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Los Angeles

James A. Watkins is an entrepreneur, musician, and a writer with four non-fiction books and hundreds of magazine articles read by millions.

WHISKY A GO GO 1970

WHISKY A GO GO 1970

History of Los Angeles

Los Angeles, California is world famous as the center of the motion picture industry. The Los Angeles Metropolitan Area is the second most populous in the United States, with 18 million souls in residence. It is a fabulous place for a vacation. During my most recent trip there I took a good look around, concentrating on Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, Venice Beach, Malibu and Catalina Island.

The land where now sits Los Angeles was explored and claimed for the Spanish Crown in 1542, but not settled until 1781. After Mexico declared independence from Spain in 1821, Los Angeles became a part of it for 27 years. The United States purchased California from Mexico in 1848, and within two years it became the 31st state in the union.

LOS ANGELES

LOS ANGELES

City of Los Angeles

Los Angeles was only a small village of roughly 1,000 people until the 1880s when the Southern Pacific Railroad linked it to the rest of America, setting off a boom in citrus farming. By 1890 Los Angeles had exploded in population up to 50,000 residents.

In 1892 oil was discovered and within ten years the number of people living there had doubled. By 1920, Los Angeles would supply 1/4 of the world's oil consumption.

There was a major problem: a shortage of drinkable water. To solve this, William Mulholland built a 419 mile-long aqueduct system and only because of this, was Los Angeles able to grow any larger. By 1932 the city would boast one million residents.

LOS ANGELES 1896

LOS ANGELES 1896

HOLLYWOOD

In the 1910s, the inchoate film industry moved from New York to Los Angeles, to take advantage of the wide open spaces and wonderful weather, with the village of Hollywood as its epicenter. It has dominated cinema throughout the world ever since. With the movie makers came the movie stars—glamorous and larger-than-life. 175,000 people call Hollywood home today, and there is much to see there—besides the sign.

The Hollywood Walk of Fame features over 2,000 "stars" embedded in the sidewalk, a tradition that began in 1958. The Chinese Theatre displays footprints, handprints, and signatures of Hollywood stars, gradually accumulated over the past 90 years.

The nightlife is fabulous. I enjoyed what was Johnny Depp's night club, The Viper Room. I also visited the famous "Whisky a Go Go" nightclub to see the stage, which since 1964 has supported performances by The Byrds, The Doors, Van Morrison, Frank Zappa, Jimi Hendrix, The Who, Cream, and Led Zeppelin.

HOLLYWOOD

HOLLYWOOD

THE VIPER ROOM

THE VIPER ROOM

HOLLYWOOD 1940

HOLLYWOOD 1940

Beverly Hills

Beverly Hills, population 35,000, is where many movie stars live.   It naturally follows that it is also the most expensive real estate in America; and contains the largest collection of mansions in the country.  Rodeo Drive is one of the most expensive shopping districts in the world.

RODEO DRIVE

RODEO DRIVE

BEVERLY HILLS 1921

BEVERLY HILLS 1921

MALIBU

Malibu is an ultra-expensive enclave for the rich and famous that is essentially a 21 mile-long beach.  13,000 people live there.  This land was private property until 1929 when the state of California sued the owner for the right to build the Pacific Coast Highway through it—and won. 

MALIBU 1960

MALIBU 1960

YOUR AUTHOR IN MALIBU

YOUR AUTHOR IN MALIBU

The Dust Bowl

The next population explosion came about as a result of devastating drought in the Plains states in the 1930s. 100,000 people, or more, flocked to the Los Angeles area from Oklahoma, Texas, Missouri, and Arkansas; in what became known as the "Dust Bowl" migrations so poignantly evoked by John Steinbeck in Grapes of Wrath.

They discovered that California was no paradise. The vast majority could not afford to buy land; and people who were formerly white-collar professionals, salesmen and retail workers found themselves picking fruit or cotton; living in tents and shacks. The Native Californians viewed them as frightening, revulsive, dirty scum—because they were living without sanitation.

Los Angeles County

As the winds of war blew around the globe in 1939, America rapidly built a huge defense industry in and around Los Angeles, which by 1943 had become the leading manufacturing center of the nation excepting Detroit.  These jobs led to millions of Americans moving west for work. 

LOS ANGELES 1960

LOS ANGELES 1960

Watts Riots

In 1965 black folks launched a frenzy of rioting, looting, violence and mayhem in the Watts community of Los Angeles, killing 34 people and causing $35 million dollars of property damage. Essentially, they burnt down the commercial district of their own neighborhood and most merchants never came back.

This was very odd because it came one week after the most historic Civil Rights legislation in 100 years had been passed on their behalf, by the United States government. Liberals were stunned. Los Angeles had been considered the most prosperous and desirable city for blacks in America at the time. Instead of celebrating they were devastating.

Los Angeles California

The racial and ethnic composition changed rapidly in the 1980s, due to changes in immigration law, as the number of people of Asian and Hispanic origin doubled. By 1990, two million Mexicans lived in Los Angeles, more than any other city besides Mexico City. This period marked the first time in the history of America that the majority of its immigrants did not come from Europe.

In addition to legal immigration, a horde, in the millions, of illegal immigrants swarmed in from Mexico; crushing the budgets—and straining the capacities—of public schools, hospitals and social services.

'Illegal immigrant' means they snuck across the sovereign border of the United States in violation of the law. All nations have immigration laws to control—and maintain an awareness of—who is in the country. Ironically, those of Mexico are very strict.

The United States has a strikingly unusual law that makes anyone born in the country an automatic citizen. This law was passed in 1866 so that the children born of former slaves would not be denied citizenship. It was never intended to apply to illegal immigrants.

The illegals prefer to speak Spanish and live in their own enclaves while retaining the culture of, and allegiance to, from whence they came. This has led to conflict with American Citizens who, as taxpayers, are footing the bill for their use of public services; and are concerned about the lack of shared civic values that is fracturing the unity necessary for a nation to survive.

MAP OF LOS ANGELES

MAP OF LOS ANGELES

Santa Monica

During my stay in Los Angeles I visited the famous resort city of Santa Monica, an oceanfront community of just under 100,000, and a favorite for tourists.  It has long been popular for entertainment, amusements, shopping and surfing.  The Santa Monica Pier and Third Street Promenade are among the highlights.

SANTA MONICA 3RD STREET PROMENADE

SANTA MONICA 3RD STREET PROMENADE

SANTA MONICA 1913

SANTA MONICA 1913

SANTA MONICA

SANTA MONICA

Venice Beach

I also made sure to visit Venice Beach and its well-known boardwalk.  It features a cornucopia of street performers, vendors, skateboarders, bodybuilders, surfers, volleyball players, and basketball courts.  Venice (pop. 36,000)  was so-named after its initial developers built a plethora of canals to drain marshlands.

VENICE BEACH 1920

VENICE BEACH 1920

VENICE BEACH STREET PERFORMER

VENICE BEACH STREET PERFORMER

Catalina Island

Finally, our journey ends with a one-hour catamaran ride out to Catalina Island, 22 miles from Long Beach. The island is roughly 20 miles long and 7 miles wide and home to 4,000 people. From 1919 to 1975 it was owned by the Wrigley Family from Chicago—famous for chewing gum and the eponymous baseball park now occupied by the Chicago Cubs. Catalina Island is beautiful and charming.

After returning to Long Beach, I enjoyed the Queen Mary—now a hotel—that for over thirty years was one of the most popular luxury ocean liners in the world.

CATALINA ISLAND

CATALINA ISLAND

THE QUEEN MARY AT LONG BEACH

THE QUEEN MARY AT LONG BEACH

Comments

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on July 01, 2011:

cordbailey— Thank you for reading my Hub. I appreciate your kind compliments. I see you have written an article about the unexplored places in LA. I made myself a note to come by and read it soon. Welcome to the Hub Pages Community!

cordbailey on June 30, 2011:

Nice article. Good overall historical perspective of Los Angeles. The amazing thing is that there are so many little places in LA that are still relatively unexplored.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on June 09, 2011:

feenix— Thank you for the kind compliments. Since Los Angeles is your hometown, I am doubly gratified to read your warm words about my article. I very much appreciate you reading my Hubs. Your Profile Page is quite interesting. I'll be visiting soon to see what you've been writing.

feenix on June 08, 2011:

James, this is a well-written and thorough article about my hometown, Los Angeles. As a matter of fact, it is written so well that while I was reading it, I began to feel homesick. And by the way, I am presently reading your hub about Vietnam. It is terrific and I will be sending you a comment about it in the near future.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 31, 2010:

Don Simkovich— Thank you for your kind comments. I appreciate this visitation from you. I'll be coming over to read your Hubs soon.

Don Simkovich from Pasadena, CA on August 31, 2010:

This is funny. I recently visited Hartford, CT and wrote a Hub about it but I've never a Hub about Los Angeles! I've been thinking about it for a while - I'll have to make the Hubs their own sub-categories. Nicely written. Writing online gives new meaning to travel writing.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 31, 2010:

mtkomori— Thank you for visiting my Hub. I am well pleased to read that you enjoyed it. I appreciate your nice comments. I look forward to reading more of your Hubs soon, too.

Takako Komori from Yokohama, Japan on August 30, 2010:

I'm commenting on your hub after it was published a little over a year ago. This hub was easy to understand and I learned something new, like the change in the racial composition around 1980. I lived in Los Angeles from 1971~73 (in Culver City) and there were few Asians at the time. The public elementary school I attended had many students of Mexican ancestry but only one or two Asians per class. Now, there are many Asians, I presume.

It's also hard to believe that Los Angeles was a small village of about 1000 people until the 1880s!

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 13, 2009:

Inspired 4 U— You are welcome! I saw you comment on someone's Hub and was impressed by your words. I took a look at your profile and the first sentence was all I needed to know I want to read your work. I haven't yet, but I bookmarked your list of Hubs so I can do so soon.

I am so glad you liked this Hub. I used to get around. Now I mostly write about how I used to get around! :-)

Enjoy your visit and thanks for your comments.

Jo Anne Meekins from Queens, NY on August 13, 2009:

Hi James. Thanks for becoming a fan and for this well written timely hub. I will be visiting LA for a few days next month and now I will have some history and visuals to enhance my experience. You do get around, thanks for sharing your experiences with some of the less traveled. :-)

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 05, 2009:

Crazdwriter— Please do. I will certainly tune in to see them. :D

Crazdwriter on August 05, 2009:

Will do...I'm looking forward to it. And I'll make sure to take my camera and take pictures. I'll post them in a hub so you and others can see them. :-)

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 05, 2009:

Crazdwriter— I missed the tar pits. I am familiar but will have to go next time. Let me know what you see there. And thanks for your comments.

Crazdwriter on August 05, 2009:

Thanks James. and definitely going soon. Have you gone to the tar pits?

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 05, 2009:

Crazdwriter— You must go! Venice is worth a day trip alone. Thank you for reading and leaving your comment. Welcome to the Hub Pages Community!

Crazdwriter on August 05, 2009:

My friends and I are going to hit Venice Beach this month, that and the tar pits. I have never been there and have lived in Poway 23 years, then moved 1 year to Hawaii. Now my hubby and I live in Anaheim and we still haven't gone to see all the cool sites of LA. We are bad I know lol

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 05, 2009:

fierycj— A pleasure to see you again! Thank you for your comments. If you are going to Hollywood, I would suggest renting "Entourage" for some fine tips on how to survive there. I love that show. :D

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 05, 2009:

ripplemaker— I hope you do visit LA. It is fascinating. And you, would bring that personal sunshine with you to brighten the mood a bit.

I appreciate the visitation.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 05, 2009:

Waren E— Well, thanks! Welcome to the Hub Pages Community!

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 05, 2009:

Priority_030— Thank you for the accolades! And you are most welcome, too.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 05, 2009:

quietnessandtrust— This Hub's for you, my friend. Thank you for visiting and leaving word.

fierycj on August 05, 2009:

Ha ha ha Brilliant, James. You do know I'm heading there, right? You do know I've got film directing deals there in Hollywood, right? Lol. Cool hub. LA for me is synonymous to Hollywood, I'll remember this hub when I arrive. Martin Scorcese, here I come!

Michelle Simtoco from Cebu, Philippines on August 05, 2009:

One of these days, I'll find myself in LA...I am sure. Great hub James. :-)

Waren E from HAS LEFT THE BUILDING............ on August 05, 2009:

Professional hub James, inspiring!:)

Priority_030 on August 04, 2009:

Wow,Nice hub James, from top to bottom. Thanks again

oh by the way I love the pictures to.Very nice

quietnessandtrust on August 04, 2009:

STOP WRITING James!!!

You are to good at it...LOL!!!

:-) Lived here my whole life (-:

Shalom

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 04, 2009:

Paris Injeans— Thank you for your affirmation. I do appreciate a visitor from the "show me" state. My mother is from Carruthersville originally.

Paris Injeans from The Green Hills of Missouri on August 04, 2009:

Interestingly informative and well journaled. This is a great travel log. The historical background is certainly a plus.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 04, 2009:

Robert— I have long dreamed of driving the PCH beyond Malibu, all the way til it runs out of road. That would be a thrill. The Queen Mary has been remodeled and is very nice. I haven't been to those beaches but I did go to Manhattan Beach and it looked like a very cool community.

Thank you.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 04, 2009:

Peggy,

Thank you! Coming from an expert travel writer as yourself I consider this a premium compliment! :D

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 04, 2009:

A Texan— Well, you could go to Orange County?! Thanks for reading and commenting.

Robert on August 04, 2009:

I have not seen California for over thirty years. Coming from the midwest is was a tremendous eye opener. I loved the PCH and would travel it several times a week. Longbeach was beautiful back then and the Queen Mary was special. Now I hear it is not so nice there. We spent a lot of time on NewPort Beach and Huntington Beach.

A well rounded Hub to include so many things about California.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on August 04, 2009:

James, what a great hub! I have only skirted Los Angeles so this was most informative. I loved the history you wove into the description of your vacation there. Great photos, both old and new.

A Texan on August 04, 2009:

Very good Hub but I don't think I could ever bring myself to go to the left coast, again.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 04, 2009:

bill— Thank you, Bill. I hope she will enjoy it. Nice to hear from you.

bill on August 04, 2009:

james: this is a special trip, my youngest daughter graduated from ucla and she will so appreciate this.

keep them coming. bill

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 04, 2009:

GickySoriano— Cool! I enjoyed the beauty of San Diego the one time I visited there, around 1978. I am glad you enjoyed it. Thanks!

Gicky Soriano from California on August 04, 2009:

Enjoyed your hub James. Los Angeles was my home for a couple decades until I moved to San Diego. I shared the same route you took when my friends and family came for a visit. Great memories.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 04, 2009:

BrianS— I do appreciate your kind words. Your travel Hubs are wonderful! Thanks for swinging by.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 04, 2009:

advisor4qb— The Beach Boys! ;)

I appreciate your encouragement. I enjoy your Hubs, too.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 04, 2009:

Ethel,

It is a very exciting place to visit. I enjoyed it very much. Thanks for your support.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 04, 2009:

Brannon Rue— Well, hello, my friend. You are welcome and thank you for the visit and your kind comments.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 04, 2009:

steve rensch— As in, Goebbels?

I suppose any metropolitan area as spread out as LA, with that many people, must have many personalities, for sure. Having grown up there, you know a lot more about it, of course. I only had a week and so just visited the places I had longed to see for myself.

Thanks for your comments.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 04, 2009:

Nemingha— I would love to visit your country. My nephew attended Wollongong University for one year and raved about how great the atmosphere and the people are there.

I know what you mean about the crowds. It can create stress.

Thank you for your insights.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 04, 2009:

Ande Moore— I appreciate your remarks. Thanks for the visit. Santa Monica is a lovely city.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 04, 2009:

tony0724— San Diego is a beautiful city. I have been there, but only once. So, you are from the OC? Is it like the TV show?

Thank you for reading and for your kindly comments.

Brian Stephens from Laroque des Alberes, France on August 04, 2009:

Hi, very informative hub, I hadn't twigged that there was so much oil there, guess I should have known having come from that industry. Great presentation as well.

advisor4qb from On New Footing on August 04, 2009:

Boy, you sure do get around! Nice! I have never been to California before!

And so beautifully descriptive, as usual!

Ethel Smith from Kingston-Upon-Hull on August 04, 2009:

Somewhere I would like to see. Thanks for the visit James

Brannon Rue on August 04, 2009:

James,

Thank you for the wonderful insight and compilation of the history of greater LA. I have been several times but now it makes me want to go back now that I have a different perspective! Keep writing!!

steve rensch on August 03, 2009:

I grew up in LA and could bury/bore you with stories, but I won't. The city does not have a personality: it has millions, mostly the product of interracial interaction. Good hub, and by the way, you are a master propagandist.

Nemingha on August 03, 2009:

When I think that there are almost as many people crammed into this one city as there are in the entire continent of Australia, I thank my lucky stars and whoever else may have played some role in the matter. Although I have visited plenty of overcrowded places in my lifetime, I am always thankful that I can leave - a little more enriched perhaps - but grateful that I have never had to live in one permanently.

Ande Moore from Austin, Texas on August 03, 2009:

Great Hub about my 2nd home. Actually Santa Monica but who's counting since I spend time in Fullerton as well. I miss San D. though which is a much better city. Have a great one and tons of fun.

tony0724 from san diego calif on August 03, 2009:

James I currently live In San Diego but grew up In the suburbs of LA . And no surprise to me you know more about my city I grew up In then I do ! I have been to the Whiskey many times and many other clubs on the westside . Most of my family still lives around there and In the OC . Malibu has a franciscan monestary whose name eludes me at this time but It Is gorgeous and I have had the pleasure of visiting It In the past . But good stuff a usual . Be well Bro .

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 03, 2009:

douglas— Yes, he does! That dude is timeless! Thank you, my friend for visiting and you are welcome.

douglas on August 03, 2009:

Thanks James for the history and images around LA. The Venice Beach performer is dressed the same as when I saw him during my visits to the area in the 80`s and 90`s. Does he still have roller skates/blades?

douglas on August 03, 2009:

Thanks James for the history and images around LA. The Venice Beach performer is dressed the same as when I saw him during my visits to the area in the 80`s and 90`s. Does he still have roller skates/blades?

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 03, 2009:

Vladimir! My old friend. Thank you for reading. You are welcome.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 03, 2009:

GPAGE— I have not been to Santa Barbara, but have long heard it is the most beautiful city in America. bgpappa has an excellent Hub about Santa Barbara that is fairly recent. I am careful not to duplicate some else's recent efforts.

Thank you very much for the compliment!

Vladimir Uhri from HubPages, FB on August 03, 2009:

Thank you James for great hub as usual.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 03, 2009:

msorensson— You can say that again! :-)

Thank you so very much! I am humbled by your response. And you are my first reader! There should be some kind of prize for that. You are welcome.

GPAGE on August 03, 2009:

Great Hub James! LOVE the history......

Next time you should come up the coast past MALIBU towards Santa Barbara! Bliss & Peaceful............I know this hub is about LA ; NOT Ventura County!

GPAGE

msorensson on August 03, 2009:

Wow, yet another fantastic hub.

To think I lived in San Diego for two years and I have been to Los Angeles a few times, you still put a fresh perspective into it, it is amazing.

I love this hub, James. Thank you.

msorensson on August 03, 2009:

Wow, yet another fantastic hub.

To think I lived in San Diego for two years and I have been to Los Angeles a few times, you still put a fresh perspective into it, it is amazing.

I love this hub, James. Thank you.

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