At this year’s annual Living History Tour, visitors will “meet” some of Los Angeles’ most interesting early pioneers, war veterans and entertainment industry personages as costumed actors, at graveside, also portray the lives of a Civil War Union bugler and labor union activist; a Silent Film era starlet and early airline flight hostess whose life ended tragically; an African -American physician who risked his career for civil rights; and Los Angeles pioneer who helped author the city’s first charter.
Local West Adams/Mid-City neighborhoods played a prominent role in some of this year’s personages’ lives:
Dr. Oner Barker, African-American physician who was required to testify before the House UnAmerican Activities Committee during the McCarthy Era, was deeply disturbed about the segregation of black troops in World War II, and later prejudice he encountered as a young doctor. He lived in Kinney Heights when he testified about his participation in the Communist Party.
Merle Evans was a carefree 18-year-old youth enjoying a day at the beach with his sweetheart when they both became victims of a horrendous train crash – 100 years ago this summer – at Vineyard Station (now the site of the Lowe's shopping center.) The crash involved hundreds of people injured and dead, and ultimately resulted in the construction of the West Boulevard Bridge, one of the community’s newest designated landmarks.
And, Daniel DeVilliers, (no picture available) an Afrikaner of Huguenot descent who fought in the 2nd Boer War in South Africa (a conflict more bloody than the U.S. Civil War) and later in the Mexican Revolution, was killed by his ex-wife’s new husband in a house on 20th Street, in Western Heights, also 100 years ago this year.
Angelus Rosedale Cemetery was founded in 1884, and is now home to many generations of Los Angeles' citizens, representing every race, faith, and creed. Each year, West Adams Heritage Association (WAHA) tells some of their life stories while touring the historic grounds and elaborately carved monuments of L.A.’s first lawn cemetery. This year’s tour commemorates not only Los Angeles’ longtime role as the center of this country’s entertainment industry, but also the role the city has played in the larger history of civil liberties in America. In addition, the 2013 Living History Tour memorializes the 150th anniversary of the Civil War (1861-1865).
Some of this year’s additional portrayals include:
• Ivie Anderson, jazz singer best known for performing with Duke Ellington’s Orchestra, originating the song, “It Don’t Mean A Thing” (If It Ain’t Got That Swing)
• Jennie Allen Bovard, USC’s “First Lady” – she was the university’s first female professor and the wife of the institution’s president
• Marjorie Zier Page, a Jazz Age starlet and Mack Sennett Bathing Beauty who then became an early inflight hostess for TWA
• Aurelius Hutton, (no picture available) a Confederate cadet whose family lost everything. Hutton moved to Los Angeles in 1869, becoming an early L.A. City Attorney before becoming a founder of Pasadena.
WAHA Living History Tour 2410 Fourth Avenue 90018
FOR MORE INFORMATION, please call the WAHA Reservations Hotline at 323-732-4223,
or visit www.WestAdamsHeritage.org.