by Paul R. Spitzzeri
Continuing with this brief history of the short-lived El Reposo Sanatorium of Sierra Madre, the foothill town at the base of the San Gabriel Mountains between Pasadena and Monrovia, we note that Haviland Haines Lund, the 38-year old native of Michigan who came to Los Angeles in 1907 and quickly became embroiled in controversy with the mysterious Dr. Orloff F. Ostrow when she briefly ran a sanitarium in Los Angeles, managed to rebound fairly quickly and move to a new project out in the San Gabriel Valley.
On 16 March 1909, about half a year after the Ostrow debacle, Lund and two Los Angeles men filed incorporation papers for the El Reposo Sanitarium (the word “Sanatorium” was also used in connection with the establishment) with capital stock set at $150,000. One of the other incorporators was Charles C. Pierce, a Baptist minister whose family included several prominent Angel City figures and the other was Wilbur Bassett, an attorney who happened to be Lund’s counsel during her legal battles with Ostrow.
By summer, the establishment’s doors (and windows, as abundant ventilation was instrumental with the facility’s cottages and other buildings) were open. An early advertisement from the Los Angeles Times of 22 August 1909 promoted the fact that El Reposo was just a half-mile from the Sierra Madre station of the Pacific Electric Railway and encompassed “sixty acres in fruit orchards and garden” while it also offered “tent cottages, mission bungalows, an arts and crafts shop, [and] a clubhouse.” Also touted were “graduate nurses” under the supervision of attending physician Dr. R.D. McKerras and consulting physician Dr. George Martyn, and, naturally, “moderate prices.”
Speaking of arts and crafts, Elbert Hubbard, who was immensely popular as a lecturer and writer while also founder of the Roycroft Press, which issued monthly “Little Journeys” pamphlets that were very successful, was a prominent advocate of the sweeping Arts and Crafts movement of the period. In 1908, he launched The Fra, another publication which he, characteristically, labeled a “Journal of Affirmation.”
Soon after the opening of El Reposo, Hubbard penned a typically idiosyncratic promotional essay for an ad, with the heading of “For Human Needs.” Employing the font type and the Arts and Crafts flourishes in a drop cap, he began by asserting “the faithful [readers or supporters of Hubbard] know full well that medical and financial ads get the straight tiddy-iro in these columns.” When it came to El Reposo, he continued, “when I can say a good word . . . I intend to do so,” not to mention that he’d subscribed for some of the company stock.
Hubbard, in his colorful and folksy prose styling, went on,
These folks care for lungers [tuberculosis patients] at $15.00 a week—cost figure—where a like service is $35.00, anywhere else. They work for the love of humanity . . . The atmospheric conditions at Sierra Madre are highly favorable for cure, and food, exercise, rest, work, recreation—and love, all go into the recipe. If your friend has “got it,” [the disease] don’t buy him a ticket to the Desert and think you have done your duty. He’ll croak there of heart-hunger, if not of consumption, sure. El Reposo Sanitarium Company has a Capital of $150,000.00 in shares of Reasonable Value. Spare fifty or a hundred, mebbe . . . This will apply on a New Building which the influx of patients makes necessary. It is dough cast upon the briny and will return before many days. If you know of some good fellow who is slipping down into the shadow, send him to Sierra Madre.
Listed as officers of the company were Pierce’s banker brother, Fred, as president; the former head of the California Homeopathic Society, Dr. E.C. Manning, as vice-president; Bassett as secretary; Superior Court Judge Frank R. Willis as treasurer; and Lund as the managing director. The advisory board included eight persons, including Charles Pierce as well as homeopathic organization figures, the former president of the state tuberculosis prevention society, and the president of a Chicago medical college, this latter likely having known Lund from her years living in the Windy City.
With respect to Dr. Martyn, the Redondo Reflex of 30 September lauded his association with the institution, noting that he “has decided to discontinue his free helping station in Los Angeles and do all his free work at El Reposo” with his only charges being for living expenses. Observing that the doctor was “a man of means,” the paper approvingly noted that “Dr. Martyn has refused to be associated with the institution with the latter on a money-making business.” What this appears to have meant was the discontinuation of the enterprise under management of the joint stock company.
A 9 March 1910 advertisement in the Monrovia News listed the name of the facility as “El Reposo Sanitarium, Ranch and Health Resort,” which was concisely described as “a moderate-priced sanitarium for the scientific treatment of diseases of the throat and lungs” with “Tuberculin and other serums used when advisable,” while the facility offered those “Mission [style] bungalows, tent houses and [the] club house.” Listed as the “supenintendent” was Theodore D. Kanouse.
The edition of that paper on 19 April briefly noted “Improvements at El Reposo,” including “twelve bungalows of one or two rooms each” that were soon to be constructed for patients near the main structure as “part of the general plan of the sanatorium grounds which has been prepared by Architect Benson for the future development of the place.” Arthur B. Benton became known for his work with the Mission Revival style, including early portions of the famed Mission Inn in Riverside, as well as the Mary Andrews Clark Memorial Home in Los Angeles and the Mission Playhouse at San Gabriel, to which Walter P. Temple was a major financial contributor and his business manager, Milton Kauffman, a director.
Amid the dozen new structures was to be “a building equipped for baths, with showers and tubs,” though some of the bungalows were to have restrooms. The article also mentioned that Civil War veteran, Captain Josiah A. Osgood was looking to subdivide portions of the El Reposo ranch and it was noted that “it is the plan of the company to develop a village there for such patients who prefer to bring their families and keep house, and at the same time be near enough to the sanatorium to get the benefit of expert medical attention and other advantages which can be secured there for tubercular sufferers.” The lots were to be 6,000 square feet on 40′ wide streets with alleys half that width, while it was added that the resident doctor, George S. Wells, was planning a laboratory.
A month later, the census taker came through between 13 and 16 May and enumerated those at El Reposo, including Lund, Wells and Kanouse, along with head nurse Minnie M. Pratt, nurse Edna Bell and five other staff, of which two were Chinese cooks and three were servants with two being Korean and the other Chinese. A teamster, ranch manager and his wife and telephone operator and her toddler daughter were also counted there. There were fourteen patients, only four of which were women, with the ages ranging as young as 17 and as old as 70, though most were in their twenties and thirties and one pair of young men were siblings.
A 1911 advertisement in the Journal of the American Institute of Homeopathy noted that “the property contains over a hundred acres of orange, lemon and other fruit orchards, vineyards and picturesque hill side.” In addition to the aforementioned structures, it observed that “no games or shop work [was] permitted without the prescription of the Medical Director,” while “those too sick to participate are cheered by witnessing the diversion of others.” The president was E. Stillman Bailey, a doctor and surgeon from Chicago, while Manning, Kanouse and Willis remained as officers In addition to Wells as the on-site physician, there was Dr. E.L. Waggoner as a consulting physician and Lund continued as manager.
The above reference to the village was greatly expanded upon in the 23 April 1911 edition of the Times, which ran a lengthy feature by Olive Gray under the headline of “Spotless Town Is Planned For Betterment Of Humanity” with the opening reading, “A dream is materializing in the foothills of the Sierra Madre [San Gabriel Mountains], a philanthropic dream of a spotless town.” Commenting that the founding of El Reposo two years prior was “aimed to demonstrate that a health village is practicable,” the piece observed that a Chicago couple and a local woman joined forces with the facility for a new project. It continued,
The name of the model village is to be Havilah, the Valley of Blessing. It is not a community, but a corporation; not a charity, but a business; not a philanthropy, yet it is far-reaching in is beneficence.
Experience has proved that most charitable enterprises and practically all co-operative undertakings are unstable, discouraging to those idealists who found them all in good faith. But experience has also proved the corporate form of doing business stable and flexible, admitting of a certain amount of co-operation, together with administrative power and efficiency.
Gray commented that the establishment of El Reposo included the possibility of a village and the new president was Sherman E. Smith, while Lund was vice-president and general manager, Willis remained as treasurer and the secretary and attorney was James L. Irwin. Ten advisory board member included Kanouse and Pierce, with such new luminaries as Progressive reformer and doctor, John Randolph Haynes; Arthur Letts, the founder of The Broadway department store; Judge Paul J. McCormick; and Marion Foster Washburne, a Chicago kindergarten advocate, whose husband George was the medical director.
It was added that the company issued 6% bonds secured by the land, with the price of $25 set “in order to accommodate those women who wish to lend financial aid to the plan, which is indorsed by some of their leading organizations.” Settlers in Havilah (there is an 1860s mining town of that name northeast of Bakersfield, but the name’s origin is from the Book of Genesis in the Old Testament in which it is mentioned that the Pishon River, flowing out of the Garden of Eden, “winds through the entire land of Havilah, where there is gold”) were to have long-term leases for their tracts and it was recorded that sanitary conditions were enforced with dispatch as the thirty bungalows “are systematically disinfected, the bedding is fumigated; no disease harboring rugs, carpets, [or] hangings are permitted, and no rooms can be left unventilated, as they are so built that air cannot be shut out.” All dishes were sterilized after use and washing, so “in short, the entire place is protected from infection.”
While the sanitarium was to be conducted as it had been, “in the proposed village of Havilah, of which El Reposo is the seed, a still broader range of usefulness will be attained.” The Rest Sanitarium founded by the Washburnes in Elgin, Illinois, was to be relocated and placed on one side of a village square, while “the tuberculosis sanitarium will be removed to the far side” and these joined by a senior citizen’s home and a school for children with TB. For all, the sanitary precautions noted above were to be sedulously maintained and enforced and those patients in better physical shape were to work in sanitary shops for the benefit of the community.
Moreover, there was to be a philosophy school and amusement and recreational opportunities so that, at two bungalows, “the great speakers and musicians of the world will be asked to sojourn from time to time as guests of the village.” Currently, Gray added, there was “a learned man from Asia” at El Reposo “who has been a guest at many of the famous universities” and who would help bring distinguished Asian educators and philosophers for non-sectarian presentations.
Comments were printed from prominent local clubwomen, with Mrs. L.C. Torrance, who was secretary of the District Federation of Women’s Clubs Committee on Social Conditions, opining that “this is a sort of moral sanitation as necessary as physical sanitation” and offering that “we may all be wishing to live in Havilah, where we can have all of the good things of life and are protected against the evil. Washburne stated that what drew her to the Havilah plan was “a vivid sense of the need of such a place—its unquestionable value to the sick and to the families of the sick,” but added that there was also “the sound sense to make the plan financially stable” as this was “a necessary of social welfare.”
Despite all of the aims and ambitions of this model village, it was just a short time later that Lund was no longer associated with El Reposo and was back in Los Angeles, where she edited the Little Farms Magazine and helped organize the local branch of the Forward-to-the-Land League, which advocated for the resettlement of unemployed men and their families to move from cities to country farms, including small ones that were considered self-sustaining (some of these “small farm” communities could be found in greater Los Angeles, especially the San Fernando and San Gabriel valleys.)
Notably Judge Willis was one of the national organization charter members as was Phoebe Apperson Hearst, mother of the powerful media tycoon, William Randolph Hearst. Locals who joined the new branch included Harriet Russell Strong of Whittier; Los Angeles City Schools superintendent John H. Francis; Elizabeth Murray Coffin, editor of West Coast Magazine; Lewis R. Works, soon to be a Superior Court Judge and later a state appellate court justice; and the pioneer woman attorney Clara Shortridge Foltz. Others who were to be associated with the league was Orange County rancher David Hewes and developer Jared Sidney Torrance, whose namesake city is in the South Bay area near Los Angeles.
Residing later in New York City and Washington, D.C., Lund was involved in the National Council of Women, but sparred with leadership over the role of propaganda that she felt veered too far to the left and was unpatriotic—a concern for the growing conservative movement during the Roaring Twenties. She also fought bitterly against the League of Nations and the proposed World Court and was a member of the American Guardian Society which sought to free girls of American and Filipino parentage from restrictions in that U.S. colony. In the early 1920s, the Republican National Committee member, worked on resettlement for veterans of World War I, and the frequent lecturer gave talks on the film industry while also serving as president of the Institute of Government in Washington.
During the Great Depression, she worked as an investigator for the Department of Labor, though that role likely ended with the defeat of Republican incumbent President Herbert Hoover by Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt. Lund was a freelance writer when the 1940 census was taken and she died in 1952 at age 80, being survived by her daughter.
As for El Reposo, the Monrovia News of 2 June 1914 reported that, as the headline noted, “Sierra Madre People In Battle Over Proposed Sanatorium Legislation” and it observed “there is going forward a lively little battle . . . in a small civic war concerning the continuance of El Reposo Sanatorium in that city.” The paper noted that “the city dads recently passed an ordinance forbidding the maintenance of a sanatorium within 6000 feet of the central part of the city” and, with the facility a little west and north of downtown, “this new law just includes El Reposo, and puts it out of business.” While it was thought there might be a city vote on the question and ads for the institution continued through much of the year, the sanitarium did close by 1915.
The El Reposo photos from the Museum collection are notable because of their tie to the sanitariums that were found throughout greater Los Angeles in the late 19th and early 20th centuries as locals and visitors sought help for tuberculosis (by the 1950s, vast improvements in treatment meant these facilities were no longer needed) and other ailments. They also, however, are interesting for their connection to Haviland Lund and her rather remarkable life story.