Days Gone By

“Happiness lies in the joy of achievement and
the thrill of creative effort.”
Franklin D. Roosevelt

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Most Angelenos may not know, but for generations Los Angeles has been renowned as one of the world’s great mural capitals. This is due mostly to the government-funded Federal Art Project of the Works Progress Administration (WPA) which hired hundreds of artists who collectively created more than 100,000 paintings and murals and over 18,000 sculptures across America.

The WPA Project was part of President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal during the Great Depression (1929-1943). Some of the 20th century’s greatest visual artists were employed by the Project under the guidance of the WPA.

Thanks to the WPA, there are three beautiful oil on canvas murals at the Redondo Beach post office painted by Paul Sample in 1937. These striking, colorful, insightful murals are an urban canvas expressing the history, concerns and aspirations of a community during the turn of the 19th century.

Although I don’t visit the post office often these days, when I do go to the post office I always enjoy seeing the murals. The murals remind me of the history and beauty of Redondo Beach in days gone by.

Shine On

 

Farmers Market – The Original

“Prosperous farmers mean more employment,
more prosperity for the workers and the business men
of every industrial area in the whole country.”
Franklin D. Roosevelt

Farmers Market - The Original

When I first arrived in California back in 1967, one of the most famous places I loved to visit was at Third & Fairfax. Any good Angeleno knows what has been at this corner since 1880.

It was back in 1880 that A. F. Gilmore and a partner bought two dairy farms in the Los Angeles area. The partners elected to split their holdings ten years later and Mr. Gilmore took control of the large 256-acre ranch, its dairy herd and farmhands at what is now the world famous corner of Third & Fairfax known as the Farmers Market.

When A. F. Gilmore wanted to expand his dairy herd in 1900, he started drilling new wells for water. He discovered oil. Quickly, the dairy herd was replaced by a field of oil derricks which remained in place until Los Angeles’s boundaries expanded to surround the Gilmore property. Although the rich oil field continued to generate crude, the derricks were no longer permitted on a large scale.

The Gilmore property remained largely vacant into the 1930s, when at the height of the Depression, two entrepreneurs, Fred Beck and Roger Dahlhjelm, approached A.F.’s son, Earl Bell (E.B.) Gilmore, with “an idea.”

Fred Beck & Roger Dahlhjelm wanted to build a “Village” at the corner of Third & Fairfax where local farmers could sell their fresh fare. Gilmore agreed to give it a go. In July 1934, a dozen farmers and a few other merchants parked their trucks at the corner of Third & Fairfax and sold their fresh produce from the back of the trucks.

By October 1934, mere months after it opened, farmers and merchants, including restaurants, grocers and service providers, were moving into permanent stalls and the new Farmers Market was so popular that its founders staged a celebration, the first Fall Festival at Farmers Market.

While it grew to be a must-see destination for travelers from around the world, Farmers Market was always the favorite place for L.A. families to shop for groceries.

The Clock Tower became an icon of the Farmers Market in 1948. Over the decades, it has become a worldwide symbol of food and fun.

My photo of the clock tower features the iconic phrase “An Idea”, a humble nod to Fred Beck, Roger Dahlhjelm and the 18 original tenants who helped forever shape the corner of the Farmers Market – the original.

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Shine On