Travels with Grace: Yosemite, 1924

Posted on February 26th, 2019 by

Welcome to the next segment of our 2019 #TravelTuesday series: Travels with Grace. Today Grace begins exploring Yosemite Valley.

En Route to Yosemite (Wawona)

The Wawona tree, Mariposa Grove, Yosemite Valley, Cal. U.S.A. Created by the Keystone View Company. Courtesy of the Library of Congress.

July 16, 1924:Left Merced in Pierce Arrow Car at 8:30a.m. Very congenial party. Roads excellent most of the way. At one time we were deep in the valley, hill bound on every side, then we climbed slowly and tortuously up the sides looking down in to the canyons. Saw much flint rock, fields of large sunflowers, the largest peach and apricot orchards in the world (Del Monte brand packing company). The hills are lined in various varieties of pines, firs, and cedars with here and there a few eucalyptus and redwoods. We saw the dense smoke from forest fires which take such a dreadful toll in [tiular??] each summer on the other side of the valley. Had lunch at Miami Lodge at noon. Splendid view of pine clad slopes from verandah. Entered Mariposa Grove(meaning [butterfly valley) at 2 P.M. (Sequoia Gigantica national preserve). This tree a species of redwood. Largest trees measure around 30 ft. in circumference and nearly 30 ft. high. Most have been burned, scarred by fire hundreds of years ago. Two have archways cut into them thru which the cars drive. They are named for states and famous people. Saw cabin of Galen Clark, discoverer of the grove. Stopped at Wawona Point 7100 ft. elevation. Opposite us is Mt. Merced 10,000 ft. and Mt. Raymond. Trees along the way a reddish gold from drought. Arrived at Wawona at 4:30 p.m. where we had dinner and spent the night. A beautiful situation on the Sierra Nevada Mts. Met Mrs. Rosenthal’s daughters here.

Yosemite Valley

Valley panorama from Glacier Point, between 1914 and 1929. Photo by Albert Price, courtesy of the Library of Congress.

July 17, 1924: Was up this morning at 5:15. Saw the sun rise over the mts. first gilding the trees on the summit and gradually throwing the light down in the valley. The thermometer on the porch registered 40 degrees and logs were burning in the fire places. After breakfast at 7:15 we started out in the autos. First stop at Chinquapin and then on to Glacier point at 9:30. Ride very thrilling. Look down over rocky ledges on the edge of the road, barely wide enough for 2 cars to pass, down thousands of feet into the canyons. Beautiful forests of redwoods, sequoias, silver and sugar pines. Many wild birds, canaries, linnets and grouse, some perching on rocks and apparently looking at us. We saw lots of deer, vary tame and almost the color of the rocks and trees. Also, numerous chipmunks. We stayed at Glacier point until 10:45. I sat on the porch drinking in a most sublime view, [viz.]. [??? ???] directly in front of me. Nevada Falls, Mirror Lake, Vernal Lake, and Falls a little to the side and the many lofty peaks of the High Sierras stretching way off into the distance with here and there patches of snow in the crevices between them. As I sat there someone in the hotel played Mendelsohn’s Spring Song and Rigoletto, a very good performer. Never before have I had such a feast for eyes and ears simultaneously.

Yosemite Valley from Inspiration Point, c. 1904. Courtesy of the Library of Congress.

Next, we stopped a few minutes at Inspiration Point where another glorious view was obtained. Then we descended into the valley, passing El Capitan, the 3 Brothers, the Cathedral Spires, the Ribbon and Bridal Veil Falls with spray blowing out in the wind. Received a hearty welcome at Camp Curry where we arrived in time for lunch at 1:30.

Camp Curry, Le Conte Circle, c. 1898-1914. Courtesy of the Library of Congress.

July 18, 1924: At all entrances to the Park are checking stations where all cars entering or leaving the valley must be checked up and the roads are controlled by telephone so that the cars do not have to pass one another on the steep grades. Everything goes like clock-work. Camp Curry is a delightful place, very cosmopolitan. There are over 2000 people here at present and no end of diversion including swimming tank, tennis courts, croquet, golf, bowling, billiards, cards, mah jongg and dancing every evening in a vine embowered pavilion. There is also an amusement center for the kiddies containing swings, see-saw, sand pile, toy autos and an electric railroad, with hostess in charge. All the young girls and boys employed as waiters, waitresses, etc. are from the colleges and give very courteous service. Meals are excellent. Our bungalow consists of cool, bright sleeping room with six windows, private bath and porch, all spotless. All about us are the mts. walling us in. Sometimes on glancing suddenly upwards one has the impression that dark clouds have quickly gathered, but the sun is always shining thru the tops and at night the moon (it is full now) and stars stretching like…

July 19, 1924: …a spangled canopy over the topmost peaks. The temperature is delightfully cool mornings and evenings tho it warms up considerably during the middle of the day. But there is always a breeze in the shade and the sun is never oppressive. It is a dry heat. The camp is really a young town. There are all sorts of little shops, a cafeteria in addition to the dining room, soda fountain, post office, telegraph station, etc. There are many foot and donkey trails leading from camp. In front of our bungalow is a tree inhabited by blue jays and robins that are very tame. The days are much the same in camp. Every evening there is a delightful entertainment in the open space between the main office and dining room. The chairs are grouped around a big camp fire. There is a good orchestra and always one or two violin duets and vocal solos. Last night a man sang some amusing songs to a [busy?] accompaniment and an old lady gave several impersonations. Then a man, Don Tresiddor, Mrs. Curry’s son-in-law who has a beautiful voice, gives us a short history or legend connected with incidents in Yosemite and there are moving pictures of the valley in different seasons of the flowers that grown in and around it. The high spot of the evening is the firefall, a huge mound of burning wood, thrown down the top of Glacier Point, 7200 ft. altitude. It is an…

July 20, 1924: …unforgettable sight to see the red embers falling like a shower of fire against the black perpendicular cliffs. Yesterday a beautiful stag ran right thru the camp (the people feed them) and one morning a robin flew into the dining room and hopped under the tables picking up crumbs. A little chipmunk ran up the tree which grows thru the roof of the dining room porch. The people are all so friendly.

El Capitan, “The Sleeping Lion,” October 3, 1906. Courtesy of the Library of Congress.

This afternoon we made a tour of the valley. There are several pretty permanent cottages with little flower and vegetable gardens near the village. We saw the meadows where the Indians hold their Field Day exercises. There are 3 typical Indian wigwams there now. We passed a mule pack team in charge of cow boys going up the trail. Had a drink from the clear icy waters of farm[?] spring. Stopped at a point beside the Merced River, which is very shallow now and the guide here gave us an interesting talk on Yosemite. Before us the river bubbling over stones, beyond a strip of flowering meadow, a [????] of trees fencing it off, all encircled by the towering mountains and the tall straight timber. To the left of us mighty El Capitan – one freak tree growing up on its side and a perfect map of North America cut out by nature in the rock, also the face of a man known as the wandering Jew – back of El Capitan the 3 brothers – on the right of us the Bridal Veil falls, its mist blowing first to one side, thru the other in a perpetual swaying motion very graceful to behold and above this the uneven outlines of the 3 Graces. A little farther on the polished surface of North Dome, Washington, [???] the Sentinel, and [Half Dome?] in front [around ????].

On the way out from Yosemite

Cathedral Spires, 1871. Painted by Thomas Hill, printed by L. Prang and Co., courtesy of the Library of Congress.

July 21, 1924: There are but 2 of the Cathedral Spires but evidence remains that at one time there were at least four. It is presumed they were knocked off in an earthquake. On this ride we saw many beautiful and ancient yellow pines. One good sized tree grew eight out of huge boulder with no vestige of earth near it. Many pictures are seen in the trees on the tops of the mts. such as the Indian’s profile with complete feather headdress. The entertainment at the camp on Sunday night is slightly different being of a more solemn nature. Mrs. Jillson gave two charming little sermons in her inimitable way. This morning we left the valley much to our regret. A more secluded, beauteous, restful spot would be hard to find. On the ride out we passed much of the lovely scenery that we saw yesterday on the valley tour. In addition, we followed the Merced river in its cascades over the rocks, saw Cascade Falls, passed under Arch Rock where two huge rocks meet in a point forming a natural archway. Another huge boulder projects about eight ft. over the road forming a sort of canopy. At El Portal we left the bus after an hour’s ride and boarded the train which continues to follow the river’s course. In a part of this river near the camp there is very good bathing. There is also a shady little island formed where the waters divide known as Happy Isle[?], a favorite picnic ground. We took the train at 12:45pm and followed the course of the Merced river, very picturesque in its succession of little cataracts and winding curves. The prisoners from the state penitentiary are building a road opposite the railroad tracks and they wave to us as we pass. Changed cars at Merced at 4:45 and arrived in San Francisco at 11:00 P.M.

Thanks for reading “Traveling with Grace,” a series where we’re sharing (and annotating) posts from the travel diaries of Grace Amelia Hecht, native Baltimorean, b. 1897 and d. 1955. As mentioned in my introductory post transcription errors sometimes occur and I’ve made my best guesses where possible, denoted by [brackets]. – Rachel Kassman, marketing manager


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Travels With Grace: Del Monte and San Francisco, Part 1

Posted on February 19th, 2019 by

Welcome to the next segment of our 2019 #TravelTuesday series: Travels with Grace. Today Grace begins exploring 1920s San Francisco and its environs.

En Route to Del Monte

July 6, 1924: Left Los Angeles at 8 A.M. via Southern Pacific. Mrs. Kiwel went [to the] station to see us off. We thoroughly enjoyed our stay here. Our route took us along the coast for many miles, about 150, during which we had the mountains on one side and the Pacific on the other. We went thru the famous Chatsworth tunnel, quite the biggest I have traversed, skirted the Santa Marguerita pass. The trip was one of contrasts, heights and depths, arid wastes, wide stretches of desert lands, on one of which were told was enacted a part of the “Ten Commandments,” and huge sand dunes, then again numerous fields of flowers highly cultivated, or growing wild by the wayside. We also saw huge rocks jutting out into the ocean; on the summit of one such mound of stone and right at the edge was perched a light house. Passed acres of thick green alfalfa. As the scenery grows more rugged, we leave the orange belt behind and pink trees are more in evidence (in the south these are sort of a rarity.) On the train with us was the “Romance” company. Doris [???] sat opposite me in the diner and we talked to some of the party in our car.

Del Monte

July 7, 1924: The Hotel Del Monte, where we arrived last night at about 8:15 P.M. is a huge rambling structure set in the midst of a magnificent park of several hundred acres. This afternoon we took the famous 17-mile drive which to us was an unending source of delight. First, we inspected the quant old town of Monterey which really has the most antique atmosphere of any of the other towns I have seen that boast of their ancient inceptions. Here we saw the first custom house, home of first U.S. Consul to California, first theatre in Calif. (it now has geraniums growing up between the steps) and home of Robt. L. Stevenson.

Robert Louis Stevenson House, courtesy of the Library of Congress.

Then we also saw many pretty modern residences though none so pretentious as those we saw farther south. We skirted the rugged rock-bound coast where the waves come flying into the little coves and bays, many years of their savage poundings having cut out natural caves and apertures into the huge rocks. One of the latter is called Bird Rock and it is simply covered with thousands of huge cormorants constantly fluttering over and setting upon it. A little further on is another rock called Seal Rock fairly glistening with the wet backs of these animals sunning themselves upon it. Parts of the beach are covered with a fine white sand shining as tho with myriads of diamonds, it is the silicate. They make glass of this. The queer misshapen cypress trees like ghosts, bent by the wind into all sorts of queer shapes, on one side, green and bare on the other. The air is laden with a pungent aroma of pure salty brine. There are many [palms?] with Spanish moss.

Carmel Bay, California, c. 1906-1911. Photo by Arnold Genthe, courtesy of the Library of Congress.

This scenery has a wild sort of beauty that is fascinating. The waves as they dash savagely up over the rocks send their spray flying dozens of feet high in the air and the coast winds in and out forming hundreds of bays and peninsulas. One lovely place is called Carmel Bay and there is Pebble Beach which is so named for the little black pebbles washed up on the shore. Here are many aristocratic [???] at Del Monte Lodge commanding a magnificent view of the bay. We saw the hotel grounds on our return from the ride. They comprise hundreds of acres; contain vegetable gardens, hot houses, a Roman Plunge, tennis courts, fancy cedar hedges forming a maze, big artificial lake, etc. Watched dancing in hotel tonight.

San Francisco

July 8, 1924: Left Del Monte this morning at 8:20. Met a Mr. and Mrs. Cahn on the train, very nice people. The ride was not as pretty as coming up from Los Angeles. Passed a good many fruit orchards and flowers. Principal towns en route San Jose and San Mateo and Palo Alto. Arrived at San Francisco at 12:00 and went directly to Hotel Whitcomb. City is all decorated in honor of visit of British fleet, American and English flags being everywhere in the streets. Not nearly as bustling and crowded as Los Angeles. Sat in hotel lobby tonight and listened to music.

Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park, c. 1920s. Courtesy of OpenSFHistory.

July 9, 1924: The temperature is much cooler here than in Los An. Nearly everyone wears a winter coat. This afternoon we took a thirty mile drive going thru Lincoln Park where is a beautiful public golf course, and terminus of Lincoln highway where we saw old and modern fortifications, soldiers and officers quarters, [prisons?], huge disappearing guns, etc., Exposition grounds, beautiful Golden Gate park with its many varieties of trees and flowers, chain of lakes on which are wild ducks, black swans, etc., buffalo deer and sheep enclosures, Japanese tea house, Music stand donated by Spreckels. Passed the sulfur baths.

View from Twin Peaks, c. 1920. Courtesy of OpenSFHistory.

Drove up to the summit of Twin Peaks where we had a good view of the whole city and the Golden Gate, 45 miles long and one of the finest harbors in the world. Went thru the new residential district of Forest Hill, Westwood Park, St. Francis wood, Ingleside Terraces and Pacific Heights where are different types of bungalows all bedecked with flowers, these residences not at all like those we saw in Los An. and surroundings, not as much ground around them and more compact and higher. Nearly all have garages built underneath. Passed Dolores Mission on our return. Went to the St. Francis Hotel for dinner. Mat Crespin, Nathan Hecht there, also Miss [Auspach?] and friend. Saw many of the British officers here. A very lively hotel. Music and dancing during dinner. Afterwards took a walk and saw many pretty shops.

Market Street from 4th Avenue, October 1924. Courtesy of OpenSFHistory.

July 10, 1924: In the mornings there is always a heavy fog which makes the air quite chilly but about ten o’clock this is dissipated and then it gets much warmer though it is always cool enough for a wrap. This morning I received a lovely box of conserved fruit from Cousin Nathan Hecht. This afternoon we took a walk up Market St. and went thru one of the many indoor markets that they have here. It is very clean and there is every variety of food stuffs, raw and in cans as well as confections displays in closed glass shelves. Also dairy products, fruits, etc. Samples of some things are given away. Then we went to a movie. Saw Gloria Swanson in “Manhandled.”

San Francisco and Environs

View across Lake Merritt from the tower of Oakland City Hall, c. 1920s. Courtesy of OpenSFHistory.

July 11, 1924: We left San Francisco via the S.P. Ferry at 10: A.M. and in half an hour we arrived in Oakland. Passing thru this very pretty city we saw the business district, City Hall, Oakland Hotel, Municipal Auditorium, and Lake Merritt in the heart of the city surrounded by a park and beautiful homes. From Oakland we passed into Piedmont, a millionaire residential district overlooking Golden Gate. Here is house of William Randolph Hearst. We rode around what is known as the Skyline Blvd, where ever-changing panoramas of San Francisco are constantly unfolded as we twist and turn upwards to an elevation of 1400 ft. We stopped at the [Blarraunt?] Hotel for lunch, beautifully situated amidst gardens and commanding a superb view from the balcony of the bay and surrounding country.

Then we rode thru Berkley, the whole city was nearly wiped out by fire last year, the campus of the University of California, saw the Campanile 302 ft. of white granite, the Greek theater and the stadium seating 75000. At Richmond we saw the Standard Oil works and site of the new Proctor and Gamble factory (there is also a Shredded Wheat plant here). Then we crossed on another ferry to Point San Quentin where we saw the State Penitentiary and some of the prisoners. This place also has a beautiful location. From San Quentin we continue to San Rafael and thru Marin County where we saw some of the prettiest tracts of wooded land, orchards, flower gardens and luxuriant shrubbery, most of it growing uncultivated in wild profusion.

View from Mount Tamalpais, c. 1920, to San Francisco over Mill Valley and Richardson’s Bay. Courtesy of OpenSFHistory.

The roads winding under leafy arches. Eucalyptus and redwood trees abound here. Lovely homes border the hills of Ross and Kentfield. Saw Mt. Tamalpais from a distance. Passed thru Mil Valley and Sausalito, little towns resting at the foot of the mountains. At the latter place we boarded the ferry to return to San Francisco and crossed the bay at sunset, having a view en route of the island of Alcatraz where is the Federal Prison. On our return to the hotel we passed thru a part of Chinatown. Upon arriving at our room I found 1 dozen beautiful American beauty roses from Edith Hecht.

San Francisco

July 12, 1924: Did not go out today. Mrs. Levy, Jeanette, Gertrude, and Mrs. Werthiam[?] called on us this afternoon. Dancing in hotel tonight.

San Francisco and Environs

Troutmere, La Honda, California, c. 1920s. Via.

July 13, 1924: We left San Francisco in the motor bus at 10: A.M. and rode over winding roads climbing upwards for nearly two hours, passing fields of artichokes, with the buds on some of the plants and on others the big purple flowers. We passed many truck farms, mostly lettuce and giant cabbages, and fields of wheat, alfalfa and other grants, many of the farms cultivated by Japanese, saw herds of blooded stock, mostly Holstein, horses and flocks of sheep. Crystal Spring lakes were strung at intervals along the road and as we climbed up the Coast Range Mt. we caught glimpses of the Pacific and later of Half Moon Bay which gives its name to a little town several miles further on. Then we skirt the sea coast where the road skirts the edge of ragged promontories and looked down upon the jagged reefs extending out into the ocean. From San Gregorio we turn inland, past Troutmere where we see the hatchery of rainbow trout then into the heart of the redwood forest, insects never get into these trees, some of the trees measuring 18 and 20 ft. in girth but the majority much slimmer, many eucalyptus trees, all tall and straight and shedding their bark in little pieces while the madrones shed theirs in long strips which form a soft carpet on the floor of La Honda Canyon (meaning deep canyon). Here are situated many camps and inns, attractive little rustic bungalows, log cabins all bright with flowers and many tents. We stopped at Big Tree Inn for lunch, a pavilion fitted out in yellow wood, yellow [???] curtains at windows and little baskets of sweet peas on the tables. Upon leaving here we saw groves of madrone trees with reddish yellow trunks (shedding their bark in little strips) and light green leaves. [Finds?] primroses and yellow poppies beside the road. Visited Leland Stanford University. Handsome yellow sandstone buildings. The memorial chapel incrusted within and within in gorgeous mosaics (biblical subjects) and stained glass windows gleaming like jewels. Mosaic freize or art gallery with appropriate subjects. Saw statue of “Angel of Grief.” Home via bus. [???? And Sam Mat?].

View across Main Quad to Stanford Memorial Church, architect Charles A. Coolidge, c. 1936. Courtesy of OpenSFHistory.


San Francisco

Chinatown rooftop view, north on Grant, c. 1920s. Courtesy of OpenSFHistory.

July 14, 1924: Shopped at O’Connor Moffat this morning. Went to the Rosenthal’s home a handsome brownstone house on Pacific Ave and after a visit with them. Mrs. Rosenthal took us in her car to the China Town district where we saw some beautiful oriental shops and then to the Francesca apts. built in the Italian style. Here we spent 2 most delightful hours with Cousin Edith Hecht and her brother Joel in the former’s magnificent apt. We looked at old family photos, some rare books and manuscripts, wonderful antique furniture and art objects. Both she and Cousin Joel are charming, cultured people, highly educated speaking several languages. Their other brother Elias, who is out of town, is a prominent musician of San Francisco. They served up tea. Went to Palace Hotel for dinner. Music and dancing.

San Francisco and Merced

San Francisco Bay, view of the ferry building from a ferryboat, c. 1920s. Courtesy of OpenSFHistory.

July 15, 1924: Mesdames Rosenthal called on us this morning. The old lady brought us a box of glace fruit and another of lovely cakes. The younger gave us a pretty vanity case. At two o’clock we crossed on the ferry to Oakland and here boarded the train which took us to Merced at 8:50 P.M. The trip was uneventful and the scenery not especially interesting. We again passed the orange groves and palms recalling our trips farther south. At Merced we stopped at El Capitan a very nice hotel for a town of this size (5660). After dinner we took a walk up the street and stepped into the theatre (shows given twice weekly, admission 75 cents but we paid nothing) and saw a vaudeville and movie (Hall Caines’ book “The Master of Man”). It is such a lovely night, moonlight and starlight and soft balmy air like we had in the tropical seas coming out a month ago.

We’ll continue with Grace’s California adventures next week as she travels to Yosemite – see you on Tuesday!

Thanks for reading “Traveling with Grace,” a series where we’re sharing (and annotating) posts from the travel diaries of Grace Amelia Hecht, native Baltimorean, b. 1897 and d. 1955. As mentioned in my introductory post transcription errors sometimes occur and I’ve made my best guesses where possible, denoted by [brackets]. – Rachel Kassman, marketing manager


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Travels with Grace: Exploring LA and its Neighbors

Posted on February 12th, 2019 by

Welcome to the next segment of our 2019 #TravelTuesday series: Travels with Grace. Today Grace begins her California adventure.

Los Angeles

June 21, 1924: We arrived at San Pedro at 8 A.M. the doctor coming on board to examine the passengers, which was really an empty formality. The first thing I saw was a line of big battleships on one of which they were playing the Star-Spangled Banner and it never sounded so pretty to me before. We docked at Wilmington at 10 a.m. and motored straight to the Roslyn Annex in Los Angeles (a ride of about an hour and a half) where we had lunch. The things that most impressed me on the ride were the numerous oil derricks, and open oil tanks because there is never any lightening here to cause danger, truck farms with irrigation ditches [lining] them, wonderful fruit stalls, (oranges 10 cents a bucket), walnut groves, and many palm trees which look like giant pineapples. I rather regretted leaving the boat as I had grown attached to some of the people. We rested this afternoon and had supper at the State’s Restaurant on Spring St. 518, a most attractive place serving delicious food and reasonable. Later took a walk and shopped on Main St. Streets very crowded and brilliantly lighted.

Aerial view of Hollywood – north of Melrose, between Vine and Fairfax, c. 1927. Courtesy of the Library of Congress.

June 22, 1924: Took a ride to Hollywood and Beverly Hills today. Saw a number of studios including the J.A. Clune, Mary Pickford, Charles Ray, Charlie Chaplin, Universal etc. where we caught glimpses of the “sets” used. They look quite ridiculous when one sees the hollow sides and for South Sea Island scenes they have bunches of palm trees strapped to telegraph poles. We also saw the homes of Mary and Doug called “Pick-Fair,” Charlie Chaplin, Douglas McLean, Priscilla Dean, Betty Coupon, Gloria Swanson, Arthur Letts (where Harold Lloyd’s “Girl Shy” was taken), Mrs. Leslie Carter, Gillett, the Mazon man [???], [Alla] Nazimova and many others. The bungalows are all so beautiful and each one different. The architecture is a mixture of Italian, Spanish, Moorish with [??] and there are English Tudor, but nowhere does it clash and the avenue of palms – date, cocoanut and banana – lends a stately touch. Flaming eucalyptus, acacias, pepper, lemon, olive, avocado trees and many others seen en route. Some houses entered from top story where descent is made to lower floors, garages on the roofs. Visited famous Bernheimer estate for sale at $1,000,000. Japanese gardens filled with magnificent bronzes, flowers, miniature waterfalls, temples, [joos??] horses, bridges, fair black swans, etc.

Image: Alhambra, Cal. from high-school, Dec. 24th, 1909, photo by Charles Z. Bailey. Courtesy of the Library of Congress.

June 23, 1924: Started at 8:30 A.M on the mountain-movie-mission trip going over magnificent roads, first thru the city of Alhambra, the San Gabriel valley (a stop is made at the old Spanish mission of San G.) past Lucky Baldwin’s ranch, a suburb of Pasadena, Frontridge, thru Verdugo Canyon to Glendale said to be fastest growing city I the world. Thru Burbank and Dark Canyon we came to Universal City at noon where we had a good look at the Studio [Inn?], a novel and diverting sight to watch the movie artists come in dressed in their costumes and makeup. The waitress pointed a number of them out to us.

The lake, Lucky Baldwin’s ranch, Pasadena, Cal. c. 1900, photo by Detroit Photographic Co. Courtesy of the Library of Congress.

Leaving Universal City we went thru the San Fernando Valley where we saw the everblooming trees, peach apricot, orange and grapefruit orchards, and grape vines trimmed close to the ground like bushes. It strengthens the fruit. We wound thru Topanga Canyon, first curving up to a height of 1500 ft. then down again glimpsing wonderful views all the while and coming out to the sea at Malibu Bay. Here we saw Castle Rock where many movies are taken. (Saw one being taken en route today.) Followed the beaches to Santa Monica, Ocean Park and Venice with its miniature canals, where we stopped and home thru Culver City (saw Goldwyn, [Luce??] and Roach studios here) and thru the beautiful [???] residential district of Los Angeles.

Topanga Canyon, 2013. Via.

June 24, 1924: Took a taxi this morning and rode to Famous Players-Lasky Studios, passing the beautiful West Lake Park en route. Father had letter of introduction to Mr. Eyton, general manager – entry is very hard to obtain – and he sent us all around the lot with a guide. We saw the carpenter shop, wardrobe, property room, bar room, several interior sets, and watched Cecil de Mille himself direct a scene in a picture to be called “Feet of Clay,” saw dark stage and racing bowl, among the artists acting were Ricard Cortez, Vera Reynolds, Theodore Kosloff, Rod La Rocque, all of whom we saw at close range. Others we saw eating lunch and running about. Everywhere were people looking for work, and signs reading “Positively no positions open.” From here we went to Graumans Egyptian Hollywood Theatre and had lunch at a little Egyptian café next door. “The Ten Commandments” a stupendous production was preceded by a beautiful prologue in which the stars appear in person. There is an Egyptian ballet, living pictures of the children of Israel in bondage, (singing “Chol Nidra” and “[??? ???]”); the Nativity, the 3 wise men, and the Last Supper. Most wonderful theatre and orchestra and lighting effects.

Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, 1922. Via.


1920s postcard showing a sunrise service on Mount Rubidoux. Via.

June 25, 1924: Started out at 8 A.M. on the Riverside-Redlands and Smiley Heights trip. First stop made at Pomona, thriving town of 35,000. Then on to Riverside passing thru the heart of the citrus belt of Southern California. It is beautiful to see miles of orange and lemon orchards bordered with rose hedges, carnations, huge daisies and sunflowers, feather pepper trees, walnut orchards, all surrounded by the distant nets. Encircling the horizon, we climbed Mt. Rubidoux to the huge crucifix on top where Easter morning services are held each year. Then to the Glenwood Mission Inn. Our chauffeur took us thru the old portion built in 1876, we saw the rooms furnished in old mission style, and thru a subterranean passage called El Camino Real. Here is a magnificent Spanish altar encrusted with gold, a tiny wedding chapel, the Court of Pius X (wax work figures sent by Italy to the world’s fair in San Diego and extremely life-like in expression). Saw shops of antique bronzes, pottery, etc. Lunched on open patio filled with flowers, fountains, goldfish, humming birds, red, blue, white and yellow parrots. Waitresses dressed in yellow boleros fringed with tiny bells. At 12 o’clock chimes played “My Country Tis of Thee” etc. Spanish man and woman in costume say in balcony and played guitars. Afterward heard organ recital, visited orange packing house and fruit ranch. Passed many other towns on way home.

San Diego

American Avenue in Long Beach, CA, 1924. Digitally reproduced by the USC Digital Library, from the California Historical Society Collection at the University of Southern California.

June 26, 1924: Left Los Angeles at 8 a.m. First stop made at Long Beach, a very pretty seaside resort, where we saw the Virginia Hotel. From here we passed thru a number of beaches among which was Seal Beach where we saw a flock of seals – gray, tan and black ones lying about on the sand. Many sugar beets raised in this vicinity. Rode thru the beautiful Santa Ana Valley. Stopped at San Juan de Capistrano for lunch and looked in the Mission gardens. Saw ruins of the old mission. Rode thru San Juan Valley and passed the 210,000 acre ranch of Patrick O’Neill. Passed avocado grove where each little tree is protected by a rectangular sort of canvas screen from the wind and rain. At Point Loma we saw wonderful cliffs (Sunset Cliffs) that form a natural cave into which the ocean flows, magnificent view from this place and from [Joney Pinas?], a little further on. Saw La Jolla a most picturesque town built on the side of a mt. overlooking the sea. We got into San Diego at about 4 p.m. and after registering at U.S. Grant Hotel crossed on the ferry to Coronada where we saw [home] of Shumann-Heink, the beautiful Hotel del Coronado and the Tent City where the shacks are thatched with palm leaves. Looks like a miniature Hawaiian village. Then to Tijuana across the Mexican border a village of saloons and dance halls spring up since prohibition. Saw [??] last town in U.S. Saw bull ring and gambling houses in Mexico.

Gardens at Mission San Juan Capistrano. Via.

Tent City, a vacation land for the common man of the early 20th century, sprawls out south of Hotel del Coronado. Coronado Public Library.

June 27, 1924: After breakfasting at the U.S. Grant, a beautiful hotel with palm gardens on 2nd floor overlooking San Diego bay and situated in the heart of the city – we rode to High School with its $150,000 stadium donated by the city, thru Balboa Park, 1500 acres over Cristobal bridge. In the park saw buildings of the exposition held in 1915 including zoological gardens with buffalo, art museums, natural history, etc. concert stand with largest open air pipe organ in the world, given by Spreckels whose beautiful home we saw in Coronada, botanical gardens with magnolias, boganvilla vines, black acacias, ponds of huge pink water-lillies, jack-a-randa trees, citrus fruit trees, beautiful rose gardens,e tc. In the park are reproductions of cliff dwellings and adobe houses comprising an Indian village.

Balboa Park botanical gardens, c. 1926. Photo created by Keystone View Company, courtesy of the Library of Congress.

Next we stopped at Ramona where we went thru an interesting old Spanish-Indian house, saw where Ramona was married, various curio rooms. Indian pottery, basketry and weaving, old garden filled with many kinds of flowers, cacti of all specifies, banana trees with fruit half ripened, wishing well under trellised arbor. Man lectured about the founding of the missions and showed us old paintings and shrines sent from Spain. The road we traverse, known as El Camino Real, is indicated by mission bells standing at intervals along the way. Saw more of La Jolla today and stopped at Windansea[?] for lunch, very prettily situated over-looking the cliffs at Point Loma and the ocean. Saw houses of Walt Mason, Austin [Adajus?], Sam Metcalf, and the late Jack London. Saw where they made Everlasting flowers. Also saw lemons the size of a big Bartlett pear selling 2 for 5 cents.

The Wishing Well, Ramona’s Marriage Place, Old Town, San Diego California, c.1910-1920. Image created by Detroit Publishing Co, courtesy of the Library of Congress.

Los Angeles

June 28, 1924: Had luncheon at the States. In the afternoon received a visit from Mrs. [Alivel?] and her sister-in-law. This evening we went to the Biltmore. The dining room and grill were closed when we got there (9 p.m.) so we had supper in the [Sweet?] Shop, a dainty little place decorated in Delft blue where the waitresses dress in little laced blue velvet bodices and dutch caps and aprons. Later we had a guide take us thru the hotel, kitchen, lobbies, peacock alley, ball-room, concert room, art gallery, etc. All very beautiful and elaborate. Saw lots of girls and fellows dancing in evening dress. The orchestra music is broadcasted.


Tourist rides a wagon pulled by an ostrich at Cawston Ostrich Farm, 1920. Via.

June 29, 1924: Took a trip to Pasadena this afternoon. Also drove thru North and South Pasadena which are separate townships. Our first stop was at the Cawston ostrich farm where we saw many ostriches and learned interesting things about them. The mates (they only mate once) are named for various presidents for example: the Roosevelts, Tafts, Coolidges, etc. The male birds, which are very strong and can be ridden like horses, have black plumage, the females taupe. They dig their bowl-shaped nests in the ground, and we saw 8 eggs in one place. The male sits on them during the day and the female at night. I held an egg in my hand about the size of 2 grapefruits. We saw some baby ostriches 4 and 6 days old and look something like baby chicks. They mature at 6 months. They eat everything whole. The feathers are clipped once a year. We also saw beautiful peacocks, parrots, and Chinese pheasants on the farm. Went thru the shop where all the feather products are sold including hats, bags, fans, boas, bandeaus, lamp shades, etc.

Busch Gardens in Pasadena, photographed in September 1924. (Los Angeles Times).

Next we stopped at the Busch gardens, 80 acres, built on the side of a ravine with waterfalls, lakes, swans, peacocks, rustic bridges, terra cotta figures illustrative of fairy tales, beautiful palms, cactus plants and flowers. Passed over beautiful Arroyo Seco bridge. Saw many gorgeous homes of the millionaires in Pasadena including Wrigley’s, Heinz’s, Coates[?] (the thread man), Montague Glass, etc. Also, the beautiful hotels Huntington, Vista del Arroya, and Raymore. Had dinner at Hotel Ambassador (palm court) afterwards listened to Joseph Rosenfeld’s orchestra and saw movie “Triumph” in Ambassador’s private theater. Saw cocoanut grove room with monkeys, cocoanuts and butterflies on the trees. Also, beautiful shops.

Catalina Island

Avalon Bay, Catalina Island. Via.

June 30, 1924: Left at 8:45 on the Pacific Electric, made connection at 9:30 with the S.S. Avalon and at 12:15 arrived at Catalina Islands. Had a short sight-seeing ride over this very picturesque island all mts. and valleys. Saw the town of Avalon the little village of [?????], William Wrigley Jr.’s home (one of his many houses) with its beautiful flower garden. The house is built at an elevation of 88 ft. overlooking the town and Avalon bay. Then we took the glass bottom boat and rode over the submarine gardens. Saw yellow and blue perch, speckled bass and other fish as well as sea slugs or cucumber slugs, the fungus clinging to the rocks. Also saw plants with a white berry on it growing to a considerable height in the water. Kelp and seaweed visible from which they make explosives and iodine. A diver on the boat gives exhibition diving to a depth of 35ft. remaining under the boat for 3 ½ minutes. He brings up the pretty abalone shells which he sells to the passengers. Wrigley owns practically the entire island. He has a large vegetable farm which supplies the hotels. Also a furniture factory where all the furniture for the island is made. There is a nice little bathing beach here too and a country club and golf course. Saw alligator farm. They eat only 6 months in the year and live on their fat the rest of the year.

Santa Barbara

Four Californians near the entrance of Mission San Fernando, California, 1924. Digitally reproduced by the USC Digital Library, from the California Historical Society Collection at the University of Southern California.

July 1, 1924: Started from Los Angeles at 8:30 P.M. First stop made at San Fernando mission. Extreme hot riding thru San Fernando and little Santa Clara valleys. Stopped at Camulos Ranch one of the largest in this part of the country. Pretty old Spanish house where Ramona was born, (I had seen the place in the movie “Ramona” which I saw some years ago), old fashioned garden, walnut tree, largest in the world, orange, fig and lemon trees. Stopped at Ventura for lunch and saw Buenaventura Mission. Here it starts to get much cooler as we are again on the sea coast along which we drive for many miles until we reach Santa Barbara where we get a most wonderful view of mts., ocean, farm lands, and orchards; a combination so varied and colorful that it is fairly dazzling. In the harbor lies the U.S. battleship Tennessee. We also visited the Santa Barbara mission, with Indian burial ground in rear of it, said to be the most beautiful of all the missions. Went to the Hotel Arlington, very odd and spacious, built in mission style with beautiful porches, terraces and gardens. When we arrived, they had logs burning in the grates; very hospitable atmosphere. After dinner took a walk around the grounds and after listened to the music and saw very interesting pictures in the hotel; one of the date industry and another the life of Thomas Jefferson. Ate a date off the tree today. Ripe and stunted. Do not mature in this climate.

Samarkand Persian Hotel in Santa Barbara, ca.1920. Digitally reproduced by the USC Digital Library, from the California Historical Society Collection at the University of Southern California.

July 2, 1924: After breakfasting at the Arlington and making a tour of inspection around the hotel we started out and came to the most beautiful views of any we have yet seen, winding up mountains along precipitous curves and looking over into canyons miles below, and thru gaps in the mts. to vistas of the blue sea beyond. Range after range of hazy blue mts. of varying heights visible against the horizon, [?] here and there a house perched at a dizzy altitude. Went thru the Samarkand Hotel, of Persian architecture. In front are a series of terraces around which the hotel forms a semi-circle. These are bordered with all kinds of colors of flowers in buds. In the center are ponds, one at each level, filled with goldfish, yellow, blue, red and white water lilies. Beyond are the mts. On the steps are peacock blue vases filled with pink and white flowers. Also, a beautiful red, blue and yellow parrot in the garden. The interior furnishings are also very beautiful. Upon leaving here we rode thru what is known as Cold Spring Canyon. Passed the estates of Curnour[?], McCormack and Gillespie, the last [???] being open to the public. Saw many oleander, magnolia and flaming eucalyptus and pepper trees beside live oaks laden with Spanish moss and of course flowers and citrus trees everywhere.

We ride thru the New Hall tunnel pierced thru the mountains, and thru the towns of Peru, Fillmore, Santa Paula, and Montecito. The smallest and most unpretentious homes along the way attract attention by their lovely settings and are beautified by rich adornment s of flowers. Red and pink geraniums are most in evidence. I also saw the first yellow poppies on this ride, growing by the way side. One house almost hidden by giant hydrangea.

Villa Capistrano, the Julian Eltinge Residence. Courtesy of Marcelio Vavala, via.

Also passed thru Mixville on this ride where Tom Mix has his studio and horses. Saw a man breaking in a bronco. Saw the home of Julian Eltinge built up on a hill on the outskirts of Glendale and rode thru [Sanges?] which is at the end of the old Santa Fe trail and a fair-sized town.

Los Angeles

Fremont Entrance to Elysian Park, October 2, 1927. Digitally reproduced by the USC Digital Library, from the California Historical Society Collection at the University of Southern California.

July 3, 1924: Walked down Broadway to Boos Bros. cafeteria for lunch. Then met Mrs. Kiwel at the Orpheum where we saw a very good vaudeville show after which we took a taxi and rode thru Elysian Park, one of the highest points in the city affording many lovely views. This park is thickly wooded with pine trees and there are also many flowers. A camping sight for autoists is provided with stoves and running water. Washing and cooking can be done here. We took Mrs. Kiwel to the Alexandria for dinner.

July 4, 1924: We spent a very quiet day in the hotel as father did not wish to take any trip on account of the crowds. Went to the Alexandria cafeteria for lunch. Noticeable diminution in the traffic which is usually so dense. All the people seem to have gone to the country or the beaches. Streets comparatively quiet tho there is of course some shooting.

July 5, 1924: This morning we had a visit from Carlyn Okin who brought us the most beautiful box of cakes and candies I have ever seen (from the Elite shop). The sweet shops in this city are unusually attractive. This afternoon we were greatly surprised to see Miss Zang who just came to this hotel. This is our last day in Los Angeles. It is a big booming city with plenty of life and excitement, yet it has not yet outgrown its small town atmosphere as is evidenced by its numerous penny arcades, itinerant street venders and fakirs that remind one of a circus town. I have never seen so many eating places. The Mexicans form a large part of the population. They have their own quarters to live in, with signs written in Spanish and there is also a China Town. The residences of the wealthy Angelenos are palatial and they seem to be hospitable here. The office and government buildings are imposing and the schools here as everywhere we have been in Cal. are remarkably beautiful, even those in the little towns.

We’ll continue with Grace’s California adventures next week – see you on Tuesday!

Thanks for reading “Traveling with Grace,” a series where we’re sharing (and annotating) posts from the travel diaries of Grace Amelia Hecht, native Baltimorean, b. 1897 and d. 1955. As mentioned in my introductory post transcription errors sometimes occur and I’ve made my best guesses where possible, denoted by [brackets]. – Rachel Kassman, marketing manager


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