Thursday, November 2, 2023

Well, this is one for the books!

 In 1885, the new metropolis (not really, town really) of Los Angeles welcomed visitors and tried to sell the area. It turns out that the visitors signed in. And after decades, one of these volumes is for sale. I am coping the post here (from - an LA substack)...

Listed on eBay right now, with an auction ending on Friday, November 3 at 9:00pm Pacific Time, is the great white whale of Los Angeles book lore, and we’re putting this message in the virtual bottle and tossing it onto the metaphoric waves confident that somebody who reads this post will do what must be done to ensure this unique and important 500 pound, $500 (opening bid) volume is safely installed in a local library or archive, where it belongs.

So, what is it? Only the enormous guest registry that the Neuner Company printed and bound circa 1895 for the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, then headquartered in the Mason Building at 4th and Broadway, and soon to move onto Neuner’s block at 1st and Broadway, kitty-korner to the old Los Angeles Times.

Today, the Chamber is a lobbying organization, but in 1896 it was the city’s top booster, exhibiting spectacular displays of fruits, nuts, wines, plants and handicrafts, and producing publicity material meant to sell visitors on the possibilities of doing business, setting roots or simply visiting the City of Angels.

And should you visit the Chamber of Commerce, before exploring the wonders on display, an attendant would urge you to take up a pen and inscribe your name and home town in the massive guest book, which like much on view was rare, big and impressive.

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