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.

Construction of the world-famous Santa Monica Pier was being completed a century ago this month.

Nearly a thousand Sunday-school kids from Los Angeles descended on the area to explore the unfinished structure, the brainchild of Charles Looff.

The developer’s sons were in charge of the project’s day-to-day management, according to an archived Los Angeles Times article. One son, Arthur, was “practically living on the structure, directing operations every day from early morning until midnight,” the article reads.

The pier was being designed to extend more than 1,000 feet, an adjustment over the initial 700-foot estimate, and connect to the existing municipal pier.

Looff’s anticipated addition was expected to include “bowling alleys, billiard halls and shooting galleries,” according to the article, as well as concession stands and a giant dance hall.

The construction of the pier followed Looff’s purchase of land previously held by E.P. Benjamin and B.N. Moss. Looff chose the location in part because of its proximity to the Pacific Electric train line.

“The line is the only one on the Coast taking passengers directly to the surf,” the article reads, “a factor which was largely influential in Mr. Looff’s decision to place his pier at this particular point.”

Construction was taking place during a longshoremen’s strike, according to a Times brief.

Police pursuit

Santa Monica police and area residents were searching the mountains north of the city a hundred years ago this month for a man who allegedly attacked the wife of the foreman of a local water plant.

The victim, Mrs. Ellery Hembree, reportedly gave the suspect a glass of water after he approached her home, according to a Times brief. Then, after telling a neighbor that she “did not like his looks,” she was found with blood on her face following an unprompted scuffle with the man.

“The husband returned home shortly after the attack and headed the hunt for his wife’s assailant,” the brief reads.

Police were investigating a possible connection between the man and threatening letters that Hembree received several months earlier.

Dairy debate

Confusion over what constituted a dairy business poured into City Council matters a century ago this month.

Mayor Samuel Berkley reported that he had received an application from a woman in the 900 block of 8th Street who wanted to have her children deliver milk from her seven cows.

It was determined that the woman, Mrs. Carrie Reynolds, could not be charged a dairy fee because the city ordinance defined a dairy as an institution delivering milk “by means of a wagon,” according to a Times brief.

“Council could not hold that the children are ‘wagons,’” the brief reads.

Double funeral

A funeral was held 100 years ago this month for a woman and her son, who committed suicide following his mother’s death.

After Marian Saint Dizier died at her Dudley Avenue home, her 15-year-old boy “ran from her bedside to a medicine cabinet and swallowed a quantity of boracic acid and [acetanilide],” according to a Times brief. The boy was rushed to a hospital but did not survive.

The two bodies were to be cremated at Angelus-Rosedale Cemetery.

Heading west

The extension of Jefferson Boulevard to the beach was proposed a century ago this month.

Delegates from Santa Monica and other neighboring cities attended a meeting of the West Jefferson Improvement Association to discuss the plan, according to a Times brief.

Advocates said “such a boulevard would also result in the upbuilding of a part of southwest Los Angeles that has lagged for want of through streets,” the brief reads.

jeff@smdp.com

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