California in the 1930s: The WPA Guide to the Golden State

By Works Progress Administration | Go to book overview

From Clipper Ship to Clipper Plane

“TOO SWIFT arrives as tardy as too slow” might have been the motto in Spanish California. The pack mules of the padres ambled from one mission to another. The horses of the rancheros might gallop fast enough in a round-up, but not in going from ranch to town. There was no reason for speed nor was speed possible in a carreta (cart), squeaking with its ponderous wheels of solid oak over roads little more than trails. Soldier-couriers carried the mail along the Camino Real (king’s highway) from San Francisco to San Diego and continued along their slow, hot, dry way to Loreto in Lower California, whence letters went across the gulf of San Bias and on to Mexico City.

Trade was no less leisurely. Although the Spanish government prohibited trade with other than Spanish ships, American and British ships successfully smuggled their goods into California long before the Mexican government removed this restriction. Californians needed too many products to resist the temptation of dealing with smugglers, while the profits which awaited the Yankee sea captains from trading their manufactured wares for seal and sea otter pelts, hides, tallow, and lumber were enough to induce them to risk capture of their ships and confiscation of their cargoes. Their illicit trade grew to the point where a hide came to be called a “California bank note,” substituting for money as the common medium of exchange.

When gold was discovered in 1848 the sudden mass movement taxed intercoastal transportation facilities to the utmost. By March 1849, 17,000 persons had sailed from Atlantic and Gulf coast cities for

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California in the 1930s: The WPA Guide to the Golden State
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Illustrations ix
  • Maps xiii
  • General Information xv
  • Calendar of Events xix
  • A Guide to Recreation xxi
  • Preface 1939 xxix
  • Editorial Staff xxxi
  • Introduction xxxiii
  • Part I - California- From Past to Present 1
  • El Dorado Up to Date 3
  • Natural Setting and Conservation 8
  • The First Californians 33
  • California’s Last Four Centuries 41
  • Riches from the Soil 66
  • Industry and Finance 79
  • From Clipper Ship to Clipper Plane 87
  • Workingmen 95
  • Press and Radio 109
  • The Movies 120
  • Education 131
  • The Arts 139
  • Architecture 167
  • Part II - Signposts to City Scenes 177
  • Berkeley 179
  • Fresno 188
  • Hollywood 192
  • Long Beach 201
  • Los Angeles 206
  • Monterey 230
  • Oakland 237
  • Pasadena 245
  • Sacramento 250
  • San Diego 258
  • San Francisco 265
  • San Jose 298
  • Santa Barbara 304
  • Stockton 311
  • Part III - Up and Down the State 315
  • Tour 1 317
  • Death Valley National Monument 645
  • Sequoia and General Grant National Parks 655
  • Yosemite National Park 667
  • Golden Gate International Exposition 680
  • Part IV - Appendices 685
  • Chronology 687
  • A Select Reading List of California Books 694
  • Index 699
  • Agriculture *
  • Education *
  • Cities I *
  • Cities II *
  • History *
  • Industry; Commerce and Transportation *
  • Architecture *
  • The Natural Setting *
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