L.A., Where the World Convalesces

Today, It’s Chinese Health Tourists. A Century Ago, It Was American Consumptives Coming for the Sunshine.


The historical record is full of such stories: He moved to Los Angeles “for health reasons.” She relocated to Southern California “for her health.” Booster rhymes of the late 19th and early 20th century tripped off the tongue: come to Los Angeles for health and for wealth.

And come they did, especially following the arrival of the railroads in the 1870s and 1880s, amidst the pathos of collective coughing, and spitting, and shortness of breath. Tuberculars, thousands of them, but others, too, with all manner of pulmonary or respiratory trouble, …

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