Creating advocates for history through the stories of greater Los Angeles.
by Paul R. Spitzzeri
The second day of our tenth edition of “Ticket to the Twenties” featured much better weather, about the mid-80s as opposed to the century mark reached yesterday, and many more visitors, with Sundays usually drawing more people than Saturdays anyway.
As with yesterday, I spent the day at the Tepee, the unusual structure built next to La Casa Nueva and which served as Walter P. Temple’s retreat and home office. The difference today, though, was that there was no trivia contest to emcee, so I stayed in my location for all four hours of the festival.
Visitors flowed steadily and in greater numbers than yesterday, which had several moments of downtime. That was not really the case today and another boost was that the amazing Janet Klein and Her Parlor Boys were performing on the West Lawn right next to the Tepee. So, especially after her sets, there were significant streams of guests coming over to check out the structure.
As noted yesterday, the content of an interpretive board and table-top displays was to discuss the inspiration of a similar building at Soboba Hot Springs, a resort in San Jacinto near Hemet; the prevalence of “programmatic architecture,” or buildings in the shapes of things; and Temple’s business ups-and-downs, with some mention of later uses of the Tepee and the Homestead generally by a military academy (1930-1935) and El Encanto Sanitarium (1940-mid 1960s).
While I try not to give the same information when talking to groups and often tried to change the order of topics (starting with Temple’s businesses with the use of the Tepee and then working over to the inspiration of Soboba), I noticed that today I was able to more concisely and smoothly provide the details than I did on Saturday.
One tidbit I mentioned today that I didn’t yesterday was that one of the photos on display shows the Tepee with two small sycamore saplings planted on its north side. Remarkably, those trees, now several dozen feet high, are still standing ninety years later. As often happens, however, I felt I was really getting into a good groove just as the day was about over and the festival coming to an end.
Still, because so many of the several hundred people who dropped by the Tepee over the weekend mentioned how happy they were to see a building that has almost always been closed during festivals and has rarely been open otherwise in the last few years, it was a lot of fun to share some of structure’s history and that of the Temple family.
Because I didn’t get out to the rest of the site at all, I can’t speak to how the other bands were, how the house tours went, and how other activities were received, but past experience is that the vast majority of our visitors have a great time at “Ticket to the Twenties” and come away both entertained and educated.
As part of my talk about the history of the Tepee and the Homestead broadly, I always make sure to mention that the City of Industry, within several years of its 1957 incorporation, purchased portions of the property and then finalized the acquisition of La Casa Nueva in the mid-1970s because it was committed to preserving the Homestead.
The extensive renovations conducted in the late 1970s and very early 1980s, culminating with the opening of the museum in May 1981 and then continuing with full financial backing for over thirty-five years, is a remarkable demonstration of support. One of the many direct results of this is a festival like “Ticket to the Twenties.”
Next up for me, as far as museum programming goes, is that two weeks from today is the final “Curious Cases” presentation of the year, with the topic being the well-known 19th century bandit, Tiburcio Vásquez. Vásquez, whose criminal career commenced in the early 1850s, was finally captured near Los Angeles is spring 1874, following a robbery that directly involved the Temple and Workman bank.
While “Curious Cases” programs are usually limited to about 45 persons, high demand has led us to change the seating arrangement to accommodate more people. So, it should be a very interesting afternoon and those interested in attending should contact the museum soon to see if there is space.