Topanga Before Today

Pablo CapraBy Pablo Capra      April 30, 2021

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Topanga Before Today
REHEARSING PLAY—The United Daughters of the Confederacy are to present “Breezy Point” at the Ebell club on May 21. They are shown listening to Ida M. Morrison, director, read the parts. [1924-05-03 Illustrated Daily News]
Confederacy Daughters April 4, 1912, Los Angeles Times—Mrs. Anna Eckenberger, at the Peeler ranch in Topanga Canyon, will entertain the Wade Hampton Chapter, United Daughters of the Confederacy, with an all-day barbecue picnic tomorrow. The forenoon will be devoted to business, with Mrs. Ida M. Morrison presiding. At the last meeting with Mrs. Alice James on Crenshaw Boulevard delegates were elected to attend the State convention in San Jose, May 13.
Guaranteed to make “Old Timers” thirsty. The cargo of booze captured in this morning’s raid, piled up in front of police station. [1923-03-22 The Long Beach Telegram]
JURY IS CHOSEN IN LIQUOR CASE”
Stewart, Millionaire of Long Beach, Declared in Canada Rum Plot
January 21, 1925, The Pomona Progress—Selection of the jury in the “millionaire booze ring” trial, involving Alexander B. Stewart, wealthy Long Beach fish packer, and eleven others, was completed today before Federal Judge McCormick.

Mark L. Herron, government prosecutor, outlined the state’s case, charging that the ring had a liquor rendezvous near Topango canyon, and received imported booze from rum ships off the Santa Barbara islands.

The trial is the outgrowth of a liquor raid March 22, 1923, at the wharf of Stewart’s packing plant when, it is alleged, a large quantity of imported drinks was seized.

Herron, continuing his outline, linked Stewart with activities of Jack Miller, wealthy Canadian liquor dealer. Government witnesses, Herron said, had seen Stewart driving away from his packing plant with five cases of Scotch liquor in a sedan.
Photo 1100/550 px / Caption: A close up of the same picture showing the assorted brands of the shipment. [1923-03-22 The Long Beach Telegram]
Changes Plea
Before Stewart received this liquor, Herron said it had been taken off a Canadian ship near Anacapa Island, in the Santa Barbara group, and ferried down the coast in a Japanese fishing boat, captained by J. Nagal.

George Cheney, one of the defendants who yesterday changed his plea from not guilty to guilty and turned states witness, was the first person called to the stand.

Cheney said that Lewis and Claud Dudrey, Oscar Lung, Jack Miller, Larry Talbot and Jerry Knolton, defendants in the case, came to his Topanga canyon ranch early In 1923 and asked permission to build a liquor store house about seven miles inland, on his property.

Stewart Not Seen
They said they would pay him $150 a month rent and 50 cents on every case of liquor stored there, Cheney said. He agreed to the proposal.

The warehouse was built and about February first, a truck unloaded 260 cases of liquor, the witness said. This was later taken away in automobiles and the next consignment contained 300 cases.
Cheney said he did not see Stewart during any of these operations.

YIPPEE-EE-E! BRING YOUR BANDANA BUT NO SPURS, PLEASE HILL BILLIES TO GATHER AT SYLVIA PARK FOR BIG DOINGS”
December 4, 1942, Topanga Journal—Yippee-ee-e! The big ‘Round-Up’ comes this weekend. Have you got that bandana around your neck? Or a ten-gallon hat? Spurs are barred—there’ll be dancing.

Pull up before the Sylvia Park Clubhouse at 6 p.m. on Saturday night. There’ll be beans ready for you, Ken Conner’s famous baked beans the likes of which no cowboy ever tasted. And the aroma of coffee in the air!

First you eat, then stroll around to see what wares the cowgirls have rounded up to tempt your Christmas purse. And wait till you see that display of home-cooked foods. In the corner room, Madame X will be on hand to read your palm or take a peek into the future with the cards.

Hi, you-all! That will be the M.C. calling you to see the first number on the program. A lusty song or two, and you can shout your loudest. Then you can grab yourself a partner and a-dancing you will go.

Raffles Galore
The smallest cowboy on the lot will draw the numbers for the raffles. Try your luck winning that turkey; or the pillowcases to give to your Ma for Christmas; and the afghan—just wait till you see that: you’ll want to buy a herd of chances.

What’s that about the gas rationing? Ah, go on! There won’t be so much fun within another two hundred miles. And just think, this is all for Civilian Defense. The way these gals of ours have been dishing out materials and work, foods and gadgets, the way they’ve been trotting around gathering and disbursing and concocting, it would be darned ungrateful and unpatriotic if we didn’t all turn out to give them a big hand. And say, how about meeting down at the Defense Headquarters, or in front of Topanga School and doubling up on this transportation? If you’ve got two or three, or only one, extra seats, stop by there and see if you can give someone else a lift. Or, if you’re gas-less, drop around there, and lasso the first passerby.

The Price Is Low
Your tickets will cost vou 55c, and don’t forget that can of food that’s to accompany it. Half-portions for children, 25c.

Whoa, Silver! Here we are, Topanga’s biggest party. Fun for everybody. We’ll be seein’ you!

DONKEY BASEBALL
From the “Canyon Carousel” column
by Virginia Loback

May 1, 1953, Topanga Journal—If you missed the Donkey Baseball game last Sunday when the Legion’s “Tin-Soldiers” played the Rider’s Club “Donkey Cowboys” you were absent at the most hilarious program of sports held this year! Black and Blue and bruised all over, these gallant gentlemen galloped the grounds for nine innings to give the Legionnaires a victorious score of 1 to 0 and the sticks to start their clubhouse. The rapid repertoire of such emcees as Frank Molloy, Monty Montgomery, Jim Nealey and Tom Cheney kept the game and the players going at a gay gait.

There were cheers for Jack Dunphy who made the only homerun and cheers for Dick Stacey who clung to his beast of burden like an old master at the game. There were cheers for Ray Alley who couldn’t be unseated even though he was carried to the very edge of the outfield. The cheers rang loudly for L. S. Crocker who pitched for the Legion and gave them a triumph tally and also arose for Harold Boston, new member of the Post, who bit the dust for the cause. The merriment was momentarily marred when Russ Gillespie (Riders Club) was kicked in the ribs by his mount, however he was game enough to play to the very last inning. (Russ left on Monday to become a member of the Armed Forces). Cheers went up for Paul Duber, Jerry Hould, Harry Depew and Chester Preston as they bopped from one base to another, for the Legionnaires.

The most picturesque pitcher on a baseball diamond was George Law, who was dressed in dashing duds of the vintage worn by such gay caballeros as Autrey, Rogers and Williams. Also riding the little rascals in an attempt to retrieve the score for the Riders were Jim Rickman, Al Sehmeyer and Lee Conger. Telling a tale of torment are Jim Buerckel and Ron Bouseman, who found out that the terra was never more firma.

We hear that Pat Marshburn missed an important meeting of her sorority, Phi Epsilon Phi, up San Francisco way so she could attend the game.

We doff our derby to the gals of the Auxiliary who handled the hot-dog concession, to Sally Nealey who made the trek to Topanga from Santa Monica; to Mildred Buerckel who donated her pickup; to Edna Laventhal who kept things moving at an even keel, and to Theckla Duber whose smile is most contagious, even over a steam table. There’s a double salute to Connie Ugpham and Tom Cheney, Connie’s colorful corral pick-up was converted into a refreshment stand.

The soft-ball game that followed the “most assinine game in the world” rounded out the day for the Legionnaires, the Riders and all their guests.

For more information about the Topanga Historical Society: topangahistoricalsociety.org/archive/document/725
Pablo Capra

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April 30, 2021

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