29 November 2011

1924 Map of Olinda Oil Field and Surrounding Areas, Part Four

This post, continuing the highlighting of a 1924 map of the Olinda Oil Field and nearby locales, moves to the west and south of the area discussed in the last and takes us into the Orange County and Brea portion of Carbon Canyon.

In this case, there are four individually-listed owners of parcels ranging from the county line out to the La Vida Mineral Springs property.  As stated before, although the map is of a certain date, the reference to property owners is, in many cases, to ownership in prior years.  In other words, the persons here likely were not owners of the holdings shown as of 1924, but, instead, earlier.

Closest to the county line is land shown as owned by Annie Edwardson.  Edwardson and her husband Lars were natives of Norway, she born in March 1846 and he six years earlier, and married about 1868.  The two then migrated to the United States in 1885.  By 1900, the two were living in what later became part of the City of Placentia, but which was denoted in the census of that year and a decade later as Fullerton township.  Lars was a farmer and the couple, who had eight children with six living to adulthood, were residing with three sons and a daughter.  Today, there is an Edwardson Circle near the northeast corner of Kraemer Avenue and Bastanchury Road, where there is a townhouse complex today, which commemorates this family's ranch which was on the site.  In fact, they Edwardsons were virtually neighbors of Charles C. Wagner, who, as noted in the last post, owned a stretch of Carbon Canyon just north of Sleepy Hollow over the county line.  It could well be that Wagner and the Edwardsons purchased their Canyon property at around the same time and for similar reasons: the possibility of oil production looming after the 1897 strike of crude at Olinda.  It is hard to imagine why they and others would buy hilly, rocky Canyon land otherwise.

There were three other owners listed to the west and slightly south of Edwardson and in the general vicinity of what became the La Vida Mineral Springs.  One of these is J. S. Carver and, while there was a New York-born furniture salesman of that name who lived in Orange in the 1900 census and died in that city five years later, it is not known if this is one and the same person.  This Carver might plausibly be seen as  a local who may have saved enough money to buy a small plot of land in the Canyon for potential petroleum prospecting.

Another owner was Charles E. Price, who, as noted in an April 2010 post on this blog, was secretary of the Carbon Canyon Oil Company, a firm formed in 1900 and which owned 160 acres at the junction of Carbon and Soquel canyons near the Hollydale Mobile Home Estates in Olinda Village.  Born in Canada about 1868 and a migrant to the U. S. at age 20, Price resided in the West Adams neighborhood of Los Angeles in 1900, a few doors down from Carbon Canyon Oil Company president William West.  While Carbon Canyon eventually went out of business, Price continued to work with oil companies with West and others and lived until 1951.

Finally, there is Burdette Chandler, whose tenure in the Carbon Canyon and wider area was much earlier than the others noted so far in this series.   Chandler was born in April 1836 in Union, New York, a small town southwest of Syracuse and where his father was a merchant.  Chandler, who married in the late 1850s, went into the dry goods business and lived for a time in a small community called Pomfret, near Lake Erie about halfway between Buffalo and Erie, Pennsylvania.   Meantime, the first oil boom in the U.S. erupted in 1859 in Pennsylvania and Chandler went to Venango County, the center of all the attention and worked as an operator there.  He then migrated to Toronto, Canada by 1871 and was involved in oil speculation there before trying his hand in similar endeavors in West Virginia.

In 1877, Chandler and his wife Albertine came to Los Angeles and resided on Aliso Street near the Los Angeles River, where, in 1880, Chandler was listed in the census as a farmer.  In an article in the Los Angeles Herald from 1906, Chandler tried to take credit for introducing the oil industry to the city.  While there were attempts as early as 1865 and then during the first half of the 1870s to develop wells to the north in present-day Santa Clarita, with some small successes, it is true that Chandler was one of, if not the first, to drill a crude (!) well within the city limits of Los Angeles.  He did have some success and, by his account, "later I bought up thousands of acres of land near Whittier, Puente and Fullerton," including an instance in which, "at a sale of the old Temple estate, I bought 1200 acres of land north of Brea Canyon for $800."  This refers to the former Rancho Cañada de la Brea in Brea Canyon, which had passed to the ownership of rancher and banker, F. P. F. Temple.  The Los Angeles bank owned by Temple and his father-in-law, William Workman, half-owner of the massive Rancho La Puente in the eastern San Gabriel Valley, collapsed in 1876 and Chandler was able to buy up some considerable acreage from the ruined men's estates.

In a depressed economy that lasted for a decade or so, Chandler claimed that he "lost" 1000 acres to Standard Oil Company and sold 200 more to a man named Daniel Murphy and his Brea Cañon Oil Company in Fall 1899.  Chandler also noted that he sold other oil-rich lands, before they were developed, for small amounts, including a section of property in the Puente Hills that he got $1300 for, but stated were worth $2 million in 1906.  In another instance, Chandler sold Whittier property to a Michigan native named Simon Murphy for $11,000, which was said to be worth $1,500,000 at the time the article was written.  This area is now the Murphy Ranch areas of east Whittier.

As to the Olinda area, Chandler had acquired quite a holding, as well, but noted that "Scott and Loftus bought some land and they now [again, 1906] have an output of from 1000-2000 barrels per day."  Chandler refers here to William Loftus of the Graham-Loftus Oil Company, an early entrant at the Olinda field during the late 1890s and to William Benjamin Scott, connected to the Stewart brothers [also veterans of the Pennsylvania oil fields] who founded Union Oil Company, and whose Columbia Oil Company came into Olinda at about the same time as Loftus.  Scott was also one of the tres hermanos, along with Los Angeles Times publisher Harry Chandler [no known relation to Burdette] and former Los Angeles County Sheriff and Puente Oil Company president William R. Rowland in the ranch of that name in upper Tonner Canyon north of Carbon Canyon.  In fact, in Fall 1881, Rowland brought Chandler out to his holdings in the Puente Hills to drill an oil well.  Within four years, the two developed enough successful oil production to create the Puente Oil Company, though Chandler soon sold his interest to Los Angeles businessman William Lacy.  Puente Oil also had land and oil wells in the general Olinda and Brea Canyon area.

Chandler, who also had oil interests at Huasna in San Luis Obispo County in 1899 in conjunction with Puente Oil, was quite involved in the Los Angeles city politics and, within only a couple of years of arriving in town, secured election to the city council as a representative of the Fourth Ward,  He served three terms between 1880 and 1888, the latter being the peak of the massive real estate boom known as the "Boom of the Eighties."   After leaving the council (and overcoming a grand jury indictment on a charge of blackmail in 1889, perhaps connected to his political connections), Chandler moved to the newly-fashionable suburb of Boyle Heights.  After the death of his wife, he remarried in 1902 and remained involved in the oil industry (in 1909, he was again arrested on a charge of embezzlement brought against him by two brothers who owned an oil company of which Chandler was a director--this case was dismissed) until his death at age 76 in February 1914, a decade before the publication of this updated map.  Chandler was buried at Rosedale Cemetery west of downtown Los Angeles.

Next, we move a little further west and south towards Olinda.

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