Southern California has experienced two major "boom" periods which were the 1880s and the 1920s. These boom periods brought much change to the state of California; economically and socially. Many new industries appeared thanks to each boom that took place. The events that occurred in each boom period affected the state differently. To best lay out what change took place in California we will examine each period separately and discuss what occurred within the periods to see how these boom periods affected and shaped the state of California. .
Southern California experienced tremendous growth in the 1880s, stimulated in part by the railroad. The Southern Pacific was the largest landowner in the state and it took a leading role in the advertising of California. The railroad's publicity department flooded the nation with articles and stories extolling the charms of California's natural beauty, climate, and romantic heritage (Dumke). The Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroad reached Los Angeles in the mid 1880s and began a rate war with the Southern Pacific (Rice). Passenger fares from the Midwest to southern California dropped from $125 to as little as $1. More than 200,000 newcomers arrived in southern California in 1887, the peak year of "the boom of the eighties." Real estate sales in Los Angeles County exceeded $200 million during a single year. Dozens of towns sprang up. A hundred new communities with 500,000 homesites were established (Dumke). .
Expansion of rail service in California had one result that was never anticipated by the businessmen and politicians of San Francisco and Sacramento who worked so hard for the transcontinental link; Northern California lost its monopoly on the state's population and wealth. Without a rail link, Los Angeles, the first city of Mexican California, remained a sleepy village compared to the booming towns to the north. However, local business and political leaders were determined that Los Angeles would not be bypassed when rail lines came south, and city voters agreed to what was, in effect, a bribe to the Southern Pacific to bring the line directly through the city.