Old Los Angeles
I just spent five days in
I flew into the
Ken clearly knows his stuff, for he was greeted warmly in almost every bookstore we entered. I came with an armful of books to give away, so Ken would always try to determine the name of the staff’s history buff. I would tell him or her about Isaias Hellman and give them a free book to read.
People in the bookstores got all excited about Hellman and the book since he played such an integral role in the development of
One thing that struck me about
In the middle of the day, I stopped in at the Huntington Library, where I was the featured speaker for a brown bag lunch put on by Bill Deverell, who runs the Huntington – USC Institute for the Study of California and the West. This is a great place that is trying to bring together academics, journalists and independent historians to use primary documents to explore Western history. (Sound familiar?)
Anyway, this luncheon was really fun. Bill Deverell asked me a few questions and I just talked about Isaias Hellman. I really emphasized some of the stuff in my book that I feel is original research, such as Hellman’s influence on Henry Huntington, the man who built the Pacific Electric red cars and other trolley lines. Few other audiences would have been so interested in the arcane parts of the book, but this group had detailed questions.
On Friday, I taped an episode of the Connie Martinson Show. Connie is an LA institution, having produced a television show on books for decades. The taping was in the
Friday night was the night I have been waiting for. I gave a presentation at the Huntington Library in
That was also the case Saturday morning when I gave a talk at Rancho Los Alamitos, once a 26,000 acre ranch owned by Hellman and the Bixby family. More than 100 people came to hear me, and the ranch sold out of the 50 books it had ordered. The audience members were history lovers, and so I really got to indulge in description of early LA and rancho life and the ways Hellman contributed to the region’s growth.
Are you tired yet? I was, yet I had a lot more to do. That evening my cousins hosted a book release party for me at their beautiful home in
After a day of rest, I drove back to
Happy, but tired, I am back home, but just briefly. Thanks to everyone who came out to hear me and who bought books.