In today’s 1929 Western Journey account, the Franzen’s continue to meet-n-greet California friends and relatives. However, by Mr. Franzen’s tone in his first paragraph, I’d say he and his wife were exhausted and ready to head East. Could they have been as fed up with rain and constant activity as I was in this 2011 blog publication?
CALIFORNIA LETTER by H. H. Franzen
Miss Bohlen took us to the Electric R. R. station and after thanking her for the great interest she had taken in us and thanking her for her hospitality and kindness, we bade her farewell and boarded the train for Long Beach. The last trip to the country was when the Goldenstein’s invited us to a final visit on a certain day. That day it rained, but we hated to disappoint them so we took a bus. It was still raining when we got there, and it suited us real well, for it gave us such a good chance to stay with them all day and have a good talk, but we were badly mistaken as dinner was hardly over when we were informed they were again ready to give us another trip in two cars. It still rained but they didn’t mind so we started for the city of Pasadena, which was about twenty five miles. There we visited Mr. Peter’s sister. That city is inhabited by the wealthiest people of the United States. Instead of one story dwellings they had two story or over, and were the most beautiful such as only millionaires can afford. We started to the Anheuser Busch Garden but it happened to be closed so we went to the Ostrich Farm where we saw the largest of birds, up to eight feet high, but they didn’t look so nice to us with their long bony legs and long necks. They say that the male selects his life companion the same as we do, but they never tire of each other. They live to be 70 to 75 years old.
We then inquired for the home of Mr. and Mrs. Weiser, whose maiden name was Miss Clara Tenhaff. She surely was surprised to see us in California. They surely have a fine home but as it started to rain again, we hardly had time to get inside. The others all stayed in their cars. Mr. Weiser wasn’t home, but Mrs. Weiser gave us a hearty reception, and we recalled some of the early happenings while her mother was alive. Our visit had to be cut short and we soon started for Rosemead, where Mr. Buss started a lumber yard. This was on our way back to Whittier, so we stopped there for a short while. This town is not very old and has a population of several thousand. Mr. Buss surely has a nice yard and buildings, and is located on one of the main highways to the east. The road is at least 120 feet wide and is of solid concrete. The buildings are nicely arranged with office and warehouse apartments. His son Adolph is manager and they have great faith in their venture. We surely wish them the best of success. Mr. and Mrs. Buss are living there at present and will likely stay till fall. We finally got back to the Peter’s and after we had a splendid supper, Mr. and Mrs. Goldenstein took us back home. Of course, they don’t think anything of a twenty or thirty mile drive after supper as the streets are all lit up.
The 7th of April they had one of the greatest twin shows at Long Beach. There were 260 pairs of twins and four sets of triplets. They were shown in a subway, a street located below the main buildings. The crowd was so great that it was impossible for thousands to see them, but we were certainly lucky, as we happened to be on time and right where the parade was formed. The ages ranged from three months to 85 years. It was a great sight. The older ones took the lead and the younger ones were carried by their parents as rule. They were dressed so much alike that you couldn’t tell them apart. The smallest ones were the cutest as they were all dressed so cute. All had to walk side by side or rode in two little carts. Say, I’m an old man 81 years old, but I surely enjoyed watching those lovely, little children. I have an idea that some of the old maids longed for a pair of these little darlings.
H. H. Franzen
If you’ve been reading H. H. Franzen’s California Letters, I think you would agree the man had quite a sense of humor. Next edition: the elderly couple placed their feet on home ground back in Adams County, Illinois.
Long Beach was a route of the Pacific Electric Railway, constructed in 1902. It was the first line planned by Pacific Electric and the last to shut down in 1961. By that time, the route was operated by the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transit Authority. The Metro Blue Line was built along most of the same route.
Pacific Electric, also known as the Red Car system, was a privately owned mass transit system in Southern California consisting of electrically powered street cars, light rail, and buses, and was the largest electric railway system in the world in the 1920s. Organized around the city center of Los Angeles and San Bernardino, it connected cities in Los Angeles County, Orange County, San Bernardino County and Riverside County.