Welcome to Los Angeles, 1926

26-lightenedRED JADE, my first Avery Shepard novel, takes place in and around Los Angeles in late 1926. Modern day time travelers might need to orient themselves if they were to visit that world, for the Los Angeles of “then” has some notable differences to “now.” Continue reading


Altadena’s Mile of Christmas Trees

altadena_mile_of_christmas_trees_1920sIt started in 1920, the tradition of lighting the twin row of giant Himalayan Deodars along Santa Rosa Avenue. Santa Rosa Avenue in the foothill community of Altadena, near Pasadena. Originally the lighting ceremony was held on December 24. The lights stayed on each evening until 10pm through January 2 and attracted thousands of visitors from all over Los Angeles. Continue reading

Red Grange in Los Angeles

1926_chicago_bears_Los_angeles_tigers_memorial_coliseumHarold “Red” Grange was a college football player, an all-American halfback who rose to national prominence after his remarkable performance in a 1924 game against Michigan. In 1925 he turned professional, signing on with the Chicago Bears. He kicked off 1926 with a football game at the Memorial Coliseum playing against the Los Angeles Tigers, then returned in the spring to star in his first Hollywood feature film. Continue reading

The Pacific Electric Subway Terminal

pacific_electric_subway_terminal_los_angeles_1926As of 1926 Los Angeles could boast one more thing it had that New York had: a subway. Sure, it was only about a mile long, but it was a subway. It started from 417 S. Hill St.- far below the Pacific Electric Railway’s 12-story terminal designed by Schulte & Weaver, architects of the Biltmore Hotel. Continue reading

The Los Angeles Illustrated Daily News



It was a young paper, founded in 1923 by young Cornelius Vanderbilt, Jr. of New York. When it folded in the spring of 1926, the city’s newspaper titans William Randolph Hearst and Harry Chandler hoped the upstart tabloid would stay gone. But in August, a man with no newspaper experience dealt them a decisive “Boddy blow” and was soon taking on the city’s new Chief of Police. Continue reading

Jack Dempsey


He started as the “Manassa Mauler” and became the Heavyweight Champion of the World- but for a little while, in the mid 1920s, Los Angles could claim Jack Dempsey as one of its own. Local fight fan gathered around their radios listened in disbelief on September 23, 1926 when the Champ lost his title to Gene Tunney in Philadelphia. Continue reading

The Ambassador Hotel & the Cocoanut Grove

ambassador_hotel_los_angelesFrom the time the Ambassador Hotel opened on New Years’ Day, 1921 it was more than a hotel, it was a destination. Set amidst 21 acres of landscaped grounds, with its own tennis courts, golf course, restaurants, movie theater, post office, beauty salon, barber, shops and shoeshine stands, it was like a small city on its own. Its nightclub, The Cocoanut Grove, opened a few months after the hotel and Los Angeles and Hollywood society had been enjoying palmy nights there ever since. Continue reading