“The Red-Letter Days of the Year”: A Program for the Tenth Annual Amateur Radio Relay League Pacific Division Convention, Los Angeles, 29-30 September 2019

by Paul R. Spitzzeri In conjunction with the rise of radio came the development of the amateur enthusiast, or the "ham," so named because amateurs in the early days of radio, according to the Amateur Radio Relay League, a national organization founded in 1914, "could effectively jam all the other operations in the area." Because... Continue Reading →

Striking a Chord: First Century Families and the Centennial of the Founding of the Los Angeles Philharmonic

by Paul R. Spitzzeri In 1939, Mary Foy, the first woman head librarian for the City of Los Angeles, and Charlotte Workman Masson, a grand-niece of Homestead founders William and Nicolasa Workman, launched First Century Families, an organization composed of descendants of those who lived in the City of Angels during its first century from... Continue Reading →

From Point A to Point B: “Traffic Survey in Los Angeles” from the Electric Railway Journal, 3 November 1923

by Paul R. Spitzzeri Among the topics I raised with the Homestead's Non-Fiction Book Club members last Friday when they discussed Robert Fogelson's Fragmented Metropolis, his study of Los Angeles from 1850 to 1930, was the challenge local government faced trying to keep infrastructure on pace with rapid transformations in such areas as transportation. For example,... Continue Reading →

Indigenous Peoples Day and Native Peoples in the Homestead’s History

by Paul R. Spitzzeri Growing up, Columbus Day was generally commemorated by a day off from school and a moderate amount curriculum was devoted to the Italian, sailing for the crown of Spain, "discovering" America.  Obviously, this characterization is highly flawed.  While the navigator did not actually reach the enormous American landmass, coming close by... Continue Reading →

“In the Big City Class”: A “Progress Map” of The Union Terminal Warehouse District of Los Angeles, April and September 1917

by Paul R. Spitzzeri Among the many essential elements of the transformation of greater Los Angeles during the Homestead's interpretive time period of 1830 to 1930 none are more important than the economic environment that made the region the predominant one on the American West Coast. The City of Angels was not necessarily predestined for... Continue Reading →

Solar Panels in the Roaring Twenties: A Day & Night Solar Heater Company Pamphlet, ca. 1921

by Paul R. Spitzzeri Photos of the Workman House and La Casa Nueva from the 1920s show, on the south-facing portions of the roofs of both structures, solar panels.  Here we are nearly a century later and, while solar panels are increasingly being used for electric power generation, it is little known that panels were... Continue Reading →

Ethnic and Racial Stereotyping Discussion at the Homestead’s Non-Fiction Book Club

by Paul R. Spitzzeri This morning, the Homestead's Non-Fiction Book Club discussed Maurice Manring's Slave in a Box: The Strange Career of Aunt Jemima, a subject mentioned in a blog post here this past February centered on a photo of a vaudeville actress in blackface in the museum's collection.  The Aunt Jemima figure has had a... Continue Reading →

Commemorating the 250th Anniversary of the Portolá Expedition of 1769-1770 at the Avila Adobe, El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument

by Paul R. Spitzzeri After last Sunday's hike and panel sponsored by the Homestead in commemoration of the 250th anniversary of the Portolá Expedition of 1769-1770, the first land-based trek by Europeans of California, attendee David Kipen contacted me and asked if I and Andy Salas and Matt Teutimez of the Kizh-Gabrieleño Band of Mission... Continue Reading →

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