A century of achievements

KATHERINE YAMADA

This year marks the 100th anniversary of two important events in

Glendale's history: the arrival of the Red Cars and the completion of

El Miradero in what is now Brand Park. Both were the product of L.C.

Brand's drive and determination to succeed.

I've just finished reading a Brand family history, written by Judy

Brand of Colorado, which details much of Leslie Coombs Brand's life.

He was born in 1859 in Missouri, one of several children of

relatively prosperous parents.

However, when Brand was 10, his father died and his mother was

left with several young children, the youngest less than a year old.

Brand had an older brother, who was 16 and old enough to take

charge, but the family history recounts a legendary story that during

a particularly severe blizzard in 1870, when many of the Brands were

stricken with cholera, the by- then-11-year-old Brand took a piece of

his mother's jewelry to St. Louis, successfully bartered with

merchants and returned home that evening with a wagon- load of coal

and rations to see his family through the winter.

"It's a delightful story," wrote Judy Brand.

By this time, the Brands were living in the St. Louis area, and

Brand completed his education there. When he was 20, Brand went to

work in a recorder's office in nearby Moberly and did so well that he

soon opened his own real estate office. He married Lulu Broughton in

1883, but sadly, she died a few months later.

Brand left Missouri after his wife's death and moved to Los

Angeles, which was experiencing a land boom at the time. He teamed up

with E.W. Sargent to form the Los Angeles Abstract Co. (a title

company) at the corner of Temple and New High streets in Los Angeles.

He returned to Missouri to settle his wife's estate and when he came

back, he brought his mother and two married sisters, Ada Stocker and

Helen Dryden, with him.

Brand had speculated on oil in the Saugus area when he first

arrived here. When that investment failed and a "lean '90s recession"

set in after the land boom, Brand and Sargent sold their company to

the fledging Title Insurance and Trust Co. Brand left for Galveston,

Texas to join other investors in buying real estate. According to the

family history, he worked for an abstract firm in Galveston and took

many long walks around the city.

He described Galveston's main street in a letter to his mother:

"Broadway is 150 feet wide and the center for miles is a park. A

driveway is on each side with flowers and grass and trees on either

side."

Perhaps Brand had Galveston's Broadway in mind when he later laid

out Brand Boulevard with a broad median strip down the middle for the

Red Cars.

Brand stayed at the Tremont Hotel in Galveston, a fine hotel

completed just after the Civil War. It had a great skylight, which so

impressed him that he later incorporated one into El Miradero.

By this time, his sister, Ada, had a daughter, Helen, and Brand

wrote a tender letter describing a Galveston snowstorm.

"I know you would like to see the snow and play in it ... when

'unkie' saw the little boys and girls on sleighs, he thought how he

would have liked to pull his baby [Helen] around on one too and see

her cheeks pretty and rosy. Your unkie, Les."

Note to Readers: Brand Library and Art Center, 1601 Mountain St.,

is observing the 100th anniversary of El Miradero next month. The

event will be celebrated for a week, beginning with the opening of

"Brand 33," its annual exhibition, on Dec. 5 and ending with the

Holiday Arts and Crafts Fair the following Saturday, Dec. 11.

* KATHERINE YAMADA'S column runs every other Saturday. To contact

her, call features editor Joyce Rudolph at 637-3241. For more

information on Glendale's history visit the Glendale Historical

Society's web page: www.glendalehistorical.org; call the reference

desk at the Central Library at 548-2027; or visit the Special

Collections Room at Central (open by appointment only).

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