Los Angeles was a bustling metropolis of over 50,000 people when Eveline C Beals visited her brother over the Christmas Holidays in 1893. Oil had been discovered just outside the city the year before and now people were pouring into the area with dreams of making their fortune. It was a crowded town tucked in between foothills and coastline when compared to the 11,000 that numbered home in Rutland, Vermont. The Los Angeles newspaper of the day was comprised mostly of advertisements for acreage lots and orange groves up for sale, with occasional listings for vineyard cuttings. Many stores advertised building products, tools and merchandise such as boots and hats were plentiful.
When her niece Grace wrote to her a few days after the New Year of 1894 from her home in San Francisco Eveline had already accomplished a great deal of sight seeing around town. She was residing with her extended family on Santee Street seen in these views on a hand drawn map of LA made in 1894. This section of Santee Street is now a dense area of retail and concrete, vastly different than the green residential streets depicted on the hand drawn maps.
Top attractions at the time included riding a trolley car to the summit of Echo Mountain, riding through Rubio Canyon, picking California Poppies, taking a trolley ride to Pasadena and strolling through Eastlake Park, which was dedicated just a few years before in 1881. It isn’t known exactly what activities Grandmother Beals did, but her niece said she had “really done it” and could really believe her Aunt was visiting California by the list she had written her of places visited, so she might just have done each! Here are some non-family photographs from 1894 of just such activities:
Most likely Grandmother Beals travelled west completely by train and with her daughter Helen Sophia Beals Ross (Edith’s mother) although those details have been lost over time. The Beals traveling trunk used to carry all of her clothes, gifts and souvenirs is in fair condition on the outside, but is missing all of the interior compartments that can be seen in this example of a complete trunk:
There is only one interior panel left on the Beal’s trunk that gives a clue to the interior decoration on the inside of the lid: