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Los Angeles Times building was bombed by union militants

On the morning of October 1, 1910, the Los Angeles Times’ main building was bombed by angry union members. Tension between business owners and organized labor unions had been increasing, and violence had erupted other places in the U.S. Soapbox orators and union leaders claimed that businesses neglected their workers. The Los Angeles Times editors, particularly owner Harrison Gray Otis, were generally anti-union, calling the IWW union the "I Won’t Work movement" because of its frequent strikes.

When the bombing occurred, workers were putting the paper to the presses. Twenty were killed and many more injured in the blast, and the building was reduced to rubble. Members of the International Association of Bridge and Structural Iron Workers, which was under suspicion, denied that a bomb had been set off and instead blamed faulty gas lines. However, in 1911 labor leaders James and John McNamara pled guilty to the bombing and were sentenced. The result of the bombing was that public opinion turned strongly against the unions, and they found it difficult to rally support among the people. Particularly after the outbreak of World War I, being pro-labor was considered equivalent to being anti-American, and unions grew scarce.

Hollywood's first movie, The Law of the Range, was filmed

The movie industry came to Hollywood in 1911, and found a permanent home there. A few films had already been made in the state, including in 1908 The Count of Monte Cristo, the first full-length movie filmed in California. The location of Hollywood appealed to both producers and directors of motion pictures for a number of reasons. One was that the wide variety of terrain near Hollywood allowed directors to shoot in a number of different "settings" without having to leave the area.

By 1914 dozens of film studios were operating, transforming Hollywood almost overnight into the film capital of the world. From early movies such as The Law of the Range, Hollywood’s first movie, and The Squaw Man, the first movie of Cecil B. De Mille, by the 1920s the film industry became more important to the economy than oranges. It was making more money than the gold rush had at its height. By the time The Jazz Singer, the first movie with sound, was released in 1927, Hollywood was well-established as a center for celebrities, and stars like Charlie Chaplin and Gloria Swanson were known world-wide. Firms that exist today, such as Metro-Goldwin-Mayer and United Artists, were founded in these golden days of Hollywood.

Alien Land Law was passed which prohibited non-citizens from owning land

On May 19, 1913, the Alien Land Law was passed, prohibiting ownership of land in California by those who were not U.S. citizens. This bill, also known as the Webb Act, was issued primarily in response to increasing numbers of Japanese immigrants.

Japan at the time was a growing industrial power. The Japanese who immigrated to the U. S. were generally ambitious and hard-working, but they were portrayed by the California press as shrewd and conniving. Many of them entered the country through Mexico or Hawaii without having proper permits, and many more came with false paperwork. This brought them into conflict with Caucasians living in California. Resentment and pressure grew until the government enacted the Alien Land Law.

The bill was moderated somewhat by President Woodrow Wilson, but he was unable to remove the harshest anti-Japanese clauses. Aliens who owned property must return it to the state; they could not buy land, nor lease it for more than three years. Nevertheless the Japanese population of California continued to grow, reaching 72,000 by 1920. Even more strict measures were later passed which made it illegal for anyone born in Japan to own land or a business. The rights of Japanese immigrants in America continued to deteriorate until after World War II.

Expositions were held in San Diego and San Francisco to celebrate the completion of the Panama Canal

In 1915 the Panama Canal was completed, and Californians celebrated this event with the Panama-Pacific Exposition in San Francisco and the Panama-California Exposition in San Diego. The Panama Canal was an important boost to California’s productivity because it drastically reduced the time necessary to ship goods to or from the state. Where ships previously had to travel all the way "around the horn," or past the bottom of South America, they now could cut that distance by more than half.

The directors of the San Diego fair presented a dramatic reenactment of the story of California from prehistory to this century, emphasizing the blooming of the desert under Spanish and American rule. The leaders of both San Diego and San Francisco hired architects to create buildings for the festival. Bertram Goodhue built structures based on Spanish Renaissance and Colonial styles that still stand in Balboa Park, San Diego. This architectural style caught on in much of southern California, and open patios, bright stucco, towers and domes became commonplace. Bernard Maybeck designed the neoclassical Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco.


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