Los Angeles

evan's fleet

Between San Diego and Los Angeles the fleet steamed within sight of the coast where it was continually in the eyes of the people on the shore, who had congregated from many points inland to view of the unprecedented sight of a fleet of battleships at sea.


Every cape, every promontory and every point of vantage was crowded with eager, enthusiastic and patriotic throngs, who cheered as the fleet passed.  More than one-hundred thousand residents of Los Angeles went to the ocean side to welcome the fleet, which steamed into San Pedro Harbor, twenty-two miles from the Angel City, in the full radiance of a mid-summer sun, and dropped anchor at half-past three on the afternoon of April 18th.,

pedro rivera BARBECUE

The fleet anchored in a single column outside the inner harbor and proceeded independently to the ports of San Pedro, Long Beach, Santa Monica, and Redondo.  The City of Los Angeles welcomed the sailors of the fleet by opening their homes and business and planning events that a sailor could get a meal and be entertained.

Five-thousand pounds of beef was prepared daily by the mater-of-barbecues, Pedro Rivera to service three-thousand men at one time with the help of community volunteers.  Roasted on great open spits and complete with the accompaniment of chili con carne, sailor ate off of clean tables with white table cloths.

The card at left is part of the H. H. Stratton series that was issued at the end of the cruise.



      the city of los angeles        ball in honor of admiral evans

On Wednesday evening, April 22nd, 1908 at the Shrine Auditorium the City of Los Angeles held a Ball in honor of Rear Admiral Robley D. Evans.  He had been staying in Paso Robles and it was a fitting send off as he prepared to sail with the fleet into San Francisco.

The invitation shown here is large, 8" x 10" and is not addressed to anyone; nor is there a place to fill in a name.


The walk-over shoe stores

This was a advertising card for a shoe store in Los Angeles that was given out while the fleet was in San Diego on their arrival, notice cancel.

The Walk-Over Shoe Store has been in business since 1758, earlier if you count it was started in Scotland in 1662!  "Made to a Standard. Not a Price."  The Keith Family, with a long history of business in the United States after settling in Massachusetts and opening shops across the country including Los Angeles! 



the pennsylvania society of los angeles

As a Pennsylvanian, know that you can go anywhere and be met by your brothers!  This framed certificate is from the collection of Frank Lesher of Chambersburg, Pennsylvania.  Arriving in Los Angeles he became an honorary member of the Pennsylvania Society of Los Angeles!

The event program for the members usually involved readings and music, followed by dancing and refreshments.  The address was 203 Mercantile Place in Los Angeles.


These cards depict how much Los Angeles has changed in 100-years since the fleet's visit.  The cards are part of a collection by Chief Electrician Stotz, USS Illinois.  The first card showing the streets lined with Victorian architecture including the old courthouse in the background with a clock tower.  Built in 1891, courthouse #3 was designed in the Richardsonian Romanesque style.  It had massive rustic stone walls, high foundations, crenelations, wall dormers, arcades, clock tower, and turrets.  It was torn down in 1932.  The oil wells near Santa Barbara are gone now and beaches prevail.  In early 1900 derricks to pump oil were erected uncontrollably throughout the State of California.  The Lick Observatory on Mt. Hamilton was the worlds's first permanently occupied mountain-top observatory.  It is owned and operated by the University of California since 1888 when it was installed with the largest refracting telescope of 36-inches.  In the 1970s light pollution impacted the quality of research that could be completed at the site but it was too costly to move.  Improvements to city street lights were made resulting in the site remaining viable for major observations.

For most sailors, buy postcards and souvenirs in California was the limit to their budget.  They also had to go out to events, restaurants, and entertainment.  For Frank Lesher, he spent his money on buying brochures of the cities as he went up the coast of California.  The one below is from his collection which includes photographs of the city.  The brochure is more than 50-pages long and I have limited the content to 20 pages.


South coast yacht club

The club was formed in 1901 by a group of avid sailors with it's first official race in from Brighton Beach ward to the whistle buoy off Point Fermin in 1902.  In 1904 they moved to their current location in San Pedro and built a clubhouse with galley, main room, and sleeping quarters.  In 1906 they competed in their first Transpacific Race.

The card at right was gifted to Midshipman Lofquist, USS Connecticut during his visit to Los Angeles.

The schooner 'La Paloma' on the California coast.


  recuperating at paso robles hot springs

Admiral Evans suffered from rheumatism.  A condition that overtook him after leaving Trinidad.  Though he was gravely ill, it is reported he remained in command.  Upon arrival at Magdalena Bay, in the later part of March he departed, on the advice of his physician, to go to Paso Robles for recuperation.  At left a RPPO of his arrival and at right a card from the facility where he stayed.


The fleet anchored of san pedro

Landing men from evans fleet - san pedro

This is a rare photo post card of a steamer pulling up to the pier in San Pedro with a string of liberty boats in tow.  On the pier can be seen a gathering of interested people coming to greet the fleet.

At right is a postcard that was issued after the fleet's departure, but shows the fleet entering San Pedro on April 18th, 1908.

Below is a card of the USS Rhode Island that was published well before the cruise.  This one used on April 20, 1908 with love from "Sister L."


The fleet at santa cruz


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