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William May Garland was born March 31, 1866, the second child of the Reverend Jonathan May Garland and his wife, Rebecca Heagan Jewett Garland. He had a brother, George Erastus, called Rastie, who was three years older, and a sister, Olive Rosamund, called Rose, who was four years younger.
|William May Garland age 1||William May Garland's birth place & ancestral home|
The family lived in Westport, Maine, an island off the coast near Wiscasset, which was accessible only by a ferry until the 1960s, when a short bridge was completed. It was a prosperous port, since it had several deep water anchorages, that stayed ice-free during the harsh Maine winters.
Becca's family had lived on Westport for a century, so she was related to most of the neighboring families, and found it a congenial home, while her husband was gone on his travels as an itinerant minister.
When it came time for the children to go to school the family moved to Waterville, Maine, close to Jonathan's family in Winslow. They lived in two rented houses there which have been dutifully visited and photographed for the past fifty years, first by William May Garland and his son, John Jewett Garland in 1931, then by Jack and his daughter, Gwen in 1967, and finally by Gwen and her husband, Guilford Carlile Babcock in 1983. The houses have changed color, but seem to be going strong.
|Waterville Maine homes & how they've changed through the years|
|90 Front St - 1931||90 Front St - 1967||90 Front St - 1983|
|16 Sherwin St - 1931||16 Sherwin St - 1967||16 Sherwin St - 1983|
After a brief stint working on his uncle's farm in Winslow, Willie left for Boston where he worked as a clerk for a wholesale and retail crockery firm. After a year there he decided to follow his parents to Florida where his father owned an orange grove and operated a stage coach line. When he was told by a native that most of the northerners who came to Florida for the sake of curing their coughs were returned to their hometowns in pine boxes, he moved on to what he hoped would be a healthier climate.
Will's mother had some family connections in Chicago which helped him in his next job. Her youngest sister Jenny had married William H. Mitchell, and her brother George's daughter, Mary Louise Jewett would marry William's son, John James Mitchell in April of 1890. The Mitchells were prominent members of Chicago's banking community. Willie began as a messenger at the Merchant's National Bank, moved up to Clearing House clerk, and six years later he was appointed receiving teller in the Illinois Trust and Savings Bank, of which John J. Mitchell later became president.
However, Will must have continued to have problems with his lungs, since he followed doctor's orders to find a milder, dryer climate, and arrived in Los Angeles in the winter of 1890. His first job was as an auditor with the Pacific Cable Railway Company, which was the primary transportation company in the city. After three years he began his own real estate business. His first important deal was the subdivision of the Wilshire Boulevard Tract which he marketed in 1896. Unfortunately he didn't buy in this area himself.
William Garland met Blanche Hinman in 1897 at a party at Turnverein Hall and they were married the following year in Dunkirk, New York on October 10. They returned to Los Angeles after their honeymoon and lived in a rented house until the completion of their new home at 815 West Adams boulevard in 1900. William Marshall Garland was born on May 9th that year, and John Jewett Garland was born on April 20, 1902.
The W. M. Garland Company dealt primarily with commercial property, and was remembered particularly for its advertising signs predicting the population of Los Angeles at the turn of every decade. The signs were divided diagonally into red and white sections, and could be seen all over the downtown area.
William May Garland became well known as a leader in the young community. He was a founder of the Los Angeles Realty Board, and served as its president in 1912. He was a director of numerous organizations, and served for two years on the Los Angeles Board of Library Directors.
A staunch Republican, he was a delegate to the National Convention which nominated William McKinley in Philadelphia in 1900 and a member of the notification committee from California which visited Canton, Ohio to notify Major McKinley of his election to the Presidency.
In the book Press Reference Library, Notables of the Southwest published by the Los Angeles Examiner in 1912, it states that Mr. Garland was Lieutenant Colonel and aide-de-camp on the staff of ex-Governor Gillett. Possibly this explains the honorific Colonel by which he was known for many years.
My grandmother always called her husband Billy. In a 31 page letter to her written in 1932, Billy recounts the events leading up to his winning the X Olympiad for the city of Los Angeles. He begins:
"Some time in 1918, when my office was located at 729 South Spring Street, I was visited by five publishers--Harry Chandler of the Los Angeles Times; F.W. Kellogg, representing the Los Angeles Evening Express; Guy Barham, representing the Los Angeles Herald; M. H. Imsen, representing the Los Angeles Examiner, and H. B. R. Briggs, representing the Los Angeles Record.
They stated to me that, for the first time in the history of Los Angeles, the newspapers had arrived at the determination to become a unit on everything that had to do with the upbuilding and advancement of Los Angeles. They reserved the right to exercise their judgment politically and in the fundamental organization and conduct of their several papers, but in everything that had to do with the upbuilding of Los Angeles, they would work unitedly. They enlarged their plan by suggesting that they add about twenty, or twenty-five representative business men to the organization, to be selected from different walks of business endeavor, and complete an organization which would be known as the Community Development Association. They further requested that I act as president of the organization when it was formulated. At that time I was president of the Los Angeles Athletic Club. It immediately struck me as a splendid idea and I very willingly accepted...
Early in 1920, I announced my intention of going to Europe with my two sons
for the purpose of visiting the battle fields of the World War of 1914-1918,
in France and Belgium, and to attend the resumption of the Olympic Games,
which were to be held in Antwerp, Belgium, in 1920. The last Olympic Games
had been held in Stockholm, Sweden, in 1912. The Games of 1916 were to have
been held in Berlin, Germany, but owing to the cataclysm of the World War,
they were abandoned.
Meanwhile, the Community Development Association advocated the building of a coliseum seating seventy-five thousand persons, to be dedicated to the soldiers and sailors who had participated in the late war. A bond issue was placed on the ballot in August in the sum of nine hundred thousand dollars for that purpose.
I was requested by the Community Development Association to visit Antwerp to show the blue-prints of the proposed new Coliseum. They also provided a very beautiful Morocco bound invitation signed by the Governor of California, Mayor of Los Angeles, Councilmen, Officers of the Chamber of Commerce, Officers of the Merchants and Manufacturers Association, and by the presidents of the different athletic clubs of the Pacific Coast cities, written in the English and French language, and at that time endeavor to secure the VIII Olympiad in 1924 for Los Angeles."
Billy goes on to describe the trip with his sons, listing the hotels where they stayed and the restaurants where they dined. The Garlands did not eat fast food! On arriving in Antwerp, the Garlands met a Mr. Robert Weaver of Los Angeles, a member of the Los Angeles Athletic Club and also an official of the American Olympic Association, who was complaining heartily about the poor food and sleeping accommodations, not only on the ship, but also in Antwerp. " I was impressed, at that time, with the necessity of providing in the future excellent food and quarters for all athletes to whom we looked for successful participation in the Olympic Games--a matter I never forgot. The following day, August 16th, we were thrilled to see Charles Paddock, representing the Los Angeles Athletic Club, win the finals in the 100 meter dash."
Billy went on to learn the ins and outs of the International Olympic Committee,
a self-perpetuating non-representative body, that chose its members from individuals
associated with amateur sports in their various countries. He met two of the
three members of the IOC from the USA, and informed them that he wanted to
bring the Games to Los Angeles. They received his proposal with a smile, but
agreed to make the arrangements for an audience with the IOC on August 18th.
"I appeared at the Hotel de Ville at 10:00 o'clock on the following Wednesday and met, for the first time, Baron Pierre de Coubertin, president of the International Olympic Committee, and some forty members, more or less, of the Committee from all sections of the world...I was struck by the solemnity of the occasion because all the members were dressed in cutaway suits and arose in a very dignified manner when I entered the room."
Told that the next two Olympiads had already been allocated to Paris and Amsterdam, and that 1932 would be the earliest open date, he left the formal invitation and the blueprints for the new Coliseum. Two days later he received the news that the bond issue for the Coliseum had been defeated... Needless to say, he didn't deliver this message to the Olympic Committee.
Back in Los Angeles the Community Development Association made plans to have the Coliseum funded with loans from the Los Angeles Clearing House.
Billy received a letter on March 23rd, 1921, asking if he would consider membership in the International Olympic Committee, stating that they had been deeply impressed by him. After accepting the invitation, he learned in April of 1922 of his unanimous election. He and Blanche set off on the S. S. Paris from New York on May 24th arriving in Paris on June 1st for their first meeting. It seems that he further charmed the IOC by reiterating his former offer for Los Angeles to take on the Games of 1924 if Paris abandoned them, or of the Games of 1928 if Amsterdam was unable to hold them.
The meeting concluded, and the Garlands remained in Paris, awaiting the arrival of Jack, who after finishing his college year at Yale, arrived on the S. S. Aquitania at Cherbourg on June 19th. He had traveled with cousins James Richard Jewett, his wife, Margaret, and their son, George Frederick Jewett. The three Garlands then traveled through France for another month.
The Olympics in 1932 were an incredible success. For the first time in the
history of the modern Olympiads, an Olympic Village, separate housing for
the athletes, was constructed. The city of Los Angeles planted 100,000 palm
trees to celebrate the occasion. With involvement from the entire community,
the Games concluded with a profit...even in the depths of the Great Depression.
The Garland house at 815 West Adams was close to the major sports venues during the Olympics, and must have been a scene of much entertainment. My father used to describe the Opening Ceremony, which was officially opened by Vice-President Curtis, instead of President Hoover...a source of consternation to many, since it marked the first time a country's leader had failed to be present for the Olympic Opening.
My brother and I used to go to my grandparent's home on Sunday mornings after our father took us to Sunday School at St. John's Episcopal Church, until the war and gas rationing forced us to transfer to the local San Marino Church. My memories of my grandfather are of an elderly, very deaf gentleman. I wonder if years of shooting guns without any protection in the ears was the cause of his deafness. During the nine months that I spent in the Children's Hospital in 1942, he was a frequent visitor, coming to play gin rummy with me. I believe that he also taught me to play dominoes at that time. I remember both grandparents playing games with each other when we were at Casa Ladera, their second home in Pebble Beach, California..
Billy died on September 26, 1948 in the Monterey Community Hospital, from pneumonia exacerbated by chronic bronchitis, and a gangrenous gall bladder. He was 82 years old. His funeral at the family house was a huge affair, with flowers filling the house, and extending down both sides of the front path to the street.
|William May Garland as a young man||William May Garland with his signature||William May Garland visits the pototo patch 50 years later|
|The new house at 815 West Adams about 1900||Split level view||Dining Room|
|Official Pass 1932||Vice President Charles Curtis & William May Garland - opening day of Olympics July 1932||Olympic Memories 1932|
|Vice President Charles Curtis with Blance and "Billy" Garland - opening day of Olympics July 1932||William May Garland memorial tablet||Letter from President McKinley 1900|
|Letter from President Roosevelt 1938||Letter from William May Garland to future bride1897||Letter to office staff 1947|
|Example of W.M. Garland & Co. signboards||W.M. Garland Building||Map showing W.M. Garland Building location|
|1952 photo of Melrose Hotel before the buildings were torn down||The Garland's 1st car, a 1904 Winton||Aviating in 1911|
|Hard to see but note the W.M. Garland sign below the balloon - 1920||Letter from President Hoover 1932||Autographed photo of President Herbert Hoover|
|1906 Pierce Arrow||1906 Pierce Arrow described in 1950s||1911 cross country automobile trip|
|Cross country trip made in July 1911 in W.M. Garland's 1911 Pierce Arrow||Jack, Blanche and William May "Billy" Garland in Venice 1931|
Throughout the thirty years of my association with downtown real estate in Los Angeles, five factors have repeatedly proved their outstanding value in regard to office space:
Central Location: A point where people can easily come to do business.
Accessibility: Easy to reach by street car and automobile.
Convenience: Close to banks, shopping districts, theatres, clubs, etc., where auto parks at low rates are close at hand.
The Trend of Progress: Where the volume of business is increasing.
A Modern Building: Giving assurance of safety, satisfaction, and service.
When these five conditions are met, office space has always proved most desirable and profitable to tenants.