The Zany History of early Los Angeles
Sep 18, 2019 12:00 PM
Nat Reed
The Zany History of early Los Angeles

Author Nat Read calls Don Benito Wilson “the most important person in Los Angeles that you’ve never heard of.” Wilson was the second mayor of Los Angeles, county clerk, county supervisor, and state senator of a sparsely-populated district divided today among twenty-six senators. Wilson owned much of early Los Angeles, helped bring railroads to Los Angeles and, with Phineas Banning, built its port. He was a major vintner, citrus growing pioneer, U.S. Army commander and owned gold and silver mines. Except for the fact that Mt. Wilson bears his name, he is largely forgotten today. he played numerous important roles in shaping early Los Angeles in the last of the city’s Mexican era and the beginning of its American years. Nat’s book, Don Benito Wilson: From Mountain Man to Mayor, was the number one non-fiction best-seller on Amazon when it was first released.

Nat describes his past as “checkered.” He was cast in a rock ‘n’ roll movie, appeared in productions of the New York Metropolitan Opera Company, was one of the first U.S. cultural exchange students to the Soviet Union when the Iron Curtain cracked around 1960, was a cab driver in Chicago, a casino worker in Nevada, marched with Dr. Martin Luther King, was a captain in the Navy (ours), was one of fewer than a hundred humans to stand at both poles, was a reserve street cop with LAPD working gang suppression in South Los Angeles and undercover vice in Hollywood, is a nationally published writer (Wall Street Journal, Reader’s Digest, Los Angeles Times and many others), has written four books and is a stand-up comic who has appeared at comedy clubs, conventions and as emcee for charity events throughout the Western U.S. and Canada.

Join Wilshire Rotary on Wednesday, September 18th, as Nat discusses early California history.

Cost is $35 at the dor - Parking is included.