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.

City officials a hundred years ago this month were considering placing before voters a bond measure to construct or acquire a municipal gas plant.

It was believed that such an acquisition would dramatically reduce the cost of gas for Santa Monica consumers, according to an archived Los Angeles Times article.

“An animated discussion of the proposition arose,” the article reads.

City commissioners also floated the idea of buying nearly a mile of beach property to prevent private property owners from starting to build cottages, which would hamper public use of the beach.

Piracy prodigy

A judge was puzzled 100 years ago this month by the alleged crimes of a 13-year-old boy whose parents lived in Santa Monica.

Benjamin England was accused of burying money under the front porch of his adopted father’s home, according to an archived Times article. He reportedly began his forays in piracy as a 4-year-old.

“Natural for him to take what he wanted and turn it into cash for the purchase of the dainties he loved, Benjamin not only stole from his foster parents, but pilfered from the neighborhood children,” the article reads.

Judge Reeve of the juvenile court was trying to figure out how he could help the boy, according to the article.

Paving the way for fun

A carnival in Santa Monica a century ago celebrated the completion of the paving of Ocean Avenue.

Backed by the chamber of commerce, the “Trail Makers” event featured music, dancing and prizes, among other attractions, according to an archived Times brief.

At the time, the paving project was the largest ever award by the City of Santa Monica, according to the brief.


A starving goat was killed at a Santa Monica pound 100 years ago this month, but it didn’t go easily.

A bullet fired at the head of the animal bounced off its head and passed through the clothes of the poundkeeper, according to an archived Times brief, although no injuries were reported.

“It required two more bullets to finish the goal,” the brief reads.

Gone fishing

A man was taken to a Santa Monica hospital a century ago this month after being hit in the head during a fishing accident.

E.D. Benson was casting his line when the sinker hit Harry Plueck, creating a deep gash on Plueck’s temple.

Graduation day

Santa Monica High School’s celebrated the Class of 1916 at its graduation ceremony 100 years ago this month.

“Closing exercises” were held for 89 students who received diplomas, according to a Times brief.

Each graduate’s name was printed in the June 24 edition of the newspaper.

Kidnapping caper

An 18-year-old woman was kidnapped a century ago while walking in Palisades Park near Santa Monica Boulevard, according to an archived Times article.

Gladys Roeder was reportedly planning to meet a friend when she was grabbed from behind and knocked unconscious, police reported.

Roeder said she regained consciousness a few blocks from her grandmother’s home in the 1200 block of 2nd Street.

“It is believed that the man recognized the girl,” the article reads, “though Miss Roeder believes she was mistaken for someone else.”