Santa Monica Pier (File photo)

Editor’s note: This is part of a monthly feature that tracks Santa Monica’s history by compiling notable city happenings from a century ago. The stories are found in old newspaper archives.

Rival fishermen engaged in a pier battle in the summer of 1915, according to the Los Angeles Times archives.

A Japanese fisherman was stepping off a pier ladder and onto his dory when Austrian fisherman on the pier began to chuck trash and fish boxes at the man.

He pushed off and rowed quickly out of their range so the Austrians turned on residents of the Japanese fishing village.

Neutral parties intervened, breaking up the fight. The article did not explain what the beef was over.

Earlier in the day, the sheriff had raided homes in the village, turning up liquor but not the prostitutes they’d been expecting to find.

Property swap

In June of 1915, property magnates swapped two massive plots of land.

King Gillette, the razor baron, gave up the famous Miramar property on Ocean Avenue and substantial cash for the Ivins apartments in Downtown Los Angeles.

The Miramar property had originally been owned by Senator John P. Jones, who founded Santa Monica.

The mansion had 30 rooms and an elevator.

J.C. Ivins took over the property.

The news came in an article about million-dollar development and real estate deals in Santa Monica. Resort and hotels, the article said, were coming to the oceanfront areas north and south of the municipal pier.


Apparently, in the summer of 1915 there was nothing newsworthy about attempting unofficial road records until someone drove into a canyon.

One hundred years ago this month, O.F. Jewett and Miss M. Lockhart of Santa Monica, trying to break a road record between Santa Monica and San Diego when their Mercer roadster blew a tire, skidded 100 feet off the road, into a ditch, and then struck a 600-pound rock in Laguna Canyon.

It took an hour and 15 minutes for them to make it that far and both individuals survived the crash with injuries.

Coyote crash

Santa Monica residents, especially those with small pets, know that coyotes haunt the city by the sea but in June of 1915, coyotes were pets, at least for Milton Morgan, an 18-year-old who turtled his auto thanks, in part to his coyote cub.

Milton, according to the Times’ archives, turned to check on his little pet, who was perched on the edge of the backseat and “frisking about.” Milton’s interest in the cub caused the car to swerve and ultimately flip, injuring, but not killing, many of the car’s passengers.

Goodbye Arch Rock

A famous rock arch, called Arch Rock, that appeared along the primitive path between Santa Monica and Malibu was scheduled for full demolition in the summer of 1915. The rock tunnel had been taken out of commission years earlier but country workers were scheduled to finish it off in efforts to widen the beach road.

Driftwood drifter

A century ago this summer, police were investigating some genius hobo who was trying to charge beachgoers a 50-cent toll for driftwood.

Talking trees

Santa Monica resident Henry Heinelle, famous for finding singing sand dunes in Malibu, reported the discovery of talking trees in Los Tunas Canyon. The Times apparently sent a reporter to the canyon because there are several paragraphs describing the sounds made by the whispering leaves.

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