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Los Angeles Paving Company Records: Finding Aid
mssLA Paving Co records  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Overview of the Collection
  • Access
  • Administrative Information
  • Historical Note
  • Scope and Content
  • Arrangement
  • Indexing Terms

  • Overview of the Collection

    Title: Los Angeles Paving Company Records
    Dates (inclusive): 1903-1974
    Bulk dates: 1912-1964
    Collection Number: mssLA Paving Co records
    Creator: Los Angeles Paving Company.
    Extent: 8,477 items. 15 boxes plus one rolled item and 38 volumes.
    Repository: The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. Manuscripts Department
    1151 Oxford Road
    San Marino, California 91108
    Phone: (626) 405-2129
    Email: reference@huntington.org
    URL: http://www.huntington.org
    Abstract: This collection contains the business records of the Los Angeles Paving Company, an important business enterprise in 20th century Southern California. The collection chiefly dates from the 1910s to the 1960s and includes business and project files, correspondence, photographs, and some ephemera and additional files of the Werdin family, who owned and managed the company. The papers provide a unique perspective of 20th century California history and American business history and more specifically, a view of business practices in Los Angeles.
    Language: English.


    Open to qualified researchers by prior application through the Reader Services Department. For more information, contact Reader Services.

    Administrative Information

    Publication Rights

    The Huntington Library does not require that researchers request permission to quote from or publish images of this material, nor does it charge fees for such activities. The responsibility for identifying the copyright holder, if there is one, and obtaining necessary permissions rests with the researcher.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item]. Los Angeles Paving Company Records, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.


    Gift of Linda Carson Werdin, November 19, 1999.

    Historical Note

    The Los Angeles Paving Company, owned and managed by the Werdin family, was an important business enterprise in 20th century Southern California. Ernest R. Werdin was born in 1869 in Minnesota and moved to Los Angeles in 1886. In 1902, he was elected Superintendent of Streets of the City of Los Angeles, which probably gave him opportunities to establish extensive connections for his future paving business. In 1912, he started the Los Angeles Paving Company. After his death in 1932, his son E. Russell Werdin inherited and continued the business. Over the decades, the Los Angeles Company expanded and it accomplished paving tasks for many families, businesses, and governmental agencies in the region. The company paved many of the streets in Southern California, including Los Angeles' famous Sunset Boulevard.
    Both Ernest R. Werdin and E. Russell Werdin joined several business-related and non-business-related club and associations. Both were life members of Al Malaikah Temple. Ernest R. Werdin was a member of the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce. E. Russell Werdin was president of both the Vernon and Carson Chambers of Commerce, and he was active in the Rotary Club for 63 years before his death in 1997. He also graduated from the University of Southern California with a degree in Commerce in 1932, and later became one of the university's trustees and served as president of the USC Alumni Association in 1960 to 1961.

    Scope and Content

    The papers provide a unique perspective of 20th century California history and American business history and more specifically, a view of business practices in Los Angeles.
    The Business Files, the largest series of the collection with 6,436 items, is arranged alphabetically by folder title (which is usually the name of the company with which the contents relate) includes invoices, receipts, bills of lading, purchase orders, bid requests, bids, statements, daily reports of the plants, daily time reports, accident reports, and other general account and job information including handwritten notes, drawings, construction plans and diagrams. Some of the more notable clients and companies included in this series are: Al Malaikah Temple, American Red Cross; General Motors Company; Mobil Oil Company; Shell Oil Company; Sears, Roebuck and Company; United States Navy; Loyola Marymount University; UCLA; and the cities of Glendale and Vernon, California. This series also contains a few items related to the Werdin family including legal files for lawsuits.
    The Correspondence series contains 768 items. Most of the correspondence is business-related. The majority of the correspondence has been batched by the first letter of the author’s name. Some clients’ correspondence was given its own folder. The correspondence from the LA Paving Company has been organized in the same manner; most of it has been batched but some clients have their own folder. The letter by Meyer Lissner to Werdin talks about Hiram Johnson’s campaign (see Box 10, Folder 40). Some of the notable clients and companies in this series are: Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroad Company; Ford Motor Company; General Electric Corporation; General Motors Company; May Company; Paramount Pictures Corporation; Railroad Commission of the State of California; RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.; Peter Soo Hoo (LA Paving Company paved Gin Ling Way in Chinatown in Los Angeles); Southern California Edison; United Artists Corporation; United States Federal Housing Administration; United States Navy; Universal Pictures Company; UCLA; Walt Disney Productions; Southern Pacific Company; and the cities of Glendale and Vernon, California. The American Red Cross is a subject in the correspondence files of John B. Rauen (Box 11, Folder 49) and E. Russell Werdin (Box 11, Folder 68).
    The Photographs and Negatives series contains 1,110 items. The items are arranged alphabetically by folder title (chiefly the subject of the photographs). These photographs (and negatives) include views of jobs (at various stages of completion), plants, machinery, as well as a few aerial views of the company’s jobs.
    The Ephemera series contains 124 items and is organized alphabetically by folder title. The series includes: business-related newsletters and bulletins, brochures and publications, newspaper clippings; tax forms, several LA Paving Company related artifacts, a copy of the 1926 Who’s Who in Los Angeles and a copy of Scratches: A Volume of Cartoons and Caricatures of Los Angeles Citizens, 1911 (Ernest R. Werdin is in both volumes). There is also one folder related to E. Russell Werdin’s involvement in the USC Alumni Association.
    The 38 volumes include bid requests, daily job reports, invoices, journals, one photograph album, a plant and shop register, and stock certificates. They are arranged alphabetically by title and then chronologically. They are located at the end of the collection and are not in boxes.


    The papers are organized in the following manner: Business Files (Boxes 1-9); Correspondence (Boxes 10-11); Photographs and Negatives (Boxes 12-14); Ephemera (Box 15); and Volumes.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the Huntington Library's Online Catalog.  


    Los Angeles Paving Company.
    University of Southern California.
    Business enterprises -- California -- Los Angeles -- Archives.
    Pavements -- California, Southern.
    Concrete roads -- California, Southern.
    California -- History -- 20th century -- Sources.
    Chinatown (Los Angeles, Calif.)
    Glendale (Calif.)
    Los Angeles (Calif.) -- History -- 20th century -- Sources.
    Vernon (Calif.)


    Business records -- California -- 20th century.
    Letters (correspondence) -- California -- 20th century.
    Photographs -- California -- 20th century.

    Additional Contributors

    Soo Hoo, Peter, recipient.
    Werdin, E. Russell.
    Werdin, Ernest R.
    American Red Cross.
    Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroad Company.
    Ford Motor Company.
    General Electric Corporation.
    General Motors Company.
    Loyola Marymount University.
    Mobil Oil Company.
    Paramount Pictures Corporation.
    Railroad Commission of the State of California.
    RKO Radio Pictures.
    Sears, Roebuck and Company.
    Shell Oil Company.
    Southern California Edison Company.
    Southern Pacific Company.
    United Artists Corporation.
    United States. Federal Housing Administration.
    United States. Navy.
    Universal Pictures Company.
    University of California, Los Angeles.
    Walt Disney Productions.