140 years ago today


 140 years ago today (April 30th 1878) A.D. Neff was granted a Charter from the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers.

B of L E Division 5 in Los Angeles named the “Orange Grove” Division.

In 1878 Los Angeles was not even considered a major city. In 1870 the population of Los Angeles was 15,309 It more than doubled by 1880 because of the railroads

I think its pretty amazing that a brotherhood that was started 13 years after the civil war ended is still around today.

Im proud to be a spoke in the wheel of this almost century and a half old local, and you should be as well.





Some photos of Los Angeles and Harbor area during the time our local was conceived


ca. 1885)#+ – View looking east on 2nd Street from Olive Street showing two cable cars of the Second Street Cable Railway at center. The First Presbyterian Church with its tall spire can be seen in the distance on the S/E corner of 2nd and Broadway.


ca. 1875)^ – View looking south on Main Street from near the Bella Union Hotel showing Temple Block and the Downey Block at the junction of Main Street with Spring and Temple streets (upper-left). Livery stables appear on both sides of Main Street in the foreground. The tracks of the Main Street and Agricultural Park Street Railroad run down the center of the street.


Historical Notes

The Main Street and Agricultural Railroad was the first suburban line in Los Angeles and was chartered in November 1874. The line operated through the city on Main Street to Washington Boulevard and extended to Agricultural Park (now Exposition Park), traveling by way of Washington, Figueroa, and Wesleyan (now University Avenue).*##

Financed by John Downey, Isaias Hellman, William Workman, and others, the Main Street and Agricultural Park Street Railroad connected the city’s business district near Temple Street to Agricultural Park, a haven for gamblers and vice-seekers. The park, outfitted with a racetrack, saloon, and brothel, was rechristened Exposition Park in 1913.*^^*


(1876)#^ – View showing Locomotive No. 1 and passenger cars of the Los Angeles and Independence Railroad on train tracks next to the railroad’s terminal at Fifth Street and San Pedro Street in Los Angeles. The train is full of passengers and is about to leave for Santa Monica.


Historical Notes

Opposition to continued construction east of Los Angeles by Southern Pacific Railroad’s refusal to allow crossing of their main line tracks, and the unexpected depletion and closure of the Panamint silver mine in 1877 (owned by John P. Jones), led to severe fiscal difficulties for the young steam line. On July 4, 1877 the Los Angeles & Independence was acquired by Southern Pacific.


LA_ca_1890s (1)

ca. 1880s)^ – Panoramic view of L.A. in the 1880s. Shown in the foreground is the Second Street Cable Car, located west of downtown in an area called “Crown Hill.” Cable car is stopped in front of W.C. Bowers staple and fancy groceries store. On the left side is a small Real Estate building. In the background several dwellings may be seen scattered over the bare hills.


(1870)* – Main Street view of the Downey Block, located on the N/W corner Temple and Main streets. Horse-drawn wagons are parked in front of storefronts with their prominent signs displayed high above where everyone can see.

Historical Notes

Construction on the Downey Block began in 1869. It was named for John Gately Downey, a pharmacist who served as the governor of California for two years (1860-1862) before becoming a real estate developer. Downey was also one of the founders and first president of Farmers and Merchants National Bank. The city of Downey was named in his honor after he subdivided his land holdings there and converted them into farms.


ca. 1888)*#* – Shipping in San Pedro circa 1888. Port of Los Angeles.



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