A frenchman immigrated to Los Angeles in 1859. His name was Louis Mesmer. Shortly thereafter, the Civil War breaks out in 1861. Louis Mesmer becomes the baker for the fort in Mar Vista Hill called Camp Latham. After the Civil War, railroads come to Los Angeles. Louis Mesmer is involved in politics and real estate. A placename is on the map and the railroad comes close by. It is called Mesmer. Louis Mesmer has a son, whose name is Joseph Mesmer. He carries on the family tradition in politics. He exposes corruption in city elections and the issue of sewers in Los Angeles. He prevents a sewer line from running alongside Ballona Creek to Playa del Rey. In 1914, he is quoted in a Flood Control Report for the County of Los Angeles. In that passage, Louis Mesmer recalls his growing up in Los Angeles via knowledge about the Los Angeles River and its route toward the sea through downtown Los Angeles, USC, Exposition Park, La Cienega, and Culver City. Here is his quote from 91 years ago:
"There was a well-defined channel 15 to 20 feet wide and six to eight feet deep passing about the intersection of 9th and Hope Streets, in a southwesterly direction out towards Exposition Park and into the Cienega. The Cienega drains into the Ballona. It is certain that the Los Angeles River has flowed into Ballona Bay ... from the indications of the soil it is perfectly evident that it has been no long period ago."
LeRoy Abrams, a famous botanist of California from Stanford University, collected plants from Ballona Creek, Playa del Rey, Culver City, and Mesmer, in 1899-1904. He collected some interesting wetland plants, prairie plants, sand dune plants, and riparian plants from Mesmer, Port Ballona, and Culver City. The Ballona Institute has his field notes, books, and published articles about Port Ballona, Culver City, and Mesmer. You can glimpse one of his articles at the following web site:Le Roy Abrams Anthology.