Vermont to California, 1894

Name plate (painted) on the side of traveling trunk of Edith's Grandmother Beals

Name plate (painted) on the side of traveling trunk of Edith’s Grandmother Beals

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.

Calisphere, Contributing Institution: UC Berkeley, Bancroft Library, Title: Los Angeles, 2nd Street from the hill [about 1894],

Calisphere, Contributing Institution: UC Berkeley, Bancroft Library, Title:
Los Angeles, 2nd Street from the hill [about 1894],

Envelope addressed to Grandmother Beals from her niece Grace, January 4, 1894.

Envelope addressed to Grandmother Beals from her niece Grace, January 4, 1894.

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.

Santee Street, lower left area, Library of Congress, Geography and Map Division. Los Angeles, California, 1894. Drawn & lithographed by B. W. Pierce.

Santee Street, lower left area, Library of Congress, Geography and Map Division. Los Angeles, California, 1894. Drawn & lithographed by B. W. Pierce.

Santee Street, Library of Congress, Geography and Map Division. Los Angeles, California, 1894. Drawn & lithographed by B. W. Pierce.

Santee Street, Library of Congress, Geography and Map Division. Los Angeles, California, 1894. Drawn & lithographed by B. W. Pierce.

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:

(ca. 1894)* - A group of sightseers travels on one of the trolley cars on the Mount Lowe Railway as it rounds the area of track known as the Circular Bridge. Passengers can look out and have a spectacular view of Echo Mountain and its building complex (to the left) and the valley floor below.   Waterandpower.org

(ca. 1894)* – A group of sightseers travels on one of the trolley cars on the Mount Lowe Railway as it rounds the area of track known as the Circular Bridge. Passengers can look out and have a spectacular view of Echo Mountain and its building complex (to the left) and the valley floor below.
Waterandpower.org

(1893)^^ - The great Cable Incline went from Rubio Pavilion (the bottom) to Echo Mountain (at the top). In this picture one of the cable cars, named "Rubio" sits at the bottom with some passengers aboard and others waiting nearby. Also on the left is the electric car which brought customers to the station from Mountain Junction.   Waterandpower.org

(1893)^^ – The great Cable Incline went from Rubio Pavilion (the bottom) to Echo Mountain (at the top). In this picture one of the cable cars, named “Rubio” sits at the bottom with some passengers aboard and others waiting nearby. Also on the left is the electric car which brought customers to the station from Mountain Junction.
Waterandpower.org

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:

An example of a trunk similar to the Beal's trunk with complete interior compartments.

An example of a trunk similar to the Beal’s trunk with complete interior compartments.

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:

The one remaining panel inside the Beal's Traveling Trunk.

The one remaining panel inside the Beal’s Traveling Trunk.

About Guenevere Crum

Guenevere Crum is an artist and a great granddaughter of Edith and Paul Eisler. She has been actively sleuthing her Eisler - Vail Ross heritage since 1999.
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