We have had a little visit from Isabel James, and Howard’s wife and two little girls. Mrs. Howard is much disappointed in southern California. The trouble is this country is written about in a foolish exaggerated way that must react upon those who come here expecting as much. The country is not perfect at all and has its disagreeable features. The lack of grass, and forest trees, takes much from the scenery. The chill of the nights, and early mornings, is very unpleasant. There is much that is delightful but the boomers would do well to keep to the truth.
Edie, since we came here, dresses like a boy and enjoys it exceedingly. She finds the freedom of the costume delightful. She and LeBaron can climb, and jump, and play together, and, she makes a very pretty little boy. However, when she has worn out the suit her Papa bought for her, I shall have her return to her own clothes for I think it is making her a little rough, and if other boys came here it would not do, but the Wilding boys are very nice and gentle with the children.
July 7th 1887
No great change in our life. We have had some very warm weather this month and Channing has been very miserably, and his trouble holds on so long we can not but feel anxious. Our Hermosa house grows rapidly, but I feel heavy hearted whenever I think of it. It is far more pretentious than we intended, but Walter keeps adding to his first ideas and wants a very high house that we can have the benefit of the grand views and refreshing ocean breezes. The men who are working on the house are very inferior workmen with one exception. Even the head man, Mr. Miller, is not an experienced carpenter but a minister who has taken up this business because it is lucrative. If he had good men under him he would do very well. He is honest and pleasant but can do little to correct the inefficiency of his men. They have built a fearful chimney – awkward in every way, and Walter has to endure a great deal seeing things done wrong that must be attended or left a perpetual annoyance. A good many things are planned differently on account of expense and then in other things it will be so expensive that the economical costs will be simply absurd.
At this time, with the new railroad, and the land boom, rail fares were incredibly inexpensive. One could travel from Chicago to Los Angeles for one dollar.