February 14, 1912: Duluth man arrested for bombing of L.A. Times building

On this day in Duluth in 1912, structural engineer Frederick J. Mooney of 125 North 28th Avenue West was arrested in connection with the dynamiting of the Los Angeles Times building on October 1, 1910. Brothers James and John McNamara and Ortie McManagal of the International Association of Bridge and Structural Iron Workers were charged with the crimes. It was part of a campaign of terror the union began in 1906 to “bring companies to the bargaining table, not to destroy plants or kill people.” They hit 110 iron works, but did little damage. The Los Angeles bombing, however, killed 21 L.A. Times employees and injured 100 others. Mooney was accused of being a bag man, delivering the explosives used during the bombing campaign. He was indicted on 128 counts. McManagal confessed to several of the bombings and implicated Mooney in his testimony. In all 38 union labor officials were found guilty and sent to prison, including Mooney, who was sentenced to a year and a day and sent to prison in Leavenworth, Kansas. Many in Duluth, including police officer A. V. Youngberg, thought that Mooney had been framed. The union’s attorneys arranged for a second trial, and friends began raising money for a $10,000 bond that would secure his release until the new trial. He was let go on January 31, 1913. His appeal began in October 1913. On June 24, 1914, the Duluth News Tribune announce he had been granted clemency.

Photo of the L. A. Times building taken by commercial photographer C. C. Pierce after daylight on the morning of the bombing. (Image: Public Domain)