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From the Archives: The 1910 bombing of the Los Angeles Times

From the Archives: The 1910 bombing of the Los Angeles Times
Oct. 1, 1910: Crowds gather outside the Los Angeles Times after the bombing of the newspaper building. This photo appeared on Page 1 of the times on Oct. 2, 1910. (Los Angeles Times)

In observance of the 100th anniversary of the bombing of the Los Angeles Times, reporter Lew Irwin wrote in Oct. 3, 2010, editions:

Shortly after 1 a.m. on Oct. 1, 1910, 100 years ago Friday, a time bomb constructed of 16 sticks of 80% dynamite connected to a cheap windup alarm clock exploded in an alley next to the Los Angeles Times. It detonated with such violence that for blocks around, people ran panic-stricken into the streets, believing that an intense earthquake had hit the city.

The explosion destroyed the Times building, taking the lives of 20 employees, including the night city editor and the principal telegraph operator, and maiming dozens of others. Two other time bombs — intended to kill Gen. Harrison Gray Otis, the publisher of the newspaper, and Felix J. Zeehandelaar, the head of a Los Angeles business organization — were discovered later that morning hidden in the bushes next to their homes. Their mechanisms had jammed.

Eventually, two brothers, J.B. McNamara, who planted the bombs, and J.J. McNamara, an official of the International Assn. of Bridge and Structural Iron Workers union who ordered the attacks, were arrested, convicted and imprisoned.

The attack didn’t stop the Oct. 1, 1910, issue of The Times; it was printed at the Los Angeles Herald.

An earlier version of this photo gallery appeared on Sept. 30, 2011.

Oct. 1, 1910: Flames inside the Los Angeles Times building just a few minutes at the dynamite explos
Oct. 1, 1910: Flames inside the Los Angeles Times building just a few minutes after the dynamite explosion. Los Angeles Times
Oct. 1, 1910: Thirty minutes after the explosion, fire consumes the Times building.
Oct. 1, 1910: Thirty minutes after the explosion, fire consumes the Times building. Los Angeles Times
Oct. 3, 1910: Photo from Broadway side of the Los Angeles Times building showing the damage from the
Oct. 3, 1910: Photo from Broadway side of the Los Angeles Times building shows damage from the bombing and fire. Los Angeles Times
Oct. 1, 1910: A panorama of the ruins of the Los Angeles Times building after the bombing. Print fro
Oct. 1, 1910: A panorama of the ruins of the Los Angeles Times building after the bombing. Print from the former Los Angeles Times History Center. Los Angeles Times
Oct. 2, 1910: The smoking ruins of the Los Angeles Times building one day after the bombing.
Oct. 2, 1910: The smoking ruins of the Los Angeles Times building one day after the bombing. Los Angeles Times
Oct. 2, 1910: The north wall the day after the bombing of the Los Angeles Times building.
Oct. 2, 1910: The north wall the day after the bombing of the Los Angeles Times building. Los Angeles Times
Oct. 1920: Police officials tour the ruins of the Los Angeles Times after the Oct. 1, 1910, bombing.
Oct. 1920: Police officials tour the ruins of the Los Angeles Times after the Oct. 1, 1910, bombing. Los Angeles Times
The burned-out press room following the bombing of the Los Angeles Times on Oct. 1, 1910. October 19
The burned-out press room following the bombing of the Los Angeles Times. Huntington Library
Oct. 1910: Damage inside the Los Angeles Times building following the Oct. 1, 1910, bombing.
Oct. 1910: Damage inside the Los Angeles Times building following the Oct. 1, 1910, bombing. Los Angeles Times
Oct. 1910: Los Angeles Times building after the Oct. 1, 1910, bombing.
Oct. 1910: Los Angeles Times building after the Oct. 1, 1910, bombing. Los Angeles Times
Oct. 1910: Another view of the burned out offices of the Los Angeles Times following the early morni
Oct. 1910: Another view of the burned out offices of the Los Angeles Times following the early morning bombing. Los Angeles Times
Oct. 1910: The burned remains of the main business counter, which used wood from dozens of sources,
Oct. 1910: The burned remains of the main business counter, which used wood from dozens of sources, including California missions and a piece of the bed in which Abraham Lincon died. The Huntington Library
Oct. 1910: The bombed out Los Angeles Times building with poster announcing temporary locations of T
Oct. 1910: The bombed-out Los Angeles Times building with poster announcing temporary locations of Times departments. Los Angeles Times

On the back of the above photo was written:

Following the bombing, the newspaper moved its offices to a branch at 531 S. Spring St. A rival paper offered its presses so that the paper could be printed. In a box on the front page of The Times on Saturday, Oct. 1, 1910, Harry Andrews, managing editor of The Times, wrote: “They can kill our men and can wreck out building, but by the God above they cannot kill the Times.”

See more from the Los Angeles Times archives here

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