Treasures and Tales from Sherman Library’s Collections

The Novelty Architecture of Los Angeles

Betsy Ann Ice Cream, unidentified location in Los Angeles, ca. 1930. W. C. Sawyer Collection. In the 1920s, Los Angeles was booming.  Flush with water from the Owen Valley, affordable land, a growing network of roads, and a burgeoning film industry, the city rapidly expanded. One of the changes that took place was the emergence of car culture.  The people of Los Angeles took to their cars, so much so that by 1928 there was one car for every 2.9 persons in the city.  At the same time, Hollywood was refining the art of making fantasy into reality through movies.

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Cover of the All Saints' Guild of Riverside Cook Book

Have You Ever Eaten Pie Plant Pie?

With the “stay-at-home” orders in place, many families find themselves cooking more than usual.  To help you in your cooking, Sherman Library is sharing recipes from the 1890 Riverside Cook Book.   The All Saints’ Guild of Riverside compiled this cookbook,  under the supervision of Mrs. Fessenden. The “Ladies of Riverside” contributed their “Tried and Approved Recipes.” The recipes were all “family favorites [that] borne the test of time and experience.”  Here are a few recipes that you might like to try — or not?  Note that none of the recipes  mention  oven temperature. During that era most early stoves were

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You Could Have Lived on Pansy Street: A History of Corona del Mar’s Flower Streets

If George Hart, the original developer of Corona del Mar, had his way Sherman Library would be on 32nd Street instead of the much more pleasing Dahlia Avenue.  So, how were the flower streets of Corona del Mar named?  Why does an alphabetical scheme include three sets of duplicates: Avocado and Acacia, Marguerite and Marigold, and Poinsettia and Poppy? How did Hazel get included, after Poppy? And for good measure, do Avocado, Acacia, Fernleaf and Hazel qualify as flowers? George Hart’s original layout for Corona del Mar named north-south streets with numbers starting at 29th St. and ending with 45th

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Corona del Mar’s Motels

Affordable Motels in Corona del Mar? Can you believe Corona del Mar used to have motels along Coast Highway?  The first motel in Corona del Mar, the Bay-Ocean Motel, is listed in a 1941 local city directory.  By 1955, six more motels sprung up along coast highway:  Crown of the Sea Motel, Del Mar Hotel, Farmhouse Motel, Motel Corona del Mar, Motel Kirkwood, and Sea Crest Hotel.  The last addition was the Jamaica Inn Motor Hotel, that boasted two heated pools and opened around 1960.  Del Mar Hotel postcard, Sherman Library Collection. In 1925 the nation’s first “motor hotel” opened

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Just Passing Through…FDR in Orange County

In May of 1935 Harry Welsh, Secretary of the Newport Harbor Chamber of Commerce, was working with community leaders to plan a celebration to mark the opening of Newport Harbor. So, when a local newspaper ran a small item announcing President Franklin D. Roosevelt was planning a trip to California in July 1935, he took action immediately.  He wrote in a letter to another ardent Newport Beach promoter, Dr. Albert Soiland, “Perhaps we could arrange to have [the President] stop off and pull a switch or some other ceremony in connection with the work at the Harbor…Looks like a real

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Where the Buffalo Roamed…in Orange County

Millions of bison once roamed North America, but Orange County w aas never part of their natural habitat. It is perhaps unsurprising that it took an amusement park — the Newport Harbor Buffalo Ranch — to introduce a herd of bison to Orange County. Although today commemorated by a street name, Bison Road, and a statue at the intersection of Bonita Canyon and MacArthur Blvd., there is little remaining evidence of the Newport Harbor Buffalo Ranch, which briefly flourished from 1955-1960. A postcard from the Newport Harbor Buffalo Ranch, ca. 1955 The Newport Harbor Buffalo Ranch (which was in what

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Los Angeles County and the Small Farm Movement

The farm to table movement in Southern California has a long history. Today many people seek out organic produce grown on small local farms or grow their own in their backyard. Not so long ago, people in southern California were encouraged to create their own “small farm homes.” A booklet we recently discovered in Sherman Library,Your Los Angeles County Small Farm Home, gives some interesting insights into the history of the movement. In the early 20th century, some Los Angeles land developers subdivided neighborhoods into one to three acre parcels so landowners could create self-sufficient “small farm homes.” Parts of

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Eli P. Clark warning him of a scarlet fever outbreak in Prescott, Arionza, March 1877

What is Past is Prologue

It is rare to come across an item in Sherman Library’s collections that relates to current events as clearly as the letter I discovered yesterday.  When Sherman Library temporarily closed, on March 17, one of the tasks I set for myself while working from home was to organize a collection of letters from Lucy Sherman, the sister of Moses H. Sherman, for whom Sherman Library & Gardens is named.  These letters date from the 1870s and 1880s when Lucy lived in Prescott, Arizona and provide insights into life in that community.   The letter is a reminder that, while COVID-19 is

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corona del mar beach with pier

Big Corona Beach – Then and Now

On March 18, 1914 someone stood on the Corona del Mar bluffs to snap a picture of the beach, now known as Big Corona. This photograph is interesting, both for what it includes and what it does not include. There are no people and no homes. The only sign that the beach was ever used is the pier. In more than a century, this scene has transformed. Just compared it to another picture recently taken from the same spot. George Hart, the original promoter of Corona del Mar, constructed the pier about 1904 as part of a deal to acquire

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