern Pacific agreed to build 25 miles of track to make Los Angeles a main-line station in exchange for  $600,00 in cash and bonds as well as the Los Angeles and San Pedro Railroads.
Southern Pacific Railroad train and grounds in Santa Monica in 1890

More images of the Southern Pacific Railroad in Santa Monica and Long Wharf are available in Imagine Santa Monica
To read more about Southern Pacific Railroad or the early days of railroads in America try:
American Railroads by John F. Stover, second edition 1997 Dewey 385 Stover 1997
Southern Pacific by Neill C. Wilson and Frank J. Taylor, c1952 Dewey 385 W
Sunset Limited: the Southern Pacific Railroad and the development of the American West, 1850-1930 by Richard J. Orsi, c2005 Dewey 385 Orsi

Monday, April 16, 2012

Depression Era building in Santa Monica

Three recognizable structures in Santa Monica were built as a part of the Works Project Administration (WPA) in the 1930s in which the New Deal agency funded and employed a million unskilled workers  who created public buildings; roads; large arts, drama and media projects; along with literacy projects throughout the country.

Pictured is Postmaster Phillip T. Hill at the dedication of the Santa Monica Post Office located at 1248 Fifth Street on July 23, 1938.

The auditorium named Barnum Hall was built with WPA funds for Santa Monica High School, following a devastating earthquake in 1933 that resulted in students attending classes in tents. Pictured are Santa Monica High School in 1930 and a view of the tents used for classes after the earthquake.

Santa Monica's City Hall located at 1685 Main Street was completed in 1938 and designed by architect Donald Parkinson in the Art Deco style.

Images are from the Imagine Santa Monica Image Archives