Tripping through southern California’s 19th century wine past
I have been having a great time touring around talking about Tangled Vines: Greed, Murder, Obsession and an Arsonist on the Vineyards of California. I am in Los Angeles as I write this, taking a breather after talking at The Homestead Museum in the City of Industry, the Galleano Winery in Mira Loma in Riverside County, the Huntington Library in San Marino, and the Hillcrest Country Club in Los Angeles. In between I had a newspaper and radio interview! I am not complaining – far from it – but tired since all those events were crammed into three days.
I also got a chance to stop by the Homestead Museum which has the adobe home built by William Workman in 1842. Workman and his partner John Rowland led the first wagon train of Americans to LA in 1842. Workman became very successful and was granted the 42,000-acre Rancho La Puente. In 1868, he went into the banking business with my great great grandfather Isaias Hellman and his son-in-law FPF Temple. The partnership didn’t last long and Workman and Temple formed their own bank. When a crash came in 1875, Temple borrowed funds to prop up the bank from EJ “Lucky” Baldwin. When they couldn’t repay the loan, the rancho was auctioned off for sale and Baldwin bought it. When Workman heard the news, he committed suicide in his living room. Workman also grew grapes on the property, which is why I spoke about Tangled Vines.
I have one more Southern California event: a reading at the wonderful independent bookstore Book Soup at 4 p.m. Saturday Nov. 7.