Swami Vivekananda in Southern California

*Violet indicates lodging

*Maroon indicates events

Lodging


Miss Spencer’s House

December 3rd, 1899 – December 10th, 1899
Stayed at Miss Spencer’s house (location unknown) for few days.

At Miss Spencer’s, he met Judge William A. Cheney of the Los Angeles Superior Court. He also met Mr. Bernhard Baumgardt, both through Josephine MacLeod. Baumgardt was the secretary of the Southern California Academy of Science and the chairman of the math and astronomy sections. Mrs. Baumgardt also became deeply interested in His teachings.

 

Roxie S. Blodgett’s House

December 10th, 1899 – January 4th, 1900
Stayed at Mrs. Roxie S. Blodgett’s house, 921 W 21st St. Mrs. Blodgett heard the Parliament Opening Address in 1893.

While living at Mrs. Blodgett’s, he gave informal talks. He met the Mead sisters (Alice and Helen) on December 13th. He also met Mrs. Melton, a magnetic healer, during the week of December 16th and went for daily morning magnetic treatments around this time. Her house was within walking distance of the Blodgett house.

 

Willard H. Stimson’s Mansion

Couple of days around December 19th, 1899, and
January 4th, 1900 – January 13th, 1900
Stayed at Mr. Willard H. Stimson’s mansion, 2421 S Figueroa. He was introduced to Mr. Stimson by Mrs. Blodgett.

At the Stimson mansion, he met Mr. J. Ransome Bransby on December 20th, the director of Los Angeles Home of Truth, a religious society of “New Thought” persuasion, and Christian Healing and Teaching. Mr. Bransby invited him to give talks at the Home of Truth.

 

Echo Mountain House

January 13th, 1900 – January 14th, 1900
Stayed at the Echo Mountain House, Mt. Lowe. The hotel burnt down on February 5th, 1900.

On the same day, he visited Mt. Lowe with Mr. and Mrs. Baumgardt, Josephine MacLeod, and Mrs. Leggett. Proceeded 3.5 miles on a small trolley to Alpine Tavern, which was on the top of Mt. Lowe. He also gazed at the stars at Mt. Lowe Observatory.

Gave a brief talk at the Echo Mountain House in the morning of January 14th.

 

Jacob C. Newton’s House

January 14th, 1900 – January 19th, 1900
Stayed at Mrs. Jacob C. Newton’s House, 1407 Fair Oaks Ave.

 

Emeline F. Bowler’s House

January 19th, 1900 – January 25th, 1900
Stayed at Mrs. Emeline F. Bowler’s house, 63 S Los Robles Ave. Mrs. Bowler was the president of Shakespeare Club.

He moved to this house, probably because he was heavily booked with lectures in Shakespeare Club the following week. He eventually fled from the house and wound up in the Meads’ house saying “I have come to stay with you. That’s too much of a lady!”

 

Mead Sisters’ House

January 25th, 1900 – February 21st, 1900
Stayed at Meads Sisters’ House, 309 Monterey Rd.

He often picnicked and gave talks on top of a nearby hill, accompanied by the Meads, Mrs. Bruce and students of the classes. He also often strolled and chanted with Mrs. Wyckoff in the garden. Occasionally in the afternoon he gave private interviews. He often prepared one meal a day at the Meads and sat by the fireplace with the family after dinner sharing stories, poetry and the need for spiritual values in America. He also often talked and played with the children and loved reading “Alice in Wonderland” to them. He left his pipe at Mead’s home. Mrs. Wyckoff was later relieved of an ailment by holding the pipe.

On February 21st, he left Los Angeles via Southern Pacific train for Northern CA.

 

Events


Los Angeles Santa Fe Depot

December 3rd, 1899
Arrived at Los Angeles Santa Fe Depot on Santa Fe Avenue, between East 1st and 2nd St. The eye-catching, moorish style wooden depot was probably on the east side of Santa Fe Avenue, now occupied by Metro Rail sheds. Josephine MacLeod greeted him at the station.

 

Blanchard Hall

December 8th, 1899
Lectured in Los Angeles for the first time at Blanchard Hall, 233 S Broadway, at 8 p.m., arranged by Mr. Baumgardt. Subject: “Vedanta Philosophy or Hinduism as a Religion.”

600 people attended the lecture. The Mead sisters (Mrs. Carrie Mead Wyckoff, Mrs. Alice Mead Hansbrough, and Miss Helen Mead) of Pasadena were in the audience, but they didn’t get to meet him personally until later.

December 19th, 1899
Lectured at Blanchard Hall at 7.30 p.m. Subject: “Applied Psychology”. Around 200 people attended the lecture.

January 2nd, 1900
Lectured at Blanchard Hall in the evening. Subject: “The People of India”

January 6th, 1900
Lectured at Blanchard Hall in the evening. Subject: “The History of India”

 

Unity Church

December 12th, 1899
Lectured at the Unity Church, corner of W 3rd and S Hill St, at 8 p.m., also arranged by Mr. Baumgardt. Subject: “The Cosmos – The Veda Conception of the Universe”.

1000 people attended the lecture. Introduced by Abbot Kinney, President of the Academy. Mr. Lloyd, a Harvard graduate who obtained a degree in Germany, attended the “Cosmos” lecture and paid tribute to Swami’s advanced thinking in psychology and modern thought.

 

Home of Truth

December 21st, 1899
Lectured at the Home of Truth (consumed by Los Angeles Convention Center now). Subject: “Applied Psychology II”

On the same day, he also greeted Josephine MacLeod with “Happy New Year”. Both greeted the sun and recited the Gayatri.

December 22nd, 1899
Lectured at the Home of Truth at 10 am. Subject: “Applied Psychology III”

December 25th, 1899
Lectured at the Home of Truth at 10 am. Subject: “Christ’s Message to the World”

December 26th, 1899
Lectured at the Home of Truth at 10 am. Subject: “Mind and Its Powers”

December 27th, 1899
Lectured at the Home of Truth at 10 am. Subject: “The Theory of Concentration”

December 28th, 1899
Lectured at the Home of Truth at 10 am. Subject: “The Practice of Concentration”

December 29th, 1899
Lectured at the Home of Truth at 10 am. Subject: “Spiritual Breathing, Hints on Practical Spirituality”

December 30th, 1899
Lectured at the Home of Truth at 10 am. Subject: “Reincarnation”

 

Caroline M. Severance’s House

December 23rd, 1899
Attended reception in the morning at Mrs. Caroline M. Severance’s (President Emeritus of Friday Morning Club) house at 806 W Adams Blvd. The reception was probably attended by Kate Woods (Salem, Mass).

John Tracy Clinic is at this location now. The north-south street on the north of the site is Severance St, probably named after the “Mother of Clubs” Caroline Severance.

 

Los Angeles Theater

December 23rd, 1899
Saw the play “My Friend from India” (a farce comedy on Swami, New York, and high society), in the Los Angeles Theater, 227 S Spring St, with Miss MacLeod, Mr. Baumgardt, Mrs. Hansbrough and others.

Marie Louise Burke writes in Swami Vivekananda in the West – New Discoveries Vol. 5: “The play was really very funny,” Mrs. Hansbrough assures us, “and Swamiji enjoyed it hugely. Professor Baumgardt [who had been the party’s host] said he had never seen anyone laugh so hard or so much.”

This play was the most successful production of American playright, Henry A. Du Souchet. It is a satire concerning the lionizing of Swami Vivekananda by the New York Society. It deals with a barber dressed in a yellow silk bedspread who is presented as who one has been studying mysticism of the East and has learned all there is to know of Theosophy and attained the most exalted state, Nirvana. The play later became a silent motion picture in 1927.

The script can be found here.

 

Payne’s Hall

January 2nd, 1900
First class at Payne’s Hall, 330 1/2 S Broadway, at 10 am.

January 3rd, 1900
Second class at Payne’s Hall, at 10 am. The only class given in Southern California on Karma Yoga.

January 4th, 1900
Third class at Payne’s Hall, at 10 am. Subject: “What Brings Success”

January 5th, 1900
Fourth class at Payne’s Hall, at 10 am. Subject: “We Ourselves”

January 6th, 1900
Lectured at Payne’s Hall, at 10 am.

January 7th, 1900
Lectured at Payne’s Hall, at 2:30 pm. Subject: “Christ’s Message to the World”. Lecture hall filled to capacity and over 100 people were turned away.

January 8th, 1900
Lectured at Payne’s Hall, at 8 pm. Subject: “The Powers of the Mind”. This was the last known lectured within Los Angeles city.

 

Orpheum

January 11th, 1900
Goes to a vaudeville show (probably in Orpheum at 112 S Main St) with Mrs. Francis Leggett and others. He was invited by a girl dancer who heard him in London in 1896, adopted his precepts and used her dance to express them.

 

Hotel Green

January 15th, 1900
Lectured in the morning at Hotel Green, 99 S Raymond Ave, the first lecture in Pasadena. Subject: “Bhakti Yoga, or the Religion of Love”

The main building still exists, but the East Wing where he lectured does not.

January 17th, 1900
Lectured at Hotel Green at 10 am. Subject: Unknown.

January 19th, 1900
Lectured at Hotel Green at 10 am. Subject: Unknown.

 

Casa Lomo Hotel

January 16th, 1900
Visited Redlands with Mrs. Leggett and Miss MacLeod. Had lunch at Casa Loma Hotel, corner of Orange St and Colton Ave. There is a plaque at the corner where the hotel once stood.

 

Canyon Crest Park

January 16th, 1900
Visited Canyon Crest Park with Mrs. Leggett and Miss MacLeod after lunch at Casa Lomo Hotel. The area is now a residential area called the Smiley Heights.

 

Shakespeare Club

January 16th, 1900
Lectured at Shakespeare Club, NW corner of Fair Oaks Ave and Lincoln St at that time (due to I-210 construction, Lincoln does not intersect Fair Oaks anymore) at 8 pm. Subject: “Religious Legends of India”

January 18th, 1900
Lectured at the Shakespeare Club at 8 pm. Subject: “Women of India”. He was confronted by Christian missionaries during and after the lecture.

January 20th, 1900
Honored at a reception at Shakespeare Club from 3 to 5 pm. Met Miss Lilian York. Lectured at the Club. Subject: “Persian Art”

January 22nd, 1900
Lectured at Shakespeare Club at 10 am. Subject: “The Ideal of a Universal Religion”

January 24th, 1900
Lectured at Shakespeare Club at 10 am. Subject: Unknown

January 25th, 1900
Lectured at Shakespeare Club at 10 am. Subject: “The Science of Yoga”

January 26th, 1900
Lectured at Shakespeare Club at 10 am. Subject: Unknown

January 27th, 1900
Lectured at Shakespeare Club at 10 am. Subject: “My Life and Mission”. Met Jesse Mead (father of Alice Hansbrough, Helen Mead, and Carrie Wyckoff) and housekeeper Miss Fairbanks.

January 30th, 1900
Lectured at Shakespeare Club. Subject: “The Aryan Race”. Met Mrs. Annie Smith who watched seeds of his spiritual teachings grow all over the Pacific coast.

January 31st, 1900
Lectured at Shakespeare Club. Subject: “The Ramayana”

February 1st, 1900
Lectured at Shakespeare Club. Subject: “The Mahabharata”

February 2nd, 1900
Lectured at Shakespeare Club. Subject: “Buddhistic India”

February 3rd, 1900
Lectured at Shakespeare Club, the last lecture in Pasadena. Subject: “The Great Teachers of the World”

 

Universalist Church

January 28th, 1900
Lectured at Universalist Church, SW corner of Fair Oaks Ave and Chestnut St, in the evening. Pastor: Rev. Ralph Connery. Subject: “The Ideal of a Universal Religion”

 

Throop Polytechnic Institute

February 6th, 1900
Visited Throop Polytechnic Institute and Manual Training School, SW corner of Fair Oaks Ave and Green St.

The Institute developed into Cal Tech. Impressed with the concept of this school, he introduced the idea into India.

 

For all chronological events in Southern California, please refer to The Chronology of Swami Vivekananda in Southern California and pages 50 to 52 in The Chronology of Swami Vivekananda in the West.