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Old Posted May 11, 2013, 10:21 PM
tovangar2 tovangar2 is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: West Los Angeles
Posts: 2,570
Originally Posted by Flyingwedge View Post
Apparently, yes. Here are photos from your earlier posts. Compare this tree . . .

With this one on the left . . .

With the one that has a guy on a ladder leaning up against it. The guy probably secured the ropes seen in the middle photo. All three photos could be the same tree, especially the last two photos. I realize it has a longer "beard" in the top photo. I count four trees along the wall, with two of the other three palms in the photo right next to each other. There is no St. Vibiana's in the background.

The caption at LAPL says: The moving of palms on the east side of San Pedro Street, between 2nd and 3rd Street, on the old Wallace Woodworth property. A crew of men is working on the project, using a tall ladder and a horse and wagon. An orchard lies behind a wall. Photo dated: 1888.

However, this is the only photo that identifies the location as the Woodworth property. Other sources attribute the palms to William A. Hammel.

According to the 1881 Map of Los Angeles, Hammel (#205) and Woodworth (#208) lived across from each other on San Pedro near Second -- Hammel on the west side, and Woodworth on the east side. Maybe they both had palm trees? Look for Blocks 50 and 51 on the left side of the drawing, which are also on the lower left portion of the model (50 is the triangular block):

Calisphere --

This photo of the Woodworth residence is dated c. 1880. I don't see any palm trees, not even small ones. And where's that long brick wall? Note the small home to the right:

This is a closeup of the "Res. of W. Woodworth Laur" (I don't know where Laur comes from) on an 1871 E. S. Glover map of Los Angeles; it seems like the same home. I'm guessing the small house was built first, then the big one:

USC Digital Library --

BTW, that Glover map seems to have been incorporated into the c. 1929 Gore's 1871 Birdseye Map of Los Angeles:

Anyway, this is looking south down San Pedro Street, across 1st Street. LAPL says c. 1875; USC says c. 1868. LAPL caption reads: "View of San Pedro Street looking south at 1st Street. The tall building is on the Wallace Woodworth property and has an observatory cupola. It was built in 1871. Fan palms were planted later." So, maybe this is the same small home as above, although the roof and cupola look a little different? No palm trees yet, unless they're too small to see:


A few other things to note in the above photo:
1) The thing on the street corner in the lower left corner of the photo . . . it looks a little like those watering troughs or whatever they were in the old photos of the plaza.
2) Is that a zanja in the shadows on the right side of the street?
3) The asterisk marks the Antonio Maria Lugo adobe, built in 1819.

This c. 1885 view of the Antonio Maria Lugo adobe shows it with palm trees:


Back to those palms along the brick wall . . . keeping in mind the 1888 photo above of the trees being removed, with the guy on the ladder against one of the palms . . . I think this c. 1886-87 photo was taken from the other side of the brick wall, looking the other way. I again see four palms along the wall and, well, four others in the background, but two of them are right next to each other, as in the 1888 photo. But if you're on San Pedro Street and you can see St. Vibiana's in the background, you've got to be looking west, so this has to be the Hammel property, not the Woodward property. Note that we seem to be looking end-on at a brick building (we see one wall and a slanted roof) behind the one along the street:

USC Digital Library (where this photo is reversed; I've flipped it the right way) --

More similar photos; this one is c. 1880:

CA State Library --

This is dated c. 1895. The caption reads in part "California Fan Palm (Washingtonia filifera) trees behind brick retaining wall on San Pedro Street":

CA State Library --

Now look at this undated photo . . . sure looks like same brick wall, palms, and wooden shack . . . but the brick building at right is different. I have no explanation:

USC Digital Library --

More palm photos, which I believe show the same brick building (not the one along the street, however many stories it had -- I mean the one behind it). The first one is captioned "c. 1885 Photograph of the two old palm trees on San Pedro Street, home of Sheriff Hummel [sic], showing old well, Los Angeles":

USC Digital Library --
Note: Photo above is also reversed; see JScott's post below (thanks!) for correct orientation.

"c. 1886 Photograph of 2 large fan palm trees at the residence of Sheriff Hammel on San Pedro Street near Second Street, Los Angeles. A well is situated between them":

USC Digital Library --

"Fan palms, c. 1890":


So if they're Hammel's Palms, we must credit Dr. William A. Hammel (d. 1889), who came to Los Angeles in 1849 and built one of the first brick homes in the city (perhaps the one seen in the photo above?), on San Pedro near 2nd Street (This source -- -- and Harris Newmark put the house on San Pedro between 2nd and 3rd, but the 1881 map/model has it on the NW corner of 2nd and San Pedro. Whatever.)

His son, also William A. Hammel, was LA County Sheriff 1899-1902 and 1907-1914. In 1899 he hired LA County's first African-American Deputy Sheriff, and in 1912 hired the nation's first female Deputy Sheriff (his sister-in-law).
From: and

# # #

I'm surprised and delighted to learn that that palm tree, now outside the Coliseum, has survived so long. I figured it had just been unceremoniously ripped out like all of William Wolfskill's orange trees.

As to the change in the building facing on San Pedro:

USC Digital Library --

I think this was taken after our palm was moved. The reason the palm was moved to begin with was to build a warehouse (this according to Nathan Masters, which is what appears to be going on in the photo below. The single story pitched roof building seems to be in the process of being remodeled into the two-story structure with a pediment pictured above:


The photo of the large mansion in your post, identified as Woodworth's, does not appear to bear any relation to the Woodworth home on San Pedro. The smaller structure, in the same photo,looks to be its carriage house.

It does seem extraordinary that these trees, such landmarks and so famous that cabinet cards were being sold picturing them:
Originally Posted by JScott View Post

eBay/May 2012
And our particular tree rated a granite and bronze monument commemorating its 25 years of faithful service outside the Arcade Depot.

Yet I could find no photos of the replanting at Exposition Park or the placing of the monument. The tree is not mentioned in any of the histories of Agricultural/Exposition Park I've seen. Maybe its anonymity has protected it. I would enjoy seeing its little circle of fence restored.


The "Pierce" in the Pierce and McConnell name on the cabinet card was CC Pierce:

Last edited by tovangar2; Jun 28, 2015 at 2:50 AM. Reason: correction
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