VAPORES DE NICARAGUA
El 18 de febrero de 1870, el Congreso de la república ratificó la contrata de navegación celebrada el 8 entre los señores Ministros de Gobernación y Guerra don Anselmo Hilario Rivas y J.E. Hollembeck y Compañía, constante de 12 artículos. Por ese convenio el Gobierno de Nicaragua concedía a Hollembeck y socios el privilegio exclusivo por 25 años de navegar por vapores en el río de San Juan del Norte y Lago de Granada, y el transportar por ellos, los productos del país y mercancías destinadas al comercio interior de la República. Se les autorizaba a establecer en todas las tierras nacionales de la línea, almacenes, muelles, rieles y cualesquiera otras obras necesarias para el servicio de la línea, así como tomar de las mismas tierras, leña, piedras y cualquier otro material.
Las propiedades de la Compañía quedaban exentas de cualquier clase de contribución o tasas. A su vez, ésta se obligaba a transportar en sus viajes regulares, libre de todo gasto en tiempos de paz, a los empleados, oficiales y tropas del Gobierno. El compromiso incluía transportar, libre de todo gasto, una vez al mes, las malas(1) de la República, recibiéndolas en Granada el 8 de cada mes y entregándolas en San Juan del Norte el 14 del mismo mes lo más tarde, y entregándolas en San Juan, el 13 de cada mes o tan pronto como llegara el vapor inglés, y entregándolas en Granada lo más tarde siete días después de recibida. El Gobierno se reservaba el privilegio de usar los vapores de la Compañía en caso de guerra, civil o extranjera, pagando las pérdidas que se pudieran ocasionar.
El contratista se obligaba a tocar cada mes con el vapor del Lago en los puertos de Granada, La Virgen y San Ubaldo, así como de poner en el término de tres años en el Lago de Managua, un vapor que tocara por lo menos una vez al mes, Tipitapa, Managua, Moábita o León Viejo. Este vapor, a más tardar en cuatro años debía ponerse en conexión con el del Gran Lago por medio de carretas o rieles. Asimismo se obligaba a transportar a los empleados, oficiales y tropas en tiempos de paz, víveres y elementos de guerra para éstas. El Gobierno por su parte subvencionaría a la Compañía por los primeros diez años con seis mil pesos anuales.
La tarifa de fletes se establecería por parte de la Compañía "bajo los precios más liberales, i que nunca podrán esceder de uno i medio centavos por cada libra de peso por flete de mercancías secas, i uno i un cuarto centavos por cada libra de abarrote que se transporte de los puertos del lago hasta San Juan del Norte y viceversa, i que no pesen más que ocho qq., cada pieza ó midan más de veinte pies cúbicos: i en cuanto a las esportaciones, nunca se cargará más de un peso cincuenta centavos por qq. de añil i un peso y veinte centavos por qq. de café, cacao, hule, pieles de venado, i otros artículos del mismo valor; por frijoles, maíz, arroz, azúcar i cualquier otro artículo semejante, más de un peso qq. i por cada cuero de rs veinte centavos.
La tarifa de transporte sobre el Lago de Managua i río de Tipitapa, será en su máximum, proporcionada en atención á la distancia i gastos, á la que se taza para la navegación del Gran Lago i río de San Juan del Norte; debiendo rebajarse al menos un diez por ciento cuando los fletes y pasajeros se dirijan del uno al otro extremo de la línea conexionada".
THE CARIBBEAN AND PACIFIC TRANSIT COMPANY LIMITED
La empresa "The Caribbean and Pacific Transit Company Ltd." propietaria que fue de la línea de Vapores del río y lago de Nicaragua, prestaba toda garantía y comodidades para el viaje de travesía de San Juan del Norte, su punto de partida y residencia de la Agencia General, a la ciudad de Granada su término. Los vapores de la línea del río, eran cómodos y bien construidos para aquellos tiempos, con un andar de 7 millas subiendo el río, y 10 millas de bajada; sus dimensiones eran las siguientes:
En el Lago de Nicaragua el vapor "Victoria" de 150 toneladas de porte y 10 millas de andar.
La travesía de San Juan del Norte a Granada se hacia en 3 días, con estaciones o escalas: y dos días de bajada o sea de Granada a San Juan.
Los puertos intermedios, en el San Juan era "El Castillo" antigua fortaleza, y sitio de la Aduana Marítima. En dicho lugar se efectuaba un cambio de vapores por motivo del raudal del "Castillo" que impedía la mayor parte del año la subida de los vapores.
De "El Castillo", salía el otro vapor para San Carlos, terminación del viaje por el río. Todo el trayecto presentaba agradable distracción al viajero: hermosos bosques, follajes primorosos en ambas márgenes del río, que solo se pueden presenciar en el río San Juan, donde la feracidad de la tierra es inagotable.
De San Carlos, donde se efectuaba el último transbordo, el vapor "Victoria" salía con rumbo a Granada, tocando en el puerto de San Ubaldo. La distancia que recorría el "Victoria" de San Carlos a Granada era de 140 millas que con escala en San Ubaldo por lo regular de 3 horas, se efectuaba en 14 horas.
Tarifas y servicios
La Cía. P.T. Co. Ltd. en arreglo especial con la compañía de "Mala Atlas" de New York, daba pasajes directos de Granada y San Juan a los EE. UU. de Norte América y Europa. El precio de pasajes de Granada a New York era el siguiente: de Granada a San Juan 30.00 pesos plata, de San Juan a New York 85.00 pesos oro. El flete local se cobraba en plata corriente del país a razón de 1½ c/la libra más el 25% de subida y 1¼ c/libra más el 25% de bajada.
Las mercancías consignadas a la C. P. T. Co. Ltd. y al comercio en general se despachaban a la brevedad posible y para el embarque de productos locales, tales como café, hule, pieles, y cueros, tenía la compañía lanchas de hierro de 30 a 50 toneladas de capacidad, y un sin número de lanchas de madera: la Rosita y Cuba, remolcadoras de primera clase, solo se empleaban en atender las necesidades del comercio. En todas las oficinas y vapores de la empresa los empleados, capitanes y contadores, prestaban toda atención a las necesidades del público viajero, como también a la carga bajo sus cuidados.
La empresa poseía un taller bien montado para el mejor mantenimiento de los vapores, y su en cargado siempre inspeccionaba los vapores a su arribo para asegurar su buena marcha, y dar garantía de su cumplimiento al itinerario que acompañaba. El Gerente General de la Cía. P. T. Co. Ltd. Don Louis Wichemann, persona de vasta experiencia en la materia, había asegurado para la buena marcha de la Empresa la concesión de establecer y explotar una línea férrea. Dicha línea partía del llamado Lago Silico hasta la confluente del río Colorado una distancia de 6 millas. Así se evitaba la parte del río donde en verano se hacía difícil la subida de los vapores grandes, ocasionando demora en la salida de los productos del interior.
Con la conclusión de la línea, se garantizaba embarcación expedita y capacidad suficiente para manejar, si no el todo, casi el todo de la cosecha de café de Nicaragua, permitiendo al comercio aprovechar así los buenos precios que se obtenían de las primeras remesas de café.
Don Francisco Alfredo Pellas era dueño de la Compañía de Navegación del Lago de Nicaragua y del Río San Juan, habiendo obtenido ésta empresa por cesión que le hizo el Sr. E. Hollenbeck, ciudadano americano que había obtenido una concesión del gobierno de Nicaragua para la navegación a vapor del Lago de Nicaragua y Río San Juan. Esta concesión fue renovada por el Sr. Pellas el 16 de marzo de 1877, fecha en que fue firmado contrato con el gobierno para navegar con buques de vapor las aguas del Lago y Río San Juan.
El 7 de febrero de 1881 fueron firmados los estatutos de la Compañía Anónima de Vapores del Lago de Managua por Pablo Giusto, Santiago Morales; Idelfonso Vivas, F. Alfredo Pellas, Ramón de Espínola y Luis Palazio. Ya para entonces tenían armado el primer vapor. Era el vapor "Amelia", nombre que se le dio en honor de Amelia de Zavala, hija del presidente. Hizo su primer viaje de prueba el primero de marzo y el 3 fue hasta Tapitapa. Se desplazaba a10 millas por hora, tenía 50 toneladas de porte y 90 pies de largo. El acto solemne del bautizo se verificó en la entrada del río Tipitapa el 27 de ese mes.
El Presidente Zavala y su comitiva de a bordo fueron saludados con disparos de cañón a la partida del barco. Al arribo a Tipitapa, la señorita Isabel Martínez, madrina del barco pronunció un discurso y también tomaron la palabra Pablo Giusto y Fabio Carnevallini. Se sirvió un almuerzo bajo una enramada y por la noche se dio un baile. El 28 se hizo el viaje de regreso. El primero de abril este barco hizo su primer viaje a León Viejo.
El segundo vapor que surcó las aguas del Xolotlán fue el "Isabel", nombre que se le dio en honor de la señorita Isabel Solórzano. Fue botado a las 8 de la mañana del 28 de octubre de 1882. Ya para entonces la comunicación entre Managua y León Viejo era diaria. Después en 1886 fue traído el vapor "Progreso", construido en Londres con una fuerza de 300 caballos y desarrollando 15 millas de velocidad; tenía 134 pies ingleses de eslora, 24 pies de manga y 8 y medio de puntal. El viaje a Momotombo lo hacía en tres horas. El valor del pasaje era de $2.50 en primera y $1.50 en segunda. El viaje de prueba lo hizo el sábado 28 de agosto llevando a bordo al Presidente Cárdenas y su comitiva.
Ya gobernando Roberto Sacasa en 1891 navegaron en el Xolotlán el "Angela", así se llamaba una hija del Presidente, y el "Managua". En enero de 1894, gobernando Zelaya, el Isabel fue trasladado al Corinto y se le puso el nombre de "11 de julio", y en febrero de ese año, el Amelia al Gran Lago y se el puso el nombre de "93". El Victoria, uno de esos vapores del Lago, se encargó construir a la Compañía Pussey and Jones de Wilmington, Delaware. Fue bautizado por el Sr. Pellas en recuerdo de una hermana suya llamada Victoria. Tenía 136 pies ingleses de eslora, 28 pies de ancho, 6 pies de calado, capacidad para 150 toneladas y comodidad para 75 pasajeros en primera clase y 75 en segunda, 2 calderas de 80 caballos de fuerza cada una y 2 hélices. Era el año de 1882.
En 1889, cuando se trabajaba en la construcción del Canal por Nicaragua, el Sr. Pellas dio en arriendo su empresa a la Nicaragua Mail Steam Navigation Trading Co., subsidiaria de la Compañía constructora del canal hasta que se suspendieron los trabajos del canal en 1891.
En 1905, durante la administración del General José Santos Zelaya, el Gobierno adquirió la empresa de vapores para el Ferrocarril Nacional. En 1912, dio en garantía los ferrocarriles y líneas de vapores a banqueros americanos por préstamos de 500,000 y 250,000 dólares.
Mas sobre Hollembeck:
John Edward Hollenbeck 1829-1885
From "An Illustrated History of Los Angeles County, California" Chicago: The Lewis Publishing Company, 1889
John Edward Hollenbeck was born in Hudson, Summit
County, Ohio, June 5, 1929, where his parents lived until 1845, at which
time they moved to Winnebago County, Illinois. Previous to their going
West, Edward, or Ed as he was familiarly called, attended the district
schools; but after the age of fourteen he had the privilege of school in
the winter only, the summer being spent in working on the farm. In his
boyhood days he was a favorite with young and old, being possessed of a
genial disposition and generous to a fault, both of which traits followed
him through life.
One little anecdote will serve to show the strength of his will power and endurance. In the vicinity where he lived the crows were very destructive to corn when first planted in the spring. As soon as it made its appearance above the ground the crows would pull it up, root and blade. In order to get rid of them, the boys in the neighborhood joined in hunting their nests, destroying them whenever found.
On one occasion, while Ed with several others was trying to dislodge a nest, a pole slipped from the hand of one of his comrades, coming down sharpened end first and passing through Ed's left foot, just back of the toes, pinning him to the ground. Of course the pole had to be pulled out; and the only time he ever shed a tear was after it commenced healing, when a large boy stepped on it. At the time of the accident he was between thirteen and fourteen years of age.
In the spring of l846, farming not being to his taste, with his father’s permission and with a dollar arid a half in his pocket, he started out to make his own way in the world. He worked in different places until he made enough money to take him back to the place of his birth. From there he went to Cuyahoga Falls, only eighteen miles distant, where he apprenticed himself to learn the machinist’s trade.
By faithfulness and industry, he very soon gained the respect and approbation of his master. While learning his trade he earned $6 per month with which to pay his board and clothe himself, and yet from this small amount, he always had money to spare to help others.
By close application he became master of his trade in three years, at which time his employers offered to take him into the business as a partner, but at this time the California gold fever was at its height, and he decided to start for the land of gold.
He took passage on a sailing vessel, as the expense was less than by steamer, from New Orleans to Aspinwall; but on his arrival there, being too sick to go further, he sold his ticket for California and remained in Aspinwall until he recovered.
He then engaged as an engineer on a steamer running up the Chagres River, and afterward ran from Aspinwall and Chagres to Greytown, Nicaragua, and then for a time up the San Juan River.
In 1852 or 1853 he engaged in business in Greytown, furnishing entertainment to travelers, via Transit route, Nicaragua, to California. At Castillo he also established a general merchandise store and hotel ; and at this made large contracts with the Transit Company for cutting wood on San Juan River, for use on steamers.
In January, 1854, he married Elizabeth Hatsfeldt, who survives him and who was in the strictest sense of the word a help-mate, undergoing all the trials and reverses of fortune while in Central America, with courage and fortitude, helping at all times without once faltering, and in the accumulation of their fortune did well her part.
About 1856 or 1857 Walker, the filibuster, came into the country, and the Costa Ricans made a raid on Castillo. They, the Costa Ricans, took Mr. Hollenbeck and his faithful wife as prisoners and carried them up the San Juan River some ten or twelve miles and kept them two weeks under a wood-shed.
They were then taken by the same party up the river to Lake Nicaragua, where they were kept for two months.
During the time they were prisoners their store, house and goods were burned, and everything they had in the world was gone. Walker was afterward conquered by the Nicaraguans, and they were allowed to return. Finding everything destroyed, they concluded to return to the States and see their little son, who had been with his grand parents in Illinois during these turbulent times.
Descending the river to Greytown, they took steamer to Aspinwall, and from there to New York. On their arrival in New York, they learned that their little boy was dead.
After spending a few months with their relatives in Illinois and other States, they again returned to Greytown, and Mr. Hollenbeck engaged as before in general merchandising.
While doing business, he bought a river steamer of the Transit company, which was at this time somewhat embarrassed and about to suspend business. In the fall of 1860 he and his wife returned to Missouri, intending to make their home there, having closed out their business at Greytown.
Soon after arriving in Missouri, leaving his wife at a brother’s, Mr. Hollenbeck returned to Greytown to take a steamer, which he had not disposed of, to Carthagenia, to sell.
The steamer being built for river service, was not suitable for open sea service, and the experiment of taking her to Carthagenia proved to he a very hazardous and dangerous one; but after many trials and hair-breadth escapes, he made the voyage, sold the vessel and returned to Missouri.
During his absence the civil war had broken out and upon his return he found there was an embargo laid on travel and business; railroads were torn up and soldiers quartered in every town.
So, after traveling one or two hundred miles in an old farm wagon, under many difficulties, to his brother’s, he concluded to again with his wife of Greytown, and there he went into business for the fourth time.
During this stay in Greytown he did a very large commission business, having been appointed agent for the Royal Mail steamers, and also for an English mining company, shipping large quantities of India rubber, Brazil wood, hides, cedar, rose-wood coffee, indigo, etc.
About 1872 the Transit Company again became embarrassed and closed out all its business there; and Mr. Hollenbeck, in connection with three other gentlemen, bought all the property owned there by this company, including all the steamers.
In 1874 he and his wife visited Los Angeles, California, which was then booming, in expectancy of the Southern Pacific Railroad coming in, and while there he made several purchases of real estate, and deposited a large sum of money in the Temple & Workman Bank, and returned to Greytown.
In 1874, after varied successes with the Transit Company's property, having lost during his stay there several steamers, one of which he had built in Philadelphia, he closed out all his business and came to California.
Prior to his leaving Nicaragua, that Governor appointed him Minister Plenipotentiary to the United States, and on his return he visited Washington, transacting business for that Government in this official capacity. Arriving in Los Angeles early in the spring of 1876, he soon after purchased land on the east side of the Los Angeles River, and built what was in those days one of the finest residences in that part of the State, expending many thousands of dollars in improvements.
This was his home until his death, and here his widow still resides.
This splendid dwelling stands on Boyle avenue, in the midst of several acres of highly ornamental grounds, upon which neither money nor taste has been spared, the whole comprising one of the most beautiful and elegant homes in Southern California.
At the time of leaving Nicaragua, Mr. Hollenbeck was somewhat broken from an attack of fever, overwork and long-continued mental strain through a period of years. Some time prior to his arrival in Los Angeles the Temple & Workman Bank had failed, and of the money deposited there some two years before - principal and interest amounting to about $25,000 - he never received one cent, all being a total loss.
In 1878 he became a stockholder in the Commercial Bank of Los Angeles, and was elected its president, which position he held until 1881, when he, with others, organized and established the First National Bank, of which he was chosen president, and held the position until failing health compelled him to resign.
He and his wife then spent a year or two in visiting every section of the United States and many of the countries of Europe. Before and after his return from Europe he purchased real estate, owning at one time 600 acres situated four miles south of the city limits.
This tract he improved with fine buildings, and planted a vineyard of 300 acres. He also owned a large tract of land in the San Gabriel Valley, planted with oranges, lemons, and grapes; and 3,500 acres of the La Puente Rancho - a grain and stock ranch.
In 1884 he built on the corner of Spring and Second streets, in the city of Los Angeles, the Hollenbeck Block, extending 120 feet on Spring by 240 feet on Second. He at one time was the principal owner of the East Los Angeles and Main and Sixth street horse-car line; and also largely interested in the line to Boyle Heights; but had disposed of them some time prior to his death.
For five months before his decease he was too feeble to attend to business, and his mind became somewhat impaired, but he was able to be up and about the premises, and passed the day and evening of his death quite comfortably. He passed away at nine o'clock on the evening of September 2, 1885.
Mr. Hollenbeck was a man of strong character, and was noted for his energy and public spirit and large hearted generosity, always assisting every worthy enterprise, and ever willing to help those who showed a disposition to help themselves. Before his death he made provision out of his estate for all of his relatives. Mrs. Hollenbeck resides at and presides over the Los Angeles mansion; she is a lady possessed of broad in intelligence, quiet demeanor and kindly spirit.
The name of Mr. Hollenbeck is held in pleasant
remembrance in Los Angeles by all who knew him. He was one of the few men
whose character was not marred nor in any way made worse by the Possession
of wealth. How few there are in this world, when we come to study the matter
impartially, who are as thoroughly and disinterestedly good, with riches,
as they would have been if they had been poor, or, if, having been poor
from the start, they had always remained so.
Riches almost invariably corrode, or in some way unfavorably influence even the finest and noblest natures. All who knew Mr. Hollenbeck will agree that the harmony and beauty and amiability of his character were not, apparently, in the least prejudiced by the possession of wealth. Los Angeles is better materially, socially and morally because he was one of her citizens. Of course this can he said of others of her citizens; would that it could he said of them all; then, indeed it would be an ideal city!
The following excerpt was taken from the California History Quarterly Volume 53 - California Historical Society, San Francisco 1974. It describes the history of the El Molino Viejo (the Old Mill) in the Los Angeles area and its eventual purchase by John Edward Hollenbeck.
Some New Thoughts on an Old Mill
JEAN BRUCE WARD
Assistant to the Director of the California Historical Society in Southern California and Curator of El Molitio Viejo
Assistant to the Curator of Rare Books and Curator of Historic Photographs
at the Henry E. Huntington Library, San Marino
NESTLING AT THE FOOT OF A BLUFF on the San Marino-Pasadena border is an old Spanish adobe once owned by such illustrious Californians as Henry E. Huntington, Edward Mayberry, Colonel E. J. C. Kewen, James S. Waite, Dr. T.J. White, William Workman, Hugo Reid, and Franciscan missionaries representing the king of Spain. El Molino Viejo (the Old Mill) now serves as the southern California Headquarters of the California Historical Society. Located in the shadow of a large hotel and suburban San Marino homes and surrounded by a lovely restored garden, the Old Mill stands as a fascinating reminder of Spain’s historical and architectural heritage in California.
While not the most significant old structure in Southern California, this San Gabriel Valley adobe witnessed every important phase of California’s history, save its exploration and discovery. Built around 1816 as a part of Spain’s effort to colonize California, the Old Mill was visited by early American and French adventurers; it passed through the difficult transition period of 1833-1849 and was occupied successively by Confederate sympathizers, California viniculturists, and land developers of the boom period. The adobe was later restored during the mission revival era and finally acquired by the city of San Marino. In short, the Old Mill illustrates many important aspects of the socioeconomic development of Southern California.
Its architectural simplicity, natural setting, and romantic history have inspired art abundance of writers, artists, poets, and photographers. Countless articles in newspapers, magazines, travel journals, and guide books have discussed its architecture, its garden, its restoration, the engineering principles of the mill, and its colorful residents. Writers of a more romantic bent have composed poems and tales of lost treasure and ghosts, Indian raids, and Romeo and Juliet-style romances.
This plethora of literature, while entertaining and somewhat informative, has distorted much of the mill’s past. Pasadena historian Hiram Reid commented on Problem in 1895: "Even some of the attempts at sober history in this matter have been little better than romantic fancy. It is so much easier and pleasanter to imagine how it ‘might have been’ than to hunt up facts as to how it really was."
Local historians and aficionados of the history of the San Gabriel Valley have understandably become confused by these less than accurate accounts. In 1850 Robert Glass Cleland wrote a superb history of El Molino Viejo which dispelled many of these legends and mistaken beliefs. Nonetheless, inaccuracies still persist, and through careful documentation and exposition of additional source material this article attempts to recount the mill’s history and correct some lingering errors.
Toiling missionaries, while keeping succinct records, did not always record detailed accounts relating to auxiliary mission buildings such as the Old Mill. Likewise, visiting merchants, explorers, and local residents did not usually describe in depth the activities of mundane industrial complexes. Therefore, it is not surprising that the sources relating to the history of the Old Mill during the Spanish-Mexican period are scarce, and, as a consequence, much of the building’s early history has been based upon unfounded hypotheses.
(Part of article has been omitted.)
When Rebecca Humphreys Turner wrote her reminiscences in 1929, she was already a very old lady. Her memories of her happy days at the Old Mill, however, were still vivid. She recalled for instance, the joy of living in a house with wooden floors: "Board floors in those days were not to be sneezed at." With a mind for detail she continued: "The house was of solid masonry with walls from three to four feet thick. There were two large arches in the lower story where the water wheel had been placed, and it was hinted that a certain gloomy recess on this level had been used as a dungeon. In the upper story was the grinding room, with two small windows grilled with iron bars and protected by heavy shutters.
The massive old pile was fascinating - it cast a spell over us all." Mrs. Humphreys also recalled that one night by accident she found herself alone at home without a key to the front door. "Eerie tales told us by Mrs. Kewen flitted through my mind - how she wrapped herself in a sheet when Mr. Kewen was away, and with a lighted candle in her hand walked through the garden at midnight, hoping the Indians would think the place haunted and so, leave her alone. "Fortunately, she was able to break in and spend the night undisturbed. This story goes far to explain the legend of ghosts that is sometimes told about the Old Mill.
When the Kewen family, returned to El Molino Viejo after the colonel’s term in the assembly, they found that they were not yet through with litigation about ownership of their property. Records show that a deed signed by William Workman, Joseph L. Brent, Murray Morrison, and Volney E. Howard, dated June 2, 1869, was filed in which they agreed to sell, release, and quitclaim the land situated in Mission San Gabriel, embraced in the claim of said Mission containing one hundred and sixty acres, more or less, and known as the ‘Old Mill Site’." Payments were to be at the rate of $20.00 per acre. The deed continued: "It is further agreed by and between the aforesaid parties that upon the final confirmation by the Supreme Court of the United States of the San Gabriel Mission claim of which the above-mentioned tract is a part, first parties will make and execute to second party (Kewen) ... a good and sufficient Deed of Conveyance to all or any part of said land belonging to and being a part of the said Mission claim now claimed to be owned by first parties." Once Kewen paid his $320, he appeared to have had no further trouble over his ownership of El Molino Viejo, although he found it necessary in the 1870’s to establish preemptive to hold lands in California. Towards the end of the colonel’s life, the family found itself in financial difficulties, and in 1877 he was forced to borrow the sum of $20,000 from John Edward Hollenbeck. This act was to bring to an end the decades of ownership by the Kewen family of the Old Mill.
The Hollenbeck family itself had a history of financial ups and downs. They had lost almost all their possessions when they were captured by the insurgents in Nicaragua, and they had also suffered the loss of their only son, John Edward, Jr.
In 1874, having reestablished himself successfully in Nicaragua, the forty-five year old Hollenbeck paid a visit with his wife to Los Angeles, a goal he had cherished for years. He found the city "astir with plans and prospects for the coming of the Southern Pacific railroad," which arrived September 1, 1876, when the first through train from San Francisco pulled into Los Angeles. He decided to sell all his property in Nicaragua and move to Los Angeles which he considered to have the "finest climate."
The Hollenbecks returned with great happiness to settle in California in March of 1876. Regarding the Temple and Workman bank failure in September, 1875, he wrote, "I do not like the way Temple and Workman do business." At the same time he was said to be a generous man, "thoroughly and disinterestedly good and inclined to be helpful in all cases of need." His favorite texts were "He that giveth to the poor lendeth to the Lord," and " ‘What is it to serve God and do his will?’ asks Martin Luther, and he replies ‘It is nothing else than to show mercy to one’s neighbor."
In view of these beliefs, it may seem surprising that Hollenbeck acted to foreclose financially on Colonel Kewen and end the two decades of Kewen ownership of El Molino Viejo. For some time, Colonel Kewen had advertised the sale of his ranch as a way out of his financial difficulties, but he died on November 26, 1879, during a depression in real estate before he could sell the property and pay off the loan. Mrs. Kewen died only a few months later, and their only son, Colonel Perry Kewen, was left a property encumbered with debts rather than "a rich inheritance."
It is a reasonable conclusion that the Hollenbeck’s imprisonment and mistreatment in Nicaragua by the Walker forces, a group to which Kewen belonged, influenced Hollenbeck to take the property of El Molino Viejo and surrounding land in consideration of $26,152.19 which he was owed. This sum included the interest, taxes, and legal fees. In the deed, dated February 5, 1880, the land is described as "the Old Mill Site or the Waite Place embraced in the claim of the Mission San Gabriel, bounded by the San Pasqual Ranch on the North, and on the East, by the possession of B. D. Wilson, and E. S. Hereford, and including about 4/5 of the Lake known as Lake Vineyard."
Hollenbeck never lived at El Molino Viejo, and he owned the property for only a year before he found a new owner. Colonel Edward L. Mayberry bought the property in two parcels, one on April 25, 1881, for $36,000 and the other on September 12, 1881, for $8000.
Thanks to Ray Hollenbeck c/o Alan Taylor Ka2wij@earthlink.net for the following:
John Edward Hollenbeck
John Edward Hollenbeck grew up on an Ohio farm near Hudson in Summit County. At the age of seventeen he left home with his father's blessing and $1.50 in his pocket. The year was 1845 and his travels led him to Illinois. Here he remained for two years before returning to Ohio to learn the machinist trade at Bell & Chamberlain of Cuyahoga Falls.
Perhaps if gold had never been discovered in a far-away land called California our story might have ended here; the tale of an ordinary Midwestern machinist. But gold was discovered and the lure of this precious metal laying on the ground just waiting to be picked up proved too much for an ambitious young man of twenty-one to ignore. So, in 1850, John Edward Hollenbeck set out once again in search of fame and fortune.
In the spring of 1850, John Edward set sail from New Orleans for Chagres. At Panama the steamer he had booked passage on broke down, and while waiting for repairs, he contracted Panama fever. After spending all of his money he returned to Chagres and went to work on the river steamer Billy Green. In the latter part of 1851 he went to Grey Town, Nicaragua, where he worked on a steamer on the San Juan River.
By the time he was twenty-three he was the owner of several businesses in Nicaragua including a steam ship, general store and hotel for travelers enroute to the gold fields of California. In the spring of 1853 he purchased the Nicaragua Hotel at Castillo Rapids which he continued to operate until February of 1856.
The Hotel Nicaragua as it was known was managed by a young widow who had recently immigrated to Nicaragua from New Orleans. Originally from Mainz, Germany, Elizabeth Hatsfeldt so impressed John Edward Hollenbeck with her business ability that soon after she arrived, he raised her monthly salary from $50 to $75. Not long afterward, they were married - on March 30, 1853, the beginning of a lifelong partnership of mutual devotion.
Life's hardships were no strangers to the Hollenbecks. Fighting in Central America broke out and in the confusion John and Elizabeth were held by a force from Costa Rica. Their 2 1/2 months of captivity included two weeks spent under a woodshed. Hostilities finally ceased and they were allowed to return only to find virtually everything they owned destroyed in the chaos; business would have to be started from scratch. A short time later, they learned of the death of their only son John Edward Hollenbeck Jr. The irony of it all was that John Jr. had been sent to live with relatives in Illinois because of the conditions in Central America. While in 1llinois at the age of 2 1/2, he had succumbed to diphtheria.
Starting over and working hard characterized the Hollenbeck's lives. By the 1860'S, an extensive shipping business involving rubber, Brazil wood and rosewood, hides, coffee, bananas and coconuts began to pay off handsomely.
In February of 1856 the Hotel Nicaragua was burned down by Costa Ricans. Every- thing that the Hollenbecks had worked so hard for was gone. However, the following spring the Hollenbecks opened a small general store in Grey Town. Business was good and in 1867 he purchased the river and lake steamers and established a line of boats between Grey Town and the lake ports. These steamers carried freight and passengers and even mail for the government.
By 1874, the years had begun to take their toll and John Edward's health began to fail. The success of their merchandise business and shipping empire enabled John and Elizabeth to travel and they departed for Europe in search of a better climate. As part of their journey they visited California; a dream that they had both long held. It was love at first sight.
In the fall of 1875, John and Elizabeth returned to Nicaragua. Once again John Edward's health began to fail. It was then that he wrote a letter to a friend concerning his intention to relocate to California saying, "It is the finest climate and one of the finest countries I ever saw." The Hollenbecks settled permanently in the Boyle Heights area of Los Angeles in March of 1876.
Though not a single paved road existed at the time in all of Los Angeles, John Edward immediately saw its vast potential. Truly one of the city's early visionaries, he made twenty-seven acquisitions of property by 1880; spending $108,875 for 6,738 acres.
John Edward Hollenbeck was a man of great wealth for that day and the various sections of Los Angeles vied in their efforts to persuade him to build his home in their neighborhood. But John Edward wanted not only a home site, he wanted an estate and he purchased the Rubio lands on Boyle Heights. There he built an elaborate home with broad verandas and the tower, which was so popular in that day. In such a short time, John Edward became one of Los Angeles' most prominent and respected men.
John and Elizabeth were popular and lovable people. Having no children of their own, they were fairy godparents to half of, half of the children in their community. At Christmas time the children of their neighborhood were literally inundated with gifts from their generous hands.
In 1880, John Edward along with Mr. Childs and former Governor Downey persuaded the State of California to purchase 160 acres in Los Angeles to foster agriculture in the southland. The property then known as Agriculture Park still exists for the benefit of the people today. It is now known as Exposition Park, home to the Coliseum and the Los Angeles County Museums.
Among his other accomplishments, John Edward was also a banker. He purchased a large block of stock in the Commercial Bank, which later became the First National Bank of Los Angeles. He was the first president and John Spence was cashier. John Edward was occasionally known to make loans at no interest, and he once kept several "important" people waiting while a poor black woman told him of her difficult conditions. He sent her away with some words of comfort and substantial monetary help. Although his generosity was almost legendary, God alone knows the full extent of his charitable giving as he kept such matters private.
John Edward was a familiar figure on the streets, usually traveling in a two-wheel gig hitched to a large sorrel mule. John and Elizabeth were known for being generous hosts and their frequent social gatherings were always memorable and highly entertaining. Perhaps because of the loss of his own son, he was a great favorite of the neighbors' children whose parents couldn't keep them from climbing and hanging all over him when he visited.
The exhausting work and tropical fevers endured previously in Nicaragua eventually came back to take their toll on John Edward. He began to lessen his business interests, and he and Elizabeth traveled throughout the United States and Europe between 1882 and 1884. Back in California, on the evening of September 2, 1885, John Edward fell victim to a stroke of "apoplexy" while playing a quiet game at home with Elizabeth. The funeral on September 6th witnessed a procession that stretched nearly two miles from the Hollenbeck home to the Evergreen Cemetery.
Los Angeles Times
February 19, 1981
Excerpt from article titled "Historical Society Honors 6 Women:"
Hollenbeck Home was established in 1890 by the widow of financier and community leader John Edward Hollenbeck, Elizabeth Hollenbeck believed that life's highest calling was to serve others. It was her goal to provide a comfortable and secure lifetime haven for California Seniors.
She filed a judgment and decree with the Superior Court that would give all of her assets toward establishing a comfortable place of residence for the elderly. In 1926, Hollenbeck became the first licensed retirement home in the state of California.
Today in its second century of following Mrs. Hollenbeck's vision, the independent, non-profit Home continues to attend to the "physical, mental, and spiritual needs" of its seniors,"...with great compassion, with honest dignity, and with genuine love." These words from our mission statement accurately describe the commitment and dedication of Hollenbeck Home.
Photograph of John Edward Hollenbeck
Hollenbeck Home - a gift from the estate of John Edward Hollenbeck.
Also see George E. Hollenbeck who was a nephew to John Edward Hollenbeck. Descendants of Samuel Hallenbeck
1 Samuel Hallenbeck
2 Betsey Hollenbeck
2 Ann Hollenbeck
2 Clarissa Hollenbeck
2 Abram Hollenbeck Born: Abt 1783
3 Julia A. Hollenbeck Born: August 08, 1801 in Eaton, Madison County, New York Died: April 26, 1876
+Silas Saley Married: in Eaton, Madison County, New York Died: 1839
2 Mathieu Hollenbeck Born: Abt 1785
2 Gad Hollenbeck Born: Abt 1787
3 Reuben Hollenbeck
3 Woodruff Hollenbeck
2 John Hollenbeck Born: May 11, 1789 in Canaan, CN Died: October 13, 1876 in Los Angeles, California
+Roaine Cook Born: March 30, 1798 Married: July 12, 1819 Died: February 19, 1840
3 Silas Cook Hollenbeck Born: March 04, 1824 in Hudson, Ohio Died: June 05, 1901 in Verdugo, CA
+Mary Ann Reed Born: February 04, 1828 in Steuben, NY Died: November 27, 1877
*2nd Wife of Silas Cook Hollenbeck:
+Laura Evaline Billings Born: November 04, 1846 in New York Married: September 05, 1882
3 Alphonzo Hollenbeck Born: April 02, 1826 in Hudson, Ohio Died: June 26, 1873 in Los Angeles, California
+Amanda Archer Born: April 14, 1829 in Ohio Married: June 02, 1849 Died: May 11, 1889 in Missouri
3 John Edward Hollenbeck Born: June 05, 1829 in Hudson, Ohio Died: September 02, 1885 in Los Angeles, California
+Elizabeth Halefield Born: December 17, 1827 Married: January 30, 1854 Died: September 06, 1918
3 Susan Abiah Hollenbeck Born: October 25, 1831 Died: June 22, 1905
+Chester Wells Born: June 21, 1827
*2nd Husband of Susan Abiah Hollenbeck:
+J. George Bell Born: 1830 Married: June 1866 Died: 1911
3 Theron Hollenbeck Born: September 20, 1839 Died: March 20, 1900
*2nd Wife of John Hollenbeck:
+Irene Rogers Born: December 24, 1790 Married: October 15, 1840 Died: February 19, 1863
Return to Hollenbeck Genealogy
En seguimiento a Hollenbeck, donde vivió
sus últimos años...
4th Street and South Saint Louis Street
Los Angeles, California 90033
Hollenbeck Park has been a lush oasis in the neighborhood
since 1892. The park was named for John E.
Hollenbeck, founder of First National Bank,
whose widow, along with former L.A. Mayor William Workman, donated 21 acres
of land. With green and rolling hills, towering palms and a man-made lake,
it is one of the most beautiful spots on the East Side. In the 1950s, the
Golden State Freeway was built against its western boundary.
Una historia de las alturas de Boyle
La historia de un suburbio pequeño de Boyle llamado Los Ángeles Heights comienza hace aproximadamente 150 años, de manera que la zona data desde antes que California formara parte de la unión de los Estados Unidos de América.
Esta tierra que ahora es California meridional, más ahora es específicamente alturas de Boyle, era una vez, una tierra que fue poblada solamente por mexicanos y los americanos estaban en San Gabrielino. Allí no habia un solo hombre blanco al este del río por millas.
Esto era en los años antes de los 1850s y antes del compromiso de 1850 que dejaran California en la unión como estado libre. La casa de Andrew Boyle en 1858 de Boyle estaba localizada en una región agrícola que producia el alimento para el resto de la ciudad de Los Ángeles. Los únicos americanos blancos aquí en ese tiempo vivieron en una ciudad pequeña conocida por los mexicanos como la señora Nuestra, La Reina de Los Angeles, como fue nombrada por Felipe de Nueve, enviado por España a comienzos de los 1600s. Por el 1800s en sus mediados, Los Ángeles era una ciudad occidental pequeña construida principalmente por los americanos blancos pero poblada sobre todo por los mexicanos y algunos americanos nativos. Cerca de 350 años después de la fundacion de Los Ángeles, un grupo de gente conocida como el partido del trabajador, conducido por Guillermo Workman, dejaron la costa del este para dirigirse a California en el año 1841. Estos hombres dejaron la costa del este por dos razones: 1) para buscar para nuevos mercados para negociar sus productos y 2) buscar abajo pieles de animales salvajes pues su demanda pagaban precios de fortuna.
Cuando los nuevos inmigrantes llegaron a Los Ángeles, vivieron entre los americanos que vivían al oeste del río de Los Ángeles. Algunos años más adelante, algunos de los miembros del partido del trabajador, junto con algunos otros americanos, decidíeron cultivar algunos viñedos al lado de los bancos del este del río.
Estos hombres, sin embargo, todavía vivieron en sus hogares en cuál es hoy Los Ángeles céntrico.
Había tres razones principales por las que la gente no vivió en el lado del este del río. El primer de estas razones era que la mayoría de la tierra deseable conveniente era la tierra que conecta al lado del río.
El área de las alturas de Boyle, sin embargo,
la tierra fue tomada, por la gente que había instalado viñedos
allí. La tierra que no fue tomada por los viñedos en las
alturas de Boyle era toda la tierra que estaba en las colinas. En este
tiempo, la única gente que vivía en las colinas era los mexicanos,
asi como los americanos nativos.
Esto era porque los americanos (blancos) prefirieron vivir en tierras planas por ejemplo en el centro de la ciudad Los Ángeles. Otra razón por la que nadie vivió en las alturas de Boyle era porque no había puentes que cruzaron el río de Los Ángeles. La única manera que usted podría cruzar el río era a caballo y en la estación de lluvias esto sería una tarea muy peligrosa.
La historia de Los Ángeles, depicta la situacion de todos los almacenes y las tiendas que principalmente estaban en el lado del oeste del río. Esto significaría que durante la estación de lluvias, cuando el río inundaría, el lado del este, la comunicacion sería cortada del resto de la ciudad así como todas las fuentes vitales.
La tercera razón por la que ningunos americanos tenían hogares en el lado del este del río sería porque cada estación alrededor del invierno, durante la estación de lluvias, el río inundaría, cubriendo la mayoría de la tierra deseable.
La tierra sin riesgos de inundacion estaba lejos de la ciudad. Ése es porqué nadie instalaría hogares permanentes en las alturas de Boyle por cerca de 150 años después de fundar de Los Ángeles.
En el año de 1858, un hombre conocido como Andrew A. Boyle, en honor a quien las alturas de Boyle fueron nombradas, se había trasladado a Los Ángeles desde San Francisco. Él vino abajo aquí porque un amigo suyo que estaba del partido original del trabajador lo había persuadido pagar un "visita".
El amigo de Boyle's había adquirido una buena cantidad de dinero y había poseído un viñedo en el lado del este del río. Este hombre era al parecer estaba impaciente en demostrar de su buena fortuna en Los Ángeles.
Mientras que el Sr. Boyle, pensaba que en San Francisco, estaba muy apagado y había oído muchas buenas cosas sobre la pequeña ciudad de Los Ángeles.
Después de muchos años, Boyle finalmente aceptó la invitación de su amigo y decidía a pagarle una visita en Los Ángeles.
Cuando Boyle vio la tierra hermosa de su amigo, la aspereza del lado del este lo desconcertó la simplicidad y.
Él era así que asombrado por tanta tierra hermosa decide comprar un pedazo grande. Algo de la tierra que él compró era parte de un viñedo que funcionó a la derecha a lo largo de la frontera del este del río de Los Ángeles.
La mayoría de la otra tierra, sin embargo, Andrew Boyle era juzgada "indeseable" y es lo que llamamos las alturas de Boyle hoy. Boyle compra la parte derecha del río en $3000 por acre y el resto de la tierra a 25 centavos por acre.
Esta tierra de las alturas de Boyle cruzando el río de Los Ángeles hacia el oeste lo que ahora es calle de Indiana y al este del bulevar del Valle luego al norte de la calle de Washington.
Cuál es la importancia sobre Boyle, es el primer hombre blanco en vivir al este del río de Los Ángeles.
Él construyó su casa entre los mexicanos y algunos americanos nativos en lo que hoy es la intersección de Boyle y de la tercera calle. Guillermo H. Workman nombró a Boyle Heights, así como la avenida de Boyle, en la memoria de su amigo Andrew A. Boyle, que había muerto en 1871.
Guillermo H. Workman, hijo Guillermo Workman Sr. un alcalde de Los Ángeles. En 1876, toda esta área estaba en los límites del este de Los Ángeles, lo que hoy es llamado Boyle Heights.
Un par de años después de que Boyle hubiera muerto allí la migración masiva de la gente no paro, no solamente en Los Ángeles pero en las alturas de Boyle. y El más prominente de estos hombres incluyó al Guillermo H. Workman mismo, y a Juan E. Hollenbeck, y a algunos de los dueños del primer banco del comercio de Los Ángeles.
Juan E. Hollenbeck era un hombre muy rico que había vivido en Nicaragua. Un día mientras que Sr. Hollenbeck visitaba Los Ángeles, quedo también encantado por toda la tierra hermosa del este del río de Los Ángeles por lo que ofrecia. Él decidío tambien trasladarse permanentemente aquí a las alturas de Boyle comprando tierra de su viejo amigo, Guillermo H. Workman. Sr. y señora Hollenbeck construyeron su hogar en cuál está hoy cerca de la intersección de Boyle. De hecho, esta estructura todavía está parada hoy pero ahora se llama el Hollenbeck un paraje envejecido.
La mansión de Hollenbeck conocida como casa de John E. Hollenbeck se localiza cerca del parque de Hollenbeck. Este parque fue construido por alcalde Workman tiempo después de la muerte de Hollenbeck. En honor de su amigo querido, el alcalde Workman nombró el parque y una calle con el nombre de John E. Hollenbeck.
En esos días, el parque de Hollenbeck era dos veces el tamaño que es hoy; el parque fue cortado adentro a medias cuando la autopista sin peaje de Santa Mónica fue construida. La población de Los Ángeles había crecido de una población de menos de 4.500 de 1854 a cerca de 1.400.000 personas en el 1935.
Esta migración masiva en el área de Los Ángeles ocurrió por muchas razones. La primera razón era que el Pacífico meridional en 1876 y el ferrocarril del FE nueve años más tarde abrieron esta área a la migración del este y del sur de los Estados Unidos.
Aunque la mayoría de los nómadas se movían en el área al oeste del río de Los Ángeles, muchos también se movían en las alturas sí mismo de Boyle. La ciudad tomó muchas medidas para asegurar que las alturas de Boyle llegaron a ser habitables. La ciudad era promovida por el alcalde Guillermo H. Workman.
Él apoyó la domesticación del área de las alturas de Boyle. Incluso se dice que las alturas de Boyle eran "proyecto" de alcalde Workman's. La primera cosa que hizo en la ciudad fue el puente que finalmente conectaron las alturas de Boyle con el resto de Los Ángeles.
El primer puente fue construido en la calle de Macy en 1870. En los años que siguieron, seis otras calles también fueron tendidas un puente sobre. El trabajador también subdividió la característica de Boyle en 1876, dando alguna tierra lejos para atraer a residentes deseables a ese lado del río.
La otra tierra que él ahorró para las escuelas y las iglesias y un sitio para el parque del trabajador. El resto de la tierra fue vendido para $100 en 60'x150' paquetes. El trabajador, para atraer a más gente para vivir en las alturas de Boyle, se fijó en la ciudad hasta proporcionar el transporte favoreciendo a sus residentes.
Boyle tambien oferto una línea del caballo-coche para trabajadores, aunque sabía no traería ningun beneficios a la ciudad. Aunque muchos temian las crecidas del rio y sus efectos destructivos ya que la mayoría de los residentes tenía en ese entonces viñedos, y su característica instalacion de zanjas masivas de la irrigación, zanjas que fueron convertidos en los acueductos que fueron proporcionados a la nueva ciudad para asegurar el área de las alturas de Boyle.
Con los años, las alturas de Boyle han sido siempre una tierra en donde mucha gente primero comienza sus vidas en Los Ángeles. Andrew A. Boyle, entre el primer de estos ejemplos, nos demostró las razones de esto cuando él primero se movió aquí. La razón principal era que esta área se ha sabido siempre para ofrecer cubierta y la tierra muy bajo, muy comprables.
Otra razón era que las alturas de Boyle tenían siempre, y todavía tienen, un paisaje muy hermoso. El último de estas razones era que las alturas de Boyle han estado siempre, y estará siempre, un lugar de la diversidad étnica, racial, y religiosa.
Desde que antes de que Boyle se moviera al este del río de Los Ángeles, había ya mexicanos y diversas tribus de los americanos nativos que vivían aquí en las alturas de Boyle. En los años que siguieron después del 1880s, toda la manera hasta hoy, allí tiene sido diversos grupos étnicos que comienzan sus vidas en esta ciudad de Los Ángeles, en las alturas de Boyle.
La gente que ha vivido en grandes números en las alturas de Boyle era o son mexicanos, ahora judíos, japoneses, rusos, los Africano-Americanos, armenios, y americanos nativos. Toda esta gente siguió cierto patrón: cuando ella había adquirido un poco de dinero, ella se mudaron a las alturas de Boyle y en áreas más prestigiosas.
Por ejemplo, el mexicano tendió para ir más lejos a al este de Los Ángeles mientras que los Africano-Americanos fueron al sur; el japonés tendió para ir al noreste mientras que los judíos y los rusos tendieron para ir a al oeste de Los Ángeles. Sobre los años, estos grupos han dejado muchas señales y rastros de su presencia en las alturas de Boyle que usted puede inmóvil ver hoy. En cualquier caso, las alturas de Boyle han sido siempre una tierra de muchas culturas, rica en su historia étnica.
The Growth of The City of West Covina
Unlike its neighbors, West Covina is not a product of the historic "Boom of the Eighties" (1880s). It can, however, trace its beginnings back to Mission days when the San Gabriel Mission was originally founded in 1771 in the present City of El Monte and laid claim to the entire San Gabriel Valley.
At the end of the Mission period (1845) most of what is now the City of West Covina was sold by Governor Pico to John Rowland and William Workman. Known as the Rancho La Puente, it was divided in 1868 with Workman taking the northern half and Rowland keeping the southern portion. Workman then lost his land to E. J. "Lucky" Baldwin in 1876 when he was forced into bankruptcy. After the turn of the century Baldwin began to sell portions of the land as "subdivisions" and the first permanent settlers arrived.
At approximately the same time, to the north and east of Baldwin's holdings, Joseph S. Phillips founded the town of Covina on land he had acquired from John E. Hollenbeck. Originally part of the Daltons' Rancho Azusa, much of the land later fell into the boundaries of West Covina.
In 1908 the future city's first roads were laid out. They included Service, Orange, Cameron, Vine and Merced Avenues. Many of West Covina's diagonal roads date from the time when horse and buggys took a straight line from the cities of Glendora and Covina to La Puente and the railroad.
The heart of West Covina was on the very western side of the present city site and was devoted to the development of the Walnut industry as opposed to the Citrus industry of its northeastern neighbors. This seems to have been a natural occurrence as the underground water was more plentiful than in the eastern portion of the city.
While waiting for the Walnut trees to mature, beans, potatoes and other crops were planted between the rows. The growers also planted Palms and other trees along the streets in an effort to beautify the growing community.
The city was incorporated on February 3, 1923 in a move to protect the residents of the area from the City of Covina. Because Covina had grown enough to discover that it had a waste disposal problem, it purchased land between California and Glendora Avenues and south of the Walnut Creek Wash to be used as a "sewer farm". Since the growers in the area did not want the ground water contaminated and getting no assistance from either the county or state governments in preventing Covina from proceeding, they formed a city and enacted their own zoning and use laws.
The City of Covina subsequently sold its land, but did not give up the search for a disposal site. It attempted to locate its "sewer farm" on Hollenbeck Street South of Arroya Avenue (later known as Garvey Avenue and even later as the San Bernardino Freeway). This led to West Covina's first expansion, the first of many to occur from the 1930's to the present.
Because of the proximity to Downtown Covina and other older established communities, West Covina never developed a business district or "Main Street" of its own. It became known as a "huge walnut grove with a mayor". It also had another reputation (one less humorous and much less savory). It was known as the worst speed trap in Southern California.
Although many citizens endow West Covina's actions with an aura of nobility and a concern for the safety of the motorist, the truth was that in 1935 when Garvey Avenue was improved to U.S. Highway 99, it was a wonderfully smooth and straight thoroughfare with no stop signs between El Monte and Pomona. Drivers were inclined to race through the City of West Covina. Since the city had no businesses to tax and therefore, no revenue to speak of to pay for the improvements and services a growing city requires, a few inconvenient stop signs were erected and quite soon, enough money was raised to repave all the streets! (Some residents today maintain that that mentality still exists.)
In 1941 George Meeker developed West Covina's first residential subdivision called "Sunkist Village" located in the western side of town. It was evident that the city would begin to grow quite rapidly. The growth was abruptly halted, however, with the outbreak of World War II. The farmers of Japanese ancestry were relocated, the gentlemen farmers were drafted and sent to war. The working farmers were classified 1-C and remained to produce for the war effort. Because the men on the draft board, located in La Puente knew everyone in the area, they knew who was a "working farmer" and who's real work was a 20 mile commute away in Los Angeles.
After the war the American servicemen returned home, married and began to seek a place to work and raise a family. By the early 1950's the country, as a whole, was on the move and West Covina was a part of that burst of growth. During 1955 it was the fastest growing city in the United States. in 1950 its population was 4,499 and 10 years later it was more than 10 times that, 50,645. It grew so rapidly that services were unable to keep pace. Telephone service, for example, for individual homes was not available until 1 to 1 1/2 years after the completion of a housing tract.
There were two schools in the city by this time, Sunset in the western section for higher grades and Cameron in the eastern portion for the lower grades, both of which were doing "double session". In many places where a street crossed the Wash it was merely a paved dip into the Wash as bridges had yet to be built over every crossing. In a heavy rain there was no school because the buses could not feord the rushing river the Walnut Wash became.
In spite of these drawbacks West Covina was attractive to those young families pouring into Southern California from across the United States because it was close enough to industry and business yet it was still far enough away to retain the feeling of country. There was another factor which, unfortunately, was attractive to some people and that was that West Covina had a color barrier which was not repealed until the early 1960's. From that time the City of West Covina has grown to its present size and with its diverse cultural characteristics.
The results of the 1980 census confirmed that West Covina is still a community suited for the young, growing family. The median age was 28.8 years and with 7 per cent of the total population 4 years or younger and an increase in households of Latin, Asian, and Black heritage. The average educational and income levels have also risen over the years.
The traditions of West Covina reflect its close association and interaction with its neighbors. The cities of the eastern San Gabriel Valley share in common the change from livestock or range to agriculture, to industrial and residential centers. They were settled by people from elsewhere seeking a better life for themselves and their families. The settlers brought with them values, ideals and aspirations which have made the Valley a home of which to be proud.
At the hub of all this activity is West Covina which grew from "the City of Beautiful Homes" to the "Headquarters City of the San Gabriel Valley". This growth and transition was a forgone conclusion dating from 1885 when Joseph S. Phillips planned a Fourth of July Barbecue and Picnic for the City of Covina and selected a site near Azusa and Cortez Avenues, a site well within the heart of what is now The City of West Covina.
Written by A. Anne Gundel for a local history
class at Cal Poly Pomona in 1990 for Dr. Gloria Ricci Lothrop. The sources
include, but are not limited to the West Covina book by B. Pronin, literature
from the W C Chamber of Commerce, an oral history from Joe Hurst and the
author's own memories from childhood.