Support for LAist comes from
True LA stories, powered by you
Stay Connected

Share This

News

'On This Day In LA' App Teaches You About L.A. History's Mythical Monsters, Pueblo Roots & More

Our reporting is free for everyone, but it’s not free to make.
LAist only exists with reader support. If you're in a position to give, your donation powers our reporters and keeps us independent.

The Studio for Southern California History has given Los Angeles nerds an early holiday present: a free app that tells you something important, awesome or bizarre that happened on any given date in the city's history.

You can look up what happened on whatever day it happens to be — or you can punch in any other date — and the app will spit out a piece of Angeleno history from sometime between 1769 and 2000. In today's entry, we find out that over 50 years ago the Herald Examiner's newspaper circulation figures weren't that much lower than the current Los Angeles Times):

Here's the date that Los Angeles became a cityciudad:

But nearly twenty years later, it was still a really small ciudad:

Support for LAist comes from

One reviewer in the Apple store found what we would imagine is the absolute best entry (even if we haven't looked at 360 of them):

July 15, 1886
While traveling to Carpinteria from Nevada, Mr. Peter S. Simpson, his wife, and their three children stop for the night at Elizabeth Lake near Bakersfield. Simpson notices a foul smell rising from the lake and mist quickly descending with nightfall. At midnight a "terrible" roaring wakes Mr. Simpson, who compares it to "the muttering of distant thunder, accompanied by a peculiarly, loud, indescribable hissing noise." Though troubling, the noise seems distant and Simpson cannot see anything; moments later, Simpson hears a stampede of a herd. The sound continues and Simpson, following it to the peak of a low knoll, discovers the source: a monster feasting on slain antelope at the base of a valley. Simpson describes the creature as "about thirty feet long overall...and of a warm reddish color, with a long snout and jagged yellow teeth. It had enormous wings, rigged like those of a bat, evidently, long hind legs and a long tail, with a seemingly hard, barbed point. From its head and neck fell a shaggy mane, and its huge eyes gleamed like two horrid fires." Feasting on the antelope, the monster is unperturbed by two other antelope who butt their antlers against its scaly sides. Simpson reports watching the scene transfixed for ten minutes before attempting to shoot the monster. Upon doing so, the bullet ricochets off of the monster's scales and the sound of the shot scares the antelope and ultimately the creature, which launches into flight with the carcass in its mouth, to dive into Lake Elizabeth "with a splash that must have been audible for miles." Simpson is one of many to report on the "monster" of Lake Elizabeth.

This only proves that some of the craziest stories from Southern California (like this) came from somewhere near Bakersfield even back in the day.We'll be playing around with this, but let us know what else you find in the comments.