23 Dec

Christmas In California

Since the administration of Franklin Roosevelt, the President of the United States has been transported on Air Force aircraft designated Air Force One whenever he travels. If the president is on a civil aircraft, it is designated Executive One.

In late 1973, President Nixon was being attacked on many fronts for many things. Anticipating that he would be criticized for the use of fuel in traveling to California where he preferred to spend the Christmas holidays, President Nixon became the only sitting president to travel on a regularly scheduled commercial airline flight when he flew on a United Airlines DC-10 from Washington Dulles to Los Angeles International Airport.

Nixon and his family enjoyed the Christmas holidays at their Western White House, La Casa Pacifica, before returning to Washington via Air Force One.

Can you imagine what it must have been like for the other passengers?


22 Dec

Wonderful Review of Native Son in the The Whittier Daily News!

The Monday, December 19, 2011 issue of The Whittier Daily News has a great article by Tim Traeger on Native Son: Richard Nixon’s Southern California.

“The map is fascinating, to say the least. On its front is a wonderfully illustrated map… It is a colorful and easily digestible snapshot of Nixon’s life in California… I’m keeping mine. It’s worth having and it’s very well done.”

Thanks Tim!

13 Dec

Richard Nixon’s Southern California makes the Orange County Register!

Monday’s edition of the Orange County Register included a great write up on Native Son: Richard Nixon’s Southern California by columnist Frank Mickadeit.

Mickadeit notes that Native Son is a great stocking stuffer that “unfolds to reveal an entertaining … well-researched visual guide to the path RN wove through SoCal between his birth in a Yorba Linda farmhouse in 1913 and his burial nearby in 1994.”

Thanks Frank!

12 Dec

Interesting Articles on Nixon

Recently the Orange County Register published an article on artist Deborah Aschheim and her artwork related to President Nixon. A generation of Americans with no vested interest in Nixon are discovering his life and presidency, and making assessments that likely counter the previously accepted main stream ideas about Nixon.

For example, Conrad Black recently wrote in National Review of the historical perspective on Nixon, and how that perspective is gradually changing.

Very interesting.

1 Dec

Losing a Home Away from Home

Two stories recently caught my eye. The first concerned how Dallas was working to undertake events acknowledging the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President Kennedy. At one time there had been popular support for demolishing the book depository building from which Oswald shot Kennedy. Now the overwhelming sentiment is appreciation for not destroying such a landmark. Preserving such a structure is important. For example, the Ford Theater still stands as a landmark of the Lincoln assassination.

The second article was that Sirhan Sirhan’s lawyers contend that a new bullet has been found, and that this new evidence demonstrates that Sirhan is innocent in the assassination of Robert Kennedy in the kitchen of the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles. But the Ambassador Hotel is now gone – replaced by a school. There will never be any inspection of the kitchen as it no longer exists.

And the Ambassador Hotel was much more than simply the location where Robert Kennedy gave his last campaign speech the night before the California primary election in 1968. The Ambassador was an iconic landmark in Los Angeles. It was also Richard Nixon’s home away from home.

Richard and Pat Nixon enjoyed dates at the Coconut Grove – the nightclub to be at in LA in the 1930’s, 40’s and 50’s. They also celebrated election victories at the Ambassador in 1948, 1950, and 1952. And suffered defeat in 1960 to John Kennedy. Nixon saved his career in 1952 with the Fund Crisis Speech – a presentation he prepared while staying at the Ambassador.

Throughout his tenure as Congressman, Senator & Vice President, Nixon stayed at the Ambassador almost every time he came to town.

But Nixon was not the only one to appreciate the Ambassador.

Consider the following from www.theambassadorhotel.com:
Six Academy Award ceremonies were held there (including the year Gone with the Wind swept the awards).
For decades, the hotel’s Cocoanut Grove was the hot spot for live entertainment on the West Coast, where people like Bing Crosby and Barbra Streisand had their start, and Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr. and many others came to perform. Gene Kelly, Diana Ross, Judy Garland, Louis Armstrong, Nat King Cole and Julie Andrews all played the Grove. The hotel served as the stomping grounds for a staggering list of Hollywood legends, heads of state, and what would be an endless list of famous personalities from the 20th Century.
In addition to Nixon, Presidents Hoover, Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson stayed there.
When Soviet Leader Nikita Khrushchev visited the U.S. in 1959, he stayed at the Ambassador.
Ronald Reagan used the Ambassador when he was making his bid for governor of California.
Marilyn Monroe had her start as a model, as a client of the poolside modeling agency. Howard Hughes and Jean Harlow were some of the many longtime residents who made it their home.

But the Ambassador is now gone – which is without doubt our historical loss.While I do not propose that we save everything, we cannot demolish everything either. We need to be mindful of – and appreciate – the history all around us.

1 Dec

Native Son: Richard Nixon’s Southern California on Amazon.com!

I am pleased that in addition to the Nixon Library gift shop and richardnixonsocal.com, Native Son: Richard Nixon’s Southern California is now available at Amazon.com. And receiving tremendous reviews!

Native Son: Richard Nixon's Southern California webpage on Amazon.com

23 Nov

History in Our Midst

On the night of January 9, 1913, the evening temperature was a very chilly 36 degrees. Hannah Nixon lay in the front room of her and her husband Frank’s house – in labor. The doctor was summoned from Whittier, but he and his nurse, who were coming in a horse drawn wagon, were running late.
Young Frank Nixon ran out the front door into the darkness – there were no paved streets, street lights, or electricity in the area. He turned to the north, crossed a little red bridge over the “Anaheim ditch,” and ran down Shaw Lane, turning left at Park Avenue to the intersection of Lemon Drive. There he ran up and pounded on the front door of the Trueblood Estate. The Truebloods were some of the earliest settlers in Yorba Linda.
Ella Furnas, a teenager who lived with the Truebloods, answered the door and assisted Frank. Ella recalled: “He was just awfully nervous. He wanted me to hurry up and get there, and we went. Hannah didn’t seem to be worried or concerned at all. It was all right with her. She was getting along.”
The doctor and nurse arrived just in time for the birth of the 37th President of the United States.
The Trueblood home still stands in Yorba Linda at its original site, but in a state of disrepair. Passers by, unaware of the history of the home, likely look at the house as a blight on the neighborhood.
The house should be preserved, not only because of the association with Richard Nixon, but because it was home to some of the first to develop Yorba Linda.
If we fail to preserve the history in our midst, in 100 years future generations will scratch their collective heads and wonder “Where did it all go?”

16 Nov

Paul Carter discussing Richard Nixon’s upbringing

Every time that I have travelled to Washington, D.C., or other areas of the northeast, I have always been fascinated with the history that is virtually everywhere. It seems that everywhere you look in our Nation’s capital you see a marker designating some historical event that took place at that spot.

You can absorb history just by walking around and seeing all of the various places and markers. Boston is the same. So is New York City.

Out West we don’t have any less appreciation of history.

History is all around us, and that is why I enjoy giving presentations on Richard Nixon’s Southern California life. The issue isn’t whether one is pro or anti Nixon, or whether the members of the audience are from Nixon’s hometown.

Nixon’s life is intriguing, and when told through the perspective of his being a Southern Californian, you see that history is all around us here in Southern California. And everyone learns at least one thing that he/she did not know about Nixon.

Paul presents Native Son: Richard Nixon's Southern California to a packed crowd.

16 Oct

Richard Nixon’s Political Rise | Fun Facts | About Richard Nixon | Nixon History

Richard Nixon’s rise in American politics was meteoric. He was first elected to US House in 1946. He was re-elected in 1948 in the primary – winning both Republican and Democrat primaries!

Just two years later, in 1950, he was elected to the US Senate – by the largest margin of victory nationwide.

Ike then selected Nixon as his running mate and Nixon was elected Vice President in 1952. The “Ike & Dick” team was easily re-elected in 1956.

Nixon had an incredible rise in politics – within 10 years he was in the House of Representatives, Senate and twice elected Vice President.

Although he lost the presidential election in 1960 and the California governor’s race in 1962, Nixon persevered and won the White House in 1968. He was re-elected in 1972 in one of the largest land slides in presidential history.

Richard Nixon is California’s Native Son. He is the only person born and raised in Southern California to grow up and become President of the United States.

No other native Southern Californian has accomplished this feat.

Nixon’s name appeared on five National Election ballots, an accomplishment attained by no other American.

He won four of those national elections. Having received over 180 million votes, more people have voted for Richard Nixon than any other US politician.

And he carried California in every national election.

24 Sep

Why Richard Nixon’s Southern California?

I was struck by then President Bill Clinton’s eulogy at Richard Nixon’s funeral in 1994, when Clinton stated: “May the day of judging President Nixon on anything less than his entire life and career come to a close.”

I was finishing my second year of law school at the time, and thought back to when I was a docent at the Nixon Library in 1991-1992 while earning my bachelor’s degree at Cal State Fullerton. Clinton’s words resonated with me as I recalled how my preconceived notions of Nixon evaporated over the course of my meeting Nixon several times at his Library.

Fast forward to 2008, when I was participating in the US Navy’s “Leader’s to Sea” program, and was flown out to the USS Princeton with the then Mayor of Whittier. Over the years I have often read about Nixon’s life and career, and knew that Nixon was raised in Whittier, California. I commented to the Mayor that there must be many historical landmarks related to Nixon and his family’s life that quiet community. I was stunned wen the Mayor replied “We pretty much lost track of Nixon’s life in Whittier.”

I conceived the idea of “mapping” Nixon’s life in Whittier. I thought it would be a six month project. Over two years later I published Native Son: Richard Nixon’s Southern California, a fascinating map biography tracing Nixon’s entire life through Southern California. The reviews have been tremendous. The most frequent comment that I hear is “I didn’t know that about Nixon.”

I am now preparing a detailed biography of Richard Nixon’s Southern California life. And through this blog, I will share what I learn through my research, pointing out aspects of Nixon’s life from the perspective of his being the only native Southern Californian to grow up and reach the Presidency.

So check back often. I know that you too will learn something new about Nixon. And together we can follow Clinton’s advice to judge Nixon on his entire life.