Harry Chandler: Man with the Midas Touch

Harry Chandler: Man with the Midas Touch

by Daniel Alef

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Biographical profile of Harry Chandler, publisher of the Los Angeles Times and architect of the growth of the City of Los Angeles. On his death in October, 1944, Newsweek Magazine reported: "He has been called the most hated man in California. Yet, paradoxically, more than any other man, Harry Chandler was given the credit for building the great city of Los Angeles from a pueblo of 12,000 inhabitants to a metropolis of close to 2 million." The man who shunned publicity and worked behind the scenes, a master choreographer of industrial growth who brought Hollywood and Aerospace to the City of the Angeles, amassed one of America's greatest fortunes. He arranged for the theft of water from the Owens Valley for Los Angeles, incited an insurrection in Mexico, and became the largest landholder in Los Angeles. Award-winning author and syndicated columnist Daniel Alef who has written and published more than 300 biographical profiles of America's greatest titans, tells this uniquely fascinating tale of Chandler's self-made empire--Los Angeles. [8,831-word Titans of Fortune article]

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781608043026
Publisher: Titans of Fortune Publishing
Publication date: 01/20/2009
Series: Titans of Fortune
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
File size: 847 KB

About the Author

Daniel Alef has written many legal articles, one law book, one historical anthology, Centennial Stories, and authored the award-winning historical novel, Pale Truth (MaxIt Publishing, 2000). Foreword Magazine named Pale Truth book of the year for general fiction in 2001 and the novel received many outstanding reviews including ones from Publishers Weekly and the American Library Association's Booklist. A sequel to Pale Truth, currently entitled Measured Swords, has just been completed.

Read an Excerpt

As a youngster Harry Chandler could best be described as a model child, the perfect American boy, with floppy sandy hair and large, innocent, agate-brown eyes. He grew into an adult who was tall, stern, tough, hardheaded, and anything but innocent. He conducted the affairs of Los Angeles like a grandmaster playing his pawns, checkmating any opposition and always controlling the board. Some called him shrewd, calculating, unscrupulous, and ambitious. Others swore by him, especially his fellow members in such exclusive Los Angeles enclaves as the California and Jonathan Clubs. Above all he achieved amazing success, a mirror of the growth and success of Los Angeles, to which his fortunes were inextricably tied. Harry had the Midas touch.
Harry Chandler grew up in Landaff, New Hampshire, a small village a few miles east of the town of Lisbon and the Ammonoosuc River. Purple lilacs and lush elms dotted the countryside. Children in the wooded vale spent their idle summertime swimming in Pearl Lake or hiking through thick, verdant forests carpeting the surrounding hills. The winters were not idyllic, with freezing snow and ice, and raw winds that shredded any semblance of warmth. Winters in Landaff merely served as a test of survival, a test that Harry ultimately failed.
It happened in 1882 when Harry left for Dartmouth College. He was a fearless, immortal freshman, not unlike any other 18-year-old teenager bound for higher learning, ready to grapple with his studies or fellow students. Life was a lark. The winter arrived early that year, and a simple, almost innocuous freshman prank changed the course of American history. Harry dove into a vat filled with ice, some say it was an icy river, and within a few days developed bronchitis. The bronchitis became pneumonia that got progressively worse until his lungs hemorrhaged. Unable to continue with his studies Harry returned home where his worried parents, after reading newspaper accounts about Southern California's salubrius climate, made a fateful decision-to send him to Los Angeles to recuperate.
Although his parents were not wealthy, Harry was so weak they tightened their belts and paid the $150 for a Pullman berth. Harry began his voyage from East to West, from rags to riches, in suitable style. The journey in May 1882 took seven and a half days on the Union Pacific, Central Pacific, and Southern Pacific railroads, from Boston through New York, Chicago, St. Louis, Omaha, Cheyenne, Ogden, Reno, Sacramento, on to Los Angeles. The experience was a kaleidoscope of remarkable change, threading through deep woods, across the Great Plains, past long stretches of baking deserts, through the Sierra Nevada Mountains, and along California's fertile San Joaquin Valley. The black steam engine and passenger carriages passed nearly 300 stations before Harry finally arrived at his destination, weary but excited.

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