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Major Harold Ferguson: Citizen-Soldier Meets Roaring 20s Los Angeles

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This is a true story from Maj. Harold Ferguson’s personal diary and letters describing his experiences during World War I and his life as a citizen of Los Angeles during the formative years of the 1920s. Maj. Harold Ferguson was a Stanford graduate lawyer and member of the United States National Guard returning from service in World War I to his home in Los Angeles, a city growing into a thriving metropolis. But Los Angeles was a different city from Chicago, New York, or Detroit. It was isolated from the rest of the country by its location on the West Coast, surrounded by mountain ranges and oceans. Natural resources were rare, and water would be crucial to supporting a new population that hailed mostly from the Midwest. All these challenges were part of Ferguson’s story. His entry into the LA real estate business came at a time when Los Angeles was overwhelmed with housing demands to accommodate all the new immigrants who saw Los Angeles as a Mediterranean paradise—sunshine, Hollywood, job opportunities, get-rich-quick schemes, and a new beginning. But delayed effects of World War I, subterranean and invisible to most, rose from the depths and created the Great Depression.

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