November 2012 Roundup: Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Join the Westerners Los Angeles Corral for the November 2012 Roundup, Wednesday, November 14, 2012, at Almansor Court, 700 South Almansor, Alhambra, California.

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Social Hour will begin at 5PM, with Dinner served at 6PM.

Our speaker will be Phil Brigandi, and his topic is entitled The Death Valley Chuck-Walla, Startling the Uninitiated.

For more information:

During the Death Valley mining boom in the early 20th century, stock promotion was key, as investors from the East poured their money into the ground. To attract these investors, mine promoters worked hard to build up the image of the dark and foreboding Valley of Death through newspapers and magazines. The Death Valley Chuck-Walla, published at the ill-fated copper camp of Greenwater in 1907, is one of the best examples of these lurid mining camp magazines.

Our own Los Angeles Corral Westerners member, historian, editor, author, and lecturer extraordinaire, Phil Brigandi, will trace the rise and fall of the Chuck-Walla, and share stories from Greenwater’s frantic boom. Phil began his Death Valley research in the 1980s, and became friends with the family of Chuck -Walla co-publisher C.E. Kunze. He has previously spoken on the Chuck-Walla (and Death Valley promotional newspapers in general) at the Death Valley History Conference and the Death Valley ’49ers author’s breakfast.

Phil has prepared and Westerners has published a special, limited edition, Westerners Keepsake giving a brief history of the Death Valley Chuck-Walla and a selection of some of its best articles. This rare edition booklet will only be distributed to members and guests attending this November Round-Up meeting.

Joe Cavallo, Deputy Sheriff

For HAT NIGHT 2012 photos, click here.




Event Schedule Updated for 2012-2013

We have updated our Event Schedule for the balance of 2012 and the beginning of 2013. Please click here to view the Event Schedule page.

New Grants Program Announced by Los Angeles Corral of Westerners

The Los Angeles Corral of Westerners, founded in 1946 as an affiliate of Westerners International, is an organization dedicated to the study, preservation, and dissemination of knowledge relating to the rich history and culture of the American West.

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In the furtherance of its mission, the Los Angeles Corral will provide grants to local non-profit historical societies with similar interests and commitment. The Westerners grants are directed specifically to the advancement of knowledge and information regarding the community in which the society is located, or to an important institution or activity in that area. To be considered for a Westerners grant, an organization must be located in Los Angeles or Orange County, with annual expenditures not in excess of $50,000. In addition, the organization must be able to present a record of regular meetings, membership activities, and the presentation of programs and/or activities for the community or surrounding area in which it is located.

Click here for more information and to download the Grant Application.

September 2012 RoundUp: Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Join the Westerners Los Angeles Corral for the September 2012 Roundup, Wednesday, September 12, 2012, at Almansor Court, 700 South Almansor, Alhambra, California.

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Social Hour will begin at 5PM, with Dinner served at 6PM.

Our speaker will be Dydia DeLyser, and her topic is entitled Bodie, California: Boom Town, Ghost Town, Tourist Town.

For more information on Ms. DeLyser and her presentation:

Gold was discovered in Bodie, California in 1859, and by the late 1870s the town boasted a population of as many as 10,000. Bodie is located in the high desert mountians of California’s Eastern Sierra. As with other mining towns, of course, that boom did not last. By the early 1880s a much smaller town remained, one that continued to decline in population and change in character for the next several decades. A little after 1900, Bodie became one of the first places referred to as a “ghost town” and a new group of people began visiting: tourists.

Dydia DeLyser’s presentation will first sketch a brief history of the town, its boom and bust, and then look in detail at how tourism transformed and saved Bodie, as well as how contemporary tourism in Bodie works. Dydia began serious research on the ghost town as a graduate student in 1994, engaging in many years of ethnographic and archival research. Her study has revealed how the American understanding of ghost towns was formed in part by town-dwellers themselves, as they romanticized and dramatized their own pasts, and how those understandings were later linked to film and ficitional accounts of the American mythic West.

Dydia is currently an associate professor of Geography at Louisiana State University. That may seem like a long way from Bodie, California but she served for ten years 1988-1997 as a seasonal maintenance worker at Bodie State Historic Park, and has worked there as a summer-time volunteer ever since. Beginning in the early 1990s she undertook docotral research there, and wrote her PhD dissertation, and later several articles about Bodie.

– Joe Cavallo, Deputy Sheriff

August 2012 Roundup – Wednesday, August 8, 2012

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Join the Westerners Los Angeles Corral for the August 2012 Roundup, Wednesday, August 8, 2012, at Almansor Court, 700 South Almansor, Alhambra, California.

Social Hour will begin at 5PM, with Dinner served at 6PM.

It will be Hawaiian Shirt Night.

Our speaker will be Michael Duchemin, and his topic is entitled New Deal Cowboy: Gene Autry and Public Diplomacy.

For more information on Mr. Duchemin and his presentation:

Gene Autry is the only person to be awarded stars in all five categories on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, for film, television, music, radio, and live performance. He has also received numerous other awards. He was a brilliant business man as well who among other operations, owned TV and radio stations, and the Angels baseball team. Many wonderful things could be recounted about Gene Autry.

Westerners is very fortunate to have Michael Duchemin to speak about Gene Autry. Michael has made a study of the life of Gene and was the Chief Curator at the Autry Museum 1993-2008. The talk will be on Gene Autry and public diplomacy. Michael will explain how Gene Autry used his mastery of multi-platform entertainment and extraordinary storytelling in working with the Franklin Roosevelt administration to make policies more attractive to the American public. The career of Gene Autry will be explored to exemplify how public diplomacy worked within the American cultural industries and media culture. He will show how Autry’s persona redefined Americanism and the American Way for rural, small town and newly urban fans emerging from the Great Depression.

With broad training in the arts, humanities and social sciences, besides chief curator, Michael has also worked as a museum director, exhibition and program developer, project manager, historian, and author. He specializes in museum exhibitions projects related to the cultural and intellectual history of the United States and the American West. Michael is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin, with a Masters from Arizona State University and a doctorate from the University of Nevada. Currently he is the Executive Director of the Chinese American Museum in Los Angeles.

See you Wednesday, August 8, 2012, in Alhambra.

– Joe Cavallo, Deputy Sheriff