Sports and recreation in Los Angeles continued with an Hispanic flavor for 

several years after American acquisition.  Bull fights, or bear and bull 

fights, remained popular with the large Mexican population of Southern 

California, but also attracted the interest of recent arrivals.  Despite 

passage of a state Sunday law in 1855, which legally eliminated the Sabbath as 

a day for such activities, bull fights occasionally occurred on Sunday for 

several more years.  In 1860 they were banned altogether.

    Horse racing, a pastime of the rancheros in the earlier period, became a 

fixture at Agricultural Park and at the county fair.  Although racing was 

seemingly in conflict with the moral values of the Protestant population that 

came to dominate the economics and politics of the area in the 1880s, the 

letters column carried only minor criticism of the sport, primarily in the form 

of a complaint that horse racing received too much emphasis at the fair.

    The influx of Americans brought to Southern California other recreational 

forms that the immigrants had known in the eastern states.  Walking races, a 

temporary fad "back east," drew crowds in Los Angeles whether "Savariej," the 

eccentric crowd-pleaser, participated or not.  {For more on Savariej see the 

chapter on "Crazy Shaw."}  Hiking, and camping at the beach, mountains or 

desert were extremely popular in the 'eighties, along with excursions to 

Catalina for the more affluent.  These activities generally elicited little 

response from the paper's readers, but on occasion other amusements drew 

pointed, and sometimes prolonged, comment.

                                  A) BASEBALL

    Historians have written little about the early days of baseball in Southern 

California, but reportedly the first game in Los Angeles was played in 1860, 

the same year that the city witnessed its last bull and bear fight.  Historian 

H. W. Splitter wrote that the first genuine team was "the Shoo-fly Club," 

formed in 1870.  In the 1880s local teams played for a regional championship 

that carried with it a trophy in the form of a silver bat and ball.  That prize 

was not original, dating from 1866 in California and perhaps earlier elsewhere

when the Pacific Base Ball Convention in San Francisco suggested it as a way to

promote the sport.  

    Although organized league play began in the 1870s, Los Angeles was too 

remote to participate.  Even with the opening of a rail connection to San 

Francisco in 1876 leagues were limited to Bay area teams, later expanding into 

Stockton and Sacramento.  Not until the late 1880s did Los Angeles participate 

in intrastate competition.

    Consequently the Southern California game was local, with a handful of 

teams in Los Angeles and a small number scattered over the region.  While the 

talent in the California League, the most successful league in the state formed 

before the 1890s, consisted of what might best be described as "semi-pro," in 

Los Angeles the box scores printed in the Times indicate that players were 

amateurs who came from some of the most prominent families in the city.  

Playing infield for the University team in 1882 were W. and A. Lindley 

{physician Walter and his attorney brother Albert?}, pitching was "Throop" 

{Amos G.,the Cal Tech founder?} while "Buffum" manned right field.   At third 

base for the Athletics was O'Melveny, with Taney at shortstop and Weyse in 

centerfield, all socially-prominent names connected to the legal profession.  

The Ivy club's roster was less recognizable.

    Sporadically throughout 1882 the Ivy team used the letters column to 

respond to charges that Ivy played non-members of their club in games and to 

ridicule other teams' claims to the Southern California championship.  The 

first such letter appeared following a game on April 21 in which Ivy defeated 

University 18-9 in a championship match played for the traditional silver bat 

and ball.  After the Times printed the box score the University team sent a 

complaint to the paper, to which Ivy responded.  A "picked nine" was 

essentially an all-star team.

                         {Times, April 25, 1882, p. 3}

                                        Los Angeles, April 24.

              Mr. Editor:  In the columns of your last issue you say 

         that the University and Ivy Base Ball Clubs played the first 

         game for a silver mounted bat and silver ball.  In 

         correction, we wish to state that the game was not between 

         the Ivys and University's, but between the University's and 

         picked nine of Los Angeles.  Signed,

                MEMBERS OF THE UNIVERSITY B. B. C.

                         {Times, April 26, 1882, p. 3}

                                   A Reply.

                                       Los Angeles, April 25th.

              In answer to the communication of the University Base 

         Ball Club, in your issue of the 24th, we would say that all 

         the players who played with us in our last game were members 

         of our club, and it is a very poor excuse for the 

         Universities to make after being beaten, and we would 

         respectively inform them that our nine for the next game, 

         which is to take place May 6, will be much stronger, and if 

         they think that was a picked nine of Los Angeles, they will 

         probably wilt entirely at the sight of our nine in the next 

         game, as we will show them what it is to play against our 

         best nine--a thing they have never done.

                                        IVY BASE BALL CLUB.

    Despite the suggestion by Ivy that the forthcoming May 6 game would again 

pit their team, bolstered by a stronger lineup, against University, the Times 

story on the game, a 4-4 ten inning tie, reported that it was between a "picked 

nine" composed of members of the Ivy and University teams playing against the 

Athletic Club.  The box score supports that statement.

    In August and September Ivy sneered at championship claims by teams in 

Riverside and Orange.  The term "crank," used by Ivy to describe the 

correspondent from Orange, had a special connotation when applied to baseball, 

simply referring to a devoted fan.  After 1882 no more letters from Ivy 

appeared in the Times.

                         {Times, Aug. 19, 1882, p. 2}

                       Challenge to a Game of Base Ball.

         To the Editor of The Times:

              In a recent issue of your paper you publish a 

         communication from Riverside, in which the Riverside Base 

         Ball Club claim the championship of Southern California by 

         virtue of having beaten the Orange Club, the former 

         champions.  Since the aforesaid game was played we have 

         challenged the Riverside Club to a game for the said 

         championship, which challenge was refused without any valid 

         reason.  We have no objection to the Riverside Club claiming 

         the championship as long as they are entitled to it; but 

         until our challenge is accepted, and we are beaten, we shall 

         claim the championship as against the Riverside Club, and 

         should be glad to hear from any club in Southern California.


                                                   Ivy B. B. C.

              Los Angeles, August 18.

                         {Times, Sept. 16, 1882, p. 4}

                                  Base Ball.

         To the Editor of The Times:

              In your issue of last week we noticed a communication 

         from Orange signed by a crank, who calls himself 

         "Occasional," representing the Orange boys, asking us why 

         they received no answer to their generous offer of kindly 

         allowing us the pleasure of paying part or all of their 

         expenses, which would occur from a trip up here, and also 

         wanting to know why they had not received an answer to their 

         former communication.  We answered that, stating we had 

         answered all their letters, and told them to come up any time 

         after the 15th inst., and we would pay half their expenses.

              We would like to know why we have received no answer to 

         our last communication.  The only reason we can think of, is 

         that they feel very weak and weary after their little journey 

         to Riverside, but of course that was all on account of the 

         fatigue of the trip.  We also wrote to them some two months 

         ago, offering to buy the silver ball and put it up for them 

         to play for.  We think it strange that they never received 

         any of our letters, as all of them were stamped to "return, 

         &c.," and as none of them came back, they must have been 

         delivered to someone.  In conclusion, we would say, if they 

         mean business and are anxious to play us, let them say so, as 

         we are ready for them at any time at a week's notice.  If 

         not, let this end it.

                                  SECRETARY IVY B. B. C.

                                    By order of the Club.

              September 15, 1882.

    California professional baseball, as distinguished from the amateur variety 

played in Los Angeles, was hardly a gentile, middle-class spectator sport in 

the 1880s.  Historian Joel Franks described the early years of the old 

California League:

         By the 1880s, because the game had largely fallen into the 

         hands of men from working or lower-middle-class origins, the  

         upper classes snubbed baseball as a breeder of 

         professionalism, gambling, intemperance and Sabbath-breaking.

    California League president John Mone undertook to sanitize baseball after 

he took charge in 1882 by appealing to middle-class values.  Paul Zingg, in 

Runs, Hits and an Era, noted that Mone prohibited betting at ball parks.  Nor 

were players permitted to smoke on the playing field or buy alcohol at games.  

In addition, Mone ordered them to control their language.

    Two other evils accounted for much of the middle-class opposition to 

baseball: Sabbath-breaking and the game's impact on women.  Historians agree 

that numerous players used aliases when playing in order to avoid criticism 

from their families and friends for playing on Sunday.  As long as the game was 

a Sunday affair it conflicted with middle-class Protestant morality, which 

frowned on recreational or business activity on the Sabbath.  For the worker, 

Protestant or not, Sunday was a day for recreation, which included watching 

baseball and all the vulgarities that went with it.

    With the increase in baseball's popularity as a spectator sport, large 

numbers of women began to attend.  That change was encouraged, in the words of 

historians Natalie Vermilyea and Jim Moore, "as a refining influence on the 

male patrons," and accounts in part for the introduction of the popular Ladies' 

Days in the 1880s.  To further encourage female attendance, some parks set 

aside a grandstand section for women and their escorts so that they were seated 

away from the rude and coarse conduct that characterized the "cranks." 

    Traveling to the game on public transit created yet another problem, as 

quoted by Vermilyea and Moore from the San Francisco Examiner of Aug. 5, 1888:

         Men hung on to the poles supporting the roofs of the dummies 

         and were as thick as monkeys in a South American forest.   

         Women stood up on the car platforms tightly sandwiched 

         between men whom they had never seen before, but it was no 

         time to be squeamish or even particular....

    It was this sort of thing that bothered Harvey Yeaman, writing from Pacific 

Grove, a community that was the symbol of virtue.  In mid-October, 1888, Los 

Angeles clergymen conducted a men-only meeting to consider practical ways to 

combat the many evils that were rampant in the city: gambling, saloons and the 

"social evil" {prostitution}.  In a separate meeting only a short distance away 

the women of Los Angeles held their own meeting for the same purpose.  Both 

meetings were attended by "the better class of citizens," and one after another 

each speaker drove home to the audience the degradation caused by these 

conditions.  Mayor William Workman, on the Board of Managers for Mrs. Helen A. 

Watson's Home for Girls, related that at the home were three 14-year-old girls, 

from some of the best families in the city, who were about to become mothers.

    The Times devoted over two columns to the meetings, prominently reported on 

page one.  Immediately next to that article was the report of a baseball game, 

between Los Angeles and Bakersfield, held at Prospect Park.  The game, in the 

afternoon, and the two evening meetings all occurred on the same Sunday.  

Yeaman {whose letter was curiously datelined Pacific Grove Oct. 22 yet was 

published in Los Angeles the next morning without benefit of fax or e-mail} 

noted the incongruity, and offered this analysis.

                         {Times, Oct. 23, 1888, p. 5}

                   The Social Evil from Another Standpoint.

              Pacific Grove, Oct. 22.--[To the Editor of The Times.]  

         Your paper of the 15th inst. contains very interesting 

         reports of separate meetings of ladies and gentlemen of your 

         city on the above subject.  Some of the speakers in each 

         assembly portrayed in eloquent language the shameful state of 

         morals existing among the "common people" of your city, every 

         word of which is hereby heartily subscribed to.  But they did 

         not go quite far enough.  Not one of them referred to a 

         growing and alarming evil now existing in our country, and 

         more particularly in our own State.  I notice in the same 

         paper a glowing description of a base-ball game which was 

         played in your vicinity on the same Sabbath day on which the 

         meetings in question were held in the evening.  Were there 

         any ladies or women or girls in that crowd?  You do not 

         report any, but doubtless there were large numbers of the 

         female sex there, for we scarcely ever read of such 

         gatherings where there are none.  We take it for granted that 

         there were "girls" in that motley crowd--yes, crowd--where 

         they must have been rudely jostled.

              Will you please inquire if those three prospective 14-

         year-old mothers were ever at a base-ball exhibition on 

         Sunday?  There is not the least doubt but they all have been 

         repeatedly, where they formed the acquaintances who led them 

         to shame and ruin.

              Why is it that there is such a marked silence in regard 

         to this most outrageous desecration of the Sabbath?  Why is 

         it that not one of the speakers in either of those assemblies 

         of citizens of the "better class" did not refer to the base-

         ball game played that very day right under their noses, and 

         doubtless under some of their eyes so far as the outside 

         could be seen; for we would not for a moment insinuate that 

         any of them were inside?

              I have no harsh words for this most remarkable omission, 

         but it seems a little strange to say the least.

              The base-ball game is bad enough when played on a week 

         day; alluring, as it does, our boys and girls into loose and 

         dissolute company.  These games foster and encourage 

         idleness, intemperance, gambling and dissolute tendencies.

              They are one of the main supports of the accursed 

         saloon; all this on a week day.  Think of it, ye Solons and 

         Minervas!  All these evil agencies are concentrated with 

         crushing force on our holy Sabbath at Prospect Park, in the 

         city of Los Angeles, to which 2500 complimentary invitations 

         are issued.  As a consequence, the trains were besieged with 

         a crowd utterly beyond their power to carry; every car was 

         jammed, seats, aisles, platforms and steps being filled.  The 

         tender of the engine was covered with men, and some roosted 

         outside on the locomotive itself.  The engineer could not 

         start his engine.  The train was cut in two at last and taken 

         out in sections.  The grand stand was packed with about 600 

         spectators, and 400 more stretched along the lines of the 


              Such is your graphic description of that crowd, to 

         witness that base-ball game, played on that sacred day at or 

         near Los Angeles.  Were there no females there?  It would be 

         a wonder if there were none.  And was no mention of the 

         affair made by any of the speakers in either of those two 

         "social evil" assemblies that met on that same evening?  

         Hereafter begin your reforms at the bottom of the evil.  

         Include the base-ball club as a chief adjunct to the saloons, 

         and the two together as the chief agencies in trampling in 

         the dust our sacred day and bringing shame and ruin on our 

         boys and girls and anarchy on our country.

                                         HARVEY YEAMAN.

                        B) OF SPORTSMEN AND POT-HUNTERS

    The transformation of Los Angeles from the gun-toting town that it had been 

to an urbane, would-be metropolis had progressed far enough by the 1880s that 

some citizens organized gun clubs, such as the Recreation Gun Team.  Calling 

themselves "sportsmen," the members tended to come from the business and 

professional segments of society and brought with them the same middle-class 

morality that decried the vulgarity of the crowds and players at professional 

baseball games.  They objected to "pot-hunters" and "ground sluicers," terms 

associated with those who disregarded the rules of the hunt and killed game 


    When lobbying by the State Sportsman's Association resulted in a tightening 

of the game laws for 1883 and a ban on hunting during mating season in order to 

maintain the species, some hunters were outraged.  The Herald, with scornful 

sarcasm, attacked the new restrictions on hunting quail.  In response, 

"Sportsman," in a series of letters to the Times from which the following are 

extracted, defended not only the new regulations but the hunting ethic that 

they represented.

                         {Times, Sept. 5, 1883, p. 2}

                   What is the use of the Game Law, Anyway?

              To the Editor of the Times.--Sir:  We find the following 

         brilliant essay in the Herald of yesterday:

              "Quail cannot be killed until the first of October.  

         Thirty days more during which people will violate this 

         needless law and thousands of quail be killed for food.  What 

         is the use of this law, anyway?"

              Why should the Herald man take it for granted that 

         "people" will violate a law that stands as honored and 

         respected on our statute books as any other enactment?  If 

         every man who handles a gun was too much of a gentleman to 

         violate a plain law of nature--one that appeals to his own 

         human instincts--then it would be needless.  Or has he 

         arrived at the conclusion that he alone is the allwise judge 

         in such matters, and that the legislators of California, as 

         well as every other State in the Union, are a pack of 

         ignoramuses for thinking it necessary to pass laws to protect 

         the game of the country from indiscriminate slaughter by men 

         who neither respect the rights of their fellow men nor are 

         willing to allow the game a season for procreation, free from 

         continuous pursuit, fright and destruction.  And then he 

         closes his wonderful effort by asking, with childish 

         simplicity, "What is the use of the law, anyway?"

              Great Scott!  What is the use of a law for the 

         protection of the parks of our city?  What is the use of a 

         law for the preservation of the beauties and grandeur of 

         Yosemite and the Yellowstone.  What is the use of a law to 

         prevent the vandal from entering and destroying the beautiful 

         homes we build?  What is the use of a law preventing the 

         destruction of the food fish of our rivers and lakes?  The 

         use of the game law is to prevent poachers who do not 

         recognize the rights of law-abiding citizens from stealing 

         (for that is the proper term) the game food of the country.  

         The use of the game law is to protect the game of the land 

         from entire anihilation so that those who come after us can 

         enjoy the pleasures of a hunt or the luxury of dining off 

         game at home.  The use of that law is to put a stop to 

         ground-sluicing young quail in July and August as they 

         approach in flocks to the little springs of Catalina 

         Island--a process that in all probability the Herald man is 

         conversant with.

              The game of the country is a part of its food.  It 

         belongs to you and I and every other citizen.  And being 

         community property, our legislators should of right, and it 

         is their duty to pass laws for its protection and 

         preservation.  Every civilized country in the world has its 

         game laws and recognizes the necessity of preserving its 

         game.  It is a commodity that belongs to the people and which 

         a few inconsiderate and selfish poachers should not be 

         allowed to destroy at seasons of the year when the killing of 

         one bird means the destruction of a score.

              Gentlemen with the true instincts of sportsmen have 

         banded themselves together in every country for the purpose 

         of seeing that these laws are enforced and that the game of 

         the land is protected from pot-hunters during its season of 

         procreation, and by so doing have accomplished great good.  

         Such organizations are in existence all over this State, as 

         well as in our own city, determined to see these laws 

         respected.  Five convictions have been had here already, for 

         which our local office should be commended; and more will 

         surely follow if there are violations.  If the Herald man 

         thinks that "thousands will be killed" let him try to bag a 

         few himself and see how he will relish a $50 quail-on-toast 



    In contrast to debates over other topics - sewers, the cottony cushion 

scale and the mistreatment of animals - that were carried on within the letters 

column of the Times, the issue of hunting regulations pitted "Sportsman" in the 

Times against "Victim," a Pasadenan, in the Herald.  "Victim" charged that the 

new legislation was the result of lobbying by no more than ten men.  What the 

state needed was not a law to protect the birds but one to protect farmers from 

both the hunters who damaged property and the birds who destroyed the vineyards 

and wheat.  In response, "Sportsman" claimed his fellow sportsmen in Los 

Angeles numbered fully one hundred of the most respected residents of the city 

with more than that residing outside, including a good number of Pasadena 


    "Sportsman" ended his participation in the exchange with this letter to the 


                         {Times, Sept. 19, 1883, p. 4}

                        A Fusilade Against Pot-Hunters.

              To the Editor of the Times--Sir:  "Victim" (in the 

         Herald of the 15th) feels very much hurt because we proved by 

         facts on record that he was discussing a subject he knew 

         nothing about and that every accusation he made against the 

         Los Angeles sportsmen in particular and those of the State in 

         general was false, and in his last letter from 

         Pasadena--written in the back room of the Herald office--he 

         tries to mend the matter by slurring the State Sportsman's 

         Association for not doing just what they did do.  For instead 

         of the Legislature treating the State Association as an 

         organization of no influence and useless it allowed the State 

         Association to dictate every amendment of the last bill with 

         the exception of that taking off the protection on ducks, and 

         furthermore every provision of the game law both old and new 

         is the work of the State Association.

              It is true, as we stated before, that the Los Angeles 

         club considered the first of October too late for the opening 

         of the quail season and when we presented the matter to the 

         State Association through our delegates to its last 

         convention, the up country sportsmen gladly met us half way 

         and a committee has been appointed to so revise the present 

         law as to make it agreeable to all sections of the State, and 

         a bill for that purpose will be introduced before the next 


              Any newsboy could have informed "Victim" that "the 

         pastoral days of Los Angeles" had passed away and the "age of 

         horticulture and agriculture" been long established before 

         these "effect laws," as he calls them, were enacted, and that 

         the game laws of this and all other countries were not the 

         work of pastoral ages, but the outgrowth of the highest 


              It is the passing away of the pastoral age and the 

         development of a higher civilization that makes the necessity 

         for game laws, and the ravenous game market of crowded cities 

         that leads the greedy market hunter to the destruction of 

         game at all seasons, thereby necessitating laws for its 

         protection.  It is the increasing love for legitimate field 

         sports, the outgrowth of the last decade, that has produced 

         the wonderful development of the gun.  Were it not for this, 

         "Victim" would not be ground-sluicing with a breech-loading 


              There is not one intelligent farmer in fifty that is 

         opposed to the game law per se, but they are opposed, and 

         rightfully too, to the depredations of the pot hunting 

         scalawags who, devoid of humanity and regardless of law, 

         justice or common decency, destroy more property in one day 

         than a thousand quail would in a whole season.

              But why carry the argument any further?  We will ask 

         "Victim" a few questions, to which we want straight, logical 

         answers, if he is capable of such a thing, and then we will 

         lay him away on the shelf among other relics of the dark 


              First.  If game laws are so unjust and useless why is it 

         that the whole legislative genius of the civilized world have 

         never discovered the fact?

              Second.  If they have, why is it that the law-makers of 

         every State in the union and every nation of the earth 

         persist in maintaining laws against the interests of the 

         majority of their constituents?

              Third.  If quail are so destructive to vineyards in the 

         section where, in his imagination, "Victim" resides, why do 

         we not hear complaints from such vineyardists, as E. J. 

         Baldwin, of Santa Anita, Governor Stoneman (who signed the 

         last bill,) Colonel Maybury, L. J. Rose and J. de Barth 

         Shorb, of San Gabriel, Mr. Cogswell, of Sierra Madre Villa, 

         or Colonel Markam, of Pasadena?  These are representative men 

         and representative grape-growers.

              And lastly, why is it that every poacher, pot-hunter, 

         ground-sluicer and law-breaker, that don't raise a grape nor 

         a kernel of grain, is opposed to these laws?  Under the 

         principle of law that a witness cannot be pressed to answer a 

         question that may incriminate himself, we don't expect that 

         you will answer this last question.

              Now, "Victim," as to your assertion about bluff, we mean 

         just what we say, and dare you to the test.  You know that we 

         have and will prosecute violators.  You know that we have a 

         detective at work, through whose instrumentality five 

         convictions have been had.  You know that you dare not openly 

         violate the game law yourself, but you will play the part of 

         the coward and try to make law-breakers of others.

              We know you, "Victim," and we know just what ails you.  

         Bury such petty, groundless feelings and be a man, be a law-

         abiding citizen.  Stop your inhuman habit of ground-sluicing 

         half-fledged birds as they approach their watering places. 

         Teach your Gordon-setter to work in the field.  Flush your 

         birds one at a time and shoot them like a man.  Cultivate a 

         love for the legitimate field sports, and possibly, some time 

         in the great future, you may be recognized yourself as a   


    Not all those who wrote on this subject represented the views of hunters.  

While the Herald's "Victim" may have found the birds destructive, "C" argued 

otherwise.  Although his remarks were directed at pot-hunters, he may well have 

felt the same way about "Sportsman" and his gun club associates.

                         {Times, June 20, 1888, p. 6}

                                Bird Shooting.

              Cahuenga, June 13.--[To the Editor of The Times.]  A 

         great annoyance to which people living just outside of the 

         city of Los Angeles are subjected is the shooting of birds by 

         pot-hunters from the city.  It is a common thing for these 

         gentry to load up with a double-barreled shotgun and game-bag 

         and to sally forth in pursuit of the little innocent singing 

         birds, which they seek with a zeal worthy of a better cause, 

         and slaughter indiscriminately.  Doves, larks, robins, 

         mocking-birds, and some species even smaller suffer at their 

         hands.  If during the course of a long tramp or drive they 

         bag a number it is counted a grand achievement, and besides 

         enjoying the sport, they generally sell their game for enough 

         to pay for a few glasses of beer.  Our suburban citizens say 

         the impudence of these fellows is something quite astounding.  

         Country homes are often alarmed by their close shooting; 

         orchards and even dooryards are not infrequently invaded in 

         their zealous pursuit of the feathered songsters.  If you 

         protest against the practice you will be coolly informed that 

         shooting in the highway is permissible; that is to say, these 

         valiant hunters claim the right to stand in the road and 

         shoot birds from neighboring trees.  This most un-American 

         pretension would argue, if the dialect did not, an education 

         in some foreign country, but the privilege of shooting 

         anybody's birds is claimed as one of the prerogatives of a 

         residence in this land of freedom.

              It is a matter of no consequence to the gunner that the 

         farmer or fruit-grower prizes these same birds very highly as 

         destroyers of insect pests; not but that their music is duly 

         esteemed, but as protectors of fruit they are simply 

         invaluable.  When let alone they are a sure exterminator of 

         all the more destructive worms and insects that infest the 

         orchard and garden, and the farmer or fruiterer could well 

         afford to pay a dollar or two apiece to have them spared.

              The quail and the dove during a part of the season, and 

         the mocking-bird all the year round, are afforded such 

         protection as our American laws can give, but all other 

         birds, such as larks, robbins, blackbirds and orioles, are 

         left to the mercy of those heartless hunters.  The immunity 

         of these fellows from prosecution for trespass is in the 

         expense and trouble attending such proceedings, and also, it 

         may be in the fact that they usually possess too much 

         political influence to justify a judgment against them for so 

         small an offense as shooting little birds.

              The next Legislature should provide some speedy and 

         adequate remedy against this evil.                      


    While the state had a great variety of birds, the 1880s witnessed efforts 

to import exotic species into Southern California.  Leonard J. Rose of Sunny 

Slope {located north of the San Gabriel mission} announced in a letter to the 

Times in early 1889 that he had brought a dozen skylarks from England and 

intended to set them free.  He admired them as songbirds and noted that they 

would "add great charm to our country by their melodious song."  While he was 

convinced that they would thrive and propagate in Southern California, his 

greatest fear was "the gun in the hands of the boy or pot-hunter" and he 

appealed to the public in his letter to protect the birds.  

    Rose's skylark experiment did not result in the success that he anticipated 

and, in fact, later attempts to introduce the skylark into California were no 

more successful than his effort.  On the other hand, one of "Sportsman's" gun 

clubs announced a few days later that it intended to import the English sparrow 

into the local area.   Ornithologists believe that the bird reached Southern 

California about 1903, spreading here on its own after being introduced into 

other parts of the United States.  Whether the gun club actually went through 

with its plan and therefore contributed to the coming of the sparrow is 

unknown, but an anonymous letter to the Times warned of the consequences of 

such an importation.

                         {Times, Feb. 27, 1889, p. 3}

                       "When the Sparrows Homeward Fly."

              Los Angeles, Feb. 25.--[To the Editor of The Times.]  I 

         see in your paper of yesterday that a certain "gun club" 

         intends importing English sparrows for their amusement.  If 

         they do so and those pests get an abiding place here many 

         will have cause to be sorry.  The sparrow lives almost wholly 

         on grain and the buds of fruit trees.  I have seen a pear 

         tree stripped of its fruit buds in five minutes by a flock of 

         sparrows.  They are also destructive to other and more useful 

         buds {birds? - Ed.}, driving the native birds from their usual 

         haunts and even killing birds as large as our mockingbird by 

         combined attacks.  They are also noisy, have a shrill, 

         disagreeable chirp, and are altogether about the least 

         desirable addition possible to this bright land.  There are 

         sparrow clubs in England, where constant effort is being made 

         to keep the pest within limits; but I trust there may never 

         be a necessity for such organizations here, and the only way 

         to prevent it is to prohibit the bringing in of such trash, 

         as they are a nuisance wherever found.

                                C) GUN CONTROL

    Considering the violent history of the city in the period before 1880, with 

its numerous homicides, justifiable or otherwise, the relatively few letters in 

opposition to the use of guns is understandable.  In 1865, after a deadly 

shoot-out at the bar-room of the Bella Union hotel, Mayor Jose Mascarel signed 

an ordinance banning the carrying of concealed weapons in the city.  But in a 

town as wild as Los Angeles in the 1850s, '60s and '70s firearms were 

considered a necessity and the ordinance was ignored.

    In the 'eighties, with the city on its way to becoming a western outpost of 

the civilized Midwest and East, attitudes began to change, as reflected in 

these letters to the Times.  An 1890 city directory listed Philamon P. 

Livermore as deputy county clerk.

                         {Times, July 14, 1882, p. 3}

                                The Toy Pistol.

              Editor Times:  Since reading in the Express, a just 

         denunciation of a twenty-two-calibre cartridge, fitting a 

         "toy pistol," ingeniously devised, I have been experimenting 

         to ascertain if his statements were correct.  Instead of 

         eight thicknesses of paper, I shot through a board an inch 

         thick.  A man's skull would hardly stand the concussion 

         without resulting in death.  If it be true that a moral 

         adorns a tale, lend me your pen to write it.  Further 

         experiments will consist in finding out the parties who sell 

         deadly weapons to boys.  Many men have little discretion in 

         their use, and boys should not be allowed.

                                              W. H.

                         {Times, Feb. 13, 1887, p. 6}

                                Boys and Guns.

              Cucamonga, Feb. 8.--[To the Editor of The Times.]  Isaac 

         Lord, son of I. W. Lord of Cucamonga, an 11-year-old lad, had 

         a Christmas present from his mother of a breech-loading 

         shotgun, with ammunition.  His father only allowed him to 

         accept it on condition that he should not use it till his 

         14th year.

              His right hand is severely damaged, while most of his 

         left one is missing.

              Moral: let mothers send their little boys good books and 

         keep the shotguns for their own use.

                         {Times, Sept. 29, 1889, p. 5}
                              A Note of Warning.

              Los Angeles, Sept. 27.--[To the Editor of The Times.]  

         On Sunday, September 22d, I took a stroll over the hills 

         northward from town, and just as I came to the top of the 

         ridge on the north side of the Buena Vista street reservoir, 

         I was somewhat startled at hearing the report of a gun, and 

         at the same time the sharp whistling of a bullet apparently 

         in close proximity to my head.  Not knowing but what someone 

         might be taking me for a target, I was at first inclined to 

         make a hasty retreat, but as I heard other reports 

         unaccompanied by the singing of the bullets, concluded to 

         investigate the matter; and on going a little further over 

         the hill, I saw a building by the side of the reservoir, from 

         which some parties were firing at a target, which was just 

         opposite where I came up the hill.  I went down to the 

         building and watched the results.  The target is so placed 

         that, instead of the bullets going through it into a bank of 

         earth, they strike upon a piece of hard ground, nearly level, 

         from which they glance off and fly at different angles up the 

         hill, some going clear over the top and some striking the 

         hill at different points.  It looks to me to be a dangerous 

         practice.  There should be a bank of earth behind the target 

         to receive the balls from which they could not glance off.  

         Unless it is changed, the probabilities are that some missing 

         citizen may yet be found on the said hill with a bullet-hole 

         in his head.  Verdict: "By some person or persons unknown." 

                                           P. P. LIVERMORE.

              [This scheme of target practice is understood to have 

         been specially designed for the benefit of those able 

         marksmen who are only able to make a bullseye by the aid of a 

         richocheting ball.--Ed. Times]

                                   D) CHESS

    Other sports and forms of recreation found their way into the letters 

column in the 1880s.  Bicyclists proposed formation of a wheel club and called 

for a race at the county fair.  Tennis buffs urged the city to hold a 

tournament as Santa Monica had already done.  Chess, too, had its advocates 

although finding a good game seems to have been a problem for these two 


                         {Times, July 10, 1885, p. 2}

                               A Chess Monopoly.

              To the Editor of the Times--Sir:  The chess-boards in 

         the Public Library are habitually monopolized by a few 

         chronic players, who play from morning till night, seven days 

         in the week, to the exclusion of patrons of the Library who 

         have equal rights, but less time to spend there.  I, for one, 

         protest, and unite in the demand for

                                          FAIR PLAY.

                          {Times, Dec. 8, 1887, p. 6}

                Chess and the Humorous Gall of a Chess-Player.

              Los Angeles, Dec. 6.--[To the Editor of The Times.]  

         Almost a stranger in the city and rooming by myself with no 

         pleasant circle of friends to help pass my evenings, and no 

         public amusements save and excepting theaters, and of these a 

         little goes a long way, I find that, resolving myself into a 

         club, consisting of one member, does not vary the monotony 

         quite enough, even though I keep my Times for an evening, bon 

         bouche (please correct the quotation if required, as my 

         French is getting rather mixed in this cosmopolitan city 

         where one hears as much Dutch or Spanish as English nearly); 

         well, sir, even that gets slightly ennuish when one comes to 

         the "real-estate" part of the advertisement, and so I fall 

         back, pipe in mouth, on the table in what I understand to be 

         the correct attitude in this country for a reverie (please 

         note I was English until I went to the proper place and made 

         my application to be admitted a citizen of the Republic), and 

         the result of my reverie is that I will go and have a game of 

         chess with some one, and off I start up town for that 

         purpose, fondly imagining that I had only to veni vedi and I 

         should vici without any trouble, you can fancy my dismay on 

         making inquiry for a chess club to find that no one knew 

         anything of such a thing; indeed few people that I spoke to 

         seemed to understand what I was talking about; indeed, one 

         suggested I could get it, he thought, at a restaurant he 

         named on Main street.  I explained that it was not something 

         to eat, but a game.  This seemed to enrage him some, but I 

         calmed him by suggesting something to drink, but made matters 

         worse by taking him to a place where they gave us what they 

         called a "milk shake," a name that rhymes so well with 

         stomach ache that I feel sure they must be synonymous terms.  

         The next man I applied to said "O, yes, they played it at a 

         german beer hall on South Main street," but he explained that 

         they did not call it chess, but chequers, which I found to be 

         what these benighted English call draughts.  To make a long 

         story short, I could not find a place anywhere where I could 

         indulge my whim, and so I came back to my lonely room to 

         devise some other pastime when, Eureka, it occurred to me to 

         write to the papers and inflict a share of my troubles on an 

         editor.  His shoulders are strong enough to bear one more 

         burden; and so, sir, hinc illae lachrymae, I should say, 

         "hence these weepings;" otherwise I mean to say, can you help 

         me out of the dilemma, either by playing a game or two with 

         me yourself, or by telling me some one else who will, or give 

         me a hint or two as to how one should go about getting a 

         chess club started?  Perhaps if you do think my long ditty 

         worthy of insertion it may bring about a remedy for my 

         trouble; and if you do, sir, I will take care that virtue 

         shall not be its only reward, for I will inflict another 

         letter twice as long as this when I have something else to 

         ask your powerful pen to aid me in.

              Sir, I hope you may live long and die happy.  Yours, 



              P. S.--If, as I tautologized above, you do insert this, 

         and any one chooses to communicate with me, ask them to be 

         good enough to address me as "Chess" at your office.

              [Come around just as we are going to press and the game 

         shall come off.--Ed.]