Thanks for your interest in exploring interesting and important aspects of Los Angeles’ past, present and future.
Assembled below are 17 interesting (and often important) questions and answers about Los Angeles. For the inquisitive mind, these short answers may not be enough. So, each Q&A provides citations to key source material available on the shelves of the Los Angeles Public Library.
The topics explore how Los Angeles was founded, populated, organized, educated, transported, recreated, governed and administered. Particular attention is paid to the fields of business and economics, natural resources, transportation with special attention to the preservation of historic materials for use by researchers interested in the future of Los Angeles.
It is the hope of the Board of Trustees of the Haynes Foundation that these materials will stimulate your interest in learning more about how a site originally proposed for a Franciscan mission in 1769 grew into one of the greatest regional economies in the world.
There is a 1930 photograph of the formal dedication of UCLA’s Westwood campus that featured Dr. John R. Haynes as a UC Regent. What were the connections among Dr. Haynes, the UC system and UCLA and how strong were they?
2. Dora Fellows Haynes
Dora Fellows Haynes was born in 1859, and married Dr. John Randolph Haynes in 1882. During those times, what opportunities did a woman in Los Angeles have in participating in politics and public issues?
Los Angeles and San Francisco seem to be following very different approaches to economic success with very different results. Is this accurate?
4. LA Infrastructure
In light of Los Angeles’ natural advantages, why does Los Angeles need so many massive infrastructure projects (rail, air, auto, port, water supply) and will they be sufficient to meet the needs of tomorrow?
In 1941, at the beginning of World War II, planners in Los Angeles needed a plan to accommodate industry, housing and transportation. Where did they find help?
6. Great Architecture and Los Angeles
The popular view seems to be that Los Angeles has little great architecture and few historic homes. Is this in fact the case?
7. Direct Democracy
Politics in California has some unique features, one of which is “direct democracy.” What does this term mean?
8. Los Angeles Governance Design
I understand that the government of the City of Los Angeles was originally designed to be simple and to function without political parties (unlike other big U.S. cities). How is the City governed today?
9. Elections and Diversity
Elections seem to emphasize divisions among voters: by race, income, heritage, gender, religion, marital status. Can these divided groups ever work together?
By the 1760’s, the colonial port cities of Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Savannah, Mobile and New Orleans were thriving, but Los Angeles is not even on a map. Where can I get the facts about the origin of the City of Los Angeles.
11. Governing the Vast LA Metropolitan Area
Los Angeles County with its mountains, deserts, cities, beaches and a population of 10 million is extremely difficult to govern: How is it done today and can it be done better?
The City of Los Angeles is the most spread out, decentralized city I have ever seen. How is the City of Los Angeles organized and most importantly, who do I call to get something done?
13. Maynard Parker and LA Style
After 15 years of the Great Depression (1929–1940), World War II (1941-1945) and the Korean War (1950–1954), Americans must have been looking forward to a return to a more normal, secure and unpretentious way of life. Where did they find it?
14. Best Beaches
In 1900, I heard that the most popular beach in the Los Angeles area was the beach on Terminal Island. What happened to that beach and how was it connected to the “Great Free-Harbor Fight”?
15. Accuracy and “Chinatown”
Whenever the topic of “water” comes up in a conversation, someone always refers to the 1974 movie “Chinatown” as the final word about Los Angeles’ early efforts to control the distribution of water and electricity. How accurate is that movie?
It is rare for a foundation in Los Angeles (or anywhere else) to fund Archival Grants. What is the purpose of the Haynes Foundation’s Archival Grants program and what do the results look like?
Is the County of Los Angeles able to work with the agencies of the City of Los Angeles, the State of California, and the US Federal Government and if so, how effective are those relationships.