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.
The local Board of Education was mired in scandal 100 years ago this month after a recently hired site administrator was granted three months of leave.
Santa Monica High School Principal A.F. Wood was reportedly heading to Indiana to be with his mother, who was ill, but critics believed he was being forced out by Superintendent Horace M. Rebok.
“Both Supt. Rebok and Mr. Wood deny that there is any friction between them,” reads an archived Los Angeles Times article.
Meanwhile, a petition calling for Rebok to be replaced as superintendent garnered 450 signatures.
Rebok and Wood both reportedly attended a closed session at a special school board meeting following the public flare-up, but board members refused to disclose what took place.
“Everyone present had been admonished to say nothing about the meeting except the two principals to the peculiar situation that has arisen in school affairs here in the last few days,” a Times brief reads.
Wood was scheduled to leave for Indiana the day after the private meeting. Rebok was soon re-elected for a four-year term following a 3-2 vote by the board.
Allegations were made that the superintendent was “a drinking man,” according to a Times article.
Pier construction begins
Construction of a “gigantic amusement pier” in Santa Monica began a century ago this month.
The project just south of the existing municipal pier was being orchestrated by Charles I.D. Looff, an amusement baron who had already constructed recreation complexes in San Francisco, Seattle, New York, Texas and Rhode Island.
Looff’s pier was reportedly going to be 247 feet wide, bringing the total deck width to nearly 300 feet, according to a Times article. The new pier would extend 700 feet out into the ocean and be supported by creosoted piling.
The project was expected to cost roughly $400,000, or approximately $8.7 million in 2016 currency.
Meanwhile, speculation persisted about what E.P. Benjamin and B.N. Moss were planning to do with the rest of their beachfront property.
“The two developers have also made a roadbed for an extension of the Pacific Electric’s air line from Sixth and Main streets,” the article reads.
Hit-and-run suspect commits suicide
A Santa Monica man killed himself a hundred years ago this month after learning that the victim of his hit-and-run accident was in critical condition.
Fred White reportedly fled the scene in his car after hitting William Sambro near the intersection of Pico Boulevard and Ocean Avenue.
Sambro was “standing at the corner when the White machine suddenly swerved, felled him, and then fled down the street,” a Times article reads.
White was arrested and released. But he became “despondent” after reading newspaper accounts of the incident and finding out that Sambro was gravely injured, according to the article.
White bought a revolver and took his own life behind his house in the 1700 block of 25th Street.
Sheriff’s officer dies
Funeral services were to be held a century ago this month for a popular sheriff who died in Santa Monica.
William Durkee Reynolds passed away Feb. 29, 1916, at his daughter’s home in the 1400 block of Berkeley Street, according to a Times brief.
Reynolds “was one of the most popular employees of the Sheriff’s office and bore a high reputation as an officer and was greatly esteemed by his numerous friends,” the brief reads.
Before joining the sheriff’s office, Reynolds held positions in the Santa Monica Land and Water Company and the Southern Pacific railroad company.
Local man drowns
A Santa Monica man drowned 100 years ago this month, and his friend nearly died while trying to save him.
With George O’Neil “caught in an undertow,” James Hannigan “braved the waves and made an effort to bring his friend to shore,” according to a Times brief.
O’Neil’s body reportedly sank as lifeguards arrived. Hannigan was taken to a local hospital and resuscitated.