The Business of Pleasure

in Los Angeles in the 1930s

Published by University of California Press

Published in print May 2011 | ISBN: 9780520268838
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520948860 | DOI:
The Business of Pleasure

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This chapter describes the history of the amusement and tourism industry in Los Angeles. The golden flow of outside dollars into southern California began in the 1840s, but the first visitors were chiefly hardbitten men whose names appeared on “Wanted” placards throughout the roaring West. The most serious undertakings of the Angelenos were conducted with abandon. They gambled recklessly, wagering hundreds of head of cattle and vast tracts of land on the speed of a horse or the turn of a card. This semi-isolated existence of the sleepy pueblo became a memory after the railroads arrived in the 1880s. Southern Pacific began operation in 1883 and less than three years later the Santa Fe brought in its first passengers. The Santa Fe opened up the territory immediately and newcomers, inspired by the articles of romanticists and the adroit advertising of the railroads, began arriving in overwhelming numbers. California became the fad, and during the winters from 1885 to 1887 Los Angeles filled with tourists, many of whom decided to remain permanently.

Keywords: Los Angeles; amusements; gambling; tourism; railroad; Santa Fe

Chapter.  4143 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of the Americas

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