California History

A Riot Every Generation?

In my current WIP, California Incline, the story suggests that the Rodney King riots would never really end in the sense that its root causes were (are) still present:

But even though John had left town, he hadn’t escaped anything, because a riot isn’t an event with a beginning and an end. It’s in the air, like the ashes of the American Dream of immigrants like Yong Soo whose businesses lay in burned-out ruins. The Rodney King riot reached back to the Watts riot a generation earlier, to the Zoot Suit riot a generation before that, and even earlier. As soon as it was over, everyone knew it wasn’t the last riot L.A would have. For all the talk about change, the problems were still there. The hate and the fear, the unemployment, the anger, the repression, the drugs and the gangs . . .

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Posted by Scott Alumbaugh in California History, California Incline, 0 comments

Cattle on the 101

Cattle on the Highway

Cattle on the Highway

So far, I’ve come across two sources that mentioned using the new state highways (circa 1910-20) as covenient roads for cattle drives. I think it’s an interesting overlapping period. I guess up into the 1920s cattle still needed to be driven to slaughter houses or railroad termini. Up to that point, motorists had to wait for the cattle. Continue reading →

Posted by Scott Alumbaugh in California History, Non-Fiction, 0 comments

Two Views of Mustard

Wild mustard

Wild mustard

Apparently, wild mustard made an impression in late-1800s Southern California . . .

The wild mustard in Southern California is like that spoken of in the New Testament, in the branches of which the birds of the air may rest. Coming up out of the earth, so slender a stem that dozens can find starting-point in an inch, it darts up, a slender straight shoot, five, ten, twenty feet, with hundreds of fine feathery branches locking and interlocking with all the other hundreds around it, till it is an inextricable network like lace. Continue reading →

Posted by Scott Alumbaugh in California History, Fiction, Non-Fiction, 0 comments