During the early 20th-century, several violent and controversial Iron Workers’ Union (IWU) strikes, protests, and a lengthy, bombing campaign enraged Harrison Grey Otis, publisher of the Los Angeles Times.
The IWU had a rare stronghold in Los Angeles and the two were on a collision course. In 1910, brothers John and James McNamara were tasked with organizing a bombing of the newspaper plant.
James left a case of dynamite with a detonator in an alley alongside the L.A. Times building. When the bomb went off during the early morning hours of October 1, 1910, the explosion ruptured a gas main and caused a fatal fire that killed 21 people. All but one of those killed were L.A. Times employees.
In a sensational trial, James received a life sentence while John was sentenced to 15 years for another bombing.
This opulent memorial for the “Sons of Duty,” who were victims of “conspiracy, dynamite, and fire” was erected by Otis and features emotive, combative, and profound words while offering “peace to their ashes.”
A large obelisk nearby is where Otis rests alongside his fallen employees. In between, there’s a flat marble structure that is the final resting place of later L.A. Times publisher Harry Chandler, who was Otis’s son-in-law.
Know Before You Go
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