1891 Ingersoll

Ingersoll's Century History Santa Monica Bay Cities (Being Book Number Two of Ingersoll's Century Series of California Local History Annals), 1908, 1908a, 1891

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Chapter II Laying the Foundations. 1870-1880.

     In 1891, Mr. Rindge purchased the property commonly known as the Malibu ranch, a Spanish land grant originally made to José B. Tapia in 1804, and later belonging to Don Mateo Keller. The original property extended along the coast northwesterly from Las Flores canyon for twenty miles. To this Mr. Rindge added other tracts until he owned a strip of land extending along the sea coast for twenty-four miles. Beautiful 'passages' or valleys; fertile mesas, stretches of magnificent beach, lofty peaks and ridges, gave a wonderful variety of scenery and climate to this rancho. Mysterious caves, almost inaccessible canyons, groves of ancient oak and sycamore lent romance and charm. It is not strange that Mr. Rindge, with his poetical tendency of thought and spiritual [p. 130] trend of mind, found here his ideal home and loved this historical rancho-not as property-but as a divine inheritance. He built here a home that was perfect in its adaptation to the environment and he spent here some of his happiest hours. His book, Happy Days in Southern California (1898) is largely a tribute to his life upon the Malibu, although it deals with other aspects of California life also.

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[p. 177] Chapter III. From Town to City. 1880-1890.

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     But after wating until the spring of 1891 for some tangible signs of fulfillment, the citizens again took a hand. In May a petition signed by about a hundred citizens was presented to the board of trustees requesting them to call an election to determine the question of issuing bonds for the construction of a wharf. After a full and enthusiastic discussion of this project by the trustees and the citizens, the matter was put to a vote and was defeated by the vote of two trustees. Another meeting was called and some very hot language was used; a new petition was prepared, urging the trustees to respect the wishes of the citizens; but the two obdurate members remained firm and again the petition was denied. The excitement ran high and the feeling against the two trustees was very bitter in some quarters.

     The following emphatic words expressed the feeling of the editor of the Outlook: "We haven't voted any bonds for a wharf at Santa Monica, nor has any person or persons agreed to build one; yet when a location is mentioned for a wharf, it is like shaking a red rag at a mad bull. If there is any one thing that some Santa Monicans can do better than anything else, it is getting up a raging opposition when something is proposed upon which all should agree. If a man started out tomorrow with a pocket full of twenty-dollar gold pieces, some 'chronic' would start a howl of opposition because the right person, in his opinion, had not been selected to make the distribution."

     But the question of building a wharf and of selecting a location was at last settled, without regard to the oppostion or opinions of Santa Monicans. On August 1st, 1891, the Southern Pacific Engineering Corps began a survey in "old" Santa Monica canyon, and it was definitely known that C.P. Huntington had decided on a wharf for Santa Monica. Thus ended the history of the agitation for a wharf.

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[p. 247] Chapter VI South Santa Monica and Ocean Park

     [p. 247] . . . After a couple of years the ostriches [from Hill St.] were removed to a new location near the Southern Pacific depot and under the management of Mr. Harold Perry, the place was made very attractive. Later Mr. Frank Ellis became manager, and in 1893 sold six birds to Sells circus, which were declared by the circus people to be the finest ostriches they had ever seen. Many old residents will remember the chase which followed the escape of a full grown African bird from the enclosure. The frantic creature, after being driven over the hills in the vicinity of the Soldier's Home was finally headed homeward, only to dash past the farm, into the ocean-to its death. About 1895 the remaining birds were removed to Anaheim and this attraction ceased to be counted among the charms of South Santa Monica.

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     [p. 248] . . . and in 1891 the proposition of the Terminal Wharf Company came up, various grants and concessions being made in consequence: but no wharf was built.

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[p. 266] Chapter VII Public Institutions


     . . . [p. 266] In 1891 another small building was put up in Garapatos canyon.

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     [p. 267] In May, 1885, the first class graduated from the grammar grade department, under the county laws governing grammar grades. The Santa Monica schools were counted as of the grammar grade until 1891, when the high school was established, under a new state law, and opened its first year of work in September, with Prof. Leroy D. Brown as principal. Prof. Brown was an able educator and made a strong mark upon the character of the city schools. He was later principal of the Los Angeles schools and his untimely death was a sorrow to many who had enjoyed his instruction. The high school was opened in the Sixth street building and the first class of five members, Roy Arthur Sulliger, Florence Corle Rubicam, George G. Bundy, Hilda H. Hasse and Delia Sweetser, graduated in 1894.

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[p. 269] School Trustees of Santa Monica

1890-91: John C. Morgan, Dr. H.G. Cates, N.A. Roth (Clerk).

1891-92: John C. Morgan, W.S. Vinyard, Dr. J.J. Place (Clerk).

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[p. 274] Public Library

     . . . and still at the end of the first year [1891] the library was badly in need of funds. If it was to be [p. 275] carried on, something must be done and a subscription of $200 was made up among citizens to help it out.

[p. 274 J.H. Clark1908b]

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[p. 282] Newspapers

     In March, 1891, Mr. Fisher sold the Outlook to W.S. Rogers and Eugene Day; but in September of the same year Mr. Day retired and Mr. Fisher again assumed editorial control of the paper. Mr. Fisher retained his interest in the paper until October, 1894 . . .

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[p. 291] Chapter VIII Churches and Societies: First Presbyterian Church of Santa Monica

     . . . In 1891, another "Spring Festival" was held which was an equally rich display of Santa Monica's floral wealth. These affairs were participated in by the [p. 292] people of Santa Monica generally and attracted many visitors from Los Angeles and other places. Much of their success was due to the energy and executive ability of the committee of which Miss Jennie Vawter was chairman.

     [p. 292] The new church is of the Queen Anne style, ceiled and wainscoted within with cedar, lighted with stained glass windows and electrical chandeliers, and with a seating capacity of 250. The total cost was about $7,000, of which over $1,000 was contributed by Mr. W.D. Vawter, to whose encouragement at the outset and liberal contributions, the success of the undertaking was largely due. It was built under the supervision of a committee consisting of Messrs. W.S. Vawter, Patrick Robertson and E.H. Sweetser.

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[p. 297] Chapter VIII Baptist Church

     From February 1st, 1890, until November 3rd, 1892, Rev. A.P. Brown, [p. 298] pastor of the Baptist church at Palms, preached on alternative Sunday afternoons at Ocean Park. Three pupils were baptized from the Ocean Park school into the membership of the Palms church.

     In 1891, Rev. W.W. Tinker, became district secretary of the American Baptist Home Missionary society. He proposed to erect a chapel in commemoration of J.O. Mathewson [ -1890], who had passed away the previous year.

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[p. 329] Chapter XI Venice of America and Its Founder

     About 1891 Mr. Kinney acquired an interest in a strip of ocean frontage, extending from the south boundary of the Lucas tract to the southern boundary of Ballona grant. This strip of sand was then considered worthless for any purpose whatever. But Mr. Kinney has imagination and foresight. In the face of many discouragements, he and his partner, F.G. Ryan, began putting up cottages and leasing lots in what was then known as South Santa Monica, because such lots on the sand could not be sold until their advantages were demonstrated. Through their effort the Y.M.C.A. was induced to locate its summer home on this beach and the "Ocean Park" Association was formed. Messrs. Kinney and Ryan planted out trees, planted parks and pavilions, wharfs and sidewalks, and slowly, they developed what became for a time at least, the most popular resort of the beach-the old Ocean Park district.

     But there was still a stretch of sand to the south of the settled area which was apparently hopeless, as it was little more than a salt marsh. Drainage suggested canals to Mr. Kinney, and he had a vision of a city that should equal in beauty and picturesqueness the Venice of his youthful enthusiasm. With the unfettered confidence of the progressive Armerican to the power of mind and money over material obstacles, he began the creation of an ideal city upon his salt marsh. The courage and persistance with which he has met the many unforeseen obstacles, the misunderstanding, and the opposition of a small but bitter faction, makes the history of Venice of America the crowning achievement of Mr. Kinney's long and active career in California . While the plans and the hopes of her projector have not all been fulfilled, Venice is already the most beautiful and the most unique pleasure resort on the Pacific coast.

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 Kelyn Roberts 2017