Framework

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Oct. 1, 1910: Photo taken by commercial photographer C.C. Pierce after daylight on the morning of the bombing. Embers are still smoking. The blast shattered windows in the adjoining building to the rear. The Times eagle visible on top of the building is now in the Globe Lobby.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: C.C. Pierce collection / The Huntington Library

The second home of the Los Angeles Times at 1st and Broadway in downtown Los Angeles prior to the 1910 bombing. The building opened in 1887.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Los Angeles Times History Center

The staff of the Los Angeles Times in front of the second Times Building at 1st and Broadway in downtown Los Angeles prior to the bombing.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Los Angeles Times History Center

Oct. 1, 1910: Flames inside the Los Angeles Times building just a few minutes after the dynamite explosion.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Los Angeles Times History Center

Oct. 1, 1910: Thirty minutes after the explosion, fire consumes The Times Building.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Los Angeles Times History Center

Oct. 1, 1910: Crowds gather at Broadway and 1st Street after the bombing of the Los Angeles Times Building. The 1 a.m. attack killed 20 employees and injured about 100.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Los Angeles Times

October 1910: Police officials tour the ruins of the Los Angeles Times. Intense heat from the explosion and fire has bent the girders of the building.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Los Angeles Times History Center

Oct. 9, 1910: Laborers sift ashes for remains of victims.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Los Angeles Times Collection / The Huntington Library

October 1910: Another view of the burned out offices of the Los Angeles Times after the early morning bombing.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Los Angeles Times History Center

October 1910: Damage inside the Los Angeles Times Building after bombing.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Los Angeles Times History Center

Oct. 3, 1910: Photo from Broadway side of The Times Building, showing the damage from the bombing.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Los Angeles Times History Center

Oct. 2, 1910: The smoking ruins of the Los Angeles Times Building one day after the bombing.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Los Angeles Times History Center

October 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 Lincoln died.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Los Angeles Times Collection / The Huntington Library

October 1910: The burned-out press room after the bombing. Gen. Harrison Gray Otis liked to give the presses patriotic names like Uncle Sam and the Tri-Color.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Los Angeles Times Collection / The Huntington Library

Oct. 3, 1910: Main entrance of the destroyed building at 1st and Broadway.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Los Angeles Times Collection / The Huntington Library

October 1910: Gen. Harrison Gray Otis, president and general manger of the Los Angeles Times, inspects the ruins. He was a target of the bombing, but was delayed in returning from a trip and was out of town when the blast occurred. Another bomb left at his home on Wilshire Boulevard exploded while an LAPD officer was trying to disarm it, but no one was injured.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Los Angeles Times Collection / The Huntington Library

Oct. 5, 1910: At the funeral of Churchill Harvey-Elder, the casket is taken from the funeral home. Harvey-Elder was one of the few bombing victims not buried at Hollywood Forever Cemetery.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: LA Times Collection / The Huntington Library

October 1910: Caskets at services for the victims in the bombing of the Los Angeles Times Building. The huge floral display is a reproduction of the Times Building. This image was copied from a print owned by Jack Moore of the county marshal's office.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Los Angeles Times Collection / The Huntington Library

Oct. 9, 1910: Burial of bombing victims at what is now Hollywood Forever Cemetery. The monument in the background is to Gen. Harrison Gray Otis' wife, Eliza.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Los Angeles Times Collection / The Huntington Library

Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies escort the McNamara brothers to court in an undated photo.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Los Angeles Times Collection / The Huntington Library

An undated photo of John J. McNamara, left, secretary-treasurer of the International Assn. of Bridge and Structural Iron Workers, and his brother James B. McNamara, who placed the bomb that destroyed The Times Building. James pleaded guilty and was sentenced to life in the Oct. 1, 1910, bombing of The Times. John pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 15 years in the Dec. 25, 1910, bombing of the Llewellyn Iron Works.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Los Angeles Times Collection / The Huntington Library

Oct. 9, 1911: Photo from the courtroom during jury selection for the McNamara brothers' trial. The jury pool was reduced from 125 to 40 during the day's proceedings. This image was published in the Oct. 10, 1911, Los Angeles Times. Many of the faces were touched up by a Times artist.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Los Angeles Times History Center

Dec. 1, 1911: Evidence against the McNamara brothers. This photo was published in the Los Angeles Times on Dec. 2, 1911. The bag on the left was identified as belonging to John McNamara. In center is bomb making equipment. On right is pistol used to shoot a watchman. As with many images published in the early 1900s, this print has an unusual shape.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Los Angeles Times History Center

Dec. 4, 1911: Handwritten confession by James B. McNamara to the bombing of the Los Angeles Times. Print from nitrate negative.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Los Angeles Times Collection / The Huntington Library

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The 1910 bombing of the Los Angeles Times

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The 1910 bombing of the Los Angeles Times

Oct. 1, 1910: Crowds gather at Broadway and 1st Street after the bombing of the Los Angeles Times Building. The 1 a.m. attack killed 20 employees and and injured about 100.

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

The city of Los Angeles hired private detective William J. Burns to catch the bombers. His work led to the arrest of two brothers, John J. and James B. McNamara — members of the International Assn. of Bridge and Structural Iron Workers union.

Clarence Darrow defended the McNamaras only to lose the case when the brothers changed their pleas in open court to guilty. After the trial, Darrow was twice tried on charges of jury tampering. The first trial ended in acquittal, the second in a hung jury.

Darrow went on to defend John T. Scopes in the 1925 Scopes Monkey Trial.

In 1921, William J. Burns became head of the Bureau of Investigation — later the Federal Bureau of Investigation. He was forced to resign in 1924 with the deputy head, J. Edgar Hoover, taking over.

Some of these images were posted a year ago in From the Archives. Since then many new images from the Los Angeles Times Collection at the Huntington Library in San Marino and the Los Angeles Times History Center were obtained. A total of 24 images are currently in this gallery.

On Oct. 3, 2010, writer Lew Irwin wrote this piece for the Los Angeles Times Opinion page on how the bombing set back the labor movement for a generation.

Los Angeles Times Copy Editor Larry Harnisch contributed to this post.

9 Comments

  1. September 30, 2011, 9:07 am

    why doesn't the Times mention the reason behind the bombing?? The Times was guilty of something, let's admit what it was!

    By: wwwwwww
  2. October 1, 2011, 6:14 pm

    Darrow did not "lose the case". He plead his clients guilty, which probably saved at least one of them, and perhaps both, from being hanged. Big difference!

    By: mmmeyerbos
  3. October 1, 2011, 11:12 pm

    LA Times was very active in union busting. Read article in Wikipedia.

    By: a brinck
  4. October 1, 2011, 11:22 pm

    Sure explains a lot. Like why the Times is so anti union. I'm sorry for the people killed but I want more information.

    By: ragingfem
  5. October 1, 2011, 11:48 pm

    if you know,why don't you say so.

    By: xssssssssfss
  6. October 2, 2013, 1:03 pm

    Is the LA Times Collection at the Huntington Library open to the public?

    By: jsalido@aol.com
  7. June 30, 2014, 7:39 am

    The Bombing has impact to this day. The relatively low rate of job based health insurance in California, compared to more historically union friendly states, is a result of the this tragic event.

    By: Dennis Gilliam
  8. June 30, 2014, 11:16 am

    The LA Times had such a tight grip on LA, the DA and its investigators that it got defense atty Darrow charged twice with jury tampering, even after an acquittal?, on a case which never went to the jury! His clients pled out. The DA did not retry him a third time on the condition that Darrow leave California and never return to LA. Darrow saved the defendants' lives knowing the jury would surely hang them given the sentiments at the time. Talk about tampering. Lets finally get some straight talk from the LA times on this case. No one expected actually Darrow to "win" the case but avoiding the death penalty was a slap in the face to all those who wanted blood and revenge for this horrible bombing.

    By: gcalsada
  9. June 30, 2014, 4:45 pm

    For anyone wanting to learn more about the bombing, I strongly recommend "American Lightning: Terror, Mystery, the Birth of Hollywood, and the Crime of the Century" by Howard Blum. This fascinating book chronicles the LAT bombing and the William J. Burns investigation (involving all kinds of bugging). An excellent read, the book goes off on interesting tangents covering the early years of Los Angeles, including D. W. Griffith's role in the found of the Hollywood movie industry and the profiteering of city officials when water was brought to LA at the cost to the farmers of Owen's Lake.

    By: stevelawson

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