Works Progress Administration
The Works Progress Administration was an American New Deal agency, employing millions of people to carry out public works projects, including the construction of public buildings and roads. It was established on May 6, 1935, by Executive Order 7034. In a much smaller project, Federal Project Number One, the WPA employed musicians, writers and directors in large arts, drama and literacy projects; the four projects dedicated to these were: the Federal Writers’ Project, the Historical Records Survey, the Federal Theatre Project, the Federal Music Project, the Federal Art Project. In the Historical Records Survey, for instance, many former slaves in the South were interviewed. Theater and music groups toured throughout America, gave more than 225,000 performances. Archaeological investigations under the WPA were influential in the rediscovery of pre-Columbian Native American cultures, the development of professional archaeology in the US; every community in the United States had a new park, bridge, or school, constructed by the agency.
The WPA's initial appropriation in 1935 was for $4.9 billion. Headed by Harry Hopkins, the WPA provided jobs and income to the unemployed during the Great Depression in the United States, while developing infrastructure to support the current and future society. Above all, the WPA hired workers and craftsmen who were employed in building streets. Thus, under the leadership of the WPA, more than 1 million km of streets and over 10,000 bridges were built, in addition to many airports and much housing; the largest single project of the WPA was the Tennessee Valley Authority, which provided the impoverished Tennessee Valley with dams and waterworks to create an infrastructure for electrical power. Camp David, the presidential estate in Maryland used for international meetings, San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge were both constructed by the WPA. At its peak in 1938, it provided paid jobs for three million unemployed men and women, as well as youth in a separate division, the National Youth Administration.
Between 1935 and 1943, when the agency was disbanded, the WPA employed 8.5 million people. Most people who needed a job were eligible for employment in some capacity. Hourly wages were set to the prevailing wages in each area. Full employment, reached in 1942 and emerged as a long-term national goal around 1944, was not the goal of the WPA. "Millions of people needed subsistence incomes. Work relief was preferred over public assistance because it maintained self-respect, reinforced the work ethic, kept skills sharp."The WPA was a national program that operated its own projects in cooperation with state and local governments, which provided 10–30% of the costs. The local sponsor provided land and trucks and supplies, with the WPA responsible for wages. WPA sometimes took over state and local relief programs that had originated in the Reconstruction Finance Corporation or Federal Emergency Relief Administration programs, it was liquidated on June 30, 1943, as a result of low unemployment due to the worker shortage of World War II.
The WPA had provided millions of Americans with jobs for eight years. A joint resolution introduced January 21, 1935, the Emergency Relief Appropriation Act of 1935 was passed by the United States Congress and signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on April 8, 1935. On May 6, 1935, FDR issued executive order 7034; the WPA superseded the work of the Federal Emergency Relief Administration, dissolved. Direct relief assistance was permanently replaced by a national work relief program—a major public works program directed by the WPA; the WPA was shaped by Harry Hopkins, supervisor of the Federal Emergency Relief Administration and close adviser to Roosevelt. Both Roosevelt and Hopkins believed that the route to economic recovery and the lessened importance of the dole would be in employment programs such as the WPA. Hallie Flanagan, national director of the Federal Theatre Project, wrote that "for the first time in the relief experiments of this country the preservation of the skill of the worker, hence the preservation of his self-respect, became important."The WPA was organized into the following divisions: The Division of Engineering and Construction, which planned and supervised construction projects including airports, dams and sanitation systems.
The Division of Professional and Service Projects, responsible for white-collar projects including education programs, recreation programs, the arts projects. It was named the Division of Community Service Programs and the Service Division; the Division of Finance. The Division of Information; the Division of Investigation, which succeeded a comparable division at FERA and investigated fraud, misappropriation of funds and disloyalty. The Division of Statistics known as the Division of Social Research; the Project Control Division, which processed project applications. Other divisions including the Employment, Safety and Training and Reemployment; these ordinary men and women proved to be extraordinary beyond all expectation. They
Stephen Clark Foster
Stephen Clark Foster was a politician, the first American mayor of Los Angeles under United States military rule. Foster served in the state constitutional convention, was elected to the State Senate, he was elected as mayor of Los Angeles in 1856, elected for four terms to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. Foster was born in Machias, Maine, in 1820, he graduated from Yale College in 1840. He taught at a private academy in the South. In 1845 at age 25, he headed for California, like many other young single men, via El Paso and Santa Fe. While in Santa Fe, Foster joined the Mormon Battalion of Volunteers on its way to California to fight in the Mexican–American War, he served as an interpreter on the Battalion's march across the Southwest. In the stormy period when California was under US military rule after the defeat of the Mexicans, Governor Richard Barnes Mason appointed the 26-year-old Foster alcalde of Los Angeles to replace the dissolved ayuntamiento of the Mexicans. For this reason, Foster has been referred to as the first American mayor of the city.
He served as alcalde from January 1, 1848 to May 21, 1849. For the remainder of that year, or until the city came under United States jurisdiction in 1850, Foster served as prefect. Mason appointed a prominent and mature Californio, as mayor following Foster. During his early years in Los Angeles, Foster made a marriage important to his standing in the community, he married María Merced Lugo, one of the sisters of José del Carmen Lugo above. Their father was a prominent Californio landowner; the Fosters had five children together. Foster was elected a member of the 1849 California Constitutional Convention; the group framed the state Constitution and petitioned Congress for admission of California into the United States. Foster achieved his first political office after statehood in 1850, when he was elected to the Los Angeles Common Council for a one-year term. In 1851 he was elected California state senator from Southern California, served two years. In 1854, Foster was elected mayor of Los Angeles.
He is credited with authorizing construction of the first public school in Los Angeles. Los Angeles was said to be the toughest frontier town in the United States, it had a diverse population with simmering tensions after the war, as well as a "disorderly element". The surrounding territory was overrun by bandits driven from the gold mines of northern California southward into the cattle ranching counties. Numerous gamblers and criminals drifted into the city to escape the vigilantes of San Francisco. Mayor Foster, like most of the city's prominent citizens, was a member of the local vigilance committee and of the Los Angeles Rangers, the mounted body of volunteer police. In early 1854, Foster resigned his official position to lead a lynching mob. After the lynching, the people held a special election and returned Foster to office for the remainder of his regular term. Foster was re-elected mayor in 1856, he resigned Sept. 22, 1856, to act as executor for the large estate of his brother-in-law, Colonel Isaac Williams.
Foster next served as a supervisor on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors for four terms. He was elected in 1856, 1858 and 1859. In 1857 he replaced Jonathan R. Scott. Foster documented the history of California under the rule of Mexico in articles published by the Southern California Historical Society. In 1888 he wrote A Sketch of Some of the Earliest Pioneers of Los Angeles and Reminiscences: My First Procession in Los Angeles March 16, 1847. At Forefather's Day celebrations on December 21, 1886, Foster read a paper about yankee pioneers, titled First New Englanders Who Came to Los Angeles, which The Los Angeles Times stated was a "historically valuable paper." He died in 1898 and his funeral was held in Downey, California. Former Los Angeles mayor J. R. Toberman was a pall-bearer
John Strother Griffin
John Strother Griffin was a surgeon attached to the General Stephen W. Kearney expedition from New Mexico to California, a landowner and founder of East Los Angeles and a member of the Common Council of the city of Los Angeles, where he was one of the first university-trained physicians to settle. John Strother Griffin was born in Fincastle, Virginia, on June 25, 1816, to John Caswell Griffin and Mary Talbot Hancock, both of Virginia, he had five siblings, George Hancock, William Preston, Julia Elizabeth, Caroline Margaret and Elizabeth Croghan. An uncle was William Clark of the Lewis and Clark expedition, a brother-in-law was Confederate General Albert Sydney Johnston, his father dying when young John was seven and his mother when he was nine, Griffin was brought up and given a "classical education" in Louisville, Kentucky, by a maternal uncle, George Hancock. He was married about 1856 to Louisa M. E. Hayes or Hays of Baltimore, who died in 1888, ten years before Griffin's death on August 23, 1898.
Griffin succumbed in his East Los Angeles home, 1109 Downey Ave. where he lived with his nephew and niece, Mr. and Mrs. Hancock M. Johnson, their children. Funeral services were conducted in the home and at the gravesite in Evergreen Cemetery by J. P. Widney. Pallbearers were J. M. Griffith, Harris Newmark, S. Lazard, Reginaldo Del Valle, Major Ben Truman and James Craig. Besides the Johnsons, he was survived by two nieces, Mrs. George J. Denis and Mrs. William B. Pritchard. Griffin attended the University of Pennsylvania, where he received a medical degree in 1837. At that time the university listed his "place of origin" as "Kentucky." In 1840, Griffin was appointed assistant surgeon in the Army and served under General William J. Worth in Florida and, with the rank of captain, on the Southwest frontier at Fort Gibson, Griffin came to California for the first time with General Kearney on the trek from New Mexico in 1846, he was stationed in San Diego and in Los Angeles in charge of the military hospitals, visited the California Gold Country during the 1849 Gold Rush and was stationed in Benicia until 1852.
In that period he was given duty in an expedition against the Yuma Indians on the Colorado River. He was assigned to Washington, D. C. in 1853 and resigned from the service in 1854. The California Historical Society in 1944 published Griffin's diary relating his wartime experiences, under the title A Doctor Comes to California — The Diary of John S. Griffin, M. D. 1846–1847. Doctor Griffin's story concerns the hardships endured by General Kearney's small force as it crossed the unknown and trackless deserts, it recounts what took place in the battles of San Pascual, San Gabriel, La Mesa and Los Angeles, reveals his methods of treatment for wounds and diseases afflicting the soldiers in his charge; the narrative is most interesting. Before joining the Army, Griffin practiced for three years in Louisville and returned to Los Angeles after he left the service. In Griffin's obituary, the Los Angeles Times noted that: Physicians were scarce in those days, a man with a university education and seventeen years' experience as army surgeon and general pratictioner was welcomed and called to minister to the ailments of all the best people around.
Like a circuit rider he journeyed up and down Southern California to answer to the calls of American settlers and Spanish patrons. Griffin is said to have been the "second pioneer educated physician to arrive in Los Angeles," the first being Richard Den, who came in 1843. One of his staff was Bridget Mason, who worked for him as a midwife and nurse, becoming known for her herbal remedies, she earned $2.50 a day, considered a good wage for African-American women at that time. In 1856, Mason had been declared a person "free forever" in a successful suit she filed as a slave brought from slave-holding Texas into the free state of California in 1851; the judge rendering the decision was the brother of Griffin's wife. Griffin was summoned all the way to San Francisco to advise doctors on the treatment of James King of William, the editor of the San Francisco Evening Bulletin, shot at close range on May 14, 1856, by James P. Casey, whom King had identified in the newspaper as having had a criminal record in New York.
Medical historian John Long Wilson wrote that King, active during the San Francisco Committee of Vigilance era: dared to expose scoundrels in both public and private domains. It is of special interest to us that the violence erupting as a result of his biting editorials had extraordinary medical dimensions. Doctors who first treated King had inserted a sponge into the bullet wound to stanch the bleeding and were debating whether to remove it in order to fight a severe infection that had arisen. After examining King on May 18, Griffin advised against the removal, fearing hemorrhage from a severed subclavian artery. King died on May 20. Casey was soon executed after a "trial" arranged by the Vigilance Committee. Wilson opined that: Dr. Griffin's conspicuous army service in Southern California combined with his sterling personal qualities no doubt contributed to his rapid rise to leadership in civic and business affairs in Los Angeles, to his acquisition of a large surgical practice within a few years.
Although memorial statements about his career say that he sought new treatments and was not hesitant to discard old methods, we have no specifics as to the meaning of these generalities and we have no information about his experience with vascular surgery. In any case, we know that he advised against removing the sponge. Assuming that it was not too late to make a difference, we must conclude
Ozro W. Childs
Ozro Childs was a Protestant horticulturalist and banker in the 19th century in Los Angeles, California. He was a founder of the University of Southern California. Ozro W. Childs was born in Sutton, Vermont, in 1824, received his early education there, his father was a farmer. Like many young people in Vermont, he left for the West, first for Ohio, where he earned his living as a schoolteacher. While there, he learned the tinsmith’s trade. After the discovery of gold in California, he resolved to try his luck in the gold fields, he traveled down the Mississippi to New Orleans, boarded a ship for Nicaragua. After some delay, he took another ship, arrived in San Francisco in August, 1850, where he set off for the mines. However, he did not know that coastal Northern California is foggy in the winter and summer; the weather aggravated the asthma that would kill him. So, he and a man named, they walked from San Pedro into the small Pueblo de Los Angeles, decided to set up a tinsmithing and hardware store.
An existing merchant sold them his entire stock on credit. After a few years, Childs was able to buy out his partner, left the trade with $40,000 in his pocket. Not long afterward, he obtained the contract to build an extension of the Zanja Madre, a canal system to bring water to the fields south of the pueblo, he was paid in land in that area – all now within present day Downtown Los Angeles - from Sixth to Ninth, Main to Figueroa Street. This property was the foundation of his fortune, he built a substantial house at 10th and Main a half-mile from town center, on his property took up planting. In his day, Ozro Childs was Los Angeles’s most prominent plantsman, with a Plant nursery. Ozro Childs invested in land and commercial enterprises with Isaias W. Hellman as a partner, their most significant and long-term success was the Farmers and Merchants Bank of Los Angeles, which included some of the town’s most prominent citizens as additional investors. Their conservative lending practices allowed the bank to ride out every depression.
The Farmers and Merchants Bank was bought by Security Pacific in 1956, after various mergers it is now within Bank of America. Childs was involved in philanthropic work; when Judge Robert Maclay Widney set out to create a university in Los Angeles in the 1870s, he received assistance from donors including Childs. In 1879, Childs contributed a considerable amount of land to the founding of the University of Southern California, which opened in 1880, he died at his Los Angeles Main Street home in 1890, leaving six living children and a widow who survived him by over 40 years. Childs was elected to the Los Angeles Common Council, the governing body of the city, on December 6, 1869, resigned on January 13, 1870
Phineas Banning was an American businessman and entrepreneur. Known as "The Father of the Port of Los Angeles," he was one of the founders of the town of Wilmington, in Los Angeles County, named for his birthplace, his drive and ambition laid the foundations for what would become one of the busiest ports in the world. Besides operating a freighting business, Banning operated a stage coach line between San Pedro and Wilmington, between Banning, named in his honor, Yuma, Arizona. During the Civil War, he ceded land to the Union Army to build a fort at Wilmington, the Drum Barracks, he was appointed a brigadier general of the First Brigade of the militia, used the title of general for the rest of his life. Banning was born in Wilmington, the seventh of 11 children to John Alford Banning and Elizabeth Lowber. At age 13, he moved to Philadelphia to work in his oldest brother's law firm. By his late teens, Banning was working on the dockyards of Philadelphia. At the age of 20, he signed up to work a passage to a then-exotic destination—Southern California.
Banning arrived in San Pedro, California, in 1851, after a long land and sea journey that included crossing the isthmus of Panama before taking another ship to California. The 21-year-old was ambitious and worked in the fishing village of San Pedro as a store clerk, as a stagecoach driver on the line that connected the hamlet with the pueblo of Los Angeles, a town of less than 2,000 people 20 miles to the north. Banning was elected to a one-year term on the Los Angeles Common Council, the governing body of that city, beginning May 10, 1858, ending May 9, 1859. Banning began his own shipping company. By the 1860s, Banning stagecoach wagons were traveling to Salt Lake City, the Kern River gold fields, the new military installation at Yuma, the Mormon settlement at San Bernardino, in an arc around the Southern California region. Banning was not content to consolidate business interests in staging, he began expanding the harbor and docks at San Pedro from their beginnings as illegal exchange sites for mission contraband during the Spanish and Mexican eras, made them efficient enterprises.
In the late 1850s Banning and a group of Southern California investors purchased 640 acres of land adjacent to San Pedro for port expansion. The land purchase was incorporated as Wilmington, after Banning's Delaware birthplace, his facility became known as Banning's Landing. Banning invested the profits from his trade networks into the development of a more sophisticated port complex and for the creation of roads and other connections to Los Angeles. In 1859, the first ocean-going vessel anchored in Los Angeles-Wilmington harbor, the 1860s saw the beginning of small-scale maritime trade between San Pedro and ships anchored in the deeper parts of the harbor. After government-funded dredging made a deep water harbor and breakwater a reality, the port continued to grow. In 1856, Banning married the younger sister of his first California employer. Phineas and Rebecca had eight children, of which three survived into adulthood—William Banning, Joseph Brent Banning, Hancock Banning. Family life was stable in the Banning household, Phineas was a doting, if distant father to his three boys, who grew up around the expanding docks in San Pedro.
Rebecca Banning died in childbirth in 1868, the infant, Vincent Banning, died as well. In 1870, Banning married Mary Hollister, a wealthy heiress whose family lent their name to the city of Hollister, California. Phineas and Mary had three children, two of which survived to adulthood—Mary Hollister Banning and Lucy Tichenor Banning. Following the election of Abraham Lincoln in 1860, several Southern states broke away to form the Confederate States of America, which marked the beginning of the American Civil War; the effects of the war were felt in California, in Los Angeles, which had many Southern sympathizers, an alarming development for the new territory. An astute businessman and a vocal patriot and fellow Californian politician Benjamin Wilson donated adjacent plots of land in Wilmington for a military base; the outpost, named Drum Barracks, or Camp Drum, served as headquarters for the Union's Southwestern command for the state of California and territory of Arizona. The move brought Union troops to Wilmington.
He was nearly killed, along with his first wife Rebecca, when the boiler exploded on one of his packet steamers, the SS Ada Hancock, in 1863. After the end of the American Civil War in 1865, Drum Barracks was decommissioned, but the port and harbor continued to grow. Banning was an avowed Unionist and was friends with Winfield Scott Hancock when Hancock was stationed in Los Angeles. Phineas' son Hancock was named after the general; the American government presented Banning with an honorary title, that of Brigadier General of the California First Brigade. The title was purely honorary, with no basis in military service, yet Banning insisted on being referred to as "General Banning" for the remainder of his life. Between 1868 and 1869 he organized the construction of Southern California's first railroad, the Los Angeles & San Pedro Railroad which he sold to the Southern Pacific Railroad in 1873. Banning spent the 1870s in a frenzy of activity; as a California state senator, he campaigned for greater transportation connections to the city of Los Angeles and the growing port, his personal project.
Banning pushed through a plan for a small railroad linking Wilmington/San Pedro wi
Charles Brode was a merchant and property owner in 19th Century Los Angeles, California. He was a member of that city's governing body, the Los Angeles Common Council, from December 5, 1878, to March 13, 1879, when he resigned. Brode was born in Boreck, Prussia, on February 6, 1836, at the age of nineteen he emigrated to Australia, where he was a miner for seven years, he came to the United States, where he engaged in "various kinds of business" in the territories of Montana and Utah. He moved to Los Angeles in 1868 and opened a grocery store on South Spring Street, where the Parisian Suit and Cloak Company was situated. Next to the Hollenbeck Hotel; the building he constructed there was known as the Brode Block. Brode was a director of the German-American Savings Bank and of the Los Angeles Soap Company, he was a member of Turnverein Germania and Pioneers' Society of California. He died of stomach cancer on August 13, 1901, was survived by his wife and six children, Mrs. Emma Friese, Mrs. Louise Bruning, A.
C. Brode, W. C. Brode, Mrs. Oscar Lawler and Leopold Brode. Newspaper clippings and references are held at the Western States Jewish History Archive, UCLA Library, Department of Special Collections. Access to the Los Angeles Times links may require the use of a library card