Los Angeles County
1887 to 1909

Los Angeles City Oil Field in 1895 - California's top-producing oil field. Photo from Two Years of Progress in Los Angeles City and County, 1894-1895 issued by the L.A. Chamber of Commerce. Courtesy of the
British Library.


Orange County is formed from a portion of Los Angeles County. The city of Pomona is incorporated. A great speculative land boom occurs, driving up the price of city land 500 percent. Whittier is settled by a group of Quakers. Burbank and Glendale are incorporated. The first public high school in Los Angeles opens. Pomona College is founded in Claremont. Prohibitionist Harvey Wilcox founds Hollywood.


Heavy floods occur. The Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce is established at a meeting of the city’s principal boosters. Los Angeles Times publisher, Harrison Gray Otis, makes the motion. The first African-American community in Los Angeles is founded at First and Los Angeles Streets. Occidental College is founded in Eagle Rock.


Heavy floods occur. The first college football game in Los Angeles is played between USC and Saint Vincent’s College (Loyola). After 20 years of political maneuvering, voters in the southern portion of Los Angeles County decide to break away and form a new county: Orange County.


Heavy floods occur. The first Tournament of Roses Parade is held in Pasadena. Edwin T. Earl invents the refrigerated railcar in which to ship oranges to the east coast. The park becomes known as Griffith Park. The official flag of the City of Los Angeles is designed. The Los Angeles City Oil Field is discovered.


Heavy floods occur. Amos G. Throop founds the Throop Polytechnic Institute of Pasadena, which would later become the California Institute of Technology. Visiting Pasadena, President Benjamin Harrison becomes the first U.S. President to visit the Los Angeles area. Whittier College is founded.


Edward Doheny is the first to succeesfully drill in the Los Angeles City Oil Field and launch to become California's top-producing field into the next century. Abbot Kinney buys swampy coastal land upon which he planned to build a "Temple of Culture." The location would later be named Venice. The Banning brothers begin developing Avalon on Santa Catalina Island as a summer resort. The Angeles National Forest is established, the first national forest in California.


Four Los Angeles banks close due to nationwide economic problems. Sunkist is adopted as the brand name of all California oranges. Mt. Lowe Railway opens. The Bradbury Building opens.


During the nationwide railroad strike, labor rioting breaks out in Los Angeles. U.S. Army troops are deployed to Los Angeles to restore order.


A heavily traveled Los Angeles thoroughfare is given the name Wilshire Boulevard. William Denton discovers the first saber-tooth tiger fossil at La Brea Tar Pits. Later, in 1901, Union Oil geologist William Orcutt uncovers more fossils.


Congress appropriates $3.9 million to build an artificial harbor at San Pedro. Griffith J. Griffith donates 3,015 acres to the City of Los Angeles that will ultimately become Griffith Park, the largest urban park in the nation.


The first known automobile to appear on Los Angeles streets arrives, built by S.D. Sturgis in a downtown Los Angeles shop for J. Philip Erie. Erie drives the vehicle with W.W. Workman along for the first ride as L.A.’s first auto passenger. The Mission San Fernando is restored. The City of Long Beach is dis-incorporated by residents dissatisfied with taxes and prohibition. It is reincorporated within the year.


Los Angeles forms the fifth symphony orchestra in the nation.


The Los Angeles Stock Exchange is established. San Pedro is selected over Santa Monica and Redondo Beach to become the new deep water port for Los Angeles.


The Automobile Club of Southern California is established. Rapid communications between Los Angeles and Catalina Island are established via carrier pigeon.


Henry Huntington forms the Pacific Electric Railway Company that would link Los Angeles by a network of rail cars. The first Japanese settlers arrive in Los Angeles. They begin the fishing and fish-canning industry in Los Angeles. President William McKinley becomes the first U.S. President to visit the city of Los Angeles. Angels flight is built. The famous cable cars continue to run until 1969.


Jan 1 The first Tournament of Roses football game is played between Michigan and Stanford. Michigan wins 49-0.


William Randolph Hearst establishes the Los Angeles Examiner (later to become the LA Herald-Examiner).


William Mulholland announces that Los Angeles has outgrown its local sources of water. The Los Angeles Board of Water Commissioners begins looking into Owens Valley as the new source of much needed water. Fred Eaton, formerly mayor of Los Angeles, had already begun buying up properties in the Owens Valley and champions the idea. Thus begins a long battle between Los Angeles and Owens Valley residents known as the Owens Valley Water Wars. The Mount Wilson Observatory is founded. The number of automobiles in Los Angeles reaches 1,600. Clarence Thompson becomes the first African American to graduate from the University of Southern California (USC).


The Owens Valley water project is publicly announced. Los Angeles voters approve a bond to build an aqueduct from the Owens Valley.


Using access to water as a bargaining tool, the City of Los Angeles manages to annex a shoestring strip of land extending south to San Pedro. The first motion picture studio in Los Angeles is established Immaculate Heart College opens. Los Angeles gets its first movie theater. Fossil excavations begin at the La Brea Tar Pits. San Francisco is originally set as the launching point for the first Transpacific Yacht Race to Hawaii, but, due to the destruction by the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake, the race launches from Point Fermin in Los Angeles to Hawaii. Except for a nostalgic 1939 launch from San Francisco, the race has started in Southern California since.


The great Sunkist advertising campaign begins. Francis Boggs finishes his motion picture The Count of Monte Cristo in Los Angeles. Boggs is later instructed by his Chicago-based employer to set up a permanent film operation in Los Angeles. George Feeth, an Anglo-Hawaiian, introduces surfing to California at Redondo Beach.


Filmmaker Francis Boggs completes In the Sultan’s Power, the first motion picture completely made in Los Angeles. Taxicabs appear in Los Angeles for the first time.


Wilmington and San Pedro are annexed by the City of Los Angeles. Los Angeles is the first large city in the nation to adopt zoning ordinances that distinguish between residential and commercial properties. Los Angeles Mayor Arthur Harper is successfully recalled for corruption and vice protection. Southern California Edison is founded.