The Flight West, May 26 to May 28

La Guardia (in Queens, New York, not New Jersey) was built at the initiative of New York Mayor Fiorello La Guardia (in office from 1934 to 1945). It opened in 1939, having cost New York City $23 million to turn the tiny preexisting North Beach Airport into a 550-acre modern facility.

Lake Erie

Leonard N. Simons, 1904 to 1995, was a scholar, historian, author, gifted humorous speaker, community activist and benefactor. Co-founder of Simons Michelson Zieve Advertising, he was married to Harriette Lieberman, and they had two daughters, Susan (Susie) and Mary Lou Simons Zieve Born in 1934, Mary Lou was a commercial announcer, actress, spokesperson and narrator on local and national television and radio.  She received numerous awards in a long and distinguished record of community leadership and philanthropy.

Highland not Hyland Park.

The Douglas DC-4 was a four-engine propeller-driven airliner developed by the Douglas Aircraft Company. Military versions of the plane served during World War II and in the Berlin Airlift. From 1945, many civil airlines operated the DC-4 worldwide.

Los Angeles, 1950

Louella Parsons, 1981 to 1972, was America’s first movie columnist. Retained by William Randolph Hearst (possibly because she praised his mistress Marion Davies), her columns appeared in 400 newspapers worldwide and were read by 20 million people. She remained Queen of Hollywood Gossip until the arrival of flamboyant Hedda Hopper, with whom she feuded viciously for years. Her third marriage was to Los Angeles surgeon Dr. Harry Watson Martin, whom she called Docky.

Doc Martin. Harry Watson Martin’s second marriage was to Louella Parsons, from 1930 until his death in 1951. A urologist, specialized in treating venereal disease, he moved to Los Angeles in 1919 following active service in World War I. Appointed medical director of Twentieth Century Fox studios in 1937, he performed abortions and dispensed ‘uppers’ to actors to keep them alert during filming.

Msgr. Thomas Patrick English was born in Ireland and ordained a priest of the Diocese of Los Angeles in 1927. From 1950 to 1974, a year before his death, he headed St. Joseph Catholic Church Pomona, Los Angeles County.

San Francisco’s Chinatown centered on Grant Avenue and Stockton Street in San Francisco, California. It is the oldest Chinatown in North America and the largest Chinese enclave outside Asia.

The International Settlement was an entertainment district in San Francisco from 1939 to 1960. The block on Pacific Avenue, between Kearny and Montgomery Streets where it was located, is today a neighborhood of interior design firms, law offices, a movie theater and an art store inside the Old Hippodrome dance hall, and is part of San Francisco’s historic Barbary Coast Trail.

Mona’s 440 Club was San Francisco’s first lesbian bar. It opened in 1936 and continued drawing a lesbian clientele into the 1950s. The end of prohibition, San Francisco’s liberalism and an endless supply of tourists combined to encourage Mona and Jimmie Sargeant to open their club, modelling it on other successful female impersonation and drag clubs, such as Finnochio’s. Mona’s marketed itself as a place “where girls can be boys,” and featured female wait staff and entertainers dressed in tuxedos.

Former vaudeville stars Ray and Bee Goman opened the Gay Nineties as an elegant new night club in the International Settlement in 1941. Its entertainment included a barbershop quartet, community singing and melodramas.

Click here to read about the next leg of Louis’s journey.