Roundup: January 8, 2014

Almansor Court – 700 S. Almansor, Alhambra, CA.
Social Hour: 5:00 PM
Dinner: 6:00 PM

Speaker: A. C. W. Bethel, Ph.D. 
Subject:  Los Angeles Transit Planning in the 1920s

Corral member Walt Bethel will speak on a topic that still affects each of us who live in the Los Angeles area on a daily basis.  Early in the 20th century a network of fast, electric interurban railway lines, the Pacific Electric, linked most towns and cities in the Los Angeles metropolitan area with downtown Los Angeles. By the 1960s, nothing of it remained. Some writers have attributed this to a conspiracy by automobile-centered industries to replace rail transit with diesel buses, but the real explanation lies elsewhere. By the early 1920s Los Angeles was becoming a truly decentralized city, and any adequate transportation system would need to be able to take people from anywhere to anywhere else, not just deposit them in an increasingly irrelevant downtown. But when the Pacific Electric proposed a cross-town subway to connect its eastern and western lines, the City Council looked instead for an ideal urban transit system. The result was an unbuildable proposal, and the PE, sidelined, was never able to link its system together.

Walt taught philosophy for 40 years at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. Now retired from teaching, with some regret, Walt has shifted to a new career focusing on California history. He has written articles, reviewed books, and delivered presentations on California’s rich and complex transportation history in several professional venues. Even before retiring from Cal Poly, he had reviewed history books for the Pacific Historical Review, California History, and Southern California Quarterly, in addition to our own Branding Iron. Since then he has published articles on California’s rich transportation history in these last three journals. He also edits the quarterly newsletter for the California Council for the Promotion of History and serves on the Council’s Board of Directors.  His paper tonight owes its beginnings to a fascination with rail transportation formed in his Hollywood childhood, when riding the Red Car downtown was an adventure.

Jim Macklin
Deputy Sheriff

Corral News & Other Subjects

About Dinner Reservations:

Dinner reservations are $35 and the deadline is Friday, January 3, 2014. Late reservations can be accepted, but reservations made on time will assure you the entrée of your choice. Walk-ins are $40.00 for potluck.

Checks are payable to “Westerners, Los Angeles Corral”. Please mail to Jim Macklin, 1221 Greenfield Ave., Arcadia, CA 91006. You may call Jim at 626-233-2579 with questions or for late reservations.

Requesting Historical Articles & Corral Chips for the “Branding Iron”

Do you have an interesting subject that you have researched on Western History and wish to share with our organization? The article may be short, longer, or a featured piece. If you are interested in contributing to the Corral in this manner, we welcome and encourage your involvement.  Is there some development in your professional life – research, publications, presentations, honors, etc. – the rest of the Corral would want to know about?  If so, please contact Steve Lech, Publications Editor at 951-686-1476 or


Interesting upcoming local events:

Through January 6, 2014 at the Huntington Library and Gardens.  Junípero Serra and the Legacies of the California Missions – International Exhibit. The life of Junípero Serra (1713–1784)—and his impact on Indian life and California culture through his founding of missions—is the subject of an unprecedented, comprehensive, international loan exhibition exclusively at The Huntington. The exhibit coincides with the 300th anniversary of Serra’s birth and includes about 250 objects from The Huntington’s collections and those of 61 lenders in the United States, Mexico, and Spain1151 Oxford Rd., San Marino. Currently open Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday from noon to 4:30 p.m.; and Saturday, Sunday, and Monday holidays from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Admission on weekdays: $20 adults, $15 seniors. Admission on weekends: $23 adults, $18 seniors. Members are admitted free. Information: 626-405-2100 or

Through January 5, 2014 at Autry National Center in Griffith Park. Jews in the Los Angeles Mosaic. Explore how a growing Jewish community settled, prospered, and helped shape the economy, politics, and culture of a city—and how the diversity and dynamism of Los Angeles have transformed the local Jewish community for the past 160 years. This groundbreaking exhibition is the story of neighborhoods like Boyle Heights and Fairfax, people like Billy Wilder, Max Factor, and Frank Gehry, and lynchpin industries like the movies and suburban land development. See how Jews helped change the region by recruiting the Brooklyn Dodgers, inventing the Barbie doll, and joining other Angelenos in electing the city’s first African American mayor.  Admission is $10, $6 for seniors. Tuesday–Friday: 10:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m. Saturday–Sunday: 11:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.

Through April 19, 2014 at the Pasadena Museum of History. The Colorado Street Bridge Centennial Exhibition.  The mystique of the Colorado Street Bridge is undeniable. For nearly a century, the grand landmark has stood as a beacon to all who come to Pasadena. The exhibit pays homage to the people who built and preserved a beloved local landmark: the architects, the engineers, the builders, the civic leaders, and the community organizers who worked tirelessly to make it possible and to preserve it.  Admission is $7, $6 for Seniors.  Wednesdays through Sundays, 12:00 – 5:00 p.m. at 470 West Walnut Street, Pasadena.