Editor’s note: This monthly feature uncovers Santa Monica’s history by compiling notable city happenings from a century ago. The stories are found in old newspaper archives.
Santa Monica took control of its own water a century ago this month, acquiring four plants following voter approval of a bond.
The City paid more than $660,000 to the four water companies, according to a Los Angeles Times brief, the equivalent of more than $14.5 million in 2016 currency.
Commissioner W.H. Carter of the city public works department took the reins of the Santa Monica Water Company, which accepted a check of more than $404,000.
Officials had also asked the city treasury for money to buy the Ocean Park, City and Irwin Heights water companies. Prices had been previously set by the state Railroad Commission.
Carter said the four separate systems would be integrated and that several improvements were planned. A 12-inch main would be built between the Ocean Park and Irwin Heights reservoirs, a $10,000 steel pipe would bring more water to Irwin Heights consumers and meters would be installed throughout the city, according to the brief.
Kid on the loose
An 8-year-old boy who scaled the interior of a 50-foot chimney to escape from jail in Redondo Beach was found in Santa Monica a hundred years ago this month.
The boy, Aaron Granville, was stopped by a newspaperwoman near the local oceanfront, according to a Times brief. She turned him over to police after trying unsuccessfully to find his guardian.
“Finally someone remembered hearing that the boy had escaped from the Redondo Beach Jail and the marshal there was notified,” the brief reads.
The boy was placed on a Pacific Electric train car and sent to his mother, who was reportedly waiting for him in Los Angeles.
Paving the way
Crews were working 100 years ago this month to complete local stretches of Pacific Coast Highway.
Workers were extending the coastal road north towards Topanga Canyon and south towards Manhattan Beach, according to a Times article.
“The road up the Topanga will open up a rich country and will probably mean that the large area of country taken in during the recent annexation election, when Westgate and Brentwood were annexed, will have closer connection with the city proper,” the article reads. “Several thousand acres of valuable land lies on the mesa overlooking the sea and affording excellent proximity to the mountains.”
Residents of Santa Monica were curious about the Pacific Ocean and its creatures 100 years ago this month.
Marine biology classes offered to members of the public by University of Southern California professors in Venice were popular over the summer, according to a Los Angeles Times article.
“The residents of the beach cities showed a decided interest in learning about the marvelous animal life which is lived under the sea,” the article reads.
USC was also coordinating trips to survey Santa Monica Bay and Catalina Island, according to the article, and materials gathered were expected to be used in winter biology classes at the college.
A nude picture in a second-grade reader was the subject of controversy a century ago this month.
Santa Monica schools Superintendent Horace M. Rebok expressed opposition to the picture, according to a Times brief. He reportedly told the Young Men’s Club at a meeting in Venice that he was not fundamentally opposed to nude artwork but lamented that the image of an Ancient Greece human lacked quality and didn’t have an explanatory caption.
Rebok wrote a letter to the state schools superintendent.
A member of Santa Monica’s municipal band was barred from practicing on his trombone following a complaint by a nearby resident a hundred years ago this month.
The trombone player was arrested on a charge of disturbing the peace “by casting a variegated assortment of musical notes into the backyard of S.P. Bradford, who lives in Venice,” according to a Times brief.
The trombone player reportedly practiced in a room that stood on the border between Santa Monica and Venice.