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Early Monrovia Sensationalism: Mrs. Whitaker Proud of Her 8-Pound Potato

Newspapers were one of the main sources of information for early Monrovians and gave a glimpse into their daily lives.

Life in early Monrovia was in many respects similar to life here today. True, there were no cars, TVs, radios, or cell phones, and many conveniences (such as refrigeration) that we take for granted today simply didn’t exist then. But people were still people and their interactions could make for interesting insights. Good or bad, funny or serious, newspaper reporters told it like it was and had no qualms about moralizing or adding a few personal comments.

August 7, 1890, Monrovia Messenger

Azusa has a female barber, and she is said to be doing a rushing business. The unmarried men get along all right, when they go to get shaved, but married men do not fare so well. It is said that their wives require them to bring home a certificate, showing that they have been shaved by a male barber. At least so Editor Bentley tells us.

June 9, 1888, Monrovia Planet

You will have to collar your dog or else the Marshall will do so and place him in pound – or pound him in his place.

November 15, 1888, Monrovia Messenger

There is one exhibition at this office a sweet potato, which was raised by Mrs. W.W. Whitaker in the Southern part of town. It is 12 inches in length, 28 inches in circumference the long way and 20 the short way and weighs 8 pounds. It is not a yam but looks like an Irish potato having a pint tint. The ground was not fertilized nor was the plant given any extra care. Mrs. Whitaker is naturally proud of the potato, which shows the wonderful fertility of the soil here.

October 24, 1889, Monrovia Messenger

A new fad in New York is to have your best girl’s likeness photographed directly on the inner case of your watch. A French artist does the work. There is considerable to be said against this plan. However, supposing you thought you had your girl solid, but it proved that she would only be your “sister.” What would you do with the watch? You couldn’t even look to tell the time of day with any degree of comfort; you couldn’t pawn the watch and it is not probable that the new fellow would want it. No we don’t think the new fad will become very popular.

January 23, 1890, Monrovia Messenger

A few weeks ago a deaf mute artist was in town and made several “pictures” of citizens, charging at the rate of 25 cents therefore. We paid him two bits, and which he had finished the “picter” we had a notion of arresting him for obtaining money under false pretenses. After leaving here he started to “inspect” the Santa Fe railway between here and San Bernardino. When near North Ontario he was run over by a train and had one of his arms and one of his legs cut off.

March 21, 1889, Monrovia Messenger

There is something that perfumes the air in a very unpleasant manner near Ivy between Palm and White Oak – in fact there is something dead and decaying isn’t it the city marshal’s duty to see that this offensive thing is given a funeral?

January 30, 1890, Monrovia Messenger

Station agent Rogers has a very peculiar penholder, which is quite a novelty.  While up in the foothills back of Monrovia, Mr. Stewart found a squirrel that had just returned from a prospecting trip to Wilson’s Peak. He succeeded in capturing the animal and found its tail frozen stiff as a nail which after being dressed and varnished was made into an excellent pen holder, which may be seen anytime at the depot office.

Danielle July 16, 2012 at 01:11 AM
Regarding March 21 1889 heading...where was White Oak located at the time?
Bonnie Card July 16, 2012 at 01:43 PM
Colorado Blvd. was called White Oak.... I'm fairly certain
Jim Wigton July 16, 2012 at 04:50 PM
Foothill Blvd was originally called White Oak. Colorado was Orange, Huntington Drive was Falling Leaf, Canyon was Charlotte.
sayitisntso July 16, 2012 at 05:18 PM
Huntington was Falling Leaf and Hillcrest was Banana Ave. I just uploaded a 1904 Monrovia map. Go to this link and you will be able to enlarge it and see all of the street names, http://www.cyruskemp.com/1904monrovia.jpg
Danielle July 17, 2012 at 02:23 AM
Thanks everyone I really enjoyed the map very interesting
Gayle M. Montgomery July 18, 2012 at 12:25 AM
Cyrus, thanks for posting the map. When my now grown daughter with teenagers was a teen, she used to walk all over town, and she memorized the street names from Foothill to Central. Linwood, Palm, Lime, Lemon, COLORADO, Olive, Walnut Chestnut, Huntington Drive. COLORADO, where is the tree? I rather sensed for some time it was probably Orange, and this confirms it.

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