This week Beguiling Hollywood posted a series of interesting photos about the history of the Los Angeles Times building, and the 1910 explosion that destroyed one of its incarnations.
Her amazing photo of the horse silhouetted in the night by the inferno, the gathered crowd the next day, the clean-up and re-build stirred me to have a look and see what articles I could find from the time of that terrible incident.
This tragic bombing seems to have been a misguided action by supporters of the Iron Workers Union, the bomb going off hours earlier than planned when the building still had workers inside.
At the end of 1911 two brothers, James and John McNamara, were convicted of the murders caused by the bombing. James was sentenced to life, John to 15 years, and both were sent to San Quentin state prison. James died there in 1941.
Hm, sad. I’ll bet the McNamara brothers had a guilty conscience.
I bet they did. It is one thing bombing an empty building, it is completely another to kill innocent men while they are at work. 😦
It’s strange the way one paper says fully 50 dead and the other has 19. Facts don’t seem to have been important back then. Trial be press was common so innocence or guilt was often established before the trial. Since one of the brothers died in Jail I really hope they were guilty and didn’t get convicted because it was convenient. I wonder what became of John in 1926 when he was due to get out.
I expect that the first article was written while the building was still smouldering and that all of the people who were meant to be in the building were still unaccounted for.
Wikipedia tells me that John died in Montana the same year as James died in prison.
It seems that the tricky way they were bought to trial was a little unfair but it would appear that they really were guilty. Unfortunate for them that the bomb went off to early and killed the workers. I doubt they would have taken any pleasure in that.
It seems they plead guilty as there was much evidence and they both dies in 1941. In this version which are letters and records from the time there were 21 victims.
The nighttime photo on Beguiling Hollywood where you can see the flames glowing through the roof really makes it seem real, to think that there were workers in there at the time is just dreadful.
You are making me want to stalk the archives at the city library. Haven’t been there since I was a history student.
I am pleased that it has stirred your interest too 🙂 I love the internet, it has been more amusing that I ever though it could be. Who would have thought that what a blogger in LA posts could interest me here in Australia enough to post about too, which then interests another blogger in New York!
Be careful in those archives, you know how addictive they can be…. 😉