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Author Topic: How the Town of Spadra Disappeared.  (Read 20331 times)
retromike22
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« on: October 14, 2014, 11:09:41 pm »

I wrote this a few years ago, I think some of you might find it interesting. Please excuse the endnote numbers.

How the Town of Spadra Disappeared.

I live in Walnut, California, which is in the eastern part of Los Angeles County in the San Gabriel Valley. Looking at historical maps of my area, I continued to see a town named “Spadra,” which was unfamiliar to me.



I could see other small towns which developed into major suburbs such as El Monte and Azusa, and yet Spadra does not exist today. Its location today is in the westernmost corner of the city of Pomona. Looking back at historical documents, Spadra appears to be a bustling, albeit minor town. “Now almost forgotten, Spadra once had a very important place in the history of Southern California. It was an important station on the early Butterfield Stage route, a route travelled by many.”1 A small hotel had once existed in Spadra, and was rated by the Los Angeles Star Newspaper in 1872 as having one of the “best boiled dinners in the State.”2 But today Spadra has nearly disappeared from geography and history. Its only remnants are a single building built for one of Spadra’s most important landowners, and its cemetery. This paper seeks to explain how and why Spadra disappeared.

Origin of Spadra
The land that became Spadra was once part of Rancho San Jose, a Mexican ranch created in 1837 by the Mexican Governor of California, Juan Bautista Alvarado. It was given to horse and cattle owners Ygnacio Palomares and Ricardo Vejar. When the Mexican-American War ended in 1848, Rancho San Jose became part of the United States. In order to improve mail transportation between the coasts of the United States, the Butterfield stagecoach route was built in 1859 from San Francisco to St. Louis and Memphis. Within California, the route would pass south from San Francisco to Los Angeles, then across the desert to Yuma, Arizona. “The task was huge, but within a year a series of stations stocked with fresh horses was set up all along the 2,866 mostly empty, often dangerous miles.”3 Stagecoach stops, or “stations,” were periodically placed throughout the line. One station was placed in eastern Los Angeles County, and named the “San Jose” station. This stagecoach station was the beginning of Spadra’s existence.

In 1864, debt and poor business decisions forced the owners of Rancho San Jose to sell 12,000 acres of Rancho San Jose to German immigrant Louis Phillips at the price of $30,000.4 By purchasing the land, Phillips hoped to sell smaller parcels to future residents to create a profit. The first person who bought land from Louis Phillips was the notorious criminal Billy Rubottom in 1866. “A rough frontiersman, he was wanted in his native Arkansas for killing two men with a knife. And in El Monte, Rubottom shot his own son-in-law to death.”5 Rubottom was also credited (or blamed) with the introduction of opossums in Southern California. Louis Phillips’ empty land very likely appealed to Rubottom as way to begin a fresh start. Seeing the number of people who travelled through the stagecoach station, he built a combination hotel and bar as he had previously done in El Monte. “His bar at the Rubottom Hotel served anything you wanted and was a place where one could drink away all of their woes and wages. It was open every night of the week until 1, 2, or 3 in the morning.”6 Very quickly other small businesses began to appear and Rubottom named the growing town “Spadra,” after his hometown in Arkansas.



Spadra essentially began to function as an expanded rest stop to anyone who travelled the stagecoach between Los Angeles and Yuma, Arizona. It was a small but busy outpost of civilization in a large empty land. “Stage horses were changed there, travelers spent the night and the tavern became the center of life, not only of Spadra, but of all the surrounding area.”7 Because of the high frequency of arrivals at the stagecoach station, any business at Spadra would have a consistent number of potential customers. Other businessmen quickly realized this and sought Spadra as a place to achieve their own financial goals. “With the increase in transportation and trade developing, more commercial establishments developed to cater to the needs of travelers and others who came to the community.”8 Due to the availability of land surrounding the station, purchasing land from Louis Phillips was simple and Phillips himself quickly made a generous profit.

Soon more people began to arrive in Spadra, this time not business owners but those who sought a new place to live. These first residents enabled Spadra to be officially founded as a town in 1866. “Settled mostly by poor families fleeing the South, bustling Spadra soon had a school, a major road, warehouses for trade goods, three stores and two blacksmiths.”9 To show how significant Spadra’s development was, many of its first public buildings were some of the “notable firsts” in California and in Los Angeles County. In 1867, the Spadra School District was formed, the first school district in eastern Los Angeles County.10  The Spadra Post Office was established on January 3, 1868, and was “among the first half-dozen in California,”11 outdating the Pomona Post Office.  Families began to arrive and soon the basic buildings that a western pioneer town possessed were created. “By 1870, Spadra could boast three stores, two blacksmith shops, warehouses for shipping via railroad, a school, and a post office.”12  With this burst of development, it appeared that Spadra was developing at the right time and at the right place. This new immigration to Spadra was evident of a larger change happening within California.

Crossroads of Change
Although California had been part of the United States for several decades, most of Southern California was still Mexican in law, population, and culture. Spadra’s success as an attraction for American immigration helped begin California’s gradual change from a Hispanic population to ethnically mixed population. “When Spadra was founded in 1866, southern California was undergoing a transformation as for the first time there were more Anglos in the region than Hispanics and a community of Asians was also developing.”13 Even before its success, Spadra’s beginnings were among the first to change California’s law and culture. The legal transfer of land from Ygnacio Palomares and Ricardo Vejar to Louis Phillips was the first indication that Spadra would now be under American ownership and not Mexican. Spadra had the interesting position of being founded “during the transition period that saw the Hispanic influence on southern California gradually declining while ‘American’ ways were on the increase.”14 Now with the arrival of more American immigrants, Spadra was the forefront of witnessing the last vestiges of Mexican rule being erased.

Because of the necessity to travel through Spadra, its success was dependent on events that occurred hundreds of miles away. The eastern areas of Southern California were not settled from east to west, as if it began on the Colorado River and headed west. Instead, settlers made use of the recently completed transcontinental railroad and journeyed first to Northern California. “Hopeful farmers from many states could ride the rails and then take the coastal steamboat south from San Francisco.”15 Once they arrived at Los Angeles, they would travel eastward toward Spadra, where a road junction provided them with several pathways of opportunity. The San Bernardino road (today’s Pomona Blvd) went from west to east, connecting Los Angeles with San Bernardino County. Another road, laid over the Butterfield Stagecoach route, came from Yuma, Arizona and headed northward toward the Cajon Pass in the San Bernardino Mountains, for migrants to explore and settle the Victor Valley and even up to the Owens Valley.16 In 1868 a silver mining boom began in the Inyo Mountains, which are east of the Sierra Nevada north of the Owens Valley. To reach this isolated area, the easiest route was to start from Los Angeles and travel north through the Cajon Pass and along the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada.  Spadra was the last town encountered before beginning the long journey north, and it quickly grew in activity. “Now both roads across the valley were swarming with wagons carrying people and supplies toward Cajon Pass. Spadra and El Monte farmers prospered by providing feed grain, horses, and food supplies to the miners and the teamsters transporting ore down to Los Angeles.”17 This increase in migrants heading to Southern California led to discussions of building a new railroad, one that would connect Los Angeles and the existing railroad in the Eastern United States.


« Last Edit: October 14, 2014, 11:12:33 pm by retromike22 »Logged

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« Reply #1 on: October 14, 2014, 11:10:41 pm »

The Railroad Comes (and Goes)
In 1873, a contract was signed between Louis Phillips and the Southern Pacific Railroad to build a railroad across the area. Very quickly, the railroad began to creep eastward from Los Angeles, and “on April 4, 1874, the first train from Los Angeles to Spadra was run.”18 With the Southern Pacific railroad having a station at Spadra, which already was a crossroads of transportation, it increased further in popularity.  “As the silver boom matured, its related traffic in people and goods continued to flow through Spadra.  Wool and grain continued to be the area’s main exports down the rails to the Los Angeles market.”19 The single year of 1875 was the highest point of Spadra’s history. It was in this year the Phillips Mansion was completed for Louis Phillips. “Now, just as his boomtown began a slow death, he completed his magnificent new three-story home; the first fired brick structure in the vicinity.”20 Unknown to him at the time, the railroad that Louis Phillips had helped route through Spadra was the first major cause of its decline.

Because the destination of the railroad was not Spadra but the east, the railroad’s construction continued eastward to Colton the following year. This decision by the Southern Pacific Railroad was not uncommon. Decisions regarding train routes and stops were almost always made at the top, with little consideration for the effect on local areas. “They could effectively determine which communities would grow into substantial cities and which would remain small, grain-shipping hamlets.”21 In Spadra’s case, the hope was that having a railroad station would only accentuate the town’s growth. Instead, the railroad immediately led to Spadra’s stagnation of development.

Returning back to the story of Spadra’s creation, we remember that it originated because of a stagecoach station, and was not an existing community prior to this. At first it appears that because Spadra began as a transportation stop, it had an advantage compared to towns that were spontaneously created. But it is the opposite that is true. In his study of Kansas railroad towns, James Shortridge found that although the Santa Fe railroad created many railroad towns, “None of the larger cities on their route were pure railroad creations.”22 His thesis is that towns that formed and developed solely due to the creation of a transportation station were not more likely to prosper than other towns. In fact, the cities that were more likely to succeed were than towns that had already existed and had now become linked to the railroad. When Spadra was linked to the Southern Pacific Railroad, it had an increase in development but only because it was the site of the last station on the railroad. “Spadra’s greatness was only temporary as the Southern Pacific continued work on the line to link up with the east coast, completing the link to Colton in 1875.”23 When the railroad line finally reached Colton, the number people who stopped in Spadra rapidly declined. This was not because of any change within Spadra, but because of the lack of a reason to stop in Spadra. Its station was now in the middle of the line, and not as the last station or one that served a major town.



Now the only people who would exit at Spadra were the ones who lived or had business there, not the majority of travelers who passed. A demonstration of this would be if a traveler from Los Angeles wanted to travel to Yuma before the railroad existed, they would have taken the stagecoach and stopped in Spadra for a meal or overnight stay. Once the train operated from Los Angeles to Spadra, the traveler would continue to stop in Spadra because of the necessity to transfer to a stagecoach. This required transfer boosted Spadra’s development in the success year of 1875 because “it was the terminus where the stages of the East met the railway from Los Angeles.”24 But once the railroad extended eastward, the traveler would have no reason to stop in Spadra because it would only delay his journey. The effect on Spadra was felt instantly. “Once the link was complete Spadra’s commercial base began to decline rapidly and Spadra became just a place to drive through with all of the businesses and farms and ranches eventually disappearing.”25 The sudden charge from bustling town to a minor stop undoubtedly caused Louis Phillips to regret his decision. “Phillips had hoped that the railroad would make their main stop in Spadra and worked so hard to promote the railroad. One of his greatest disappointments was the railroad’s decision to make their main stop in Colton.”26 Despite this setback, the residents of Spadra continued to believe that their town still had great potential. The railroad may have stunted its growth, but Spadra still was the largest settlement in eastern Los Angeles County.

Spadra continued as a rural town, comparable with others in the area such as Pomona, Azusa, and Ontario. The earliest mention of Spadra in the Los Angeles Times is from 1885, which describes it as a small country town with a population between four and five hundred.  “The products are principally barley, wheat, hay, corn, and potatoes. There are numerous bands of sheep in the neighborhood.”27 With a small growing population located near a major railroad station, Spadra appeared that it would mirror other rural towns in Southern California. However, the fate of Spadra would be irreversibly altered by the remarkable, almost deliberate success of its smaller neighbor Pomona.

Influence of Pomona
In 1876, the land containing the area of Pomona was sold to an association of land speculators called “The Los Angeles Immigration and Land Cooperative Association.” In short time, it would be renamed to “The Pomona Land and Water Company.” Over the course of only a few months, streets were planned out and named. Finally a land auction was announced and heavily advertised throughout Southern California as a perfect opportunity to begin a new life. In order to create a fast sale, the land speculators made large efforts to exaggerate Pomona’s assets. “In preparing for the auction, the promoters diverted water from the San Jose Creek so that visitors could be impressed by seeing streams of water flowing in open ditches down the streets.”28 On the day of the auction, a special train from Los Angeles was used to bring the potential land-buyers to Pomona. When the potential customers arrived, the hastily created town seemed like paradise. “The crowds were met with flags flowing, a band, graded streets, and water flowing in open ditches next to the streets.”29 In an almost irresistible invitation, the land auction also advertised and provided free food. Lots were quickly bought and the town instantly had a population to rival Spadra’s, which thought Pomona was an only a temporary oddity. “The sale had been a success, but this did not impress Spadra’s old villagers, who regarded the new town as a joke and spoke of it as ‘Monkey Town.’”30 No one in Spadra would have expected it to be surpassed by Pomona.

Because of the focus on agriculture, Pomona’s fortunes became increasingly dependent on the availability of water, a widespread problem in Southern California before the construction of aqueducts. In 1882, two of original purchasers of land from the auction had tired of the unpredictable rain in California, and realized this was not acceptable for a town supposedly perfect for agriculture. “Their biggest investment in securing an adequate water supply was the $63,000 spent to construct a cement pipeline carrying water from San Antonio Canyon. They hoped that this system would end their dependence on nature’s capricious patterns.”31 With planned streets, jobs in agriculture, and now water availability, Pomona boomed in population. From 1882 to 1885, the population of Pomona grew from about 400 to over 2,000, and in the process surpassed Spadra as the regional center of business activity. Because of Pomona’s growth, in 1888 it become incorporated as Los Angeles County’s fifth city. “By the 1890s, citrus orchards and olive groves replaced the vineyards, and Pomona maintained an economic lead in the valley with its agricultural enterprises.”32 The growth was large enough to designate an area of Pomona as its “downtown” with many multi-story buildings constructed.



In a notable difference from Spadra, the railroad station was built after the development of Pomona and travelers would stop in Pomona due to its status as a destination. “The new downtown, anchored by a substantial railroad station and warehouse, soon lured the post office away from Spadra. Many Spadrans followed suit.”33 Seeing his hometown fail to become a success did not discourage Louis Phillips, since he had for several years bought and resold many acres of land across Southern California. His disappointing ability to create a successful town was more than compensated by his financial success in real estate. “Phillips was a millionaire when he died but the village of Spadra was virtually a ghost town.”34
« Last Edit: October 14, 2014, 11:13:24 pm by retromike22 »Logged

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« Reply #2 on: October 14, 2014, 11:11:29 pm »

Decline and Disappearance
Spadra began to decline further due to most of its population moving to Pomona. The final blows to its disappearance were caused by decisions made by those outside Spadra. In 1919, the California State Legislature selected Spadra as the site of a mental hospital, named the “Pacific Colony.”  At that time, people with mental disabilities were considered to be a nuisance with patients called “inmates” and hospitals that catered to them operating more similar to prisons. The Pacific Colony was complete and opened on May 2, 1927. “It was designed to be almost a self-sufficient city unto itself, isolated from the rest of society by more than just its physical location.”35 Because of its independence, the Pacific Colony did not assist Spadra in any major way, and likely reduced its appeal to any future residents.

Pomona’s popularity and importance increased enough that in 1939 it considered buying 101 acres of Spadra to construct its own airport.36 Although this plan failed, it was just the first attempt of Pomona to use Spadra for its own benefits. Over the course of several years, many of Spadra’s public facilities, which had been some of the “notable firsts” of California, began to disappear.  On January 18, 1950, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors ordered the Spadra School District dissolved and annexed the schools to the Pomona City School District.37 On October 31, 1955, the Spadra Post Office was discontinued and its responsibilities given to the Pomona Post Office. The Post Office Department made this decision due to the “comparatively few patrons of the office, which had its beginning before the Pomona office.”38 On December 15, 1955 the Los Angeles County submitted an application to the Regional Planning Commission. Its contents: a permit to build a landfill in Spadra.  For the last few residents of Spadra, this was the last insult. “The program was protested by several property owners who appeared at a public hearing before the commission in the County Engineering Building.”39 Despite the citizens’ efforts, the landfill was approved and began operation in 1957.

On January 7th, 1964 Pomona finally voted to annex Spadra. The town of Spadra, which had preceded Pomona in population, commerce, and significance, had finally been absorbed by its upstart neighbor. The reasons for annexation were done mainly to increase Pomona’s revenue. “To Pomona, the annexation means increased revenue from gas tax based on population, and an area for heavy manufacturing along the Union Pacific Railroad tracks.”40 At the time of annexation, Spadra’s population was about 3,000 and only a square mile in size. Over the next several years, the overwhelming majority of Spadra’s businesses and homes would be sold to industrial companies, which transformed the rural community into a concrete, industrial landscape. Within a few decades of the death of Louis Phillips, his mansion was no longer owned by his family and began to be used for various purposes. “During World War II it was used as an apartment house. Cal Poly foreign exchange students lived in the house in the late 1950’s.”41 Today the Phillips Mansion is owned by the Historical Society of Pomona, which despite occasional setbacks from local earthquakes, is in the process of restoring the mansion.

Conclusion
The unique combination of its ill-fated creation as a stagecoach stop and the success of neighboring Pomona is what erased the existence of Spadra. Towns that are created as a result of a transportation stop are at an inherent disadvantage, simply because the transportation line benefits the existing towns that it links together. A small town can never develop into a city unless it can attract people, and it cannot attract unless it is a destination, as opposed to a transportation crossroads. The success of Pomona was entirely due to its creators making a stronger effort in attracting more residents and presenting Pomona as a destination than Louis Phillips ever attempted in Spadra. When Pomona surpassed Spadra in popularity, the proximity of Pomona to Spadra easily drained most of its remaining population. The remaining years of Spadra were spent as spare land to other cities, regional agencies, and the state government. It is why Spadra was the site of a mental hospital and landfill, facilities that are necessary to a society but are also unwelcome neighbors.

When a town disappears as an independent community, its name often continues to be used for the area, such as the use of “Hollywood” and “San Pedro.” Today the name Spadra exists only on its cemetery and the now closed landfill. Billy Rubottom’s hotel, Spadra’s first public buildings, and countless homes are covered by industrial factories. The Phillips House is surrounded by warehouses and when driving on Pomona Blvd it is easy to miss. The Spadra cemetery is wedged between railroad tracks, steep hills, and the Orange Freeway, so it is inaccessible from any road. Currently it is off limits to the public, and most of its visitors are vandals or curious teenagers. As a town, or even as a community, Spadra does not exist today. But the town of Spadra did exist in the past, and learning why it disappeared is essential to understanding the history of Los Angeles County and Southern California. Throughout the world there are thousands of towns which have been absorbed by others; the fortunate ones bequeath their place names. For other towns, they are gone entirely, with only historical maps as a pathway to discovering them again.
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« Reply #3 on: October 15, 2014, 07:36:31 am »

Interesting. I'm curious about the town marked as Iowa Tract north of Cucamonga. Does it correspond to anything today? Also, the carriage drive map shows Pomona in LA county, but in the Southern Pacific map it's in San Bernardino. Did the line shift after Pomona was founded?
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« Reply #4 on: October 15, 2014, 08:32:31 am »

Your introductory paragraph needs to do a better job of conveying to the reader why he/she should continue with the article besides idle curiosity...you lay out your case pretty well in the conclusion, but I admit I was thinking "why do I care about a deserted railroad town in LA County when there are hundreds of them across the country?"

That said, well done on the actual content.
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« Reply #5 on: October 15, 2014, 02:54:24 pm »

Interesting. I'm curious about the town marked as Iowa Tract north of Cucamonga. Does it correspond to anything today? Also, the carriage drive map shows Pomona in LA county, but in the Southern Pacific map it's in San Bernardino. Did the line shift after Pomona was founded?

The SP map is wrong. Pomona is and always has been in LA County. Note that the SP map shows Pomona considerably closer to San Bernadino and farther from Spadra than the carriage map does, so the error is most likely a misplacement of where Pomona is on the SP map.
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« Reply #6 on: October 15, 2014, 03:17:45 pm »

Interesting. I'm curious about the town marked as Iowa Tract north of Cucamonga. Does it correspond to anything today? Also, the carriage drive map shows Pomona in LA county, but in the Southern Pacific map it's in San Bernardino. Did the line shift after Pomona was founded?

Edit: jimrtrex's explaination is more accurate. Also yes, the map is wrong.

Your introductory paragraph needs to do a better job of conveying to the reader why he/she should continue with the article besides idle curiosity"

Yes I agree. I originally wrote it for a historical geography class, so the reader would have been only the professor. I think if it was going to be one of those "local interesting article" stories I would write it a bit differently.
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« Reply #7 on: October 15, 2014, 11:16:27 pm »

Very intriguing. It reminds of an area I used to live near Salinas.  One time, Google Maps considerably expanded it's stable of place-names, including many locations around Monterey County. Intrigued, being a geographically minded fellow who had never heard of these small towns, I did some research, to discover that a great many of them were once noted settlements, with hotels, taverns, and post offices. The post offices were closed mostly around 1907-1935 or so, and today a great many of these places exist only as dots on old maps, rural road names, and clusters of agricultural buildings, with the entire valley surrounding Salinas largely emptying of rural population beyond a few isolated farmhouses in the early 20th Century. Some of them had railroad service, or are memorialized in old songs and stories but are no more
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« Reply #8 on: October 16, 2014, 03:55:02 am »

Interesting. I'm curious about the town marked as Iowa Tract north of Cucamonga. Does it correspond to anything today? Also, the carriage drive map shows Pomona in LA county, but in the Southern Pacific map it's in San Bernardino. Did the line shift after Pomona was founded?
The Iowa Tract and Hermosa Tract merged to become Ioamosa.  When the railroad was completed, the town was named Alta Loma, which later became one of the unincorporated communities that formed the city of Rancho Cucamonga (the other two were Etiwanda and Cucamonga)   Ioamosa survives as a street name, and was used on shipping crates of fruit from the area.  Etiwanda is named for an Algonquin chief.
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« Reply #9 on: October 16, 2014, 04:14:53 am »


How the Town of Spadra Disappeared.

I live in Walnut, California, which is in the eastern part of Los Angeles County in the San Gabriel Valley. Looking at historical maps of my area, I continued to see a town named “Spadra,” which was unfamiliar to me.

Does Spadra rhyme with Phaedra, as in "Spadra was its name"
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« Reply #10 on: October 16, 2014, 01:57:54 pm »


How the Town of Spadra Disappeared.

I live in Walnut, California, which is in the eastern part of Los Angeles County in the San Gabriel Valley. Looking at historical maps of my area, I continued to see a town named “Spadra,” which was unfamiliar to me.

Does Spadra rhyme with Phaedra, as in "Spadra was its name"

We just pronounce it like the word "spa." So "spad-ra."
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« Reply #11 on: October 16, 2014, 02:42:16 pm »


How the Town of Spadra Disappeared.

I live in Walnut, California, which is in the eastern part of Los Angeles County in the San Gabriel Valley. Looking at historical maps of my area, I continued to see a town named “Spadra,” which was unfamiliar to me.

Does Spadra rhyme with Phaedra, as in "Spadra was its name"

We just pronounce it like the word "spa." So "spad-ra."

"Spa" /spɑ/ and "spad" /spæd/ don't have the same vowel sound. I am a little surprised at the syllabification.  I'd have thought /spɑ drə/ and not /spɑd rə/.
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« Reply #12 on: October 16, 2014, 03:23:38 pm »


How the Town of Spadra Disappeared.

I live in Walnut, California, which is in the eastern part of Los Angeles County in the San Gabriel Valley. Looking at historical maps of my area, I continued to see a town named “Spadra,” which was unfamiliar to me.

Does Spadra rhyme with Phaedra, as in "Spadra was its name"

We just pronounce it like the word "spa." So "spad-ra."

"Spa" /spɑ/ and "spad" /spæd/ don't have the same vowel sound. I am a little surprised at the syllabification.  I'd have thought /spɑ drə/ and not /spɑd rə/.

It's like adding a "d" to the end of the word "spa" as in "spa resort." The only "Spadra" thing that we have today is the cemetery and that's how us locals pronounce it. I do wonder if it was pronounced differently when Spadra was created.

In this video the guy says Spadra within the first 15 seconds, so you can hear what it sounds like, and you can see the cemetery.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_roEgyByEH8
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« Reply #13 on: October 16, 2014, 09:30:11 pm »

Sometimes there are ghost towns in odd locations. There's actually one on an island in the San Francisco bay. Kind of ironic considering how unaffordable housing is anywhere near it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drawbridge,_California
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« Reply #14 on: October 16, 2014, 09:32:31 pm »

I love Drawbridge! The Coast Starlight passes through it in the morning on the way between Oakland and San Jose
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jimrtex
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« Reply #15 on: October 17, 2014, 12:15:37 am »


How the Town of Spadra Disappeared.

I live in Walnut, California, which is in the eastern part of Los Angeles County in the San Gabriel Valley. Looking at historical maps of my area, I continued to see a town named “Spadra,” which was unfamiliar to me.

Does Spadra rhyme with Phaedra, as in "Spadra was its name"

We just pronounce it like the word "spa." So "spad-ra."

"Spa" /spɑ/ and "spad" /spæd/ don't have the same vowel sound. I am a little surprised at the syllabification.  I'd have thought /spɑ drə/ and not /spɑd rə/.

I was trying for a connection to the Lee Hazelwood-Nancy Sinatra song, Some Velvet Morning.

I found an Arkansas-based page explaining French words that have found their way into the Arkansas dialect, such as bodark and bookoo,  Spadra is listed, but no indication of its derivation or its current pronunciation.
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