Saturday, March 28, 2015

Lawry's California Center now Los Angeles River Center

Remember Lawry's Prime Rib?  How about Lawry's California Center?  Larry's California Center was started as a showcase of restaurants and shops to promote Lawry's  seasoning and sauce products and was not profitable throughout its history.  I remember going there once!  Lawry's Prime Rib Restaurants are separate restaurants  under separate ownership and were not affected by the  eventual decision to close the center.

Entrance to California Lawry's Center

The Lawry's center was completed in 1953 and expanded in 1961.  The center opened its first outdoor dining area called La Cocina in 1970.  La Cocina in 1991 was a self-serve restaurant.  In the mid-1970's, it opened a restaurant for evening dining, which was known for its steak.   The third restaurant, Los Portales offered Mexican food.

California Lawry's Center

 The Center was closed sometime in 1992 and sat abandoned for approximately 2 years.  There were several possible buyers and possible demolition, but a news report from the Los Angeles Times states that the Center would be reborn as a hub of of environmental and educational activities.  The $8-million project was to transform the complex's hacienda-style buildings and lush gardens into the Los Angeles River Center, which would be a focal point of efforts to develop greenbelts, parks and other public facilities along the riverbed's industrialized corridor.

California Lawry's Center

The Los Angeles River Center is a hidden jewel, sequestered behind thick, ivy covered walls,  There is a wide, circular brick driveway with a spreading ficus tree in the center that marks the entrance and directs you through the arched wrought-iron gate.  The small courtyard at the entry is a charming introduction to the Center.  The expansive multi-level patio is enclosed on three sides by the arcaded terraces of the Center's buildings.  A three-tiered fountain stands in the center of a tiled reflecting pool.

From the main courtyard, an arched entryway in a stucco wall leads to the San Fernando Courtyard.  A magnificent old ficus tree keeps the patio in shade and the patio offers an alternate space for dining or dancing.

The Center is an event facility for weddings, as well as indoor celebrations or large meetings that can take place in the California Building.  The main event space in the California building features a Mexican-tile floor, arched windows and a huge peaked skylight that floods the room with natural light.  The Los Feliz Room can accommodate smaller meetings and conferences.


Wall art

Wall Art


Thursday, March 19, 2015

Last day of Kansas City, MO trip

The last day of our trip before we flew home, we took a trip back out to Independence and did some more exploring.


Looking down the tracks from Truman Railroad Station

Mormon Temple

Old House

Old Independence Railroad Station

Truman Railroad Station

Truman Railroad Station

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

A trip to Kansas City, MO-Day 3

Our journey continued on Tuesday, when we stayed in Kansas City and decided to explore the Steamboat Arabia.  Interesting museum and well worth exploring.

Things found on the Steamboat Arabia

The steamboat Arabia was a side wheeler steamboat which hit a snag in the Missouri River and sank near what today is Kansas City, Kansas, on September 5, 1856.  In was rediscovered in 1988 by a team of researchers.  Today, the artifacts  that were recovered from the site are housed in the Arabia Steamboat Museum.

Paddlewheel of Steamboat Arabia

Things found on the Steamboat Arabia

The Arabia was built in 1853 around the Monogahela River in Brownsville, Pennsylvania.  Its paddle wheels were 28 feet across, and its steam boilers consumed approximately thirty cords of wood per day.  The boat averaged five miles an hour going upstream.  The boat traveled the Ohio and Mississippi rivers before it was bought by Captain John Shaw, who operated the boat on the Missouri River.  Her first trip was to carry 109 soldiers from Fort Leavenworth to Fort Pierre, which was located up river in South Dakota.  The boat then traveled up the Yellowstone Rver, adding an additional 700 miles to the trip.  The trip took approximately 3 months to complete.

The boat was sold to Captain William Terrill and William Boyd, in the spring of 1856 and made fourteen trips up and down the Missouri during their ownership.  In March, the boat collided with an obstacle, nearly sinking.  Repairs were made in nearby Portland and a few weeks later, the boat blew a cylinder head and had to be repaired again.  The rest of the season was uneventful until September 5, 1856.

Things found on the Steamboat Arabia

On September 5, 1856, the Steamboat Arabia set out for a routine trip.  At Quindaro Bend, near the town of Parkville, Missouri, the boat hit a submerged walnut tee snag, which ripped open the hull and rapidly filled with water.  The upper decks stayed above water, and  the only casualty was a mule that was tied to sawmill equipment and forgotten.  The boat sank so rapidly into the mud that by the next morning, only the smokestacks and pilot house remained visible.  Within a few days the rest of the boat was swept away.  There were numerous salvage attempts and none of them successful.  Eventually, the boat was completely covered by water and over time, the river shifted a half mile to the east.  The site of the sinking is in present day, Kansas City, Kansas.

Things found on the Steamboat Arabia

Things found on the Steamboat Arabia

The property was purchased in the 1860's, by Elisha Sortor and over the years, legends were passed through the family that the boat was located somewhere under the land.  The exact location of the boat was lost over time.

In 1987, Bob Hawley and his sons, Greg and David, set out to find the boat.  They used old maps and proton magnetometer to figure out the probable location and finally discovered the Arabia half a mile from the river and under 45 feet of silt and topsoil.

The owners of the farm gave permission for excavation, with the condition that the work be completed before the spring planting.  The Hawleys, along with family friends, set out to excavate the boat during the winter months while the water table was at its lowest point.  They performed a series of drilling tests to determine the exact location of the hull, then marked the perimeter with powdered chalk.  Heavy equipment, including a 100-ton crane, was brought in by both river and road transport during summer and fall.  20 irrigation pumps were installed around the site to lower the water level and to keep the site from flooding.  The 65 foot deep wells removed 20,000 US gallons per minute from the ground.  On November 26, 1988, the boat was exposed and four days later, artifacts from the boat began to appear, beginning with a Goodyear rummer overshoe.  On December 5, a wooden crate filled with elegant china was unearthed.  The mud was such an effective preserver that the yellow packing straw was still visible.  Thousands of artifacts were recovered, including jars of preserved food that are still edible.  The artifacts that were recovered are housed in the museum.  On February 11, 1989, work ceased at the site, and the pumps were turned off.  The hole filled with water overnight.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

A trip to Kansas City, MO-Day 2

On Monday, March 17, 2014, we went out to see our friends in Lee's Summit, MO.  It was nice to see their homes.  As I am a very visual person, I feel like I can now visually see things that I see all the time on FB.  We went out to pick up my friend and her mother and then headed for Independence, MO and had lunch together at a BBQ place.  After lunch, we headed to see Truman's house and library.

Truman House

Truman House

Truman House

Sawyer-Jennings House

Squirrel at the Truman Library

Squirrel at the Truman Library

Winter tree at Truman Library

The Jackson County Courthouse, which is also known as the Truman Courthouse is located in Independence, MO on Independence Square at Main and Maple Street.

Jackson County Courthouse

In 1922, Harry Truman, won election as county judge for eastern Jackson County as a candidate of the Tom Pendergast faction of the Democratic Party.  He failed to be reelected in 1924, but won election as presiding judge in 1926.  He served in this position, in effect as county commissioner for eight years.  Mr. Truman divided his time between the courthouse in Independence and the Jackson County Courthouse in Kansas City.  When Mr. Truman was Senator from 1935 to 1939, he had an office in the Kansas City courthouse during most of his first term.

There are currently no county offices in the building.  The Jackson County Historical Society office and archives are house in the Courthouse.  The Courthouse has been undergoing a renovation to restore President Truman's office and courtroom, and to fix structural issues.  This is per Wikpedia.

The Noland home is across the street from the Truman house.  Harry Truman's cousins lived in the house and Mr. Truman often visited them on weekends,  when he was not working on the family farm in Grandview.  In 1910, Truman returned a borrowed cake plate from across the street, which reconnected him with Bess Wallace and the courtship was on.

Noland House

The Harry S. Truman National Historic Site acquired the home of Joseph  T. Noland and Margaret Ellen Truman Noland in 1991.  Major planing and rehabilitation have ben necessary to repair the structure, which was built in three stages between 1858 and 1910.  The first phase was completed in 2006, which raised and placed the structure on a new foundation.

The interior of the structure was completely gutted.  The windows were repaired, new plumbing and electrical systems were installed.  On the exterior, rotten wood siding was replaced and the house received a new roof and a fresh coat of paint.  Historic interior features were preserved.  Original fixtures, samples of wall coverings and exterior architectural elements have become part of the museum collection.  At the time of our visit, the house was not open.

Sawyer/Jennings House was built in  1887 as designed by T. B Smith for the Aaron Sawyer family.  Aaron's son, Lock H. Sawyers sold the house to the Frank Jennings family in the early 1920's.  It was honored by the Jackson County Historical Society in 1976 for their preservation efforts.  It was rehabilitated in 1995 and is one of the few brick Queen Anne houses remaining in Independence.

Sawyer/Jennings House

Sunday, March 1, 2015

What do you know about the city of La Mirada? (A series about some of the cities in Los Angeles County)

La Mirada, CA is located in the southeast part of Los Angeles County.  La Mirada is Spanish and means the view in English.  The city made CNN Money Magazine's "Best Place to Live" list, coming in 34th, due to the La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts and Splash! La Mirada Regional Aquatics Center as two of its main attributes.  Biola University is located in La Mirada and is an evangelical Christian institution of higher education.  The city was incorporated on March 23, 1960, as Mirada Hills, and had received much attention in the 1950's due to the fact that it was going to be completely structured and planned out.

This city was the creation of Andrew McNally and his son-in-law, Edwin Neff.  Andrew McNally was a printer and mapmaker from Chicago, as well as founder and president of Rand McNally.  In 1888, McNally purchased approximately 2200 acres of Rancho Los Coyotes for $200,000.  700 of the 2200 acres were developed into a home for Andrew McNally and was called Windermere Ranch. The other 1500 acres were set aside for gentlemen's estates, as he was hoping to attract some of his friends from Chicago, to move west.   On Windermere Ranch, he built a home, a barn, a caretaker's home and had olive, orange and lemon groves planted throughout the area.  He had a plant and a railroad station built on Stage Road, which provided access for his olive oil and fruit to be shipped all over the United States.  The railroad still uses the railroad tracks along Stage Road.

Neff House

In 1896, McNally turned the property over to his daughter and son-in-law.  The two men formed the La Mirada Land Company, which published a booklet entitled "The Country Gentleman in California.  This booklet advertised parcels of land for sale including pictures, a map and descriptions of the scenic olive, alfalfa, lemon and grapefruit groves.  After a few years, Bill Neff and his wife, Mina moved into the home, which became known as Neff House and is listed on the National Register of Historic Sites.

Carriage House

George House

In 1948, La Mirada had a population of 213 and was surrounded by orange, lemon, walnut and olive groves; as well as oil wells, an olive oil factory and fruit packing houses.  In 1953, the land was sold to subdivisions for 52 million dollars, which was one of the largest real estate transactions in California.  On November 8, 1960, Mirada Hills was voted to be changed to La Mirada and was officially certified on December 15, 1960, as La Mirada.  The current population is just over 50,000; who live on a total area of 7.8 square miles.