Monday, December 15, 2014

A Trip Back in Time

The Captain and First Mate just returned from a week in “Sunny Southern California”!

At least, that’s what they call it out there.

Well, two of the days were sunny…

Nonetheless, we enjoyed the time away from the daily grind – there’s only so much pillagin’ and plunderin’ and drinkin’ and wenchin’ a pirate can do without needing a break!

Just kidding!

On Friday, the First Mate’s little sis was pillagin’ a closet at the family homestead looking for a particular missing Christmas decoration. A very traditional family, it just wouldn’t be Christmas without the sleigh bells hanging by the back door!

Instead, she found an old wicker sewing basket in which their grandmother had squirreled away little treasures – newspaper clippings, poems, etc.

The rest of the day was consumed pouring through the basket.

One treasure found was a love-letter from their grandfather to their grandmother while they were still dating. It was very sweet.

And a little humorous, to hear the young Guy tell his “Sweetheart” Berenice that “by Christmas we will be set” because he had made “$10.50 today and $13 yesterday!”

We’re rich! Rich I say!

But that’s all private stuff, so I won’t regale you with the more sentimental contents of the missive.

What the Captain spied out, however, was a map of Los Angeles dating back to 1905, published by the Golden State Realty Co.

The details around the map were interesting:

In 1904, the city of Los Angeles consisted of 44 square miles of land and a population of 290,000. The assessed value of Los Angeles at the time was $109,878,000, with some $13 million in annual building permits.

I don’t have the current assessed value of the city today, but the Palazzo di Amore in Beverly Hills is currently for sale for $159 million.

The Palazzo is a 53,000 square foot mansion that sits on 25 acres of land. It boasts of 12 bedrooms (the master bedroom alone is 5,000 square feet), 23 baths, and a 27-car garage. Until it sells, it is available for rent for a meager $475,000 per month.

But I digress…

The real estate company’s map lifted up the amenities of life in Los Angeles:

-21 banks
-134 churches
-63 public schools
-10 private schools
-712 miles of electric railway with 90,000 passengers per day
-250 miles of graded and graveled streets
-400 miles of cement & asphalt sidewalks
-175 miles of sewers
-and “over 30,000 telephones in use!”

Factoid: Only one species of palm trees is native to California. The rest were imported in the early 1900s by realtors and Chambers of Commerce to make the area look more tropical and appealing to buyers.
And the purpose for distributing the map – Golden State Realty was offering “farming land” around Los Angeles for $10 per acre and up!

Oh, what I would give for a time machine!

As you can tell, the Golden State Realty Co. was very successful. Today, the city of Los Angeles covers 503 square miles and is the second-largest city in America (28th in the world). It is bursting at the seams with a population of 3,884,307 with more on the way.

Good job, Golden State Realty Co. ... really good job…