Watts, California, was a city of the sixth class that existed in Los Angeles County, California, between 1907 and 1926, when it was consolidated with the City of Los Angeles and became one of the neighborhoods in the southern part of that city.
Los Angeles County, officially the County of Los Angeles, in the Los Angeles metropolitan area of the U.S. state of California, is the most populous county in the United States, with more than 10 million inhabitants as of 2018. As such, it is the largest non–state level government entity in the United States. Its population is larger than that of 41 individual U.S. states. It is the third-largest metropolitan economy in the world, with a Nominal GDP of over $700 billion—larger than the GDPs of Belgium, Norway, and Taiwan. It has 88 incorporated cities and many unincorporated areas and, at 4,083 square miles (10,570 km2), it is larger than the combined areas of Delaware and Rhode Island. The county is home to more than one-quarter of California residents and is one of the most ethnically-diverse counties in the U.S. Its county seat, Los Angeles, is also California's most populous city and the second most populous city in the U.S., with about 4 million residents.
A merger, consolidation or amalgamation, in a political or administrative sense, is the combination of two or more political or administrative entities, such as municipalities, counties, districts, etc., into a single entity. This term is used when the process occurs within a sovereign entity.
South Los Angeles is a region in southern Los Angeles County, California, and mostly lies within the city limits of Los Angeles, just south of downtown.
The area now known as Watts is situated on the 1843 Rancho La Tajauta Mexican land grant. As on all ranchos, the principal vocation was at that time grazing and beef production.There were household settlers in the area as early as 1882, and in 1904 the population was counted as 65 people; a year later it was 1,651. C.V. Bartow of Long Beach was noted as one of the founders of Watts. Watts was said to have got its name from a widow who lived on ten acres that was later occupied by a Pacific Electric power house and for whom the train stop was named. She later moved to Arlington, California.
Rancho Tajauta was a 3,560-acre (14.4 km2) Mexican land grant in present-day Los Angeles County, California given in 1843 by Governor Manuel Micheltorena to Anastasio Avila. The grant was named for the Gabrielino/Tongva place name of Tajáuta. The grant encompassed present-day Willowbrook and Watts.
The Spanish issued Concessions of land to retired soldiers as an inducement for them to remain in the frontier. These Concessions reverted back to the Spanish crown upon the death of the recipient. Later, the Mexican government encouraged settlement of the coastal region of Alta California by issuing much larger land grants to Mexican citizens, both native born and naturalized. The grants were usually two or more square leagues, or 35 square kilometres (14 sq mi) in size. Unlike Spanish Concessions, Mexican land grants provided permanent, unencumbered property-ownership rights to the land, with most being called "ranchos." The ranchos granted by Mexico included most of the land along the California coast, around San Francisco Bay, inland along the Sacramento River, and land within the San Joaquin Valley.
Long Beach is a city on the Pacific Coast of the United States, within the Los Angeles metropolitan area of Southern California. It is the 39th most populous city in the United States and the 7th most populous in California, with a population of 462,257 in 2010. A charter city, it is the second largest city in the Los Angeles metropolitan area, and the third largest in Southern California behind Los Angeles and San Diego.
A subdivision with the name Watts was platted, possibly by the Golden State Realty Company, between 1903 and 1905, when the settlement had a population of about 150 people.In 1905 lots were being sold by the Golden State Realty Company for prices ranging from $100 to $200: The terms were advertised at a dollar as down payment and a dollar a month thereafter, with the company claiming there would be "no interest and no taxes." The Watts Lumber Company had a plan of "easy payments" which "enabled those desiring houses in the little settlement to secure their material and to build and occupy their houses at once."
Subdivision is the act of dividing land into pieces that are easier to sell or otherwise develop, usually via a plat. The former single piece as a whole is then known in the United States as a subdivision. If it is used for housing it is typically known as a housing subdivision or housing development, although some developers tend to call these areas communities.
Down payment, is an initial up-front partial payment for the purchase of expensive items such as a car or a house. It is usually paid in cash or equivalent at the time of finalizing the transaction. A loan of some sort is then required to finance the remainder of the payment.
Watts became a city in 1907, after three petitions objecting to the proposed borders were presented to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. Seven ranchers said that they had no intention of subdividing and that all unimproved land should be omitted from the proposed city. Another petition declared that most of the property owners in Watts did not pay taxes inasmuch as they were buying the 25-foot lots for speculation, that the residents were "migratory" and that most of them were transitory "Mexican railroad laborers." A third petition for exemption was submitted by residents of the Palomar stop, who dressed up their plea with quotations ranging from Greek philosophers to Hamlet. Those petitioners announced that they had recently changed the name of their settlement from "Watts Park" because they did not want any affiliation with Watts.
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors is the five-member governing body of Los Angeles County, California, United States.
A traquero is a railroad track worker, or "section hand", especially a Mexican or Mexican American railroad track worker. The word derives from "traque", Spanglish for "track".
Santa Ana was a route of the Pacific Electric Railway, constructed in 1905 and bought by Pacific Electric in 1911, running from the Pacific Electric Building in Los Angeles to the Southern Pacific depot in Santa Ana, California on the West Santa Ana Branch. Santa Ana's status as the county seat and largest city in Orange County allowed the route to be the most heavily trafficked in the region by far. By 1950, service had halved from its peak only five years earlier and cut back to a minor station in Bellflower. This service was appropriated by the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transit Authority in 1958, the same year it was discontinued.
The City of Watts was approved by voters of the district, and it became a municipality in May 1907, with J.F. Donahue, who was a driver for the Blue Ribbon beer company, as mayor and Frederick J. Rorke as city clerk. There was, however, no money to run the city because it had become incorporated too late to levy and collect any taxes. A proposed business license fee raised so much objection that the Board of Trustees, or the city council, submitted to the people a straw vote (nonbinding) question about allowing liquor to be sold in the city. A majority of the 250 votes did agree that Watts should allow saloons, or bars, and that the municipality should raise money by taxing them.Rorke said:
A municipality is usually a single administrative division having corporate status and powers of self-government or jurisdiction as granted by national and regional laws to which it is subordinate. It is to be distinguished (usually) from the county, which may encompass rural territory or numerous small communities such as towns, villages and hamlets.
Pabst Blue Ribbon is an American lager beer sold by Pabst Brewing Company, established in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in 1844 and currently based in Los Angeles. Originally called Best Select, and then Pabst Select, the current name comes from the blue ribbons tied around the bottle neck between 1882 and 1916.
In many countries, a mayor is the highest-ranking official in a municipal government such as that of a city or a town.
We have two retail saloons and one wholesale as a result, and an income that more than pays our running expenses. In fact, we have several hundred in the treasury. The voters, who admitted the saloons, looked upon it as a business proposition. While many of them are not really in favor of having them in our midst, the experience was adopted for giving us a working fund. Some of the surplus funds are being used to employ engineers to establish street grades, looking forward to improvements in our thoroughfares in the near future. As an instance of prosperity, there is not a vacant house in Watts, and it is impossible to find one to rent.
A civil engineer is a person who practices civil engineering – the application of planning, designing, constructing, maintaining, and operating infrastructures while protecting the public and environmental health, as well as improving existing infrastructures that have been neglected.
By January 1910 Watts had a population of about 2,500, "well improved streets, a fire department, a weekly newspaper" (the Watts Advertiser, owned by W.F. Schubert), and it was completing a $12,000 city hall. It had "the best of public schools, churches of the leading denominations, the principal fraternal orders, a chamber of commerce and a good government league," of which J.H. Hurley was the president and W.C. Street the secretary. In 1910 J.B. Traughber was the city marshal and tax collector, and A.B. Waddingham was the city engineer.In 1910, C.H. Dodd was the mayor.
Water for the community came from Artesian wells, which were said to provide a supply at 10 feet depth and a "big flow" at sixty feet,but in 1912 it was noted that "the present source of water supply is very unsatisfactory, and in many cases people are unable to get service at all." In 1913, voters were asked to approve $85,000 in bonds for a water system and $15,000 for new fire department equipment, but both measures were defeated. In 1916, things got better with the installation of more and larger water mains, and a worker was kept on duty at the water plant all night in case a conflagration required additional water pressure.
There was a school in Watts from an early date. In 1905 it was reported that "Steps have already been taken to enlarge the present school building",and a new building was erected in 1911 at a cost of $30,000. By 1914, however, that structure had become overcrowded, and additional desks were "installed everywhere, in the library, in the halls and in the auditorium." There were 630 pupils and 18 teachers. While work was under way on a new school, the contractor absconded with some of the money and his bondsman was compelled to finish the job. Older students attended Redondo Union High School. Later Watts was a part of the Compton School District, but in January 1914, a mass meeting was held in Watts to make plans to secede from Compton and build a new high school in Watts, at a cost of about $100,000. Later the same month, Watts boosters made the same statement at a meeting with Compton backers in that city.
By 1925 Watts voters had approved $170,000 in bonds for a new high school, and the town was served by four public grammar schools and one Catholic school.There were seven grade schools. /
A Watts public library was established in 1913, with Maud Walton as the first librarian and Bessie Hunt as the second.In the same year the city received word that its application for construction of a new Carnegie Library had been approved. The cornerstone of the library was laid in January 1914.
Watts was situated at a point on a rail line that ran south from Los Angeles (eight miles to the north) to Long Beach and, according to real estate advertisements and publicity releases, was about 6-1/2 minutes from the terminal at Sixth and Main Streets. In 1910 it was a transfer point for the Santa Ana, Long Beach and San Pedro lines of the Pacific Electric system. The Watts Station, which is now a National Historic Landmark,included Wells Fargo Express and Western Union telegraph facilities. Pioneer settler A.E. Ruoff recalled that the electric line was installed about 1902. The point known as Latin Station, just a mile north of Watts station, was called North Watts, and Abila station, 1.5 miles south of Watts, was South Watts (later "Palomar").
Around 1905 a junction was installed for a line that ran to Santa Ana.In February 1909 the railroad changed its schedule so that Watts travelers would have to take local trains rather than expresses, thereby increasing the length of the ride to Los Angeles from 15 minutes to one hour. In 1912 Watts passengers could get a car into Los Angeles about every three minutes, and those returning from the city "have the choice of riding five different lines of cars, not to mention the Watts locals, namely the Long Beach, Santa Ana, San Pedro, Redondo and Newport lines."
In 1925, there were 800 freight and passenger trains stopping in Watts, and "a great number of wide boulevards" passed through the city.
After 1903, Watts saw the establishment of a newspaper, a general merchandise store, a lumber yard, a grocery store, a millinery, dry goods and confectionery stores, a blacksmithery and bakeries.The Pacific Coast Laundry Company opened in August 1907, with a payroll promised to be between $750 to $1,000 a month. The officers were P.L. Howland, J. Flautt and H.E. Munger, all of Los Angeles. Laundry deliveries were to be made via the electric railway. By 1910, business enterprises included the California Gold Recovery Company, which manufactured a machine used in mining districts to capture "flour gold," which is fine gold floating on a liquid surface. In 1925, Watts had a pump-manufacturing plant, a machine shop, two sash-and-door plants, and a pickle works. Banks were Farmers & Merchants and Hellman. In that year there was a steel plant, McClintic Marshal Company, which covered fifteen acres and employed 180 men. A new California Thorn Cordage factory was set to hire five hundred men. A new 34-room hotel was going up on West Main Street.
1904: 651905: 1,651 1910: 2,500 1925: 18,000 or 23,000
A newspaper, the Watts Advertiser, was operating by 1913,and in 1914 it was renamed the Daily Advertiser, with P.F. Adelsbach as editor. His editorial stand favored the "dry," or prohibitionist side.
Between 1912 and 1916 Watts was rivened by a pitched battle between the wet forces (those who favored the legal sale of alcoholic beverages) and the drys (those who favored outlawing alcohol from the city). Municipal elections were fought over the issue, people were beaten and put into jail, and court cases were legion. A public speaker was threatened by a mob because he used a cuss word. Arson was suspected at a church. As a headline writer put it in 1912, "Watts Citizens Cannot Get Along in Amity Because They Do Not Agree on Liquor Question."
Watts was brought to nationwide attention with the New York production of a musical comedy called "Lonesome Town," which was set in an imaginary place called Watts, California, in the year 1902. The endeavor, with music by J.A. Rayne and book by Judson D. Brusie, ran for 88 performances at the Circle Theatre, 1825 Broadway, from January 20 through April 24, 1908.It was produced by the vaudeville team of Kolb and Dill — Clarence Kolb and Max Dill. A New York Times reviewer said of the show's out-of-town performance:
ALBANY, Dec. 6 – Kolb and Dill, a team of German dialect comedians, who have for years been playing in musical farce on the Pacific Coast, appeared at Harmanus Bleecker Hall to-night in a new two-act comedy with music called "Lonesome Town." The story is said to be based on an actual occurrence in California, when the little settlement of Watts was deserted by its inhabitants in a rush on Goldfields, and was promptly pre-empted by three nervy tramps who happened to arrive at the psychological moment. Among the principals are Maude Lambert, Lillian Spencer, Ben T. Dillen, George Wright and Robert Pitkin.
Kolb and Dill brought their play to Los Angeles in August 1908, and a Los Angeles Herald reviewer wrote:
It is a very amusing Watts, this "Lonesome Town" which the elongated Mr. Dill brought us last night via New York; all of which goes to prove that distance really does lend enchantment to the view. The commuter who lives in Watts could never have imagined a "Lonesome Town." The thing isn't possible.
Two years later, a Los Angeles Times writer opined that
Watts was first known as the place where you could buy town lots on the hitherto unheard of terms of $1 down and $1 a week, The public made fun of that proposition at first, [but when the lots were all sold], those clever comedians, Kolb and Dill, rendered the name "Watts" again famous by introducing it into one of their most popular and successful stage productions. It was not pleasant to our people of Watts to be thus ridiculed, but it caused people to talk about Watts; it advertised Watts; and it aroused the spirit of the residents of Watts.
"Lonesome Town" was released as a motion picture by American Film Company in December 1916.
In response to the raillery occasioned by the play, a "big advertising excursion" took place on Thursday, May 30, 1912, via a special train of three chartered electric railway cars. The route was scheduled over the Balloon Route by way of Los Angeles, Hollywood, the Soldiers' Home, Ocean Park, Venice, Redondo, Gardena and back to Watts. The object of the excursion was to call attention "to the fact that Watts has been 'born again,' and the name 'Lucky Watts' will be used as much as possible, the idea being to get new ideas into people's heads, so they will get away from the notion that there is any joke about what the people here believe is the most promising suburban community in the county." Some 25,000 pieces of advertising material were distributed.The excursion was repeated in 1913.
In 1912 and 1913, a movement was afoot to change the name of Watts because, as one headline writer put it, the residents were tired of the "quips and jests" at the town's expense. One real-estate agent said that prospective clients backed out of a property inspection tour when they found out their streetcar ride would end up in Watts. The name "South Angeles" was proposed.Another plan for a city name change surfaced in 1919, when the city trustees asked for suggestions. Mayor Towne said: "Watts has got a bad reputation in Southern California, somehow or other . . . a good many of us felt that the liquor element left a black mark upon the community's name. . . . Towns are something like people. They can live up to a good name easier than they can live down a bad name."
Watts had the distinction of being the site of the first all-woman jury impaneled in Los Angeles County, and perhaps the state, when A.A. King, editor of the Watts News, was tried on a charge that he printed obscene and indecent language in his newspaper. Justice of the Peace Cassidy ordered 36 women who lived in San Antonio Township to report for service.At trial, the testimony was that one of the Watts city council members had vociferously used indecent and obscene language against King while visiting the Watts News office and that King had repeated the language in a story he wrote about the incident, not naming the councilman. The crowd that gathered in the courtroom for the trial was so large – about 100 people – that it had to be moved to the City Council chambers.
The jurywomen were "Mmes. Nancy Steiner, Nellie Moomau, Mary Bower, A.H. Trimble, B.G. Wallace, Mary J. Hill, Essie Finnecy, A.D. Leavitt, Carrie A. Ray ["forewoman"], Florence Brainard, Eva F. Carolus and Bertha Scherner." They were allowed to wear their headgear during the first half of the trial, but when they returned from lunch, they were asked to remove their hats so that everybody could see they were the same women who were there in the morning. The jury was out for just twenty minutes and returned a verdict of "not guilty," to the cheers of the spectators.
In a special election on April 2, 1926, Watts residents decided to enter Los Angeles by a vote of 1,338 to 535. It was the heaviest vote ever in the city, with 1,933 voters at the polls of the 2,513 registered. Thus 23,000 more people were added to the city when the decision was put into effect on June 1 of that year. Mayor L.A. Edwards of Watts led the fight for consolidation with Los Angeles. Opposed were the Watts Chamber of Commerce, the Farmers and Merchants Bank, the Taxpayers League, the Ku Klux Klan and the Watts Welfare League.Edwards was re-elected to the outgoing Watts Board of Trustees, the other winners being William Booth, Robert Rhoads and James West.
Inglewood Park Cemetery, 720 East Florence Avenue in Inglewood, California, was founded in 1905. A number of notable people, including entertainment and sports personalities, have been interred or entombed there.
Angelus-Rosedale Cemetery is a cemetery in Los Angeles at 1831 West Washington Boulevard in the Pico-Union district, southwest of Downtown.
Henry T. Hazard was a California pioneer who became a land developer, a patent attorney and mayor of the city of Los Angeles. He gives his name to Hazard Park in Los Angeles.
Meredith Pinxton Snyder was a California property owner and businessman who was mayor of Los Angeles on three separate occasions from 1901 through 1921 and was also on the California Industrial Accident Commission.
The Wholesale District or Warehouse District in Downtown Los Angeles, California, has no exact boundaries, but at present it lies along the BNSF and Union Pacific Railroad lines, which run parallel with Alameda Street and the Los Angeles River. Except for some ancillary commercial uses, its cityscape is mostly occupied by warehouses and refrigerated storage facilities. This area is known as Central City North in the Los Angeles city zoning map.
Albert Joseph Wallace was a member of the Los Angeles, California, City Council in 1907–09 and lieutenant governor of California in 1910–14.
Andrew Washington Barrett, known as A.W. Barrett, (1845–1905) was a prominent Los Angeles businessman, adjutant general of the California National Guard, director of the Sawtelle Veterans Home, member of the governing body of the city of Los Angeles and a California state public official.
Ezra M. Hamilton (1833–1914) was a pioneer known for his role in the development of Antelope Valley, California. In 1896 he discovered gold in Rosamond, California and began a successful mining operation that spurred growth in the area. He founded and developed the nearby town of Willow Springs. He was also an inventor, farmer, mason and businessman, served on the Los Angeles Common Council, volunteered in the Rogue River Wars and served two years in the Union Army.
The National Irrigation Congress was held periodically in the Western United States beginning in 1891 and ending in 1916, by which time the organization had changed its name to International Irrigation Congress. It was a "powerful pressure group."
Paul Hale Bruske was an American writer, journalist, advertising executive, and sportsman.
John Lovell was a 19th-century businessman in Los Angeles, California, the owner of a grocery store and other property and a member of the Los Angeles Common Council, the governing body of the city. He suffered injuries to his head, was sent to a mental hospital and was said to have epilepsy.
Bernard (Barney) Healy was a Los Angeles, California, City Council member who was known for his attempt in 1905 to legislate against landlords who refused to rent to families with children, for his support of paid holidays for city workers in the parks and streets departments, and for his large family.
Herman Silver (1831–1913) was a Republican politician, superintendent of the United States Mint in Colorado, a collector of internal revenue, a railroad official and a member of the Los Angeles City Council.
Boyd Marshall was an American actor of the stage and screen during the early decades of the 20th Century. Born in Ohio in 1884, he moved to New York to pursue a career in acting. He began on the stage and in vaudeville, before entering the film industry in 1913. He had a brief film career, lasting until 1917, before he returned to the stage.
The England–Scotland Professional Match was an annual men's professional golf competition between teams representing England and Scotland. It was played from 1903 to the start of World War I and was then revived in 1932 and played until the start of World War II. The match was played on a single day, generally a few days before the Open Championship. Except on one occasion, there were 12 players in each team who played 12 singles matches and 6 foursomes. Scotland won the inaugural match in 1903 but didn't win another match, although three matches were tied. The event was organised by the PGA and only members of the PGA were eligible to play.
The United States Telephone Herald Company, founded in 1909, was the parent corporation for a number of associated "telephone newspaper" companies, located throughout the United States, that were organized to provide news and entertainment over telephone lines to subscribing homes and businesses. This was the most ambitious attempt made to develop a distributed audio service prior to the rise of radio broadcasting in the early 1920s.
Albert Clinton Conner was an American Impressionist painter who was an integral part of the Richmond Group of painters in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. After moving to California, Conner helped found The Painters' Club of Los Angeles in 1906, which lay the groundwork for the creation of the California Art Club three years later in 1909.
Marguerite Leslie was a Swedish-born English actress.
Edna Loftus was a British actress who was briefly married to champion jockey Winnie O'Connor and gained notoriety in the United States for marrying Harry A. Rheinstrom, the heir to a Cincinnati brewing fortune, against the wishes of his family in 1910. While trained for musical theater in her early career in London, she was a cafe singer and hotel operator during her later years in California as a means to support herself during her second husband's illness. She died in poverty in San Francisco in 1916 of tuberculosis after divorcing Rheinstrom in 1914.
This is a list of newspapers and magazines in the United States owned by, or editorially supportive of, the Socialist Party of America.