Mount Lowe Preservation Society Inc. Collection

Pacific Electric Magazine and the Huntington Library, May 10, 1938

Posted on: February 1, 2016 by Pacific Electric 3 Comments

 

Mount Lowe Preservation Society Inc. Collection

Mount Lowe Preservation Society Inc. Collection

Just eleven years after the passing of Henry Huntington, the Pacific Electric Railway Magazine, Volume 18 – Number 11, dated May 10, 1938, extolled the virtues of a visit to the former railroad baron’s home in San Marino. The article read as follows:

 

Priceless Art Treasures at Huntington Art Gallery

It was in 1910 that the late Henry E. Huntington “retired” from business to have more time to devote to his other great interest, that of collecting. He was then sixty years of age and was looking forward, after a busy life spent in developing transportation lines and real estate, to pleasurable leisure to enjoy the things he cherished – fine books and paintings, and the beauties of nature.

No one, least of all Mr. Huntington himself, could have predicted that within the next seventeen years, or until his death, he would become the world’s greatest book collector, an outstanding patron of the arts, and the donor of one of California’s most important cultural assets. Nor was the popularity to be of the institution he founded foreseen. Since the public exhibitions were opened in 1928, more than 1,300,000 people have visited and it has been necessary to revise the schedule many times. Now it is possible to visit any afternoon (except Mondays and during the month of October) from 1:15 to 4:30 o’clock, by telephoning the Exhibitions Office a few hours in advance.

 

To Beautify Home

When Mr. Huntington began collecting h had in mind gathering suitable paintings and other objects of art to adorn his San Marino home (now the Huntington Art Gallery) and to make it a more beautiful place in which to live. The house was completed in 1910 and one of the first purchases was a set of five magnificent French tapestry panels, made at Beauvais in 1755-56, during the reign of Louis XV. These were installed in the room originally designed to house his library, then in his New York home. Today, these tapestries, and a pair of Savonnerie carpets that were made in the period of Louis XIV, provide a perfect background for a collection of exquisitely carved eighteenth-century French furniture.

The French collections are interesting in contrast with the English furnishings made in the same century. Indeed, the house has become a museum which reveals something of the way of life in the days when the Georges ruled in England. The visitor sees the portraits (both life-size canvasses and miniatures on paper or ivory) of some of the great ladies and gentlemen who dominated Ehcnlsh society, politics, and the arts, along with the furniture such as they used. Here is a Chippendale settee on which they might have sat, a table on which the probably had tea; while on adjacent shelves are choice specimens of Chelsea porcelain similar to those that graced their drawing rooms.

 

Famous Masterpieces

The English portraits of the eighteenth-century are the outstanding treasure of the Art Gallery. There are fifty-eight, nearly all of them masterpieces. In one room – the New Gallery – twenty of the most important pieces hang, acknowledged the “cream” of such paintings in America. Here are “Mrs. Siddons as the ‘The Tragic Muse’,” by Sir Joshua Denolds, the greatest actress of her time; “The Blue Boy,” by Thomas Gainsborough, one of the most famous paintings in the world, and a little girl in a rose beribboned bonnet, familiarly known as “Pinkie,” by Sir Thomas Lawrence. If these paintings captivate the visitor there also many other attractions that will add to the joy and the cultural benefit of his visit. The charm of the Huntington galleries is that there is something for everyone’s taste and for varying moods.

No other portrait in the Huntington Art Collection is so popular as is “The Blue Boy.” Mr. Huntington acquired the painting in 1921, from the Duke of Westminster, in whose family it had been for more than a hundred years. It was purchased in 1770. The canvas is seventy inches high and forty eight inches wide. Mount Lowe Preservation Society Inc. Collection

No other portrait in the Huntington Art Collection is so popular as is “The Blue Boy.” Mr. Huntington acquired the painting in 1921, from the Duke of Westminster, in whose family it had been for more than a hundred years. It was purchased in 1770. The canvas is seventy inches high and forty eight inches wide. Mount Lowe Preservation Society Inc. Collection

To many people the great thrill to be experienced at San Marino is seeing the handwriting of such men as Christopher Columbus, Benjamin Franklin, and George Washington, or the earliest printed books, now nearly 500 years old, such as the Gutenberg Bible, or the first book printed in the English language, which came from Caxton’s press in 1477. These rarities are permanently on view in the Library, which was built in 1920 to house Mr. Huntington’s rapidly expanding collection of manuscripts and books.

In addition, there are numerous special exhibits drawn from the Library collections which interest large numbers of students and other visitors. During May these will include an exhibition commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Constitution of the United States, as well as one illustrating the transition from a Spanish-Californian culture in Los Angeles County, 1850-1870.

But if the visitor does not care for great paintings, or objects of art, or in seeing the originals of great historical or literary works, there is yet another part of the Huntington gift that few can resist – the Botanical Gardens.

 

Gardens on Par

Under the native oaks, of which there are many old and fine specimens, and across 50 acres of the estate, have been planted rare and subtropical trees and shrubs collected from every continent. Particularly beautiful in the spring are the Japanese Garden, the Rose Garden, and the 15 acre Desert Plant Garden. The latter collection is the most comprehensive of its kind in the world, having 25,000 cacti and other succulents. Most of these are large specimen plants, being indigenous to North and South America, the remainder from South Africa, Madagascar and the Canary Islands.

Cactus garden, Huntington Botanical Gardens. The cactus and other succulent collections cover fifteen acres and comprise about 25,000 specimens. In this view may be seen a twenty-year-old specimen of Cereus Xanthocarpus, a native of Paraguay. Mount Lowe Preservation Society Inc. Collection

Cactus garden, Huntington Botanical Gardens. The cactus and other succulent collections cover fifteen acres and comprise about 25,000 specimens. In this view may be seen a twenty-year-old specimen of Cereus Xanthocarpus, a native of Paraguay. Mount Lowe Preservation Society Inc. Collection

To mention all of the wonders to be seen would require the space of a book. The best suggestion that can be offered for those interested is to spend many afternoons at San Marino, judging of its offerings first hand.

This view shows the library in the Art Gallery. On the wall is the tapestry, “The Fountain of Love,” one of a set of five panels, known as “La Noble Pastorale,” designed by Francois Boucher and woven at Beauvais in 1755-56. The rug is of the period of Louis XIV, and was made at La Savonnerie, where many rugs and panels for the Royal apartments were manufactured. Mount Lowe Preservation Society Inc. Collection

This view shows the library in the Art Gallery. On the wall is the tapestry, “The Fountain of Love,” one of a set of five panels, known as “La Noble Pastorale,” designed by Francois Boucher and woven at Beauvais in 1755-56. The rug is of the period of Louis XIV, and was made at La Savonnerie, where many rugs and panels for the Royal apartments were manufactured. Mount Lowe Preservation Society Inc. Collection

Long Beach Express Dash Sign

Posted on: September 16, 2015 by Pacific Electric No Comments

 

Steve Crise Photo, Mount Lowe Preservation Society Collection

Steve Crise Photo, Mount Lowe Preservation Society Collection

This Long Beach Express dash sign was used by both the Pacific Electric & Los Angeles Metropolitan Transit Authority.

Steve Crise Photo, Mount Lowe Preservation Society Collection

023 at the San Gabriel Mission

Posted on: September 18, 2013 by Pacific Electric 1 Comment

 

Mount Lowe Preservation Society Archives, Jack Whitmeyer Collection

Mount Lowe Preservation Society Archives, Jack Whitmeyer Collection

Pausing in front of the old San Gabriel Mission, Pacific Electric no. 023 and several PE tour guides smile for the camera, attributed to Charles Lawrence, PE's official photographer.

While the Old Mission Trolley Trip was well attended, there were two others that also were well noted; the Orange Empire Trolley Trip and the Mount Lowe Trolley Trip. One reason the Mission trip was unique was the the constant performances of the "Mission Play" by John Steven McGroarty, featuring Frederick Warde and "a cast of over 100 players" every afternoon, evenings (Wednesday and Saturday).

Among the other mentions in the mission area were "The old Grape Vine" and the "Spanish Eating House" all within a few steps of the PE stop.

Mount Lowe Preservation Society Archives, Jack Whitmeyer Collection

Fair Oaks and Colorado in May of 1946

Posted on: September 18, 2013 by Pacific Electric No Comments

 

Mount Lowe Preservation Society Archives, Jack Whitmeyer Collection

Mount Lowe Preservation Society Archives, Jack Whitmeyer Collection

Standing in the middle of Colorado Boulevard, looking west, just east of Fair Oaks on May 12, 1946, L. T. Gotchy catches the Pacific Electric Railway ticket office on the left and the Owl Drug Store on the right. Note the intersection has not changed immensely, and it is still referred to as Route 66. Also note the bus on the left side, stopped just short of the intersection.

Mount Lowe Preservation Society Archives, Jack Whitmeyer Collection
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1127 Westbound at Arcadia Tower

Posted on: September 18, 2013 by Pacific Electric 1 Comment

 

Mount Lowe Preservation Society Archives, Jack Whitmeyer Collection

Mount Lowe Preservation Society Archives, Jack Whitmeyer Collection

Pacific Electric no. 1127 heads into Los Angeles crossing the Santa Fe line at Arcadia Tower on June 2, 1946 in this L. T. Gotchy photo. In the not too distant future, the Gold Line extension will have cars running close to this same location.

Mount Lowe Preservation Society Archives, Jack Whitmeyer Collection

1208 at the Ramona Convent in Alhambra

Posted on: September 18, 2013 by Pacific Electric 2 Comments

 

Mount Lowe Preservation Society Archives, Jack Whitmeyer Collection

Mount Lowe Preservation Society Archives, Jack Whitmeyer Collection

Pacific Electric no. 1208 pauses at the Ramona Convent stop in western Alhambra on a morning run to El Monte in this undated, unattributed photo.

Ramona Convent Secondary School was established in 1889 as a private Catholic college prep school and is still around today; existing from before and after the running of the Pacific Electric Railway. One noted alumna was aviatrix Florence "Pancho" Barnes, daughter of Thaddeus Lowe, Jr., construction manager for the Mount Lowe Railway and granddaughter of Thaddeus S. C. Lowe.

Mount Lowe Preservation Society Archives, Jack Whitmeyer Collection

The Very Happy Boom, Before the Sad Bust

Posted on: September 18, 2013 by Pacific Electric 4 Comments

 

Mount Lowe Preservation Society Archives, Ross Fry Collection

Mount Lowe Preservation Society Archives, Ross Fry Collection

By Ralph Cantos

This photo, recently discovered by traction historian Michael Patris, is remarkable to say the least. It was taken in November of 1948 at the Los Angeles Transit Line's Rimpau loop.

Brand new PCC no. 3144 is loading passengers, for a fast, smooth, silent trip to Downtown Los Angeles. A new Bay Cities Bus Lines Checker "Transit" bus on line #6 leaves the loop. Also loading in the bus portion of the loop is Santa Monica Municipal Bus Lines no. 614, a White Motors model 798 of 1947 vintage working the #7 West Pico Blvd-Santa Monica Line. In the far back ground above it all is Pacific Electric's wonderful old Vineyard Junction and storage yard, with 1000s and Hollywood cars awaiting their call to duty. Los Angeles rail fans could not be happier.

National City Lines, parent company to the LATL, had just purchased 40 state of the art "all-electric" PCCs for exclusive use on the heavily patronized Pico Blvd-East First St Line. It was well known in the American transit industry that National City Lines and LATL had no love for ANYTHING that operated on steel rails. It therefore came as quite a shock when the beautiful new, extra wide PCCs arrived for service in LA.

This amazing historic photo could have only been taken between November 1948 and September of 1950. In just 22 months, all the happiness and the optimistic future of rail transportation in LA would be shattered on Sept. 17, 1950, with the abandonment of the Venice Short Line, the first of many to come.

The Pacific Electric was under enormous pressure from the City of Los Angeles and the State Railroad Commission to modernize the VSL. The back bone of the VSL were the 31 handsome wooden 950s dating back to 1907. Also serving the line were two 3-car trains of 1000s dating to 1913 , also of wood construction. The "babies" of the VSL were a handful of Hollywood cars needed to protect the demanding service of the line.

LA newspapers posted photos and editorials blasting the PE over the use of the 950s and the 1000s. Both classes had been ordered off the streets of LA in 1938. The trusty cars had been saved from the scrap pile by the outbreak of World War II. Had it not been for the service of these 88 cars during the war years, it would be safe to say that LA transit riders would have "been up the proverbial creek without a paddle."

But by 1948, the city had "looked the other way" long enough, and demanded the PE take action on the removal of the ancient cars, to protect the modern image of the City.

By 1948, plans for the future Santa Monica Freeway were firmly in place, with no provisions for rail transit in a center median. Pacific Electric management, already aware of what the Pasadena Parkway (110 Freeway) had done to passenger levels on its Pasadena rail lines eight years earlier, thought long and hard as to the future of the VSL. In short, it would have cost the PE almost 3 million dollars to modernize the VSL as a rail line, or "bustitute" the line for a scant 1 million dollars. The PE would also recoup a large portion of that expense from the scrap value of the line. It was a "no brainer"!

Buses took over on September 17, 1950, much to the dismay of passengers who seemed to love big interurbans. Small cramped gasoline powered White 798s with their smelly, underfloor 12-cylinder engines were certainly no improvement to the quality of the service on the VSL. But in all fairness, the PE really had no choice. It was the "beginning of the end" for rail transit in LA. It was a relentless, unstoppable march that would take 13 years to complete.

And so this timeless photo would all change drastically in less then two years. Only the large houses on the south side of Venice Boulevard and the West Boulevard bridge would survive into the 21 Century. EVERYTHING else in this beautiful scene — Vineyard Junction and Sub-Station, the Sears - Pico Department Store, and Rimpau Loop will all be swept away by the passage of time.

A special note regarding the Bay Cities Checker Transit bus: Very few of these buses were built between 1948 and 1949. All were gasoline powered, and featured a unique forward-facing "standee window" above the destination sign. The eight Bay Cities unites were the only ones to operate in Southern California, and very few, if any, have been preserved.

Mount Lowe Preservation Society Archives, Ross Fry Collection

5015 Crossing Fletcher Avenue

Posted on: August 15, 2013 by Pacific Electric 4 Comments

 

Willis "Dutch" Hendrick Photo, Donated by Bruce Hendrick to the Mount Lowe Preservation Society Collection

Willis "Dutch" Hendrick Photo, Donated by Bruce Hendrick to the Mount Lowe Preservation Society Collection

Pacific Electric PCC no. 5015 crosses Fletcher Drive's trestle in this undated photo by Willis "Dutch" Hendrick, donated to the collection by his son Bruce Hendrick.

Willis "Dutch" Hendrick Photo, Donated by Bruce Hendrick to the Mount Lowe Preservation Society Collection

1616 and Freight at Amoco Tower

Posted on: August 15, 2013 by Pacific Electric 1 Comment

 

Willis "Dutch" Hendrick Photo, Donated by Bruce Hendrick to the Mount Lowe Preservation Society Collection

Willis "Dutch" Hendrick Photo, Donated by Bruce Hendrick to the Mount Lowe Preservation Society Collection

Pacific Electric freight locomotive no. 1616 pulls a freight across the Four Tracks at Amoco Tower in this undated image by Willis "Dutch" Hendrick, donated to the collection by his son Bruce Hendrick.

Willis "Dutch" Hendrick Photo, Donated by Bruce Hendrick to the Mount Lowe Preservation Society Collection

The Tale of the 1058

Posted on: August 15, 2013 by Pacific Electric 6 Comments

 

Willis "Dutch" Hendrick Photo, Donated by Bruce Hendrick to the Mount Lowe Preservation Society Collection

Willis "Dutch" Hendrick Photo, Donated by Bruce Hendrick to the Mount Lowe Preservation Society Collection

By Ralph Cantos

Pacific Electric no. 1058 poses for the camera at its Terminal Island "Car Barn" in this undated photo by Willis "Dutch" Hendrick, donated to the collection by his son Bruce Hendrick.

The 1058 was created from the body of Pacific Electric car no. 983 which, after retirement in 1950, was used as storage shed within eyesight of the Long Beach Line just behind the Compton Station.

Richard Fellows would "play" with the 1058 on Terminal Island to the astonishment of motorists that would encounter it. I personally was on one of those "motoring fan trips" with the 1058 and the looks on passing motorists' faces was priceless to say the least.

Richard had to get special permits to take the 1058 off the Island. The #1058 participated in at least one Hollywood Christmas Parade, and was at the opening of the Blue Line at the Del Amo Station.

Some time after this photo was taken, Richard re-painted the sides of the 1058 red along the lower portion of the car . He had incorrectly carried the black paint all the way around the lower parts of the car.

Willis "Dutch" Hendrick Photo, Donated by Bruce Hendrick to the Mount Lowe Preservation Society Collection