neglected, was left dozing in the sun. The government entered the
fight indirectly when in 1871 it spent $200,000 on a breakwater be-
tween Deadman's Island and Rattlesnake Island, in an effort to force
the main channel tides to scour out a sandbar. The Southern Pacific,
sensing possibilities of large-scale government development and to fore-
stall competition, began to acquire control of the oceanside. It pur-
chased a railroad that Senator John P. Jones of Nevada and associates
had built between Santa Monica and Los Angeles. Then Collis P.
Huntington, Southern Pacific president, abandoned the San Pedro-
Wilmington area and centered all development at Santa Monica (see
The Harbor: San Pedro and Wilmington}. The company built the
Long Wharf, 4,600 feet long to deep water, devised a buoy system, and
48 LOS ANGELES
waited for the government to build a breakwater. The railroad leaders
christened their site the 'Tort of Los Angeles."
San Pedro had been approved by one board of army engineers, but
there was demand for a resurvey to include Santa Monica. A second
board approved San Pedro, but pressure in Congress delayed action.
Stephen M. White, United States Senator from Los Angeles, and
affectionately known as the "Father of Los Angeles harbor," persuaded
President Grover Cleveland to appoint a third board, a mixed com-
mission later known as the Walker Board. This committee approved
San Pedro in its report in 1897, but the Long Wharf backers refused
to admit defeat. Senator White and Collis P. Huntington engaged in
a bitter fight that echoed throughout the United States. Through
Senator White's efforts, appropriations were earmarked for the "free
port" plan. On April 26, 1899, President William McKinley pressed
an electric button in Washington that dumped the first carload of rock
into San Pedro Bay for the breakwater of the present outer harbor,
which was completed in 1910.
While the breakwater was under construction, Los Angeles edged
out toward her port. In 1906 the city annexed the "shoestring strip,"
a quarter-of-a-mile-wide path to the ocean, and in 1909 San Pedro and
Wilmington were consolidated with Los Angeles. The beach area
became officially the Port of Los Angeles on February 13, 1910.
Opening of the Panama Canal and the agricultural and commercial
development of the Los Angeles area, with an increase in the import
and export trade, continually taxed the harbor's facilities despite con-
sistent development including construction of a second breakwater.
The city of Los Angeles has spent more than $42,000,000 and the
Federal government more than $17,000,000, in addition to what was
spent on government buildings at the port.
While Los Angeles in the closing years of the century battled with
her harbor and transportation problems, the Spanish-American War
excited high and at times bitter interest.
A great proportion of the residents were of Spanish extraction, and
although they proclaimed their loyalty to the United States before the
outbreak of hostilities, some unpleasant events resulted from what
today is known as "war hysteria."
When the actual declaration of war came, fears that the southern
California coast would be raided by the enemy were expressed. Steps
were taken immediately to mobilize this region's quota of volunteers,
and the Seventh Regiment of the State Militia went into camp at the
Presidio, San Francisco. Harrison Gray Otis, publisher of the Times,
was named brigadier general of the volunteers, and was sent to the
Philippines for service.
The Seventh Regiment was held at the Presidio during the entire
PUEBLO TO METROPOLIS 49
period of the war despite the fact that regiments from elsewhere report-
ing later were successful in being sent to the front where they saw
active service. Conditions at the Presidio camp were bad and as the
members of the regiment impatiently awaited call, fevers developed
and many soldiers died.
An oil boom marked the closing years of the nineteenth century.
When oil had been discovered within the city limits several years
before, feverish drilling in residential sections had resulted in over-
production, waste, and low prices. Now, however, new uses were
found for crude oil, and the industry began to flourish. A Los Angeles
man invented a crude-oil burner for steam generation. Another dis-
covered a way to fire brick with oil ; and many of the refining processes
were developed that increased its use in hundreds of ways. Another
important innovation was the use of large tanks in which to store the
product instead of allowing it to flood the market. Natural gas, which
had formerly been allowed to escape from the wells, was piped and sold ;
its presence in large quantities became a powerful factor in drawing
certain industries to Los Angeles. As a result of the boom, the oil
fields were extended far beyond the original area, and the next few
years saw the development of Southern California as one of the world's
leading petroleum centers.
Los Angeles entered the twentieth century as a dynamic American
city of 102,479 persons. In the fifty years since it had come under
United States sovereignty, the one-time pueblo had weathered two
severe droughts and an hysterical land boom. The successful struggle
against these hardships had developed a civic pride and cohesiveness
and had made Los Angeles a city in spirit as well as in name. True,
it did not yet look like a metropolis. Many of the streets were still
unpaved, and the increasing numbers of automobiles kicked dust or
mud on passers-by; most of the downtown buildings were small and
the houses drab frame structures. There was a definite "Old West"
atmosphere. But despite its appearance the town was coming of age,
acquiring cultural institutions, new industries and types of agriculture,
a growing commerce and receiving a never-ending stream of new-
comers, who brought capital to invest and needs to be supplied by the
The Chamber of Commerce campaign "to induce immigration"
had proved fruitful, and was continued with varying intensity. An-
other kind of campaign was launched in 1907 by the Southern Pacific
Railroad and the California Fruit Growers Exchange, formed ten years
earlier by citrus growers to provide a nonprofit, co-operative marketing
agency for their oranges, lemons, and grapefruit. Formerly they had
had to depend on commission brokers, whose chaotic marketing methods
left little profit for the growers. The Exchange's marketing system
5O LOS ANGELES
proved so effective that by 1907 it was shipping about half of the Cali-
fornia citrus crop. In this year the Southern Pacific offered to join the
Exchange in an eastern advertising campaign, each organization to put
up $10,000. Iowa was chosen as the test ground. Fruit was shipped
in special trains. The slogan "Oranges for Health California for
Wealth" was advertised throughout Iowa. Other promotional activ-
ities were energetically undertaken, and the trademark "Sunkist" was
adopted to identify Exchange oranges.
This combined effort to increase citrus consumption and lure popu-
lation had sensational results. The Exchange's business increased 17.7
per cent nationally, but consumption of California citrus fruits in Iowa
went up 50 per cent. At the same time, immigration from Iowa to
California swelled markedly.
The delighted Exchange voted in the following year to expand the
territory covered by its advertising, and to spend $25,000. Since then
the annual advertising appropriation has risen to many times that figure ;
oranges have been "sold" as a staple article of diet to a nation that
formerly regarded them as a luxury, and the California Fruit Growers
Exchange has served as the model for scores of co-operative marketing
organizations throughout the world. Though the appeal for immigra-
tion was dropped later by the Exchange, it was carried on by the
Chamber of Commerce and other groups, with the result that Los
Angeles' population more than tripled in the decade 1900-1910.
QUEST FOR WATER
Water both fresh and salt has been a vital factor in shaping
Los Angeles' destiny. It was the man-made harbor that enabled the
city to spurt ahead of other Pacific Coast cities. Similarly, it was the
city's success in obtaining an ample water supply that made it possible
to support a large population. The story of how this vital water supply
was created is as dramatic as that of the struggle for a harbor; in
addition, it is the story of feats that are the pride of the engineering
Discovery of the Los Angeles River helped determine the site for
establishment of Los Angeles in 1781 by Governor Felipe de Neve.
The padres of San Fernando Mission, in 1799, two years after the
mission's founding, dammed up the river and found themselves in the
first local litigation over water rights, with the pueblo as complainant.
The pueblo won the initial victory in a series of water-supply disputes
that were to high light the history of the city.
Early in the nineteenth century, enterprising residents constructed
a dam across the Los Angeles River, and installed the pueblo's first
water wheel, with buckets attached to the paddles. As the wheel
PUEBLO TO METROPOLIS 51
was revolved by the force of the flowing stream, water was lifted
from the river and spilled into a canal. Thus townspeople were able
to irrigate land at an elevation considerably above that of the river.
For 133 years the river was the sole source of water for Los
Angeles. From the beginning until 1865 the town's water-distributing
system was publicly owned. Eventually the town council decided to
lease the municipal system to a private operator, and three years later,-
in 1868, turned over the city's waterworks for a period of thirty years
to a privately owned corporation, later known as the City Water
Company. In 1898 the city sought to regain its water system and after
four years of negotiation and litigation, purchased the distributing lines
and equipment for $2,000,000. It immediately made a 63 per cent
reduction in domestic rates.
The Los Angeles River, under normal conditions, was capable of
supplying the needs of 250,000 people. By 1905 the city's population
was more than 160,000, and increasing at an amazing rate. Then,
during a series of dry years the river was barely able to meet the city's
requirements, and it became clear that it would not be able to serve a
Seeking a solution, civic leaders conceived the plan of getting water
rights in the valley of the Owens River, a stream 250 miles to the
northeast, fed by the snow waters of the High Sierras. William
Mulholland, chief engineer of the Municipal Water Bureau, was sent
to investigate. When he returned, he formulated plans for construction
of an aqueduct capable of delivering enough water to meet the needs
of 2,000,000 persons.
The first bond issue of $1,500,000, needed to purchase rights-of-way
and start preliminary work, was submitted to the people in 1905. The
vote in favor of the issue was in the ratio of 14 to i.
Work on the aqueduct was begun in the fall of 1907, and com-
pleted in 1913. When finished it included 142 separate tunnels aggre-
gating 53 miles in length, 12 miles of inverted steel siphons, 24 miles
of open unlined conduit, 39 miles of open cement-lined conduit, and
97 miles of covered conduit. Additional miles were taken up by three
large reservoirs, the largest of which, the Haiwee Reservoir, was
capable of storing more than 19,000,000 gallons of water.
Present length of the Los Angeles Aqueduct from the intake in
Owens River Valley to the San Fernando Reservoir is 233.3 miles.
But the water was not brought to Los Angeles. The aqueduct
ended at San Fernando and Los Angeles went to the aqueduct ; almost
the whole of San Fernando Valley was annexed by the city. In the
beginning, the bulk of the water was distributed to San Fernando
farms, but by 1939, the amount furnished to Los Angeles amounted to
80 per cent of the city's supply.
52 LOS ANGELES
In 1917, the first hydroelectric generating plant along the Los
Angeles Aqueduct was completed at St. Francis Dam in San Francis-
quito Canyon. Power from this plant, distributed to consumers at low
rates, opened the way to industrial expansion. Factory wheels began
to hum, production of goods to multiply. New jobs were created for
the ever-increasing population; the value of manufactured products
increased. Success of this venture stimulated further power develop-
ment ; a second plant was proposed and a bond issue for it was approved
by an overwhelming majority of the voters. Construction was started
in August, 1919, and was rushed to completion with an installed
capacity of 41,000 horsepower in July, 1920.
The necessity for the Los Angeles Aqueduct was more than justi-
fied by 1923, when it was apparent that an additional supply of water
would soon be needed: the population was climbing toward the second
million with 100,000 new residents a year.
Realizing that the city must begin to prepare for the future, Chief
Engineer Mulholland began to survey a route for an adequate supply
to bring water to the city from the Colorado River. Special problems
were presented by the erratic flow of the river. Enormous floods
threatened destruction of lower river areas but in some places flow was
too low to meet needs of lands already under cultivation.
Possibilities of controlling the flow of the river had been under
study by the Federal government. At the time the early aqueduct
plans were made by the city of Los Angeles, the United States Reclama-
tion Service was studying the problem of storing the water of the
Lower Colorado. Earlier plans contemplated storage for flood control
and irrigation only, but potential returns and benefits from these
sources were inadequate to justify the cost of the project; but, when
it developed that southern California offered a market for power that
could be produced incidentally, the problem of financing was simplified.
A tangle of legal, diplomatic, and political complications preceded
passage of the Boulder Canyon Project Act in December, 1928. Con-
struction of Boulder Dam, rising 727 feet, has created the world's
largest artificial lake, with a storage capacity of 30,500,000 acre-feet.
This reservoir controls and conserves the flood waters of the river ; and,
in addition, makes possible development of from four billion to six
billion kilowatt-hours of electrical energy a year.
With storage of the Colorado waters assured, and the quality of its
water established, plans for an aqueduct went forward. The principal
cities of Southern California became interested and the Metropolitan
Water District of Southern California was incorporated on Decem-
ber 6, 1928, to embrace Los Angeles, Anaheim, Beverly Hills, Burbank,
Compton, Fullerton, Glendale, Long Beach, Pasadena, San Marino,
Santa Ana, Santa Monica, and Torrance.
PUEBLO TO METROPOLIS 53
A major problem was selection of a general route for the aqueduct,
since all presented serious difficulties. With much of the area unsur-
veyed, the first task was contour mapping of approximately 25,000
square miles of desert and rugged terrain where roads were practically
nonexistent. In many places the surveyors had to build trails. The
survey showed that bringing water to the Metropolitan District by
gravity was impossible, both physically and financially. Boulder Dam,
however, provided the means for diversion of water by pumping, since
power would be available, and construction of another dam, down-
stream, would enable diversion into an aqueduct to be built over a more
advantageous route. The site selected was about sixteen miles upstream
from Parker, Arizona. The aqueduct with a pump lift of 1,617 feet,
reaches the coastal plain through a thirteen-mile tunnel in the San
Gorgonio Pass of the San Jacinto Mountains, south of Beaumont.
Five pumping plants, powered by a transmission line built by the Metro-
politan Water District from Boulder Dam, lift water from Parker
Dam to the coastal plain.
From the intake at Parker Dam to Los Angeles, the Colorado River
Aqueduct covers a distance of 392 miles.
Although a total of forty-three tunnels was necessary to carry the
water through mountainous territory, construction of the one through
the San Jacinto Mountains was the most difficult. At the outset, a
heavy inflow of water was encountered, submerging tunnel, shaft, and
all equipment. Further boring encountered heavy, wet ground and
large flows of water on all sides. Despite the hardships, determined
men with modern machines went steadily forward through the mud
and water to the final "holing through" on November 19, 1938.
A year later, to the day, the aqueduct from Parker Dam reached
Lake Mathews, the storage basin at the upper end of the area to be
served. This reservoir permits gravity delivery to the entire area.
Under construction in 1940 near La Verne is a softening plant, which
will treat all water serving the thirteen cities of the Metropolitan
Water District. Also under construction are the various feeder lines
that will carry water from Lake Mathews to the cities early in 1941.
While construction of Boulder Dam was precipitated by Southern
California's need for water, of major interest to the city is the Boulder
Dam power, first transmitted to Los Angeles in October, 1936. These
mighty power generators are enabling fulfillment of prophecies of vast
industrial growth for the region.
LOS ANGELES PARTICIPATES IN THE WORLD WAR
The first Sunday in April, 1917, at the time the star of the old
German Empire seemed at its greatest ascendancy, and with the United
54 LOS ANGELES
States nursing the wounds to its dignity and pride caused by a series
of provocations by sea and land, a leading morning newspaper described
the citizens of Los Angeles as "indifferent to the growing war cloud."
Wednesday of the same week, the Los Angeles Times reported that
President Woodrow Wilson was ready to present his war plans to the
Congress, and, on the historic sixth of April 1917, stated:
"Los Angeles waited calmly for the fateful flash from Washington
that spells war. The streets were very quiet."
This quiet, natural in view of the remoteness of Los Angeles from
Europe, was a prelude to intense activity following promptly upon
the declaration of war, and increasing for the ensuing two years. Be-
fore the month of April had passed, 375 local applications had been
accepted "for entrance to the officers' training camp at the Presidio."
The San Francisco army post, the old Spanish Presidio, was to receive
a steady flow of Los Angeles' applicants until, by the time the camp
opened on May 8th, approximately eight hundred Los Angeles men
were enrolled for training.
Before this exciting April had passed, Mayor Frederick T. Wood-
man was setting an example to increase food production by convert-
ing his flower borders into vegetable gardens and the city was checking
supplies available for immediate national use as prices for food soared ;
William Gibbs McAdoo, then Secretary of the Treasury and later
United States Senator for California, coined the phrase "Liberty Loan";
social events assumed a patriotic air, with the Stars and Stripes as the
prevailing decorative motif, and the first of the giant "community
sings" of the war era was held in what is now the Philharmonic
A report, early in the war days, that the plot to blow up the
Welland Canal had originated in Los Angeles tightened the nerves of
citizens. Alleged enemy operations south of the Mexican border multi-
plied rumor and heightened public tension. Thousands of dollars began
to pour into Red Cross and war-relief agencies. Registered nurses
were organized in great numbers for home and foreign service. The
"bluejackets" vanished from San Pedro streets and their ships disap-
peared from anchor off the breakwater. The Chamber of Commerce
warned citizens against food hoarding. Film celebrities came forward
to help in recruiting and war-aid activities. The large Mexican popu-
lation and all foreign groups threw themselves in the war picture
without reservation. Streets began to resound with fanfares, parades
marched, flags waved in the doorways of recruiting offices, and the
"quiet" that had received editorial notice at the beginning of April was
no more. All processes of the city's life began to operate at high speed.
Enlistments from Los Angeles city and county totaled more than
75,000 men, most of whom were incorporated into the famous gist and
PUEBLO TO METROPOLIS 55
4Oth Divisions. Other local men were found in practically every divi-
sion of the American Expeditionary Forces and fought on the bloodiest
battlefields during the closing year of the war.
Los Angeles was represented in the section of the American Ex-
peditionary Force sent to Vladivostok to aid the Allies in maintaining
order while the vast Russian Empire was torn by internal struggle,
and to consolidate Czech forces operating in Siberia.
Among the training services in Los Angeles were an observation
balloon school, at Arcadia, and the training base for naval recruits,
at San Pedro.
Los Angeles underwent diverse changes while action was raging
abroad. Food production in Los Angeles County attained immense
proportions. Parties were turned into benefits to foster war aims.
The city continuously entertained foreign representatives. Knitting for
the soldiers became a public activity, with women purling on cars and
busses and in theaters or on street corners. On September I, 1917,
the whole city joined in a monster rally to honor the fighting forces.
After the armistice Los Angeles sponsored numerous postwar de-
velopments. Local posts of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the
American Legion were organized. A little-known veteran organization,
the A. E. F., Siberia, had its origin in Los Angeles, at the Del Mar
Club, and has become a national institution, with members engaged in
the study of Oriental politics as their objective. Patriotic women pro-
moted the erection of the ornamental War Memorial statue in Pershing
Square. A huge coliseum was built in Exposition Park as a war
The war was followed by the great southern California boom of
the twenties less spectacular than that of the eighties, but far more
substantial and long-lived. The census of 1920 gave Los Angeles a
population of 576,673, an increase of a quarter of a million since 1910;
during the next decade, the total reached 1,238,048. Building opera-
tions in the county to provide housing for the newcomers and quarters
for industrial expansion rose in value from $88,000,000 in 1920 to
$177,000,000 in 1939, with a peak of more than $297,000,000 in
1923. In recent years Los Angeles has ranked second to New York
in the amount spent in building construction. School enrollment in
the county reached 693,000 in 1939, and the assessed valuation of
county property trebled between 1920 and that year, to $2,551,000,000.
The growth of Los Angeles following the World War was equalled
only by that of Chicago immediately after the Civil War. The Cham-
ber of Commerce intensified its activities of previous years, advertising
the city at fairs and expositions in the East, bringing conventions to
the city, and persuading eastern manufacturers to establish branch plants
in Los Angeles. Unlike the Chamber of Commerce, the All-Year Club,
56 LOS ANGELES
founded in 1921, had only one well-defined objective to persuade tour-
ists to come to southern California, in the hope they would spend
money in summer as well as winter, and eventually decide to remain
permanently. The hopes, thanks to advertising campaigns in eastern
newspapers and magazines, were realized to a spectacular degree. Ac-
cording to All- Year Club reports, the annual tourist volume jumped
from 200,000 in 1921 to 1,703,167 in 1939, and the visitors were esti-
mated to have spent $193,834,763 in the latter year alone. Summer
travel has surpassed that of winter, about one million tourists visiting
the region in the summer of 1939. The All- Year Club estimates that
one out of every ten tourists returns here to live, and that the largest
part of southern California income belongs to retired persons living on
private means. Even if these estimates are discounted, they show how
successfully southern California has been sold to the Nation.
As new residents poured into Los Angeles during the early twenties
it became, in population, area, and industry, the fastest-growing major
city in the United States. There was a real-estate boom as spectacular