Female Justice Preview: The Cases of Lastenia Abarta and Mary Harris, 1865 and 1881

by Paul R. Spitzzeri This Sunday the 27th at 2 p.m. at the Homestead, we kick off our four-part lecture series "Female Justice," with a remarkable, fascinating, but generally little-known criminal case from Los Angeles that took place in spring 1881. The trial was of Lastenia Abarta, an 18-year old resident of the city, who,... Continue Reading →

Whitewashing in American Households with “Fun-to-Wash” and “California Citrus” Washing Powders, 1910-1930

by Paul R. Spitzzeri As we commemorate Martin Luther King, Jr. on this national holiday, there is much to think about, whether it is those areas of progress made and those that are lagging in race relations or looking back on the history of race relations in our country in terms of overt and cover... Continue Reading →

“The Western Empire State”: A Report of the Senate Judiciary Committee on California Statehood, 15 January 1849

by Paul R. Spitzzeri After the seizure of the Mexican department of Alta California by American forces, concluded after the Battle of Los Angeles on 9 January 1847 (after which William Workman helped bring out the flag of truce) and then subject to the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo of 2 January 1848, discussion began about... Continue Reading →

Sharing History with the La Verne Historical Society on Curious Cases and District Court Judge Benjamin Hayes, 1852-1864

by Paul R. Spitzzeri Despite the rain, about 75 people showed up tonight at the Hillcrest retirement community for my presentation, the third for that group in recent years, to the La Verne Historical Society based on the Homestead's Curious Cases program on Judges in Los Angeles, 1850-1875, otherwise titled "Shoot Away, Damn You!" That... Continue Reading →

“A School for Scandal”: A Letter from Agnes Temple to Thomas W. Temple II, January 1925

by Paul R. Spitzzeri Two years ago, the Homestead received a donation of Temple family letters, mostly from the 1920s, by descendant Ruth Ann Michaelis, whose father Edgar, was the youngest of the four surviving children of Walter P. Temple and Laura Gonzalez, owners of the Homestead at the time. These letters are fascinating to... Continue Reading →

Promoting Prosperity: “Southern California Business” Magazine, January 1926

by Paul R. Spitzzeri The Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce was an extraordinarily powerful promotional force in the region during the first decades of the 20th century, employing a large staff utilizing substantial resources through many programs to market the products of agriculture, industry, finance, real estate and other elements of business. One of its... Continue Reading →

Drilling for Black Gold with the Deep Sand Bulletin, 11 January 1929

by Paul R. Spitzzeri It is getting increasingly rarer to find operating oil wells in greater Los Angeles as oil companies cap wells, remove rigs, close fields and sell land for development that is more profitable than continuing drilling and extraction operations that result in low yields of crude. Ninety years ago, though, the region... Continue Reading →

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