Life In Los Angeles 1908 Style

Republished from "A Tenderfoot In Southern California" a delightful collection of letters by Mina Deana Halsey, written in 1908 and now in public domain.

Los Angeles Streets

I got into Los Angeles in ample time to go through their annual tearing up period.

You know, there is something funny about this.  Just as soon as winter comes, Los Angeles begins to tear up its streets from one end to the other.

All summer long, when mighty few strangers are in town, there is nothing doing.  But just as sure as fine fall sun-shiny weather begins, then an army marches forth, and proceeds to dig up every blamed street in town.

It is just the same, year in and year out.  Its got to be a joke with the tourists, for Los Angeles wouldnt look natural to 'em, when they come out to spend the winter, if the whole shopping district wasnt well nigh impassable.

They will finish putting down a macadamized street one day, and by jingo, during the following night, I'll be hanged if some fellar hasnt figured out how to tear it up.  Needn't take my word for it, Bill.

Here's another fellar kicking through the columns of a Los Angeles newspaper:


Will there ever come a season,

When the workmen will abstain

From ripping loose the asphalt

On Broadway, Spring and Main?

After you've cussed yourself sick, trying to squirm your way under horses' noses and women's four-story hats-falling over a couple of hundred little wooden saw-horses the workmen stick up any old place in the middle of the street, while they patch up a few dozen holes--go and hire an automobile at $4.00 per hour (--yep, they soak you that much in the Angel City) and take a ride out of the city  through the beautiful residence portion of the town.

The country and residence portion is all right --glorious sunshine, and views--but suffering Peter, the roads--the roads!!  Bill, I never worked so hard and paid $4.00 an hour for the privilege or doing so, in all my life--never!

We hit every chuck hole from Pasadena to the ocean.  Now, when I tell you this, it means a whole lot more to me that it does to you, for it is a sore subject to look back on, I tell you.

There are little holes and big holes, long holes and short holes, holes you fall in all over, and the kind you pull in after you, on your way down.  There are mud holes, water holes, oil holes, dust holes, in fact, Bill, every known variety of chuck holes you ever thought of, can be found in and around Los Angeles.


(Editor's note:  The more things change, the more they stay the same!)