HISTORY OF MAR VISTA

1771 ~ 1929 HISTORICAL TIMELINE by Glen Howell

1771 - San Gabriel Mission is founded. The Spanish missionaries call native Americans in the Los Angeles basin Gabrielinos.

1781 - Los Angeles is founded on El Rio y valle de Nuestra Senora la Reina de Los Angeles de la Porciuncula, today called the Los Angeles River. At that time the river flowed into Santa Monica Bay.

1819 -The King of Spain grants the Machados and Talamantes permission to graze their cattle on Rancho La Bayona.  Baiona (also spelled Bayona) is the name of a seaport in southern Spain.  On October 10, 1493, the Pinta, one of the Spanish caravels in the fleet of Christopher Columbus, arrived at Port Baiona bringing the first news of the discovery of the New World.  The Talamantes family trace their roots to Baiona, Spain.  The Californians spelled the ‘I’ sound as ‘LL’.  There is a street in Mar Vista named Biona.  Is it possible that both Ballona and Biona are misspellings of Baiona?  We don’t know for certain.

1822 - Mexico declares independence from Spain. New Spain becomes Mexico.

1839 - The Mexican government grants the Machados and Talamantes title to Rancho La Ballona.

1848 - By treaty, after a war with Mexico, California is part of the United States.

1850 - California becomes the 31st state in the U.S.

1852 - The Machados and Talamantes file a claim with the U.S. Land Commission for a U.S. land patent for title to Rancho La Ballona.

1854 - The Machados’ and Talamantes’ claims for Rancho La Ballona are approved in the U.S. District Court.

1857 - Benjamin D. Wilson, the first mayor of Los Angeles, received title to one fourth of Rancho La Ballona on foreclosure of a $1500 loan he had made to Tomas Talamantes.

1859 - Wilson sold his 3480 acres of Rancho La Ballona for $5000 to George A. Sanford and John D. Young.

1863 - Union soldiers, from nearby Camp Latham, watch from Mar Vista Hill for Confederate troops expected to invade Los Angeles from Catalina Island. After the Civil War ended, Louis Mesmer, the camp baker, sold his Los Angeles bakery and bought extensive land holdings from the Machados.

1865 - Agustin Machado dies.

1868 - The court settled the ownership claims of 23 individuals; most of whom are heirs of the original Machado and Talamantes land grantees. George Sanford was allotted 546 acres.

1870 - The population of Los Angeles is 5728.

1875 - The city of Santa Monica was founded by Sen. John P. Jones. Jones builds a railroad which connects Santa Monica and Los Angeles called The Los Angeles and Independence Railroad.

1876 - Southern Pacific Railroad completes a rail line from San Francisco to Los Angeles, ending the city’s isolation.

1880 - Abbot Kinney, a thirty-year-old millionaire, arrives in Los Angeles. The population of Los Angeles is 11,183.

1885 - Santa Fe Railroad comes to Los Angeles, providing competition for Southern Pacific. Moye Wicks, a young speculator, gained control of Rancho La Ballona land and interested Santa Fe Railroad in extending a line to his proposed harbor site - Port Ballona.

1886 - Palms (The Palms) is the first community to be established in Rancho La Ballona.

1887 - Louis Mesmer and Moye Wicks join in the development of Port Ballona Harbor. The Santa Fe line is completed and the first passenger train arrives at the Port Ballona ocean terminal with 800 prominent, optimistic and well fed Angelenos. The land boom was in full swing. Roscoe Arbuckle is born in Kansas, a 14 lb. baby. “Fatty” Arbuckle would become Mar Vista’s most famous ( and infamous) citizen. The National Soldiers Home is established, which leads to the development of a new community, the town of Barrett (changed to Sawtelle in 1899). Frederick Rindge, a thirty year old millionaire, arrives in Los Angeles. His daughter’s name, Rhoda, would become well known spelled backwards, Adohr Milk Farms. .

1888 - The land boom of the 1880s collapses and the Port Ballona subdivision is stopped.

1889 - A major winter storm destroys La Ballona Harbor.

1890 - The population of Los Angeles is 50,395.

1891 - Abbot Kinney and his partner, Francis Ryan, buy 1 1/2 miles of Rancho La Ballona beachfront property. They form the Ocean Park Development Company.

1892 - Kinney convinces Santa Fe Railroad to extend a line north to his Ocean Park resort. Southern Pacific builds the Long Wharf two miles north of Santa Monica. Malibu Rancho, which is the same size as Rancho La Ballona, is purchased by Frederick Rindge for about $10 an acre.

1893 - Frederick Rindge, who is president of the Los Angeles YMCA, founds a YMCA summer camp on beach land donated by Abbot Kinney. Kinney hopes that the YMCA camp, located at the beach near Hill St., will attract people to his beach resort.

1896 - Moses Sherman’s Pasadena and Pacific Railroad builds an electric line to Santa Monica. A spur is extended south to Hill St.

1897 - The first automobiles appear on Los Angeles streets.

1900 - Lon Whitaker’s farm is located on land that will become Santa Monica Airport. His daughter will become Mrs. Edwin A. Johnson, a homeowner in Mar Vista.
Collis Huntington, president of Southern Pacific Railroad, died, leaving a fortune to his nephew, Henry Huntington. The population of Los Angeles is 102,479.

1901 - Lon Whitaker and his daughter go to Sawtelle to see President McKinley and his cabinet arrive in Moses Sherman’s private rail car, the Mermaid. Two months later, McKinley would be killed by an assasin’s bullet in Buffalo, N.Y., and Teddy Roosevelt would become the 26th president of the United
States.

1902 - The Beach Land Company, with Moses Sherman and Frederick Rindge as directors, buy Port Ballona from Joseph Mesmer, son of Louis Mesmer. They build a hotel, pavilion, restaurant and a bridge to Kinney;s development, the longest span of reinforced concrete in the world. The Beach Land development is called Playa Del Rey. Beach Land Company and the Los Angeles Pacific Railway (LAP) have many of the same directors. Beach Land Company gave a right of way to the LAP Los Angeles-Hermosa Beach and Redondo Railroad. A fire destroyed the hotel and the development failed. But the rail line stimulated subdivision and development of Palms, Mar Vista and Del Rey. Today this railroad right-of-way is Culver Blvd. Also in 1902, LAP formed the Short Line Beach Company and completed the Short Line to their beach development. This line would later become the PE Venice Short Line and then Venice Blvd.
1903 - The Short Line Beach Company announced plans for a Holland-like development to be linked to the Playa Del Rey Lagoon. The initial name of this development, around a network of canals, was New Amsterdam. Sherman and Rindge incorporate the Hueneme, Malibu and Port Los Angeles Railway. Henry Ford founds the Ford Motor Company and the Wright brothers demonstrate the feasibility of powered flight.

1904 - Abbot Kinney has a falling-out with his partners, wins a coin toss, and selects the southern half of Ocean Park property which is marsh lands and sand dunes.
Kinney’s Ocean Park is incorporated, and the city hall is located on today’ s Venice Blvd. Ocean Park Heights was the designation for a subdivision on George Sanford’s allotment and LAP named a stop near the subdivision, Ocean Park Heights Station. East Ocean Park Heights subdivision would later become the site of Mar Vista Library.
Kinney announces plans for a Venice of America development in Ocean Park, and lets the first contract for excavation of the Grand Canal. Frederick Rindge, as president of the Harvard Club of Los Angeles, helps elect his Harvard classmate, Teddy Roosevelt, for a second term as U.S. president. Henry Keller, who sold Malibu Ranch to Rindge, bought 283 acres of Rancho La Ballona for a duck hunting club and ultimately a marina. This was where Marina Del Rey is today.

1905 - The Short Line Beach Canal system is dug. Canals are named Sherman, Howland, Linnie and Carrol. The Venice of America canals are filled with water, and there is an agreement to connect both canal systems. The Short Line canals still exist and are on the National Register of Historic Places. F. Rindge founded the Navigation and Canal Company, with plans to build a shipping canal from the Los Angeles city limits (Western Ave.) along Ballona Creek to Ballona Harbor. Rindge’s sudden death in August stopped the project.
1907 - The Ocean Park citizens north of Kinney’s Ocean Park voted to be annexed to Santa Monica. There were now two Ocean Parks, Santa Monica’s Ocean Park and Kinney’s Ocean Park. Kinney replaced the old Venice bathhouse with a new Venice Plunge. Kinney and Harriman, president of Southern Pacific Railway, are rumored to have developed ambitious plans for a major commercial port near today’s Marina Del Rey.

1909 - The stagnant Short Line Canals are a breeding ground for mosquitoes. The owners propose to dedicate the canals to the city of Ocean Park. Abbot Kinney deeds his canals to Ocean Park.

1910 - On July 4th, 33,000 passengers travel the Short Line train from Los Angeles  to Venice of America. The population of Los Angeles is 319,198.

1911 - Kinney’s Ocean Park is officially renamed Venice, ending the confusion of two Ocean Parks. Venice High School is started by Abbot Kinney in the old bath house. The LAP merges with Pacific Electric (PE). The LAP green cars are changed to PE red cars.

1912 - The State Board of Health serves notice that the Venice canals are a public health menace.

1913 - Harry Culver founds Culver City.

1914 - The cornerstone of Venice High School is laid at the new location on Venice Blvd., with Abbot Kinney presiding over the ceremony.

1915 - Film maker Thomas Ince buys land in Rancho La Ballona on which he builds a film studio, which would eventually become MGM.

1920 - The population of Los Angeles is 574,637. Abbot Kinney dies.
Donald Douglas founds Douglas Company, which was incorporated in 1928, as Douglas Aircraft Company.

1921 - One million gallons of raw sewage from Los Angeles is flowing into Ballona Creek every day. Playa Del Rey is turned into a vast sewage farm. Fatty Arbuckle is accused of killing Virginia Rappe in San Francisco.

1923 - George Sunday, son of evangelist Billy Sunday, established subdivisions in Ocean Park Heights called Mar Vista and New Mar Vista. Community members discussed the possibility of incorporating Ocean Park Heights
Eight million gallons a day of raw sewage is discharged into Ballona Creek.

1924 - A chamber of commerce was organized, and they decided to change the name of the 20 year old community from Ocean Park Heights to Mar Vista. The Mar Vista Women’s Club was founded. Both Venice and Santa Monica made attempts to annex Mar Vista. There were discussions of building a canal from Ballona Harbor to Culver City to Long Beach.

1925 - Mar Vista Post Office is opened. The population of Mar Vista is 5000. Loyola University is built on land donated by Harry Culver. The Venice electorate votes to consolidate with Los Angeles.

1926 - Barnes City is incorporated with 2500 residents. The Washington Blvd. extension is annexed to Culver City.
Among the night clubs along Washington Blvd. was Fatty Arbuckle’s Old Plantation. The state begins paving a highway through May Rindge’s Malibu Ranch.

1927 - Mar Vista is the 70th annexation to Los Angeles. Barnes City residents take the city away from Al Barnes and vote to become part of Los Angeles.

1928 - George McCune, president of Inter-Mountain Investment Company, donates land on Mar Vista Hill for the Mar Vista Ward Mormon Church (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints). McCune becomes president of the Mar Vista Chamber of Commerce.

1929 - Kinney’s Venice of America canals were all located north of Venice Blvd.  The canals were all filled in and made streets.  The only remaining canals in Venice today were built by the Beach Land Company for a competing development called New Amsterdam.  These canals are located south of Venice Blvd.  A director of the Beach Land syndicate was Moses Sherman.  The land purchased for the development was owned by a man named Howland. Two of the existing canals are named for these men.  Beach Land Company was allied with LAP, the builder of what became the Venice Short Line.  The rail line to the Short Line Canals was completed in 1902, two years before Abbot Kinney started digging the Venice of America canals.

(Glen Howell 3/10/04 ~ Revised 1/30/05)

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