What Do Juice, Oil and Water Have to do with Los Angeles?

Published : Thursday, September 26, 2013 | 7:15 PM

USC Professor Tom Tomlinson

USC Professor Tom Tomlinson

Head to the Crowell Library in San Marino to be delighted by the stories and tales of how the diverse city of Los Angeles and surrounding areas grew its roots. With John Randolph Haynes and his family as the guide, USC Professor Tom Tomlinson will walk the six-week class though how health, citrus agriculture, the movies, and residential areas flourished because of Southern California’s chief resource: the sun.

John Haynes

John Haynes

The USC Emeriti Center College in collaboration with the San Marino Historical Society, invites everyone who loves Southern California and its history to immerse themselves in this six-session class, “Health, Wealth and Intellect: John Randolph Haynes, USC and the Making of Los Angeles, 1880-1932” which will be taught by Dr. Tom Tomlinson. Dr. Tomlinson is the former Associate Dean of the Gould School of Law and has served as an administrator, instructor, and researcher of USC and Southern California history for the past 32 years.

“This is a groundbreaking series. We are thrilled to hold a class like this for the first time, partnering with USC. We have such a valuable resources with USC right here so we are very excited about this,” San Marino City Librarian Irene McDermott said.

This lecture is part of a series of Enrichment courses put on by the USC Emeriti Center in an outreach attempt. Every year the Emeriti Center College sponsors more than 100 events and programs in the community, including lectures, discussions, and multi-generational forums. Many retired faculty and staff teach or take courses to share their knowledge or participate in new learning experiences.

“The philosophy that ‘retirement is a terrible thing to waste’ is evident in their attitudes and their enthusiasm,” Communications Director Diana Seyb said.

This lecture about the wealth, health and intellect of Los Angeles will explore how the culture of Los Angeles developed. Using the life of John R. Haynes (1853-1937) L.A. physician-millionaire-philanthropist and the development of USC, these lectures track the growth of Los Angeles from a dusty town of 12,000 in 1880 to an international metropolis approaching 2,000,000 in 1932 when the city hosted the Olympic Games.

Participants will explore Los Angeles as a place of tuberculosis sanatoria, citrus orchards, oil fields, aqueducts, film sets, airports, with a diverse and international peoples. An avid student of Los Angeles history, Dr. Tomlinson will present cameos of the people who built this great city. He will share original publications that contain their visions of the future for the vast southern California region. He also will share an extensive collection of photographs and postcards.

Sierra Madre resident of 40+ years, Tomlinson was not intrinsically interested in U.S. History, but rather found a great draw in turn of the century European history.

“When I moved back and took interest in studying philanthropy in the U.S. and particularly in Los Angeles, I found that Los Angeles history was readily available and intriguing because I recognized the places and could see the remnants of the history,”

At the first session, Tomlinson showed 100 postcards that he has collected that demonstrate the health and wealth of LA extremely well in his mind. Many of the buildings that glimmered on the postcards have been razed because the land beneath was more valuable. Most of what is now downtown Los Angeles was residential. But he was eager to point out the items that still exist like a row of palm trees that led up to Longstreet’s house on what is now Adams Boulevard.

The colorful postcards showed that the familiar and exotic could exist together in California. Roses were familiar but giant rose bushes covering a cottage with an orange tree next to it was exotic to the relatives and friends back in Pennsylvania.

The themes that will inevitably seep out of the discussions will center around sunshine and health for the reasons people came, delve into the three liquids– juice, oil, and water—and look at cement as developing permanence.

“The Southern California Cure” lured many from Pennsylvania who had tuberculosis or who could not withstand the harsh winters any longer. The dry climate and winter free environment helped cure these people along with the sanitariums in every city from Santa Monica to San Bernardino.

The people who settled in Los Angeles were not Midwesterners looking for a better place to live, but rather people of influence and power who were the best in their field on the East coast and chose to come try out a new life where they would be the leading experts on building, locomotives and land use.

For more stories about the development of Los Angeles come to a lecture by Dr. Tom Tomlinson over the next six weeks.

The class will take place on the following six Thursdays: September 26, October 3, October 10, October 31, and November 7 and November 14.

The USC Emeriti Center serves and supports the university’s over 2300 retirees and pre-retirees in living healthy and purposeful lives by providing essential information, resources, services, advocacy, privileges.

If you can not make the class, a few books to check out recommended by Tomlinson are: The Control of Nature by John McPhee, Inventing the Dream by Kevin Star, Southern California Country by Kerry Williams, and City of Quartz by Mike Davis.

The fee for the class is $10 per course. Reservations are required, so please contact: ecrsvp@usc.edu or call (213) 740-7122. For further Information, contact: Jerome B. Walker, Ph.D., Director, jbwalker@usc.edu or Judith C. Diaz, Assistant Director, judydiaz@usc.edu; USC Emeriti Center College, emeriticollege.usc.edu, (213) 740-8841.


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