Happy New Year! How the Holiday Took Aim at Easterners

New Year's Day, 1910
| Photo: Anaheim Public Library

Southern California has its own way of celebrating the New Year, by taking aim at easterners who might yearn to live -- warm and snowless -- in our presumed paradise.

Rose Parade, 1910
| Photo: Los Angeles Public Library

The Cawston Ostrich Farm, sponsor of this crowded float, was one of several Los Angeles-area tourist destinations at the turn of the century. The farm sold feathers for the elaborate hats and fans of the era and offered ostrich rides for the daring.

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Tournament of Roses, 1910
| Photo: Los Angeles Public Library

Chariot races -- using a four-horse team -- were a a regular feature of the Tournament of Roses at the turn of the century. Slightly less dangerous football replaced the chariots and horses.


Rose Bowl on New Years Day, 1924
| Photo: Los Angeles Public Library

The score that day in 1924 was Washington-14, Navy-14.


 New Year's on the Beach, 1935
| Photo: Los Angeles Public Library

A publicity photo, uncredited and uncaptioned, but illustrating a perennial winter theme in the selling of Los Angeles: swimming in January.


 Hollywood at War, 1944
| Photo: Los Angeles Public Library/Herald-Examiner Collection

According to the Herald-Examiner's caption: "New Year celebration at the Hollywood Canteen. Shown are Tarawa veteran Seaman First Class Clayton Johnson, Dolores Moran, and Cpl. 'Bing' Crosby wishing everyone a Victory New Year for 1944."


City Hall lit up for New Year, 1955
| Photo: USC Digital Library/ Los Angeles Examiner Negatives Collection, 1950-1961

Originally captioned, with some unintended irony: "All lit up to ring in the new year. L.A.'s City Hall brightens up Civic Center. (Note citizen trying to catch 40 winks before midnight.)"


New Year's Whoopee, 1955
| Photo: USC Digital Library/ Los Angeles Examiner Negatives Collection, 1950-1961

The Examiner captioned this "New Year's revelers make merry as the New Year arrives in the Terrace Room at the Statler Hotel, which was sold out. Standing are Miss Dana Sirdenis and Jimmy McEwan; seated are Miss Carolee Fithian and D.S. Fischer."


 New Year's Swim at Santa Monica, 1958
| Photo: USC Digital Library/ Los Angeles Examiner Negatives Collection, 1950-1961

The Examiner enthused: "All Year Swimming Club members annual New Year's Day swim at Santa Monica beach: Jean Goddard, Marilyn Schliff, Pat Wibe, Margie Kiefer, Terri Varley, Ruth Hachenberger, and Peggy Stracke. The girls are all members of Janet Dee's Santa Monica Surfboard Ballet."

And may 2013 be a year of all good things for you! DJW

About the Author

D. J. Waldie is the author of "Holy Land: A Suburban Memoir" and "Where We Are Now: Notes from Los Angeles," among other books about the social history of Southern California. He is a contributing editor for the Los Angeles Times ...
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