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Articles on this Page
- 02/01/16--19:05: _It's Always Sunny i...
- 02/02/16--19:07: _It's Always Sunny i...
- 03/02/16--04:17: _The Militant's Epic...
- 05/06/16--00:16: _Erotic City (The Ep...
- 05/11/16--12:39: _The Militant's Epic...
- 08/12/16--23:06: _The Militant's Epic...
- 01/04/17--15:07: _2017: A Militant Pr...
- 01/12/17--15:47: _Los Angeles Is...De...
- 01/19/17--13:14: _El Centennial Party...
- 03/23/17--17:41: _The Militant's Epic...
- 06/06/17--15:12: _The Militant's Epic...
- 08/09/17--13:04: _The Militant's Epic...
- 10/05/17--02:49: _The Militant's Epic...
- 02/01/16--19:05: It's Always Sunny in El Sereno*
- 02/02/16--19:07: It's Always Sunny in El Sereno, Part II: The Ascot Hills Adventure
- 03/02/16--04:17: The Militant's Epic CicLAvia Tour XVI!
- 05/06/16--00:16: Erotic City (The Epic Militant Prince Map of Los Angeles)
- 05/11/16--12:39: The Militant's Epic Militant CicLAvia Tour XVII!
- 08/12/16--23:06: The Militant's Epic Militant CicLAvia Tour XVIII!
- 01/04/17--15:07: 2017: A Militant Preview
- 01/12/17--15:47: Los Angeles Is...Defined By Its Street Signs
- 01/19/17--13:14: El Centennial Party That's Segundo To None*
- 03/23/17--17:41: The Militant's Epic Militant CicLAvia Tour XX!!
- 06/06/17--15:12: The Militant's Epic Militant CicLAvia Tour XXI!!
- 08/09/17--13:04: The Militant's Epic Militant CicLAvia Tour XXII!!
- 10/05/17--02:49: The Militant's Epic Militant CicLAvia Tour XXIII!!!
|The seasonally-green Ascot Hills in El Sereno.|
|The DTLA skyline from El Sereno.|
|More Pacific Electric remnants!|
Oh wait, The Militant got that mixed up with something else.
He then continued to walk towards the USC facility to the end of the property where he saw the Valley Blvd PE Bridge from deck level, devoid of tracks but still covered with ballast stones. Again, The Militant felt a connection to the past. The Force of Pacific Electric history has definitely Awakened (Keep the puns going, Militant).
|A deck view of the PE Valley Blvd Overpass bridge, paralleling north Soto Street.|
|Mission Road Viaduct, taken August 2015. Now you see it...|
|Mission Road Viaduct, February 2016. Now you don't.|
R.I.P. Mission Road Viaduct. But do notice the stark contrast in color of the Ascot Hills in the background. The Militant can't stress this enough. YES, WE HAVE SEASONS IN LOS ANGELES.
The Militant was glad to take numerous pictures of both bridges and say his final goodbyes. This is why The Militant does what he does. May The Force of Los Angeles History Be With You (Okay, Militant, a bit predictable for an ending here, but acceptable).
*Technically, the track remnants, the USC building and the Forever 21 factory are on the west side of Soto Street and therefore would be in Lincoln Heights, and yes, The Militant is aware of this, but he spent most of the day in El Sereno, and the El Sereno side is what appears in the photographs. But don't you worry Lincoln Heightsiders, The Militant will cover your hood in due time.
|Ascot Hills welcomes you.|
It turns out those hills have a name, Ascot Hills, and they contain a relatively new city park called Ascot Hills Park
Back in the 1920s, the area was home to a racing venue called the Legion Ascot Speedway, which attracted Angelenos from far and wide (this was still a couple decades before the Los Angeles Rams brought big-league professional team sports to town).
Finally opened in June, 2011, some 81 years before it was supposed to open.
Hey, better late than never.
The Militant was welcomed by a brown dirt path cutting through the mountain and leading up at a steep angle. He was concerned with not having the proper hiking gear, until he looked down at his feet and realized that his combat boots could function perfectly well as hiking shoes (A true Militant is always at the ready). So he walked up the path, rounded a hill and walked westward.
he was greeted by an awesome view of not only the Downtown Los Angeles skyline, but of the Palos Verdes Peninsula, and even Catalina Island behind that. The Hollywood Sign and the outline of the Century City skyline can also be seen. To the north were the San Gabriel Mountains, including the snowcapped (yet overcast) Mt. Baldy. To the southeast he could also see Orange County's Saddleback Mountain in clear view.
This place is like the Eastside's Runyon Canyon -- except for the absence of the superficial self-centered showbiz (SSS) types and the lack of dog crap. And considering that he saw about 5 dogs being walked along his hike, he can say that Eastsiders are gar more responsible people.
The Militant also looked down towards nearby Montecito Heights where he could see the site of the now-removed Pacific Electric viaduct (R.I.P.).
The best part, however, was The Militant hanging out there in the Ascot Hills, waiting for the sun to go down. And although this was a generally cloudless sunset (and thus not an #epicsunset that fills up Twitter and Instragram feeds), it was nonetheless awesome.
Do make a chance to get here before Springtime ends; the hills are nice and green and native wildfllowers are known to grow here!
Interactive map! Click and drag to navigate. Larger map here!
It may be technically winter, but CicLAvia season has begun! We're now here in 2016 for the 16th-ever CicLAvia. This time around we return to the 818, albeit much more northeast to and through the communities of Panorama City, Arleta and Pacoima (which, if you're a longtime reader of This Here Blog, is Tongva for "Place of Running Water").
This is also the first CicLAvia in a truly suburban setting, the first CicLAvia that is not directly accessible by any of the Metro Rail lines (tsk tsk tsk...shame...), the first CicLAvia to cross an active mainline railroad track (be watchful at San Fernando Road, folks - you all wanna live to go to the next CicLAvia, right?) and the farthest from Downtown Los Angeles (18.4 miles away).
Now, being mostly suburban, The Militant thought this route would just have like less than 10 points of interest. But digging deeper into the community history, and making an unspecified number of Militant reconnaissance missions to the northeast SFV, The Militant came up with 20 - count 'em - TWENTY points of interest on or around the CicLAvia route (He could have gone with 22 but, The Militant does this stuff for free, so don't push it, K?)!
You'll also notice that The Militant has abandoned his old arbitrary CicLAvia route version numbering system, just because it's a pain in the ass to keep track of, so from here on out, he'll go Super Bowl/Olympics on y'allz and use Roman numerals. So get ready for sweet XVI!
Now before we begin, The Militant would like to name the Official Theme Song of the XVIth CicLAvia (You may or may not get a personal hug or high-five from The Militant if he hears you blast this song from your mobile sound system on Sunday):
7876 Van Nuys Blvd, Van Nuys
This ginormous, sprawling car-oriented shopping center on the east side of Van Nuys Boulevard where one can catch a movie, buy some hardware or satisfy their "IN-N-OUT URGE" originally began its life as a large General Motors automotive plant (hence the name), pumping out Chevrolet trucks, other Chevy auto models, Buicks, Oldsmobiles and Pontiacs for nearly half a century, built mostly by residents who lived nearby, before closing down in 1992 to satisfy AQMD requirements. The plant was torn down six years later and Los Angeles City Councilman Marvin Braude resurrected the site into the ginormous shopping center in 2003. GM still operates a testing facility east of the stores. The Militant may or may not have written part of this blog post at the Starbucks (his cup may or may nor have read, "Milton").
13651 Willard St, Panorama City
Another major employer that made Panorama City is Kaiser Permanente's Panorama City Medical Center. Though it opened in 1962, it was envisioned as far back as 1948 when industrialist Henry Kaiser developed his residential neighborhood (more on this later), and a large plot of land by Roscoe and Woodman was set aside for the construction of a hospital.
15040 Roscoe Blvd, Van Nuys
In the post-war area, not only did the Panorama City community flourish with homes, shopping and industry, but what more appropriate way to take your shiny new Chevy made down the street to watch a drive-in movie? In the SFV, the Drive-In was king, but every king's reign comes to an end. The Van Nuys Drive-In was the last drive-in theater in The Valley, eventually sporting three screens (in 1983) with a capacity for nearly 900 cars. The drive-in closed for good in 1992 and was demolished in 1998. The property was purchased by the LAUSD, which built Vista Middle School on the site in the early 2000s.
8401 Van Nuys Blvd, Panorama City
When it comes to shopping centers in the San Fernando Valley, North Hollywood's Valley Plaza might have been the pioneer, the Topanga Plaza might be the first enclosed mall (1964) and the Sherman Oaks Galleria might get credit for being ground zero of 1980s "Valley Girl" culture, but Panorama Mall deserves its own induction in the 818 Mall of Fame. It was part of Kaiser and Burns' plan for Pano to surround their hood with commerce and industry, as a place, unlike the regional shopping center behemoths of the time, where residents can simply
2009 (Built 1965)
8450 Van Nuys Blvd (corner Chase St - get it?), Panorama City
You would think that this location would be the product of some clever marketing. But corporations don't think that way. Rather, it was a matter of happenstance. Originally established as a Home Savings of America in 1965, it went under the guise of Washington Mutual in 1998 until WaMu was eaten up by J. P. Morgan Chase Bank a decade later. As fate would have it, this Chase Bank is on the corner of Van Nuys Boulevard and none other than Chase Street. You can't make this stuff up, folks. Now if there was ever a high-speed chase that ended up here, The Militant would explode.
8610 Van Nuys Blvd, Panorama City
Plaza del Valle (Plaza of the Valley), originally built in the 1970s as a strip mall is an outdoor shopping court, nestled behind the nondescript storefronts on the east side of Van Nuys Blvd between Chase and Parthenia streets (and the perfect counterpoint to the mostly-indoor Panorama Mall down the block), was heavily influenced by Downtown's Olvera Street. The old strip mall was re-imagined and re-built in 2000 by its non-Latino developers to serve Pano's growing Latino community. The complex features retail shops and stalls, eateries, fountains and an entertainment stage.
Van Nuys Blvd at Parthenia St, Panorama City
Now that The Militant made his epic Pacific Electric Archaeology Map and detailed where every passenger Red Car line went in Southern California, you all should know by now that Van Nuys Boulevard used to be a PE right of way (and if you didn't, then THE MILITANT IS DISAPPOINTED IN YOU!) So you wouldn't be surprised at all that the westward sweeping curve on Parthenia Street is where the line, which reached this part of The Valley in 1913, diverges from Van Nuys Blvd and continues westward, then northward again to San Fernando. Due to the rising costs of maintaining and operating the line (and not because of some silly Roger Rabbit Judge Doom conspiracy), it was partially shut down in 1938 (years before the supposed conspiracy happened, BTW...but no matter how many facts get shown in your face, you still continue to believe it, right? RIGHT?) up to Sherman Way, and the entire SFV line was closed in 192 (y'allz should have that memorized by now...).
Area bordered by Van Nuys Blvd, Osborne St, Woodman Ave & Roscoe Blvd, Panorama City
Whatup, homes? There's a bunch of them here east of Van Nuys Blvd here in Pano. When World War II was winding down in 1945, real estate developer Fritz B. Burns and industrialist Henry J. Kaiser purchased 400 acres of former dairy farms and alfalfa fiels for $1 million to build their own planned residential community consisting of affordable, pre-fab, single-story homes on winding streets to break up the SFV grid monotony. They built it, and they came.A General Motors factory set up shop down the street, space was reserved for a future hospital, and nearby breweries and aerospace companies also generated employment centers. A large shopping center was built, and Mr. Burns (no, not that one) brought his own personal reindeer to the Panorama Mall to delight shoppers each holiday season (and also found it an opportunity to market some houses to them). Of course, back then in the era of discriminatory housing covenants, you had to be white (and purely white, to be exact) to own these homes, a practice that was in place until the Civil Rights Act was passed in 1968. Today, the majority of residents who live in the former Kaiser Homes development are non-white and primarily of immigrant background -- predominantly Latino, as well as Filipino and Thai, providing the proverbial middle finger of justice extended to the legacy Burns and Kaiser.
1985 (Built c. 1950s)
9303 Roslyndale Avenue, Arleta
Months after Marty McFly traveled into the future, it couldn't be more appropo to take a short detour from the CicLAvia route southeast down Canterbury Ave, left on Kagel Canyon and right on Roslyndale to see the very house which portrayed the McFly family residence in the "Back to the Future" movie saga. NOTE: This is a private residence, please do not bother the current occupants, and please refrain from shouting, "HELLO, MC FLY?!" outside.
Sandusky Ave at Kagel Canyon Street, Arleta
And if you haven't felt enough of The Power of Love yet, head back onto Kagel Canyon, turn right and stop at the intersection of Sandusky Avenue to see the very street where Marty McFly skateboarded down in the first "Back to the Future" film. It don't take money, don't take fame, don't need no credit card to ride this train (well, unless you're talking about a TAP card...).
Van Nuys Blvd between Arleta Ave and Bradley St
Spurred by a local need to increase community pride and aesthetics, several local artists painted murals along the Van Nuys Blvd corridor in Pacoima and thus was born Pacoima Mural Mile. Famous native Ritchie Valens (more on him later) is a popular subject on these walls, as well as cultural icons from Frida Kahlo to La Virgen de Guadalupe to Danny Trejo. Think of this as an Epic CicLAvia tour within an Epic CicLAvia Tour! View the Pacoima Mural Mile map here: http://www.muralmile.org/#!/zoom/csgz/coq6
13428 Remington St, Pacoima
This was the house that '50s rock star and Pacoima native Ritchie Valens purchased for his mother, Concepcion Reyes, in 1958 from the proceeds of his newfound "La Bamba" fame, and was also his final residence until The Day The Music Died on February 3, 1959. NOTE: This is a private residence, please do not bother the current occupants, and please refrain from shouting, "RITCHIEEEEEEEEEEEEE!" outside.
10731 Laurel Canyon Blvd, Pacoima
The former Paxton Park, re-dedicated in 1994 to Pacoima's most famous native in order to spur community pride, Ritchie Valens Park isn't just a patch of grass with a famous person's name on the sign, it features a skate park, a baseball diamond, basketball courts, a swimming pool and a children's playground with historical and interpretive displays highlighting the life of the local Mexican American rocker, whose life was tragically cut short at the age of 17 on a Wisconsin plane crash. Weeeeeeeeeeeeell come on, let's go, let's go, go, everybody...to this nice little detour not too far away from the main CicLAvia route.
Van Nuys Blvd at San Fernando Rd, Pacoima
This is the very first time a CicLAvia route will cross an active mainline railroad track, so please do not ignore the warning lights, bells and gates! These tracks were originally built in 1876 by the Southern Pacific Railroad to connect Los Angeles to Saugus, where continuing lines on to Ventura and the Antelope Valley were built. In the early 1990s, it was taken over by the Southern California Regional Rail Authority, otherwise known as Metrolink, for a commuter rail line from Union Station to Santa Clarita, which opened in October 1992. But on January 17, 1994, the earth shook violently and the 5/14 freeway interchange collapsed. To facilitate commuters coming in from the Antelope Valley during the post-Northridge Earthquake period, the line was extended to Lancaster (which wasn't planned to be built until 2004at the earliest under normal circumstances) thanks to FEMA funds and was opened IN ONE WEEK. In the near (or distant) future, running parallel to the existing railroad tracks will be the proposed California High Speed Rail system from San Francisco to Los Angeles (...which may or may not get built).
13156 Van Nuys Blvd, Pacoima
Established in San Fernando in 1944 to serve the growing Mexican American community in the area by Francisco and Pilar Tresierras while two of their sons served in World War II, and operating from this very location for 60 straight years, Tresierras Supermarket is a full-service
Latino supermarket featuring produce, dry goods, a carniceria and an in-house tortilleria. It's one of the long-time anchors of Pacoima's Latino community, serving local residents for generations. And we're quite sure that Ritchie Valens himself shopped here back in the day.
10995 Lehigh Ave, Pacoima
This public housing project next to the northern terminus of the CicLAvia route features 448 apartments built in the World War II era by the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles. It was built to house workers from the Lockheed aircraft factory in Burbank (though it's pretty far from Burbank -- no freeway and no PE line back n the day) and was unique in that it was racially integrated, and comprised the largest African American community in the San Fernando Valley at the time.
13058 Filmore St, Pacoima
Though Ritchie Valens' birthplace is unknown, this was the very house where he spent most of his childhood in (after living briefly with an uncle in Santa Monica as a kid). At the age of 9, he taught himself how to play guitar at this very house and took it to Pacoima Jr. High School where he performed for his classmates and joined a local band, The Silhouettes as their singer, until he was discovered by record label owner Bob Keane, and the rest was history.
Duuuuude. The 4.2-mile CicLAvia route is kinda short. Let's go a little farther, shall we? Continue on Van Nuys and make a right on Foothill...
2014 (Built 2007)
11800 Foothill Blvd, Lake View Terrace
The de-facto successor to the nbow-defunct Childrens Museum of Los Angeles, which operated out of the Civic Center for most of its 20-year existence, this building was originally built in 2007 to house an expanded version of the museum. but after the nonprofit went bankrupt in 2009, this building sat as a white elephant on the corner of Foothill and Osborne for seven years, until the City entered a partnership with Santa Ana's Discovery Science Center and operated the intended Children's Museum site as "Discovery Cube Los Angeles" in 2014. But despite the museum's corner location, it's a horribly pedestrian-unfriendly experience just getting to the dang place, where one has to enter through the Hansen Dam Recreation Area's main entrance on Osborne Street, and drive some distance before entering the Discovery Cube parking lot. Whatup with that?
Foothill Blvd, east of Osborne St, Lake View Terrace
Twenty-five years ago this weekat this very spot (just behind the Discovery Cube building on Foothill) was where African American motorist Rodney King was beaten by four mostly-white LAPD officers after a brief freeway chase (they didn't televise those things back then). But they did televise the grainy VHS handicam video (no smartphones back then, kids) that was shot by local resident George Holliday, who lived in the apartments on the north side of Foothill. The beating, after airing on KTLA a few days later, sparked outrage in the city's African American community and called to attention the issue and history of police brutality. The acquittal of the four cops over a year later triggered the largest riots in Los Angeles' history.
11770 Foothill Blvd, Lake View Terrace
Built in response to the Great Los Angeles Flood of 1938 that caused catastrophic flooding near the Los Angeles River in The Valley, the City tapped the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to build a 2 mile-long, 97 foot-high flood control dam on the site of Homer and Marie Hansen's horse ranch (apparently you get naming rights in exchange for eminent domain). It's designed to contain and control runoff from the San Gabriel Mountains, entering the dam area from Bug Tujunga Canyon, where water ultimately enters the Los Angeles River via the Tujunga Wash (and millions of gallons of water just get wasted in the ocean...). But the area, which also sports a large park and recreation area, can also be a part of Los Angeles' water future as the area sits on a large aquifer. The LADWP has long-term plans to clean up the SFV aquifer in the future to allow more harvesting of local groundwater (which currently comprises 10-15 percent of our city's water source), and open the possibility of stored or recycled water.
Oh yeah, if you made it this far, DO NOT PASS UP THE OPPORTUNITY to ride your bike on the dam itself (there's a dedicated bike path)!
Happy CicLAvia and STAY MILITANT!
We R gathered here to salute this man called Prince Rogers Nelson, who left this life 4 the afterworld on April 21. Though he's undoubtedly associated with being a proud hardcore native of Minneapolis, Prince has left his mark on the City of Angels as well, even briefly claiming residence here in 2006.
Prince also associated himself with a few Los Angeles-area natives in his career: Revolution band member, keyboardist Lisa Coleman is a native Angelena (and half-Mexican). And protege and "Purple Rain" co-star Apollonia Kotero was born and raised in Santa Monica.
In tribute 2 a major icon of The Militant's generation (an unspecified generation lettered somewhere between W and Y), on the day that this city throws a public memorial event at City Hall, The Militant has decided to make another one of his Epic maps, this time saluting Prince. Sure, you would expect such a map to be made by The Militant Minneapolitan, but it's not like this town doesn't love purple things originally from Minnesota.
This map contains movie and video shoot locations, recording studios, his onetime residence in the hills above West Hollywood and every single one of the concert venues he ever graced the stage on in this town. After all, this town gave made literally made him a star. Did you know that Prince played his first concert outside of Minneapolis right here in Los Angeles?
He no doubt played at all the major concert venues in town, with The Forum being the place he played in the most, having graced the stage 23 times there. Prince was also a man ahead of his time, realizing the potential of Downtown Los Angeles, where he not only shot music videos and films here, but opened a night club in DTLA, just eight months after the Los Angeles Riots.
CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE EPIC MILITANT PRINCE MAP OF LOS ANGELES!
View larger map here!
The 17th CicLAvia is upon us this Sunday, and it takes us to Watts and the historically industrial cities of southeaster Los Angeles county. First off, for those who haven't been to the area before, this map might not make sense; only a quarter of the route falls within the city of Los Angeles, but it made a lot more sense once you see that it ties together several pedestrian-oriented retail corridors: Pacific Boulevard in Huntington Park, South Gate's Tweedy Mile and Lynwood's Plaza Mexico shopping center. And unlike the last CicLAvia in the San Fernando Valley, this one is accessible by both the Metro Blue (Firestone and 103rd St stations) and Green (Long Beach Blvd station lines.
The Militant visited the area last weekend for his Militant research and discovered this region is the land of historic movie theatres, formerly the home of several large industries (which, though have been gone for over 30 years, their effect on the area is long-lasting) and a local burger chain called Bobo's Hamburgers. But there are other great places to eat along the route, as you'll see below.
The Militant creates these guides to give the CicLAvian a deeper understanding of the history and the living community along these streets, so if you learned something (or have something to add), please share in the comments below or share via a tweet.
You know you've been waiting for it, so here's The Militant's Epic Militant CicLAvia Tour XVII!
6528 Pacific Blvd, Huntingron Park
This CicLAvia route is full of historic theatre buildings, and the first stop on the Epic CicLAvia Tour is definitely one of them. Built in 1925 as the 1,500-seat Fox California Theatre, it was designed by architects George Lindley and Charles Selkirk, who also designed Glendale's Alex Theatre. The cinema screened Fox pictures from the 1920s on. In the 1980s, the cinema became a three-plex, and later became a two-screener, finally closing in 2006.
6604 Pacific Blvd, Huntington Park
Most of you are familiar with the emerald-colored Eastern-Columbia Outfitting Company's onetime flagship store building in Downtown Los Angeles along Broadway, but the California store chain also had a location right here in Huntington Park. And like its famous Downtown mother, this one had a pyramid-shaped roof and a clock. Today, the building houses a jewelry store and a clothing outlet.
6714 Pacific Blvd, Huntington Park
This next historic theatre was built in 1930 as part of the cinema chain owned by Warner Bros. Pictures to showcase their latest releases (which included the Warner Beverly Hills, San Pedro's Warner Grand Theatre and the Warner (now Wiltern) on Wilshire. Architect B. Marcus Priteca, who also designed the San Pedro and Beverly Hills Warner theatres, as well as Hollywood's Pantages Theatre, drew up this 1,468-seat movie palace, which eventually became part of the Pacific Theatres chain. In the 1980s, the cinema became a two-plex, specializing in peliculas en Español, eventually closing down in the 1990s. In the 21st century, there has been a move to restore the theatre to its former glory, especially after the city of Huntington Park designated it a historic building, but the current owner has adaptively reused the venue as a retail space.
6901 Pacific Blvd, Huntington Park
Deep within the recesses of Huntington Park lies a subterranean arcade, usually open from 11 a.m. yo midnight every night that offers unlimited play of its video, pinball and billiard games for just $3 ($2 after 6 p.m.). Yeah the place is all tagged up, maybe 20% of the video games don't work, and you wouldn't want to go near the restrooms, but there's no place like it anywhere in Southern California (props to Erick Huerta @ElRandomHero for the tip).
Pacific Blvd, Huntington Park
The northern leg of Sunday's CicLAvia route was once traversed by the Yellow Cars of the Los Angeles Railway, our more urban-centric streetcar system of the early half of the 20th century. The Los Angeles Railway's "J" line ran from Jefferson Park in the west through Downtown Los Angeles and down into Huntington Park, The line terminated a few blocks from here, turning east on Florence Avenue before zig-zaging south again on Seville Avenue down to Santa Ana Street. The line ran from 1920 to 1963 and was one of the last Yellow Car lines in operation.
7300 Pacific Blvd, Walnut Park
In the mood for a burger round these here parts? You might want to forego an In-N-Out, a Fatburger or any burger joint using a variant of the name "Tom" for one of the Bobo's Hamburgers (no, not Bob's Burgers) locations, which are native to this area. The family-run chain opened in 1975 and in addition to this location on Pacific Blvd, you can find two other Bobo's Hamburgers on this CicLAvia route on 2709 E. Firestone in South Gate, 1220 E. Firestone in South Los Angeles, and one just a few blocks east of Long Beach Blvd, on 3390 Imperial Highway in Lynwood. This is Bobo's Country. You cannot escape the wrath of Bobo's Hamburgers.
NOTE: If heading west on Firestone Avenue, skip to #18.
8903 Long Beach Blvd, South Gate
At this first junction of CicLAvia legs at Long Beach Blvd and Firestone Ave is this South Gate institution that has been baking up cakes, bread, pan dulce and pastries since 1977. In addition to baked goods, they also sell bionicos, juice, raspados, sandwiches, tamales, and also will bake whole turkeys to order during the holiday season.
8903 Long Beach Blvd, South Gate
This Art Moderne-style cinema, originally called the Vogue Theatre (strike a pose) was built in 1937 and designed by celebrated and prolific architect S. Charles Lee, who designed 250 theatres in the Los Angeles area, and also crafted the Los Angeles Theatre and Tower Theatre on Broadway in DTLA, The venue, now known as Teatro Los Pinos still functions as an active teatro today, hosting concerts, comedy shows and occasional movie screenings.
2720 Tweedy Blvd, South Gate
Much like the last CicLAvia in Panorama City, South Gate's economy largely revolved around a General Motors automobile factory, which employed as many as 4,000 workers and operated from 1936 to 1982, churning out Buicks, Oldsmobiles and Pontiacs throughout much of its history. There were also two other auto factories in the area - a Studebaker plant in Vernon and a Willy-Overland facility in Maywood. After the 1960s, the GM factory made Chervrolets and Cadillacs before closing down for good in 1982 due to lower American car sales and air quality concerns. The site was later razed and is now the site of the LAUSD's South East High School complex.
NOTE: If heading east on Tweedy Blvd, please skip to #14.
10350 Long Beach Blvd, Lynwood
Imagine if there were a food truck out there on the streets that sold Mexican-style fusion sushi. Now imagine that there's no food truck but an actual brick-and-mortar eatery in Lynwood, right along the CicLAvia route, no less. Enter Sushinaloa, the best Mexican-Japanese fusion in the Los Angeles area since Fernando Valenzuela met Hideo Nomo. But apparently Sinaloan-style sushi is an actual thing, and The Almighty Jonathan Gold has given this place his imprimatur, so, hit up this place before everyone else does.
3100 E Imperial Hwy
This massive suburban-style retail center is a re-creation of Mexican plazas (sort of like the Plaza del Valle (from the March CicLAvia) on steroids), with a layout inspired by the ancient city of Monte Alban, is part-outdoor mall, part-tourist attraction. And in a total So Cal twist, the owners of the mall are San Gabriel Valley-based Korean real estate developers. Donald and Min Chae owned the former Lynwood Marketplace and Lynwood Town Center and, dictated by demographics and dollars, decided in 2001 to invest $20 million into transforming their shopping centers into a Mexican-themed marketplace.
3780 Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, Lynwood
Originally built in 1917 on 11453 Long Beach Blvd to serve the Pacific Electric Railway's Santa Ana Line, the Mission Revival-style station was moved in the 1980s and later restored to make way for construction of the 105 Freeway. Now the offices of the Greater Lynwood Chamber of Commerce. Contains plaque dedicating building to former Lynwood mayor John D. Byork.
3636 Burton Ave, Lynwood
A short bike ride south of the CicLAvia route will take you to the childhood home of Lynwood's greatest product, parody rocker "Weird Al" Yankovic. This video confirms that he grew up in this modest home next to Lynwood Middle School on Burton Avenue, where he lived here from 1959 to the early '70s, when he went off to college at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. It was here where he started to learn the accordion, after a door to door salesman offered music lessons to a six year-old Alfred Yankovic. And the rest is music history. Note: This is a private residence, please do not bother the current occupants.
Tweedy Blvd between State St and Hunt Ave, South Gate
The city of South Gate, as you might remember, was named after the South Gate Gardens of the old Cudahy Ranch.The old downtown of South Gate evolved into Tweedy Mile, the main drag of the town, featuring shops, restaurants, entertainment venues and civic and cultural institutions. The street was named after the Tweedy Family, headed by patriarch R.D. Tweedy, who came here from Illinois in 1852. The family soon owned about 2,000 acres in the area. Tweedy Mile is also home to the city's two biggest annual events, the Tweedy Mile Classic Car Show in March and the Tweedy Mile Festival in June.
3809 Tweedy Blvd, South Gate
Yet another historic cinema along the CicLAvia route, this single-screen 673-seat movie house opened as the Garden Theatre (a reference to the old Home Gardens tract it was located on) in 1924, and was remodeled in 1936 when it was renamed the South Gate Theatre. In the 1940s, it was purchased by the Allen Brothers, who ran several cinemas in the area. It was showing films until the 1980s, and later became a live music venue. It was closed in 2007, but recently undergone renovation, and some of the South Gate locals have told The Militant that the theatre will re-open this October as an arts venue. Even better, the Allen will give a sneak preview this Sunday and reportedly be open during CicLAvia with live music performances!
Tweedy Blvd and Walnut Ave, South Gate
Located on the south end of South Gate Park, this memorial fountain, originally dedicated to South Gate's World War II and Korean War vets, and later dedicated to veterans of all wars since, features an eternal flame (how cool), while a memorial marker lists the names of local vets. Also of note is the U.S. Army M60A3 Patton tank on display, located a few yards west of the fountain.
5225 Tweedy Blvd, South Gate
The eastern terminus of Sunday's CicLAvia route is along the campus of the Los Angeles Unified School District's Legacy High School Complex, which opened in 2012 after a quarter century of planning. Originally the site of a pesticide factory and other heavy industrial properties, the 36-acre plot of land was the center of controversy as the ground was heavily contaminated, mirroring the LAUSD's more (in)famous toxic campus project site, the Belmont Learning Complex just west of Downtown Los Angeles. It took an entire decade and $22 million to excavate the land 30 feet deep and import uncontaminated soil into its place to build the school campus.
2525 Firestone Blvd, South Gate
One of South Gate's largest industries was this Firestone Tire and Rubber factor, built on a former 40-acre bean field y along Firestone Ave (hence the street name) between Alameda Street and Santa Fe Avenue. Company owner Harvey Firestone (no, not Harvey Fierstein) made the first tire himself, which rolled out of the assembly line on June 15, 1928. The Firestone factory was also followed up in the region by other large tire factories, such as Goodyear and Uniroyal, and for a time Los Angeles was the largest tire-producing region in America. The plant closed down in 1980 when the plant's 2,000 workers were laid off. Coupled with the GM plant's closure in 1982, that ended an era of heavy industry in the city of South Gate. But unlike the GM plant, the Firestone tire factory's building still stands today (East Los Angeles College has been eyeing it as a satellite campus).
Along South Alameda Street
Adjacent to Alameda Street is a set of below-grade freight railroad tracks -- both the street and the tracks form the Alameda Corridor, a ground transportation system opened in 2002 that allows trucks and trains to easily access the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach -- important gateways for importing and exporting for not just Southern California, but the entire United States. Toys from China and cellphones from Korea pass through the Alameda Corridor in the form of intermodal shipping containers en route to Chicago or other U.S. destinations. The corridor began construction in 1997 as a way to consolidate the Union Pacific and BNSF railroads onto a unified, high-capacity, mostly grade-separated track to and from the port area. North of here, the tracks run directly to railroad yards southeast of Downtown Los Angeles.
20. Col. Leon H. Washington Park
8908 S. Maie Avenue, South Los Angeles
There are many parks that line the Blue Line route, but this one is unique for two reasons. As you head southbound and depart the Firestone Station, look immediately to your right and you'll see a park and recreation center. It's a Los Angeles County-run park called Colonel Leon H. Washington Park, named after the founder of the Los Angeles Sentinel newspaper (originally called The Eastside Shopper), the city's premier publication in the black community. The other reason is that the rec center here is a popular spot for NBA stars such as Kobe Bryant, Lebron James, Kevin Durant and others to play pick-up games and compete in the Nike-sponsored Drew League, a weekend summertime program where the biggest stars in basketball play with and against locals from the community.
1335 E. 103rd Street, Watts
Originally built in the 1930s to memorialize Western actor Will Rogers, this 28-acre Los Angeles County park was re-named in 1995 after the late Ted Watkins, a local community activist and the founder of the Watts Labor Community Action Committee, which he started in 1965, just months before the Watts Riots. The aftermath of the rebellion heightened the purpose of his nonprofit agency, which dealt with social services, community development and empowerment for the Watts area. The park also features a youth baseball field built by the Los Angeles Dodgers, a newly-built community swimming pool and gym with basketball courts.
11603 Slater St, Watts
Forget those lame-ass newbie overpriced East Coast transplant burgers. Forget even In-N-Out, Tommy's or Fatburger. You might even need to forget Bobo's. Because Hawkins House of Burgers might just be the king of them all. The Hawkins family has been operating malt shops, markets and this eatery since 1939 (though the current hamburger business opened in the mid-1980s). They make all their burgers to order, use fresh angus beef, real smoked bacon (none of that supermarket stuff) and fresh ingredients, all at real decent, unpretentious prices. You might have to wait as long as 20 minutes, but it's all worth it. Hawkins House of Burgers is perhaps the biggest institution in Watts after Simon Rodia's steel towers, and some of the burger stacks are probably just as tall.
1686 E. 103rd Street, Watts
Adjacent to the Blue Line's 103rd St/Watts Towers station is a mustard-colored building that was once the Pacific Electric's Watts depot. A popular stop along the old PE Long Beach Line, the building survived not only the PE's abandonment, but was the only wooden structure that was not set on fire during the 1965 Watts Riots. After a renovation project in the 1980s, the Watts Station has functioned since 1989 as a Los Angeles Department of Water and Power customer service center.
1727 E. 107th St, Watts
You all know the story by now: Italian immigrant Sabato "Simon" Rodia collects scrap reinforced steel bars (using the adjacent Pacific Electric Santa Ana Line tracks as a fulcrum to bend them) and other found scrap material from rocks to broken glass to bottle caps, and builds 17 structures on his property over a period of 33 years. Then in 1955, he up and left for Northern California and never came back. Now that you know the story, see them up close for yourself. You don't deserve to call yourself an Angeleno if you've never visited the Watts Towers before.
1950 E. 103td St, Watts
LocoL, the affordable healthy fast food venture from Roy Choi and Daniel Patterson, opened here in January and had lines around the block. Things have settled down since them (The Militant ate here last Saturday and was the only one inside when he ordered), but no doubt the joint's proximity to CicLAvia would no doubt start those lines up again. Get your Burgs, Foldies and Yotchays and wash it down with some Apple Line agua fresca.
Enjoy CicLAvia, see you or not see you on the streets this Sunday and STAY MILITANT!
Interactive map! Click here for larger version!
Welcome to CicLAvia XVIII, the third CicLAvia in 2016! Our Epic CicLAvia Tour returns to iconic Wilshire Boulevard for the first time since April, 2014, but this time it's a little, uh. Not As Epic - in size at least. But it's for good reason -- Metro is diggin' on Wilshire again for the new extension of the Metro Purple Line subway, which will take a while. Now why the fine folks at CicLAvia didn't do a re-route up Western for a block and run a parallel route west on 6th Street, ending at Fairfax is beyond The Militant's control, but hey. that only means it's Cut-And-Paste time for this edition of the Epic CicLAvia Tour post, which he decided to slap together and do a quickie update for continuity's sake. Enjoy CicLAvia on Sunday. You may or may not see The Militant on the streets!
624 S. Grand Ave, Downtown
Built during the first wave of modern skyscrapers following the repeal of Los Angeles' building height limit laws, this building, designed by architectural rockstars Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (who also went on to craft Chicago's Sears Tower, among many others) stood for most of its life as the address of legal and financial institutions. After a renovation in 1992, this building is now the location of CoreSite, a major data colocation center, which carries the primary Internet connections for Los Angeles (without this building, you can't read this!)
Take note of the row of palm trees, planted here in the 1970s: They are meant to evoke the end of Wilshire Boulevard, as on the opposite end, at Santa Monica's Ocean Avenue, 16 miles from here, you will also find a row of palm trees.
Wilshire and Figueroa (SW corner), Downtown
On this site is currently rising the new Wilshire Grand Center, Los Angeles' (and the West's -- suck on it, Transbay Tower SF!) tallest building at 73 stories and 1,100 feet (kinda sorta, there's a spire, you see...). It will also be Los Angeles' only modern skyscraper without a flat roof and will house Wilshire Grand Hotel 2.0 and a bunch of shops and condos.
The building will also have a "sky lobby" up at the top and will be the first skyscraper anywhere to sport a mohawk, which is being built at this moment!
The current construction site was the location of "The Big Pour" - which lasted from February 15 -16, 2014, where 21,200 cubic yards (81 million pounds) of concrete were continuously poured - earning it a Guinness World Record for that feat.
Before the skyscaper, the site was home of the Wilshire Grand Hotel, formerly (in reverse chronological order) the Omni Hotel, Los Angeles Hilton, Statler Hilton and Statler Hotel.
Wilshire and Figueroa (NW corner), Downtown
Wilshire is full of awesome-looking public art. Here's one relatively-recent sculpture right at the northwest corner of Wilshire and Figueroa. Designed by the late Venice-based artist Eric Orr, who had a penchant for utilizing elemental themes in his art, L.A. Prime Matter features twin 32-foot bronze columns that feature water sliding down its faces, and during random moments, FIRE emanates from the middle channels of the columns! The effect is total bad-ass, and its bad-assnes is magnified at night.
The sculpture, though, has been out of service since Fall of last year, where it has been undergoing a restoration project, which will be completed later this year. Once finished, the flames will go off every hour on the hour. Now that is bad-ass.
Wilshire Blvd and Lucas Ave, Downtown
Before it was named Wilshire Boulevard, it was once called Orange Street, and on the corner of Orange and Lucas was a Queen Anne-style mansion belonging to George Shatto, a real estate developer who first developed Catalina Island and the city of Avalon. If you read the Epic CicLAvia Tour 4.0 post, his name is brought up as one of the famous Angelenos buried (in a rather ornate pyramid) at Angelus Rosedale Cemetery.
But check this out! Take a look at the picture above, and pay close attention to the masonry wall going uphill that fronts Lucas Avenue. Now, on CicLAvia Sunday, look at the exact same spot, on the northwest corner of the intersection. The house is gone, but the original wall still remains!
Good Samaritan Hospital, which was founded in 1885 and moved to the current site in 1911, is also the birthplace of many native Angelenos, including mayor Eric Garcetti.
Wilshire and Alvarado, Westlake
Art imitates life imitating art imitating life in this mural by popular Salvadoreño American muralist Hector Ponce depicting actor Edward James Olmos, who portrayed Garfield High School math teacher Jaime Escalante in the 1988 movie Stand and Deliver, standing next to the real-life Escalante, and delivering a mural that's part-Hollywood, part-Los Angeles, part-Latino pride, part Eastside pride and if the Internet were as accessible back in 1988 as it is today, would make one epic photo meme. And it's painted behind the 1926 Westlake Theatre, which is slated for renovation into a community-baed performance arts venue sometime soon. Celebrate the 25th anniversary of Stand and Deliver by having the ganas to stop by.
Wilshire Blvd and Park View Ave, MacArthur Park
Gen. Otis is perhaps the most visible statue at the park, which predates MacArthur's WWII service. This general served in the Spanish-American and Philippine-American wars, and also fought as a Union soldier in the Civil War. But in Los Angeles, he is most known for being the founder, owner and publisher of the Los Angeles Times. So why is he here? His Wilshire Blvd mansion, called The Bivouac, was located across the street, was later donated to Los Angeles County and became the original campus of Otis Art Institute. It's thought that his statue is pointing to the site of the Elks Lodge, but he's probably just pointing to his old house.
2701 Wilshire Blvd, MacArthur Park
This 10-story Beaux Arts apartment building, built 100 years ago, was the 20th century precursor to today's fancy modern 21-century high-rise residential developments. Built by developer Hugh W. Bryson, it was built in a part of Los Angeles that was known at the time as "the west side" (let's not open that can of worms right now, okay?). It was one of Los Angeles' most luxurious apartment buildings, and had a large neon sign at the roof (characteristic of these kinds of developments back then). Several Raymond Chandler books reference The Bryson. The 110,000 square-foot building is also part of the National Register of Historic Places and a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument.
Wilshire Blvd and LaFayette Park Place, LaFayette Park
Clara Shatto, the widow of George Shatto (remember him?) donated 35 acres of her land to the City of Los Angeles in 1899, which was once oil wells and tar pits. Her late husband wanted it turned into a city park, and so it became Sunset Park, which existed for 19 years before the locals wanted it renamed to honor the 18th-century Frenchman who was a hero in both the American and French revolutions. Gotta give LaFayette park some props for living so long in the shadow of its more famous neighbor, MacArthur (Westlake) Park.
3050 Wilshire Blvd
Perhaps one of the most iconic examples of Art-Deco architecture in Los Angeles, this former Bullocks Department Store was designed with a tower to resemble a New York-style skyscraper in then-unabashedly low-rise Los Angeles. It was the epitome of shopping in style in its heyday, with its own rear parking lot and other auto-centric amenities. It ultimately fell victim to the 1992 Los Angeles Riots and was closed down the next year. In 1994, the nearby Southwestern School of Law bought the building and incorporated it into its campus, restoring much of the Roaring 1920s Art Deco aesthetics.
10. Shatto Place
Wilshire Blvd and Shatto Pl, Koreatown
Gee, we can't get seem to get away from that George Shatto guy, can we? George and Clara owned a plot of land here on this street, which was once home to some of the most beautiful mansions in Los Angeles at the time. Although Clara sold the land in 1904, George stipulated that all properties on the street maintain the character of the exquisite homes there, which was challenged several times until the late 1920s, when the homes started to be demolished in favor of more modern commercial development.
Wilshire Blvd and Vermont Ave., Koreatown
This 30- and 25- story highrise mixed-use apartment development is called "The Vermont" by J.H. Snyder Co. which opened in 2014. It's Metro-accessible, and it has a friggin'Pizza Rev, but who the hell can afford the rents for this place?
12. Consulate Row
Various locations along Wilshire Blvd between Vermont and Crenshaw
Some 62 countries have consular offices in the Los Angeles area and 41 of them have addresses on Wilshire Boulevard. Proximity to various foreign financial institutions on Wilshire, as well as nearby Hancock Park, where many consul-generals have traditionally resided, are the main reasons for such a high concentration of consulates on this stretch of Wilshire. The consulate offices for Bangladesh, Bolivia, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Honduras, Indonesia, South Korea, Nicaragua, Peru, The Philippines, Sri Lanka and Taiwan are all located on Wilshire between Vermont and Crenshaw. Many of them display their national flags in front of their respective office buildings. How many can you spot during CicLAvia?
3355 Wilshire Blvd
Though the building's prominent neon sign has been source of many a snicker by immature junior high school kids, this building represents some serious history. It was named after Wilshire Boulevard's namesake, Henry Gaylord Wilshire, who was known as a wealthy real estate developer and outspoken socialist (Does that make sense?), who donated a 35-acre strip of barley fields to the City of Los Angeles on the condition that it would be free from railroads or trucking. The building itself is a 13-story Italian Renaissance-style apartment building that actor John Barrymore (a.k.a. Drew's grandpa) and then-presidential candidate Richard Nixon once called home.
3427 and 3377 Wilshire Blvd
The now-defunct "The Brown Derby" local chain of restaurants were synonymous with Hollywood glitz and glamour. The Wilshire Boulevard location was the first of four (the others were in Hollywood, Beverly Hills and Los Feliz). In close proximity to The Ambassador Hotel and its Cocoanut Grove swing/jazz club, this was the original hipster joint back in the day, only back then the hipsters were actually cool and looked good. In 1937 the building was moved across the street and closed in 1975. In 1980, a shopping center was built on the site and the iconic dome structure was incorporated into the shopping center that exists today. It's situated on the third floor, above The Boiling Crab seafood restaurant. It's something to ponder on while you wait 90 minutes for your table.
Note that the pictures for #13 and #14 connect vertically - that's the Gaylord Apartments behind the Brown Derby!
Wilshire Blvd between Catalina Street and Mariposa Avenue
The Militant wrote a post in 2010 about this unique public space dedicated to Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, who was assassinated just yards away at the Ambassador Hotel, which was demolished in 2005 and where the LAUSD's sprawling and costly RFK Community Schools campus now stands. There's Kennedy quotes on public art installations and benches for you to chill on. There's also speakers playing recordings of some of the jazz music that was performed at the hotel's famed Cocoanut Grove swing and jazz club.
On April 18-19, the school campus will host the first-ever K-Town Night Market with food, vendors and live entertainment.
Wilshire Blvd and Western Avenue (duh...), Koreatown
The 12-story structure, designed by Stiles O. Clements, is Los Angeles' emerald-green temple to all that is Art Deco. Originally operating as the "Warner Theatre" (Specifically the Western Avenue location of Warner Bros. chain of movie theaters; The Warner Theatre in San Pedro is another example), The Wiltern (named so since 1935) has seen many cycles of decay and rebirth, most recently in the 1980s, when preservationists renovated the theatre to a performing arts venue. The contemporary Wiltern Theatre has been operating since 1985.
STOP! That's it folks. The route ends here. It goes no further. Maybe you can spend your extra time on this route walking up and down the street and playing some Pokemon GO (The Militant has heard there's a Scyther nest at Lafayette Park).
Here's a calendar of upcoming events and milestones in Los Angeles to look out for in the year ahead. Of course, in between them will be the new and the unexpected, which will seal them in their own places in history.
16 - Kingdom Day Parade
Los Angeles' 32nd annual celebration of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday gets underway on the 16th along Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard between Crenshaw and Western, and then south on Crenshaw to Vernon (it's broadcast live on KABC Channel 7 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.). It should be interesting as the parade will end in a construction area, as Crenshaw Boulevard is currently undergoing the building of the upcoming Metro Crenshaw/LAX Rail Project.
El Segundo's 100th Anniversary
The legendary South Bay city just below LAX, named after an oil refinery and the mythical place where countless A Tribe Called Quest fans have left their proverbial wallets, is turning 100 years old. Incorporated on January 18, 1917, the city will hold a Birthday Bash at El Segundo Library Park on Wednesday the 18th from 3-5 p.m. The city will also throw a Centennial Ball formal at the Automobile Driving Museum on Saturday, January 21st.Gotta get, got gotta get it.
28 - Dodgers 2017 Fan Fest, Dodger Stadium
Yes, we miss Dodger baseball. Yes, we miss Vin Scully. Yes, we came pretty damn close to our first World Series visit since '88. Yes, there's some [sighs] unfinished business from last season. But the core of last year's team is pretty much intact heading into '17, and hey, this free event at the Stadium will give us all an excuse to wear our Dodger Blue for the day.
29 - 2017 NHL All-Star Game, Staples Center
Staples Center again hosts the NHL's All-Star Game (perhaps the most inconsistent and confusing in format in all of professional sports), this time with the league celebrating its 100th anniversary.
4 - 118th Golden Dragon Parade, Chinatown
The streets of Los Angeles' Chinatown will be alive with drums, firecrackers, lion dances and those confetti bazookas everyone loves to fire off as the Chinese Lunar New Year celebration takes place in Los Angeles for the 118th year. This year will be The Year of The Rooster (hopefully Huy Fong Foods will be a sponsor as its legendary Sriracha sauce was born on the streets of Los Angeles Chinatown), or, taking into account who's going to be in charge of this country in a few weeks, The Year of The Cock.
5 - 626 Golden Streets
The San Gabriel Valley was all set to have a mega ciclovia event of their own on June 26 of last year (6/26, get it?), but the smoky side-effects of the San Gabriel Complex wildfireunfortunately put BikeSGV's plans on the back-burner (pun intended). Fortunately, it was re-scheduled for the much safer (and much cooler) 3/5/17, when fire danger is extremely low. This route will connect the SGV communities of South Pasadena, San Marino, Arcadia, Monrovia, Duarte, Irwindale and Azusa, and will be accessible via Metro Gold Line, of course.
Wilshire Grand Center Grand Opening
At 1,100 feet at its tallest point, it may or may not be the tallest building in Los Angeles, or the West Coast, but it looks pretty damn awesome so far. Once the site of the World's Largest Concrete Pour, this building will open its doors as DTLA's newest hotel and be a shining new jewel in the city's skyline.
19 - XXXII Los Angeles Marathon
Running 26.2 miles from Elysian Park to Santa Monica, the Marathon this year is moved a month later to a less-rainy mid-March date, just before the Spring Equinox.
26 - CicLAvia - Culver City Meets Venice
The (count 'em) 20th CicLAvia will take us back to Culver City and Venice on a redux of the August, 2015 route. Only this time around, the folks at Tito's Tacos will not have a shit-fit at the idea of Washington Place being closed for the day and will enjoy the throngs of crunchy taco-munching cyclists queuing up on the sidewalk.
TBA - Los Angeles State Historic Park Re-Opening
Don't call it a comeback. Okay, call it a comeback, but it's been here for years. The former Southern Pacific freight train yard known as The Cornfield (due to corn sprouting out from seeds spilled from hopper cars), after much public wrangling, became Los Angeles State Historic Park in 2001, but was closed in 2014 for renovations and improvements. The park, which will re-open in Spring of this year, is guaranteed to knock you out.
3 - Dodgers Opening Day, Dodger Stadium
It's tiiiiime for Dodger baseballllll, at long last.Welcome to the post-Scully era. Don't worry, we will brave this together. At least we know our Boys in Blue will be Playoff Material once again this season (here we go again!). This year the season opens with the very sad (and Kemp-less) San Diego Padres in town.
22-23 - Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, USC
Los Angeles' favorite annual literary event is back in April as the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books returns to the University of Southern California campus for the sixth time (and the first time Westsiders can travel to the bookfest via the Metro Expo Line).
29 - Los Angeles Riots 25th Anniversary
April 29, 1992 is more than just a Sublime song. This year, in a world without some of its major players (Rodney King and Darryl Gates are now gone), and in an era where the #BlackLivesMatter movement and the Trump Administration inevitably clash, whereby the mass media will again talk about race relations as a black-white binary yet again, whereby nothing has really changed. But The Militant digresses.
Lummis Day Festival, Highland Park
The 12th annualLummis Day gets underway during the first weekend of June, celebrating the history of the Northeast Los Angeles area. This is the one time of the year where all the new hipsters in the neighborhood will learn who exactly Charles Fletcher Lummis is and pretend to care.
11 - CicLAvia - Glendale to Atwater
Ready for an all-new CicLAvia route? The second big Cicla this year will take you between Atwater Village and the city of Glendale. This must mean one thing - there will be an all-new Epic Militant CicLAvia Tour guide post to research and write! WOOT!
25 - Militant Angeleno's 10th Anniversary!
Ten years ago, a bored, frustrated and freakishly anonymous native Angeleno (with a penchant for referring to himself in the third person) took matters into his own hands and created what may or may not have been a cultural phenomenon with the debut of the Militant Angeleno blog! The city has or has not been the same ever since. But one thing is for certain -- his true identity has managed to remain a secret all this time! Celebrate with The Militant online and what may or may not be The Militant's first public appearance ever! Stay Tuned and #StayMili10!
Lotus Festival, Echo Park
Having attended these since he was a Lil'Mil, this is one of The Militant's favorite annual city festivals, taking place in the middle of the year, during the Summer, next to a lake with a wonderful view of the Downtown skyline. This year's 37th Lotus Festival will feature the culture of Bangladesh. With the issues of budget, lake renovation and the dearth of lotus plants now behind us, we can all focus on trying to get the fireworks show back on the festival's Saturday night. The festival is just not the same without it!
1 - 24 - Los Angeles County Fair, Pomona
The best fair in all of Los Angeles County (well, okay, it's only county fair...) gets underway on September 1st. An annual tradition since 1922 (with the exception of the World War II years), it's time once again to load up an all that fried food.
4 - Los Angeles' 236th Birthday
Our beloved city turns 236 years old!
The International Olympic Committee convenes on this date in Lima, Peru to decide the host city of the Games of the XXXIIIrd Olympiad, which will take place in 2024. Will Los Angeles or Paris get to host the summer games for a third time? Or will the IOC give it to first-timer Budapest? Stay tuned...There will be a public rally that day for Los Angeles 2024 supporters (of which there are many) to celebrate or not celebrate. The Militant, of course, may or may not be there.
20 - Culver City's 100th Birthday
The city that gave the world the Helms Bakery, the Spruce Goose, Drew Barrymore, MLB Hall of Famer Gary Carter, Tito's Tacos and The Wizard of Oz turns a century this year, having been incorporated on September 20, 1917. Whatever or whenever's planned, at least we can all ride the Expo Line to the big party.
26 - Metrolink's 25th Anniversary
Believe it or not, this year, we will have regional commuter rail for a quarter century. Opened October 26, 1992, the system grew from three modest lines into the 'burbs into a seven-line, 534-mile network. Expect some 25th anniversary events, or at the very least some 25th anniversary logo sticker slapped on the commuter coaches.
Opened to the public on October 27, 1917, the granddaddy of Los Angeles food courts has been embedded into the historical and cultural fabric of our region. Hopefully the folks who run the market won't be too busy kicking out its longtime tenants to celebrate an entire century of feeding generations of hungry Angelenos.
TBA - CicLAvia - Heart of L.A.
It's October, which means its time for the classic "Heart of L.A." route, emanating from Downtown into Westlake and the Eastside. Celebrate CicLAvia's 7th birthday on the streets where it (mostly) all began.
All Month - Holiday Light Displays
"Tis the season - again! In addition to the Los Angeles Zoo's annual holiday light display, there are a number of neighborhoods around town that put up ginormous Christmas light displays on their houses and yards. Take your pick from Christmas Tree Lane (Santa Rosa Avenue) and the Balian Mansion in Altadena, Christmas Tree Lane (Daisy Avenue) in Long Beach, Candy Cane Lane in Woodland Hills, another Candy Cane Lane (Acacia Avenue) in El Segundo and Sleepy Hollow (Calle Mayor) in Torrance. Before you know it, we'll be doing this all over again, this time, looking ahead to 2018...
Envisioned by Los Angeles Kings' daddy and former Lakers owner Jack Kent Cooke as the regions premier indoor sports venue. the once-and-always Fabulous Forum has witnessed NBA championships, Olympics and countless concerts and events. On December 30th, The Forum celebrates half a century of its fabulousness.
The streets of Los Angeles are not just mere infrastructure, but they create geographical identities, local cultures, microcultures and sub-cultures, and become the live stage of the urban theatre of daily life in The City of Angels. And the most significant identifier of those streets are the City's street signs.
Since The Militant is celebrating his 10th anniversary online this year (#StayMili10), he'd like to revisit one of his most legendary, epic posts.
On March 24, 2011, The Militant wrote a post on the history of street sign styles in Los Angeles. It gave Angelenos the ability to distinguish between Blue Blades and Black Blades, Shotguns and Trapezoids.
It got such a reaction that it became the second-most read post ever on This Here Blog, and it also prompted a sequel later that month, going back farther into the history of Los Angeles street signs.
In fall of last year (meaning 2016, we can say that already), Filmmaker and Mar Vista resident Ian Rutherford completed a clever short film, $500 and four months in the making, called "LA.Is" that describes, though images of Los Angeles (and some neighboring city) street signs and set to a spoken-word poem (voiced by Tania Hunt) some of what Los Angeles represents.
Observe, and enjoy:
"The idea sort of came about just by driving around L.A.," Rutherford explained to The Militant via email, on the origins of his short film. "I'm a location scout and I kept seeing signs that were fun and unusual. Future street was the one that sort of convinced me to pursue the short. Also, I knew about Rutherford street several years ago and that was always in the back of my mind pushing me to do something."
Rutherford filmed the signs starting in June, 2016 and spent his weekends filming them, guided by a working Google map.
He also wrote the poem himself.
"Some verses came to me beforehand (sunset/sunrise). Some verses were written in the car (detour/chase/marathon). It was a slow writing process until I found the cadence in my head. Once I had that, it wrote itself...Every verse references something I love about L.A., even though it may seem abstract to others (future/vintage/future i was thinking about architecture, like Googie and Mid-Century). The only topic I didn't cover in verse is food. Never found the right way to express myself there."
Great work, Ian! The Militant was smiling under his camouflage bandana mask. No pictures of course, but take him at his word. Militant Approved!
The northernmost city in the South Bay celebrated its 100th Birthday on Wednesday, exactly a century to the day the city that was named after an oil refinery was officially incorporated. Though a town settlement had existed just east of the coastal dunes on the former Rancho Sausal Redondo since 1912, the town was not formally incorporated as a city until January 18, 1917.
|El Segundo...knows how to party...|
The city luckily dodged the potential rain on this overcast day with a Birthday Bash at El Segundo Public Library Park, along the town's Main Street, just across from the city's eponymous High School (the on-location site for the '80s movie War Games and alma mater of baseball hall of famer George Brett), The family-oriented celebration had live entertainment in the park's gazebo, carnival games, a petting zoo, some really tall dude on stilts, a historic photo exhibition sponsored by the Friends of El Segundo Public Library, a centennial photobooth and the city's fire department had trucks on display. There was free food as well, though unfortunately it wasn't enchiladas and fruit punch, but there was free bottled water, kettlecorn and birthday cake. The city also sold El Segundo Centennial merchandise from a booth.
|Historic pics!The Militant loves this kind of stuff!|
|El Segundo history on display at the library.|
|100-cent specials at The Tavern on Main!|
|HAPPY BIRTHDAY, EL SEGUNDO!|
The city will also throw a Centennial Ball formal at the Automobile Driving Museum on Saturday. Tickets are reportedly sold out already (but if they're not serving any of those Standard Oil shots, then it's not worth it anyway...).
Though The Militant was just a clandestine interloper from the city on the other side of Imperial Highway, he had a great time on the city's centennial birthday, especially since he was more familiar with the coastal and business park periphery of the city than the quaint Main Street section of town. He also learned a few things from the event: That the town's old Pacific Electric station was demolished in 1970 (booo!) and that Mattel Toys runs a factory store that's open to the public.
But best of all, The Militant was happy that he finally found what he was looking for!
*You're next this September, Culver City. You gonna top this?
Interactive map - click and zoom! Click here to view the map separately!
Ahhh, Spring is finally in the air. A time for more daylight, colorful native floral blooms, Dodgers baseball and...CicLAvia! The first Cicla of 2017 brings us back to a virtual re-run of the August 2015 "Culver City Meets Venice" route from The Heart of Screenland (which will be celebrating its 100th birthday this September) to Abbot Kinney's canal city via Mar Vista - although there's a minor modification - the addition of two streets and an alleyway forming a pedestrian zone in Mar Vista between Centinela and Grand View avenues.
This is the 20th iteration of CicLAvia, and The Militant still has yet to miss a single one. So for those of you 20-timers who will be on the streets this Sunday, The Militant will celebrate by pouring a Dos Equis at an unspecified bar or restaurant along the route. If you happen to spot him (not very likely, but who knows?) Then drinks are on The Militant!
You should know the drill by now, Share this link on your Facebooks and Twitters, visit the sights yourselves -- and if you do, Tweet with the hashtag, #EpicCicLAviaTour to stroke The Militant's ego and make him feel like his several days of staying up late at night to research and write all this was worth his while. And most of all, Stay Militant and Enjoy CicLAvia this Sunday! See you or not see you on the streets!
Venice and National boulevards, Culver City
You may or may not have arrived at CicLAvia via the Metro Expo Line, which is the modern reincarnation of the Pacific Electric Santa Monica Air Line. Not only can you experience Los Angeles' transportation present, but you're also in the clear presence of its past -- this area was also the site of Culver Junction, where not one, not two, but three Pacific Electric Red Car lines converged, going to Santa Monica, Venice and Redondo Beach. TIP: Make sure you buy a Day Pass or that your TAP card is well-loaded before CicLAvia, so you don't have to queue at the ticket machines! The Militant says "You're Welcome."
Ince Blvd & Washington Ave, Culver City
As you make your first turn going westbound on the CicLAvia route, take note of the street name: Ince.
If you know your Culver City history, the town was a planned community built by landowner Harry H. Culver, a Spanish-American war veteran who worked for SFV pioneer Isaac N. Van Nuys and purchased a large section of the old Rancho La Ballona. In 1913 he established the town and filmmaker Thomas Ince moved his operation here from Pacific Palisades (via his Triangle Studios down the street -- more on this later...) and bought this section of land from Culver himself to establish the Ince Studio, which featured a large mansion fashioned after George Washington's Mt. Vernon residence, that remains in full view today. Ince's studio was sold to Cecil B. DeMille after his mysterious death and had changed hands and names over the years, finally adopting its current name of The Culver Studios in 1970. Legendary Hollywood films were shot this studio, including Gone With The Wind, King Kong, E.T. and The Matrix.
3. Pacific Electric Ivy Substation
Venice and Culver boulevards, Palms
Downtown Culver City is already rich in retail and artistic activity, and has a bevy of well-known eateries, like the popular Father's Office. The Militant can cover that in its own post (and kinda already did before). But welcoming people to Downtown Culver City along Venice Blvd (though technically located in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Palms), a block from the Culver City station is an appropriate link to the past - the Ivy Substation. The single-story Mission Revival-style structure served as a powerhouse for the Pacific Electric Railway from 1907 to 1953, when the Expo Line's predecessor, the Santa Monica Air Line, ceased operation. Today, it's a 99-seat venue for The Actor's Gang theatre company, renovated in the early 1990s. How interesting that a building originally built for transportation infrastructure was repurposed into a building for the arts, which in turn attract people using the new transportation infrastructure.
9400 Culver Blvd, Culver City
9718 W. Washington Blvd, Culver City
Culver City's other 1920s-era triangular building is just down the street from The Culver Hotel. Built by Charles E. Lindblade, a business associate of Harry Culver who also bears a city street name of his own, this Beaux Arts-style building was designed by Arthur D. Scholz and Orville L. Clark. As it is today, the building housed numerous retail and office businesses over the years, including the Culver City post office, the MGM Studios Fan Club and Lindblade's real estate company.
9820 W Washington Blvd, Culver City
Built in 1946 as The Culver Theatre, a 1,100-seat Streamline Moderne cinema designed by Karl G. Moeller that screened 20th Century Fox films as part of the Fox West Coast Theatres chain.
It was later operated by the National General and Mann Pictures chains, and finally as an independent theatre. It was split into three screens circa 1970s, and closed in 1989. In 1994, it suffered damage from the 1994 Northridge Earthquake and underwent a major $8 million renovation later in the '90s, re-opening in 2004 as The Kirk Douglas Theatre (with Spartacus himself as a the major contributor in the renovation), operated by Center Theatre Group. It currently features two stages, one seating about 300 and a smaller stage seating around 100.
10202 West Washington Boulevard, Culver City
One can't mention Culver City without mentioning its massive movie lot, originally Thomas Ince's (remember him?) Triangle Studios operation until he moved to the Culver Studios property and sold this site to D.W. Griffith and Mack Sennett. In 1918, the studio was sold to Samuel Goldwyn, which became Metro Goldwyn Mayer in 1924 (following the merger of Metro Pictures, Goldwyn Studios and Louis B. Mayer Productions). It became the Columbia Pictures studios in 1989 and Sony Pictures Studios from 1992 to the present.
On this lot was filmed a countless list of Hollywood productions, most notably The Wizard of Oz in 1939 (you will be riding next to the actual Land of Oz, think about that...), and currently, TV shows like Jeopardy! and Wheel Of Fortune.
10915 W Washington Blvd, Culver City
This local school is literally some old school Culver City right heah! Established in 1865, it's one of the oldest schools in Los Angeles County still in operation. Back in the day, it had an enrollment of 158 pupils between the ages of 5-15, being taught by one teacher, a Miss Craft who made $50 a month, and the school year lasted seven months, since it revolved around the agricultural calendar of the surrounding area.
When it was established, it was in an unincorporated area that eventually became Palms, which was annexed to the City of Los Angeles in 1914. When Culver City was founded the year before, it had no schools within its boundaries, so another school was built in the area in 1916. Eventually La Ballona was annexed into Culver City in 1920.
10980 Washington Boulevard, Culver City
This Islamic house of worship was built in 1995 as a gift from Saudi Prince Abdulaziz bin Fahad to serve the growing community of Muslims in the Westside, named after the king of Saudi Arabia at the time. Its facade features hand made marble tiles from Turkey, and a 72 foot-high minaret topped with a gold leaf crescent.
1105 W. Washington Pl, Culver City
There's a designated activity hub here at this 1.5-acre Culver City park, which was dedicated in 1976 as part of the U.S. Bicentennial celebrations. It was named after former Culver City councilman and city attorney Mike Tellefson, who served the city for 31 years. In 2013, the body of a suicide victim was discovered in the park.
But longtime Culver Citizens remember this site as a legendary roller skating rink called The Rollerdrome, a wooden structure which opened in 1928 and had a characteristic rounded roof. Roller skating events were centered around the rink's organ, which was played by a live organist, and provided memorable evenings for local families and youths. It was torn down in 1970, which was a shame, since roller skating enjoyed a renaissance of sorts in the '70s.
11222 Washington Pl, Culver City
Many Angelenos already know of this longtime Westside (American) taco joint known as Tito's Tacos, which as we all know, was founded in 1959 by a businessman who may or may not be an actual Mexican guy named Tito. Everyone has their opinion on Tito's, but three things are indisputable truths: 1) It's a Culver City Institution; 2) It's not authentic Mexican food and 3) People come here for the nostalgia anyway.
During the last "Culver City Meets Venice" CicLAvia in August 2015, a minor controversy erupted when the restaurant's owner threatened to sue Culver City government for potential lost revenue due to the CicLAvia route, and everyone, including The Militant got all in on that, but ultimately, cooler heads prevailed, and after an intervention by the CicLAvia organization, Tito's Tacos warmed up to the route, and likely did a 180 once crowds queued up along their sidewalk service windows. Titogate 2015 was now history. The moral of the story? Never fear CicLAvia, and a little communication and understanding goes a long way.
Area within Washington Place, McLaughlin Ave, Venice Blvd & Inglewood Blvd, Mar Vista
You might not see much from the street level, but this neighborhood just north of the CicLAvia route, a Historic Preservation Overlay Zone known as "The Oval District" is one of the first automobile-oriented property tract developments in Southern California.
When seen from a map or an aerial view. the streets of this 200-unit housing development of predominantly 1- and 2-story homes resembles an hourglass shape with an oval road in the center (which caught The Militant's eye and caused him to investigate the history of the place).
The 137-acre neighborhood was developed in 1912 by a Lillian Charnock Price (there is a "Charnock Road" two blocks north of Venice, BTW) who hired renowned landscape architect and urban planner Wilber David Cook, Jr. (who worked for legendary late 19th/early20th-century landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted to design an "Aristocratic Suburb" marketed as “Palm Place."
The large-sized lots were unique, and park-like in their large setback from the street and the palm tree-lined parkways, but only a small number of homes were built. Price sold the development to Robert Sheman, who was the stepson of Moses Sherman, the developer of the Los Angeles and Pacific Railway, which built the original rail line on nearby Venice Boulevard. What was originally intended to be the first car-oriented development was going to be a transit-oriented development!
But those didn't sell either. The lots were still too large and pricey. So Sherman sold it to a financier group that marketed it as "Marshall Manor" in 1920 and interest began to pick up. But it wasn't until after World War II, when suburbanization was in vogue and Los Angeles' Westside development boom commenced, that the rest of the lots got built.
CicLAvia route between Centinela and Grand View avenues
The end of the CicLAvia route might be more associated with canals, but this newly-added section of the course features a pedestrian-friendly (a.k.a. Dismount City, folks!) zone of activities in the Mar Vista area. The zone includes the Mar Vista Farmers' Market, a couplecafes, a yoga studio and a pet store that features a pet adoption event (on National Puppy Day Weekend, no less).
Centinela Ave & Rose Ave, Mar Vista
Everyone know that "Mar Vista" is Español for "sea view." But riding along Centinela or Venice during CicLAvia, you can't even see the sea. Where is it?
Well, The Militant will tell you where to see the "Mar Vista" in Mar Vista. He implores you to take a short detour from the CicLAvia route and continue north along Centinela Avenue, switch your gears (or pedal harder, you fixie heads), and go up the hill (Mar Vista Hill) until you reach Rose Avenue. Then turn right and go up the hill to the open space that contains the baseball field and community garden. Look to the west, stand on top of the telephone poles laying on the ground in front of the small parking lot, and you can have a semi-unobstructed (damn you, DWP power lines!) view of Santa Monica Bay from the Palos Verdes peninsula to the Santa Monica Mountains.
Mar Vista Hill is a 203-foot-above-sea-level promontory that was once a garbage dump, and was later the site of the Venice Reservoir in 1940 (smart, huh). The reservoir was decommissioned in the 1960s and replaced with the baseball fields you see today.
So come on up to Mar Vista Hill, where you can see the sea, to see all that you can see!
Go visit Mar Vista Hill and tweet a pic of the ocean with the hashtag #EpicCicLAviaTour!
Venice Boulevard between Lincoln Blvd and the 10 Freeway
You may or may not know that Venice Boulevard, in addition to being a two-time CicLAvia route, was also a Pacific Electric Red Car line, but did you know it's also a designated California State Highway?
In 1964, CalTrans designated State Route 187 starting at the Pacific Ocean. In 1994, it was shortened to the 5.4 miles from Lincoln Boulevard to the 10 Freeway.
The number "187" also happens to be a reference to the California Penal Code designation for murder, which is most likely why a young, '90s-era, pre-commercialized Snoop Dogg is standing by the sign in this photo.
12904 Venice Blvd, Mar Vista
No deep history behind this neighborhood Mexican corner market on Venice and Beethoven, but the name caught The Militant's eye. He's seen some of you CicLAvians ride in CicLAvia in Mario/Nintendo cosplay, so this would be a perfect photo/selfie opportunity.
While you're here, support the business and buy something inside. Maybe it really is owned by a Mario. Or a Luigi. Ask where The Princess is. If they're successful enough, they might move to a larger location and rename themselves "Super Mario's Brothers."
Tweet a pic of yourself (or your group) in front of Mario's Brothers with the hashtag "#EpicCicLAviaTour"!
13000 Venice Blvd, Venice
Venice's namesake secondary school was one of three on-location sites for Rydell High in the 1978 motion picture Grease, and was the school scene in the Britney Spears video for her debut hit, "...Baby One More Time." The main Moderne-style school buildings, built in 1935-37 were designed by local architects John C. Austin and Frederick M. Ashley, who also designed the Griffith Observatory.
The campus is also famous for its statue of legendary Hollywood actress and famous alumna Myrna Loy at the front of the school. Other famous alumni include Beau Bridges, Crispin Glover, the late Ivory Queen of Soul, Teena Marie and In-N-Out Burger founder Harry Snyder. Go Gondoliers!
681-685 Venice Blvd, Venice
Venice, originally founded as part of Santa Monica, seceded from that city in 1911 and for the next 15 years, functioned as an incorporated city. In 1926, due to political mismanagement and crumbling infrastructure, it was annexed into the City of Los Angeles. Its vestigial remnants of its civic government still remain, though. The old Venice City Hall still stands at 685 Venice Blvd (pictured), now the venue for Beyond Baroque Theatre. Next door on 681 Venice Blvd is the old Venice Police Station, now the home of the Social Public Arts Resource Center (SPARC), the community arts nonprofit that spearheaded the modern urban mural movement. It's interesting to note that both of these government buildings were adaptively re-used for arts purposes. The Militant is looking at the old LAPD Parker Center in DTLA and wonders if it could make some sort of badass performing arts venue...
19. Electric Avenue
Electric Ave and Venice Blvd, Venice
No, '80s singer Eddy Grant didn't rock down to this street to take it higher (VROOOM!) But this street was so-named because it was one of the old Pacific Electric Red Car rights-of-way, which included Pacific Avenue (of course) and Venice Blvd. The railway, of course, was built to serve (and sell property in and around) Abbot Kinney's Venice of America development. Rock on to Electric Avenue towards Brooks Avenue and look to your left for actual remnants of Pacific Electric tracks at Millwood Avenue, Westminster Avenue and Broadway. If that kind of stuff excites you, be on the look out for The Militant's upcoming Pacific Electric Archaeology Map (view the preview edition map here, including Venice sites). And then we take it higher (Oh yeah)!
Abbot Kinney Blvd between Washington Blvd and Main Street
New arrivals to Los Angeles are likely oblivious to the fact that Venice's upscale arts and boutique corridor is technically one of its newest streets. Until 1992, that stretch was confusingly known as West Washington Blvd, which, along with Washington Street and Washington Way, was a source of disorientation among motorists. A small group of business owners lobbied to re-name the stretch after the community's founder. Ignorance of local history was so bad back then, that then-City Councilman Zev Yaroslavsky, who grew up in the Westside, asked aloud at a Los Angeles City Council committee meeting, "Who is Abbot Kinney?" (Really, Zev?!?!) Thankfully, due to a street name change, and other things, we're a lot better at our Los Angeles history.
21. Venice Of America Centennial Park
Venice & Abbot Kinney boulevards
This park, which neighbors the Venice-Abbot Kinney Memorial Branch Library and built for Venice's centennial year of 2005, was made on the very same median that carried the Pacific Electric Railway tracks, and in honor of that, the design on the park's paving resembles that of railroad tracks. The Militant went there in a famous bike ride to Venice Beach in 2008 and encountered a bunch of ducks walking in this park.
Grand and Windward avenues, Venice
Traffic circles, or "roundabouts" as they're known in Britain, are not a common sight in the US, much less Los Angeles, though a dozen or so are known to exist here (more in a future post). So what up with this one? This part of Venice was part of Abbot Kinney's original "Venice of America," replete with its own canals. But unlike their Italian counterpart, these canals were not physically connected to the ocean, and the water had gone stagnant and kinda gross. By the 1920s, the Venice city infrastructure was falling apart (which meant little resources or political will to maintain the canals), and the automobile had started to conquer the streets of the Southland. So they were filled in circa 1929. The CicLAvia course on Grand Avenue was once the Grand Canal, and the traffic circle was formerly the location of a large saltwater swimming lagoon. The surviving canals, located south of Venice Blvd, were built by a different developer a couple years after Kinney's canals opened.
Windward and Pacific avenues, Venice
The Windward Hotel, now a traveler's hostel, is not only the oldest hotel building in Venice, but its eastern ground floor entrance also functioned as Venice's Pacific Electric station. For the first half of the 20th Century, Venice was a popular western destination for the Red Cars, and the preferred way to go. North of Windward Way, there was no Pacific Avenue, but a dedicated "Trolleyway" for the Red Cars. When passengers disembarked at the Venice station before 1929, they were treated to an awe-inspiring view of the large lagoon (now the traffic circle) and canals just across the street, welcoming them to Venice of America. Now, for CicLAvia, when you arrive here, use your imagination and pretend to be transported back to a time when you didn't need cars to get around. On this day, it won't be that hard.
Grand Canal at Venice Blvd, Venice
[cue fanfare music]
This time around, we're on the second route not served by Metro Rail (though it is Metrolink-accessible), and visit the Los Angeles community of Atwater Village and the Jewel City of Glendale. Even though this route is a mini-CicLAvia route of just a little over three miles, there's tons of historical and notable points of interest along this route, and in fact, The Militant had to pare down the list just so he doesn't stay up until 5 a.m. like he usually does when he does these posts (ya, really)! So, without any delay...let's get it started!
Hyperion Avenue, Silver Lake/Atwater Village
This 400 foot-long concrete arch bridge links the community of Silver Lake in the south with Atwater Village in the north, traversing the Los Angeles River below. Designed by Merrill Butler, who also designed another iconic Los Angeles River bridge downstream, the Sixth Street Viaduct (R.I.P.), the bridge replaced an old 1910 wooden crossing that was severely damaged during a 1927 flood. The current bridge was built later that year and opened in September 1928, which was also dedicated to World War I veterans and honorarily dubbed "Victory Memorial." In 1988, the bridge appeared in the movie, Who Framed Roger Rabbit?(and thus a smaller replica of the bridge was later built at Disney's California Adventure theme park in Anaheim, paying homage to the original Walt Disney Studios' neighborhood (located where the Gelson's supermarket stands today)). Recently, the bridge was Ground Zero in a 2013-2015 controversy over whether the eventual renovation of the bridge should be designed in a more bicycle/pedestrian-friendly manner vs. a more automobile-centric design.
The Militant visited this bridge in July of 2007 in a very early MA blog post.
1929 (dismantled 1955); 2004
Los Angeles River at Glendale Blvd, Atwater Village
If you follow The Militant, you should know by now that his legendary epic Pacific Electric Archaeology Map from 2015 features a set of seven concrete bridge abutments across the Los Angeles River as one of the remnant traces of Red Car infrastructure. A bridge once rested on these abutments from 1929 to 1955 that carried the beloved trolleys between Downtown Los Angeles to Burbank. In 2004, local Atwater Village muralist Rafael Escamilla painted a mural on one of the abutments, which faces Red Car River Park, which was part of the old trolley's right-of-way. The line continued up Glendale Blvd and on to Brand Blvd in Glendale, before veering west on Glenoaks Blvd to Burbank.
3101 Glendale Blvd, Atwater Village
This nondescript brown two-story building on the corner of Glendale Blvd and Glenfeliz Ave features a recording studio (on the 2nd floor) owned by Los Angeles hip-hop/pop group Black Eyed Peas. Their first few albums were recorded here, including this '90s-era jam. Though the group uses more high-end recording facilities around the world, and will.i.am now has his own home studio in his Los Feliz residence, the facility is still used by members of the band and their extended musical family.
3208 1/2 Glendale Blvd, Atwater Village
The Peas aren't the only hip-hop influence on da AWV. Groundbreaking NY rap trio the Beastie Boys transplanted themselves to this part of Los Angeles during the 1990s (influenced by their producer and musical collaborator, the Los Angeles-raised Mario Caldato, Jr.) and recorded the albums, Check Your Head,Ill Communication and Hello Nasty here in this loft space, known as G-Son Studios, located above today's State Farm insurance office. The facility was also the headquarters of the Beasties'record label and magazine, Grand Royal. The studio was sold in 2006.
Oh yeah, R.I.P. MCA.
Glendale Blvd median at Larga Ave., Atwater Village
You don't have to travel 203 miles to a national park in the Sierra Nevadas to see a redwood tree -- you can see one right here in Atwater Village during CicLAvia! This lone redwood was planted in the Glendale Blvd median by community members in 1964 and today stands at nearly 90 feet tall. Each December, the redwood is lighted by the Atwater Village Chamber of Commerce as a Christmas tree and the lighting ceremony has been an annual holiday community event for over 20 years.
1800 S. Brand Blvd, Glendale
Built in 1925 as a Spanish Baroque bank building by local architect Alfred Priest, the George Seeley Furniture Company took over the building in 1931, expanded it in 1939, and in 1946 got the Streamline Moderne make-over that remains today. The furniture store with the iconic large red neon sign was in operation until 1994, when the company closed for good. The building underwent an $8 million restoration and re-opened in 2012 as a collection of leased offices and artists' studios now known as Seeley Studios.
1712 S. Glendale Ave, Glendale
Past the world's largest wrought iron gates at the entrance is the original location of the Southern California cemetery chain and the final resting place of over 250,000 people, including the likes of Elizabeth Taylor, Walt Disney (no, he was not frozen), Michael Jackson and someone you know. Forest Lawn was founded in 1906 by businessman Hubert Eaton, who wanted to re-invent the cemetery by doing away with large tombstones and emphasizing landscaping and art. He also innovated the industry with an on-site mortuary. The large white building at the top of the hill with the cross on top of it (changed to a star during the Christmas holiday season) houses a free museum with rotating exhibitions, as well as the world's largest framed canvas painting, the 195-foot long The Crucifixion, completed in 1896 by Polish artist Jan Styka, who brought it to the U.S. to be displayed at the St. Louis 1904 World's Fair. Too large to be transported back to Poland, it remained in the U.S. and was lost for years until Eaton bought it in 1944 and constructed the building to display it. The Militant once rode his bike here to pay his respects to a departed operative, but was told by security that bikes weren't allowed. He asked the security where in the Forest Lawn's policies were bikes not allowed (it does not appear in any signs in the park) and the security staff couldn't find it. So there.
400 W. Cerritos Ave, Glendale
Originally known as the Tropico depot (more on this later), this Spanish Colonial Revival station, designed by MacDonald & Cuchot and opened in 1924, was built by the Southern Pacific Railroad, eventually serving Bay Area-bound trains such as the Daylight and the Lark. Amtrak took over train service in 1971. In 1982-1983, the Glendale station was a stop for the short-lived proto-commuter rail experiment known as CalTrain which ran from Los Angeles to Oxnard for all but 6 months. In 1989, the City of Glendale purchased the station from the Southern Pacific and in 1992, the station found real commuter service in the form of Metrolink, which serves Ventura County and the Antelope Valley. The station was renovated in 1999 and expanded to a multi-modal transportation center.
Glendale south of Chevy Chase Drive
The southwestern section of Glendale was once an independent town named Tropico. With fertile soil formed by the floodplains of the nearby Los Angeles River, the area was famous for its strawberry farms. It also grew a business district centered at San Fernando Road and Central Avenue (pictured left), and Forest Lawn Memorial Park was born as part of Tropico in 1906. The town became incorporated in 1911, but in 1917 its residents voted to be annexed to Glendale. Not much remains of any reference of Tropico, except for the Tropico Motel (401 W. Chevy Chase Dr) and the Tropico U.S. Post Office (120 E. Chevy Chase Dr).
4106 San Fernando Rd, Glendale
Just a couple blocks west of the CicLAvia route is Glendale's iconic Dinah's Fried Chicken, serving its popular boxes of fried chicken and gizzards since 1967. Established by a group of golfers, the Dinah's soft-of-chain operated a handful of restaurants around Southern California that were independently owned and operated but shared common recipes and branding (the Dinah's Family Restaurant in Culver City is the other remaining establishment). The 2006 motion picture, Little Miss Sunshine made Dinah's world-famous as their brightly-colored fried chicken buckets were featured in the film.
Chevy Chase Drive, Glendale
When The Militant was much younger (known as Lil'Mil), he used to wonder, when the family car drove through Glendale, why that guy from Saturday Night Live had a street named after him. It turns out the street was not named after the comedian born Cornelius Chase of Fletch and Clark Griswold fame (the name was apparently a nickname given to him by his grandmother), but after Scottish folklore, namely a story entitled The Ballad of Chevy Chase. The story refers to an apocryphal battle (the "chase") in the Cheviot Hills (no, not that Cheviot Hills) of Scotland (a.k.a. "Chevy") that thwarted off an invasion of the country. Why the Scottish reference? The Jewel City was developed in the 1880s by Leslie Coombs "L.C." Brand, a Scottish American businessman and real estate dude, whose name adorns the city's main street. And also, if it's noot Scottish, it's crap!
Riverdale Dr and Columbus Ave, Glendale
Since the last CicLAvia (Culver City meets Venice) in March featured a traffic circle, it's only fitting that you visit Glendale's only traffic circle, where Riverdale Drive intersects with Columbus Avenue, just a few short blocks west of the CicLAvia route. In 2008, Riverdale became Glendale's bike-friendly guinea pig, with the street re-configured with bike lanes to form an east-west corridor linking various parks within Glendale. So yes, you can visit this traffic circle via Glendale's existing bike infrastructure.
500 S. Central Ave, Glendale
Los Angeles might have Little Armenia, but Glendale has Big Armenia, with a population of 40% of all Glendalians being of Armenian descent. Though Glendale has had an Armenian community dating back to the 1920s, the majority of them arrived in the late 1970s, when the diasporic Armenian community in Lebanon fled that country during its civil war, and when Armenians in Iran likewise left when the Shah fell from power and the current Islamic fundamentalist regime took over. They settled in Glendale as it was close to the existing Armenian community in East Hollywood (now Little Armenia), yet more affordable to live. In the 1990s, another wave of Armenians arrived in Glendale, this time from the former Soviet republic of Armenia, after the dissolution of the USSR. The community established its first house of worship in a small building on Carlton Drive in 1975, and in 1988, the growing congregation took over the 1926 Colonial-style former First Church of Christ Scientist on Central Avenue. Although the St. Mary's wanted to build a dome on the structure in the 1990s to match the traditional church architecture of the motherland, the building's historic preservation status prevented them from doing it.
100 W. Broadway, Glendale
Built as a means to invigorate the Glendale economy and to fill a regional void for The Broadway department store between Panorama City and Pasadena (the local chain was one of the mall's development partners and the anchor tenant), the Glendale Galleria opened on October 14, 1976. And while its sister shopping center in Sherman Oaks laid claim as the, like, total epicenter of 1980s Valley Girl culture, the more alliterate Glendale Galleria went on to become the fourth largest shopping mall in Southern California and the first location for chains such as Panda Express, The Disney Store and The Apple Store. Designed by architect Jon Jerde, its layout and style became an archetype for indoor shopping malls across the country during the 1970s and 1980s. The mall was expanded with a new eastern wing across Central Ave in 1983 and underwent a 21st century facelift in 2012 in the wake of the opening of its next-door neighbor, The Americana at Brand.
The Militant may or many not have had his first date at this mall. In November 1992, during his first visit to California after winning the presidential election, then-president-elect Bill Clinton did some Holiday shopping at the Galleria with a crowd of over 30,000 to greet him (The Militant may or may not have been there, and may or may not have caught a glimpse of him in his limo as he left).
313 W. Broadway, Glendale
In addition to a large Armenian community, Glendale is also home to a notable Filipino immigrant population. This rustic-looking building is the first American location (opened 1980) of a major Philippine restaurant chain, specializing in Filipino-style fried chicken (sounds like a culinary theme for this CicLAvia...). If this building looks familiar, the facade is used as the setting for Louis Huang's Orlando restaurant Cattleman's Ranch in the hit ABC TV series, Fresh Off The Boat.
100 N. Brand Blvd, Glendale
The first "high-rise" (as in over two stories) building in Glendale was this Classical style six-story building on the northeast corner of Brand Blvd and Broadway, designed by Alfred Priest (who also designed the Seeley's Furniture building down the street). This was the home of the Security Trust and Savings Bank, which was a popular local bank chain in Southern California at the time. The bank took over the former First National Bank of Glendale (founded by L.C. Brand) in 1921 and eventually became Security Pacific Bank, and is now part of the Bank of America borg. Before the bank building was built, this was the site of the Glendale Pacific Electric depot, built in 1906 to serve the electric railway line that ran up and down Brand Boulevard. L.C. Brand sought the help of his friend and fellow real estate guy Henry Huntington to build his electric trolley line through Glendale to help sell property tracts and to spur development. The rest is history. You can say the place has Brand's brand all over it. This building has a historical marker placed by the city recognizing the bank building's history and the PE station that stood here prior to it.
216 N. Brand Blvd, Glendale
Designed by the architectural firm of Meyer & Holler (who also designed Grauman's Chinese and Egyptian theatres in Hollywood), The Alexander Theatre (named after Alexander Langley, of the Langley family that operated theatres around Southern California at the time) opened in 1925 as a venue for vaudeville entertainment, silent movies and staged plays. In 1939 the iconic facade and spire was built, designed by Lindley & Selkirk. The theatre also features a Wurlizer pipe organ, which was played by a live organist, which was the typical soundtrack for silent movies. The design of The Alex made it a popular location for world premieres of motion pictures, and from the 1940s to the 1980s, it existed as Glendale's premier movie palace. It was renovated in 1993 and is now owned by the City of Glendale for arts programming (The Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra makes its seasonal home here) and special events.
315 N. Brand Blvd, Glendale
Three things are absolutely guaranteed at Sunday's CicLAvia: 1) Sunny skies; 2) Smiling faces; and 3) A seriously long-ass line in front of Porto's.
The legendary bakery was founded by the Porto family, who fled Fidel Castro's Cuba in the 1960s. The original location was actually in Silver Lake, on Sunset Boulevard and Silver Lake Drive (Los Angeles' Cuban community was once concentrated in the Echo Park-Silver Lake vicinity). In 1982, the family moved the bakery to Glendale where they actually did it and became legends. After over 45 years in business, Porto's sells 1.5 million cheese rolls and about 600,000 potato balls each month, and a little Yelp hype last year didn't hurt either. Porto's now boasts locations in Burbank, Downey, Buena Park and soon in West
401 N. Brand Blvd, Glendale
All you Mid-Century Modern fetishists, prepare to have an archigasm at CicLAvia! This quirky 10-story building, originally the home of Glendale Federal Savings, was designed by Peruvian-born architect W.A. Sarmiento, who made some bank out of drawing up bank buildings. But this was his most well-known structure, recognized by the Los Angeles Conservancy, which features an external elevator bank. Glendale Federal merged with California Federal in 1998, and today it's part of Citi Bank. The building is now home to the Hollywood Production Center (despite not actually being in Hollywood).
Verdugo Wash at Geneva Street, Glendale
Verdugo Wash at Glenoaks Blvd, Glendale
Verdugo Wash at Kenilworth Ave, Glendale
We began our Epic CicLAvia Tour with a bridge, so it's appropo that we end it with a bridge. Verdugo Wash, a 9 1/2-mile tributary of the Los Angeles River, runs south from La Crescenta paralleling the 2 Freeway, and west paralleling the 134 Freeway, where it flows in to the river near the Los Angeles Zoo area. As a part of President Franklin Roosevelt's Works Progress Administration program, the War Department's U.S. Engineers (the predecessor of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers) built a series of eight steel bridges (using local steel manufactured by Consolidated Steel Corp. of Los Angeles) traversing Verdugo Wash, all in the Vierendeel Truss design, which was invented in 1896 by Belgian engineer Arthur Vierendeel. Unlike standard truss bridges, there are no diagonal members. Glendale is the home of the only Vierendeel Truss Bridges in the United States, the first of which was built at the Verdugo Wash's Central Avenue crossing. Brand Boulevard had a twin bridge, which had a separate girder bridge for the Pacific Electric in the middle. In the mid-1980s, all but three of the bridges (at Geneva Street, Glenoaks Avenue and Kenilworth Avenue) were torn down by the City of Glendale and replaced with boring concrete bridges (You can say that Glendale had some truss issues). Today you can admire the last remaining Vierendeel Truss bridges in America.
The Militant wants to raise a fist and give massive props to the Tropico Station Glendale blog, which provided an additional source of research info for this post! Happy CicLAvia on Sunday, and see you or not see you on the streets!
Check out this slick video of the CicLAvia route:
And check out The Militant's video on San Pedro, made in 2011:
NOTE: When sharing pictures or selfies of any of these locations along your CicLAvia ride on Sunday, don't forget to tag #EpicCicLAviaTour when posting on social media!
1. Phineas Banning Museum
401 East M St, Wilmington
It's appropo that we start our journey (both literally and metaphorically) here. Phineas Banning was one of them 19th century white dudes who basically did something and changed the shape, size and function of the city of Los Angeles forever. Born in Delaware in 1830, he worked as a young man in the shipyards of nearby Philadelphia. He moved to Southern California at the age of 21, but instead of doin' it wagon style cross-country, he took a long-ass boat ride to pre-canal Panama, and took another long-ass boat ride on the Pacific side to this sleepy fishing village called San Pedro, where he worked a number of odd jobs, including driving stagecoaches (it's like being an 1850s Uber driver). The stagecoaches worked between San Pedro and Los Angeles, and after he made some mad bank driving
Avalon Bl between Pacific Coast Highway and East I St, Wilmington
Palm trees are everywhere in Los Angeles. Okay, so what? Well, these palm trees had a purpose for being here. Considering the City of Angels will be hosting its third Olympic games in 2028, these 218 Mexican Fan Palm trees are a remnant of an early Olympic legacy. They were planted here along Avalon Boulevard in 1931 as part of a citywide beautification effort for the 1932 Olympic Games. Speaking of Avalon Boulevard, did you know that it was originally named Canal Street before 1926? There was once a canal there, which was filled in 1851 and turned into a dirt road.
906 Avalon Blvd, Wilmington
Opened in July, 1929, The Don Hotel (not to be confused with this guy, but rather its owner, a man named Don Hundredmark) was the most prestigious hotel in Wilmington during the pre-war period. Constructed to cater to tourists going to and from Catalina Island, it became an important gathering place in the area, with luminaries such as William Randolph Hearst and Bing Crosby once staying there. After falling into decay through the 20th century, the building was restored in the 1990s and turned into senior apartments in 1999. The landmark “The Don” neon sign atop the building is a restored sign put up in 2000 that was given the Hollywoodland treatment – it once read, “Don Hotel.”
632 Avalon Blvd, Wilmington
Once Wilmington’s landmark neighborhood Vaudevillian, and later motion picture, theater, it was built with with Renaissance Revival influences and a lighted prominent marquee. The only example of the property type remaining in the area. It was built by C.L. Post (of the Post Cereal family) in 1926 as part of the West Coast Theatres chain. In 1927, Fox Theatres purchased West Coast Theaters and changed the name to the Fox Granada. After falling into decay, it was resurrected (no pun intended) as a church in the 1990s, but was sold in 2015. It is now owned by the nonprofit Wilmington Granada Friends group that hopes to bring it back to its original use as a community entertainment venue.
544 N. Avalon Blvd, Wilmington
Originally built in 1928 as the Seaboard Branch of California Bank, this Neoclassical style building has Corinthian columns and pilasters and decorated arches. And that corner clock! More recently, the building, now owned by the City of Los Angeles, is used as the office of the Wilmington Chamber of Commerce. It was also the former field office for Councilwoman Janice Hahn during the 2000s decade.
Harry Bridges Blvd between Lagoon Ave and Figueroa St, Wilmington
Wilmington Waterfront Park, which opened in 2011, was created a decade ago as a project to provide a 30-acre buffer zone in the form of public open space between the Port of Los Angeles and the residential community in Wilmington. The park features green space/landscaping, paths and walkways, benches, water features, pedestrian bridges, restrooms, drinking fountains, binoculars and a children’s playground. The project also widened Harry Bridges Boulevard.
And who, exactly, is Harry Bridges? He was a 20th century labor leader in the West Coast best known for forming the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) in 1937. The union is a huge presence in the blue-collar port communities of Wilmington and San Pedro. Labor unions are richly embedded in San Pedro history, as you will see ahead.
Figueroa Street at Harry Bridges Blvd, San Pedro
This is the extreme southernmost end of the longest street entirely within Los Angeles City Limits (sorry, Sepulveda, you go through so many other cities), Figueroa was named after General Jose Figueroa, the governor of Mexican-Era Alta California from 1833 to 1835. The 25 mile-long thoroughfare runs up through Harbor Gateway and South Los Angeles through Downtown Los Angeles to the extreme opposite end, just north of the 134 Freeway, right below Eagle Rock’s eponymous geological landmark (Yes, that picture is a trapezoid style sign taken in Downtown Los Angeles, thanks for paying attention).
1900 Gaffey St
This 154-foot tower, viewable from the CicLAvia route, as well as to all vehicles rolling into ‘Pedro on the 110 South, was constructed in 1954 as a smokestack for the City of Los Angeles’ Harbor Incinerator. See, back in the old days, there were no landfills and certainly no recycling, so people burned their trash and it made the air all crappy, but hey, that’s the way they rolled. Fortunately, it only polluted San Pedro for three years, as it was shut down in 1957 due to air standards requirements (Hooray!). Somewhere along the way, the letters “SAN PEDRO” were painted on the smokestack, and it became a beloved landmark and a source of local pride for residents of ‘Pedro. There are no plans to demolish the smokestack, despite it not being operational for 60 years.
CA State Route 47 between Harbor Blvd and Ferry St, San Pedro
As the sole suspension bridge in Southern California, the teal-colored Vincent Thomas (no, not "St. Vincent Thomas") Bridge has traversed the Port of Los Angeles' Main Channel between mainland San Pedro and Terminal Island for over 50 years. The 1,500 foot-long passage was named after the California State Assemblyman who represented the San Pedro area from 1941 to 1979 (longest of any Assemblymember) and lobbied since the 1940s to have a large bridge built that would support the trucking traffic coming into and out of the harbor area. For its first 37 years, tolls (25 cents, later 50 cents) were collected (Assemblyman Thomas himself paid the first toll on opening day) for westbound traffic, which were discontinued in 2000 after the bridge paid for itself. At 335 feet tall, its towers are the tallest structures in the Harbor area, which are also lit at night. Also famous (and infamous) as a location for movie shoots and suicides, the bridge is San Pedro's iconic landmark, which can even be seen (on a clear day, of course) from Griffith Park.
Berth 87, 250 S Harbor Blvd, San Pedro
This storied US Navy battleship served in both the European and Pacific theatres of World War II (including carrying President Franklin Roosevelt to an important wartime summit with Winston Churchill and Josef Stalin), the Korean War and the Cold War. In April 1989, an unusual turret explosion onboard killed 47 sailors, sparking numerous conspiracy theories as to its origin. The ship was retired in 1990 and was moored in Philadelphia and Newport, Rhode Island before being sent to Suisun Bay in Northern California where it stayed from 2001 to 2011, and finally arrived in San Pedro in 2012 where the Navy donated it for its present use as the Pacific Battleship Museum.
6th St and Sampson Way, San Pedro
The Militant is known for sharing many stories about the Red Cars of the Pacific Electric Railway, that once rolled through Southern California, including creating an Epic Militant Pacific Electric Archaeology Map in 2015. In 2003, a small, 1.5-mile re-creation of part of a Red Car route known as the San Pedro Waterfront Red Car Line was built along the waterfront between the Cruise Center on Swinford Street and 22nd Street as a tourist attraction using two replica cars and, occasionally, one restored historic Red Car. In September 2015 the Waterfront Red Car ceased operation due to the re-alignment of Sampson Way. The City of Los Angeles, which operated the line plans to revive the trolley line in a few years after the redevelopment of the Waterfront area (of course, the City said the exact same thing about Angels Flight Railway in Downtown after they dismantled it in 1969, and it took 27 years to re-open that…). Anyway, one of the stations of the San Pedro Waterfront Red Car is here, unused. It’s kind of a shame The Militant has to point this out as another Red Car relic.
Berth 84, 600 S. Sampson Way, San Pedro
Built as part of President FDR’s Works Project Administration program, this Streamline Moderne building, designed by Derwood L. Irvin opened in 1941 as a ferry terminal. From 1941 to 1963, a pair double-decker ferry boats shuttled between downtown San Pedro and Terminal Island, just across the channel, which was home to several tuna fish canneries, and until 1942, a thriving Japanese community. Supplanted by the opening of the Vincent Thomas Bridge, the ferry operation ceased the day before the bridge opened. In 1976, the former ferry terminal building was adaptively re-used as the Los Angeles Maritime Museum, the largest of its kind on the West Coast, with exhibits dedicated to San Pedro’s fishing, commercial diving, merchant marine and naval histories.
638 S Beacon St, San Pedro
One of three satellite city halls in the City of Los Angeles (the other two are in Van Nuys and West Los Angeles), this seven-story building, designed by Charles O. Britton opened in 1928 (the same year as our current main City Hall building), houses the local offices of 15th District Councilman Joe Buscaino, several City departments, a satellite City Council meeting chamber and a currently-unused courthouse and jail on the top floor.
5th St and Harbor Blvd, San Pedro
This site was ground zero of the San Pedro Maritime Strike, a major labor action in Spring of 1923 by the Marine Transport Workers Industrial Union 510, which involved 3,000 longshoremen protesting low wages, poor working conditions and the state’s Criminal Syndicalism Law, which was responsible for the imprisonment of several union activists. The strike immobilized 90 ships in the Port of Los Angeles. The strikers occupied a parcel on this site, which they called "Liberty Hill." On May 15, writer and activist Upton Sinclair got involved in the strike and read the Bill of Rights aloud to the picketers. He and three others were arrested by the LAPD, of which the arresting officer told him, “We’ll have none of that constitution stuff.” That incident led to the formation of the Southern California chapter of the ACLU. The union finally got most their demands in a contract over a decade later, in 1934. The Syndicalism Law was eventually ruled unconstitutional in 1968. The event also inspired the name of a nonprofit social justice organization that was founded in 1976. A historical marker on this site commemorates the strike and Sinclair's arrest.
478 W. 6th St, San Pedro
This iconic Art Deco landmark was designed by B. Marcus Priteca, best known for designing the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood. Harry, Albert, Sam and Jack Warner (a.k.a. The Actual Warner Brothers) commissioned Priteca to design a trio of Southern California Art-Deco Warner chain theaters in Beverly Hills, Huntington Beach and San Pedro. This is the only surviving example of the three. Known as "The Castle of Your Dreams,” it was the first sound-equipped theater in the South Bay area and had all of the facilities required for Vaudeville shows (which were never performed). After being in decay since the 1960s, the City of Los Angeles purchased the building and is used for arts and culture events. It has also been undergoing a slow but ongoing renovation process intended to restore the theater to its 1930s condition.
510 W. 7th St, San Pedro
Over 10,000 Croatian Americans live in and near San Pedro, the largest concentration in the western US. Most of them settled in this coastal Mediterranean village that reminded them of home from the 1860s to the 1960s. Notable Croat Angelenos include Rudy Svorinich, Jr., Los Angeles City Councilman from 1993 to 2001 and Carmen Trutanich, Los Angeles City Attorney from 2009 to 2013 – both native San Pedrans. But longtime State Assemblyman Vincent (Tomasevich) Thomas, yes, the bridge's namesake, was a 2nd-generation Croat American raised in San Pedro. The most well-known Croat from the area was Martin J. Bogdanovich, a Croatian immigrant who founded a tuna canning empire in 1917 that was later known as the Star-Kist Tuna Company. In 1997, Svorinich arranged to have the City purchase this former 1920s bank building for use as a cultural center for the Croatian American community. Recently, there was a proposal to move the Croatian Consulate General from Bentwood to this building, but apparently things didn't go as planned.
Pacific Ave and Meyler Rd, San Pedro
Named not after the same military MacArthur guy as MacArthur Park, but in fact his father, Lieutenant General Arthur MacArthur (a man so nice, he was named twice), this installation was originally designated by President Grover Cleveland in 1888 for use as a military installation. It was formally established in 1914 and used as a major U.S. Army training ground for World War I soldiers. It continued its purpose in World War II as a defense installation along the Pacific coast.The Fort site actually occupied a large part of southern San Pedro -- the location close to the CicLAvia route is known as the Middle Reservation, which housed barracks and administration buildings and still is run today as a military installation, this time since 1982 as an annex of the Los Angeles Air Force Base. The Upper Reservation once housed barracks and a missile launch site and is now Angels Gate Park, which is also home of the Ft. MacArthur Museum. The Lower Reservation, which housed ships and amphibian vessels, is now the Cabrillo Beach Marina.
See you or not see you on the streets this Sunday! Happy CicLAvia!
Interactive Map! Click on green points to view hotspots, or click here for larger view.
It's October, which means we celebrate the 7th anniversary of CicLAvia, its 23rd iteration, and say "hola" to the HOLA route (Heart of L.A.), which is not necessarily the original CicLAvia route, but does contain some elements of it, and pretty much the centralized essence of it.
2006 (Built 1940)
1835 E. 1st St, Boyle Heights
One of The Militant's favorite hangouts in the Eastside, this bar, started by a bunch of friends who grew up in nearby City Terrace, took over the former Metropolitan bar eight years ago and updated it to a more contemporary Eastside-style flavor. Don't call it gentrification, call it gentrification. In the decade or so of the establishment's existence, it has already established its own traditions, namely the Thursday night themed karaoke nights, paying tribute to artists such as Latin superstars Juan Gabriel, Selena and Esteban Morrissey.
1st St and Boyle Ave, Boyle Heights
This is the new town square for Boyle Heights, where Mariachi musicians have been hanging out to get picked up for since the 1930s. The Kiosko, or bandstand, that sits in the plaza is actually not that historic. It was given as a gift from the Mexican state of Jalisco, who literally shipped it over in 1998 where it was assembled in place. But it only gets used once a year for the Santa Cecilia Festival around every November 21.
The plaza is also home of the Metro Gold Line station of the same name, which opened in 2009. The unique lending library Libros Schmibros relocated here in 2011. This place could warrant a Militant blog post in itself -- no, an entire week of posts! Don't miss the Farmers Market events there every Friday and Sunday!
103 N. Boyle Ave, Boyle Heights
This brick Queen Anne-style building, built in 1889 and designed by architect W.R. Norton was one of the first commercial buildings in Boyle Heights, and is one of the longest-standing commercial buildings in all of Los Angeles. The hotel was an important social and political center in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and in the 1960s, started to become a popular lodging spot for Mariachi musicians. It recently underwent a major renovation which created 51 low-income housing units and three street-level retail units, one of which will be the new home of nearby Libros Schmibros bookstore.
131 S. Boyle Ave., Boyle Heights
Back in the totally radical '80s...That's the 1880s, Boyle Heights was an open, rural area and French Basque immigrant Simon Francois Gless built a Queen Anne style house on his sheepherding farm at this location. Today, the house is a City Historic Cultural Monument and is a home that's rented out to -- Mariachi musicians! Just a few blocks west of here is Gless Street, and you might have heard of Simon's great-granddaughter -- actress Sharon Gless, who starred in the series Cagney and Lacey, which aired a century after her arrière-grand-père first settled in Boyle Heights.
Neighborhood Music School
1947 (Built 1890s)
358 S. Boyle Ave, Boyle Heights
The Neighborhood Music School is exactly what it is. But it's also a Boyle Heights institution. Originally founded 100 years ago when it was located on Mozart Street (orchestral rimshot), the school moved to this Victorian home in 1947 where it still offers music lessons to local youth and the public can drop by on weekends to attend free recital concerts.
6. Sakura Gardens/Jewish Home For The Aging
325 S. Boyle Ave, Boyle Heights
With Boyle Heights being a historically Jewish and Japanese community, how's this for an ultimate Boyle Heights institution? This property was originally built in 1916 as the Jewish Home for the Aging (now operating in Reseda), and in 1974, the Keiro Senior Health Care organization, basically their Japanese American counterpart. In 2016, nonprofit Keiro sold the facility to the for-profit Pacifica Senior Living, though not without controversy. The new owners renamed it "Sakura Gardens." With the Hollenbeck Palms retirement home just down the street (and site of the John Edward Hollenbeck Estate, remember?) Boyle is a popular corridor for Senior Livin.'
1992 / 1893
320 S. Santa Fe Ave (visible from the 4th Street Viaduct), Arts District
Take a break from riding/walking/skateboarding/pogo-sticking/etc. and take a glance off the north side of the bridge from the west bank of the River. This facility is where the 104 Italian-built subway cars of the Metro Red and Purple line cars are stored, repaired, serviced and cleaned. This was also the temporary storage and repair site of the Angels Flight railway cars after the fateful 2001 accident. The Militant actually visited this facility back in May 1992.
The subway cars are also serviced on the site of the old Santa Fe Railway La Grande Station (hence the name of the street) that was on Santa Fe and 2nd. Built in 1893, it was precisely where midwestern transplants arrived in Los Angeles after paying their $1 train ticket from Chicago. In 1933, the landmark dome was damaged by the Long Beach Earthquake and subsequently removed. In 1939, it was rendered obsolete by the opening of the new Los Angeles Union Passenger Terminal a few blocks north.
4th and Alameda streets, Downtown Los Angeles
Before there was a Union Station, there were various rail passenger terminals in Los Angeles, many of them just a short distance from the Los Angeles River. On what currently stands as a large shopping mall, this was the original site of the Southern Pacific Railroad’s Arcade Station which served passengers up until 100 years ago. A popular landmark of this station was a young palm tree, which was moved a century ago to Exposition Park where it stands today, much taller, in front of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Unfortunately for indie rock fans, the Arcade Station was not devastated by a Fire, but was dismantled and replaced by a new station, the Central Station, located one block south.
1st Street and Central Avenue, Little Tokyo
Just a few years from now, Metro will open its Regional Connector project, a new subway under Downtown Los Angeles that will re-align three light rail lines into two and provide continuous, transfer-free service from Azusa to Long Beach and East Los Angeles to Santa Monica. Although Little Tokyo already has a Gold Line station just yards away, that will be demolished and the station replaced with a new underground facility where the current construction activity exists. It's rather fascinating, and it's one way Little Tokyo will more resemble Big Tokyo. The businesses around the station have been impacted by construction, so make sure you support them, not only during CicLAvia but after!
237 S. Los Angeles Street, Little Tokyo
Another anticipated addition to Little Tokyo is this budokan (Japanese for "martial arts hall"), which has been a long-standing dream for the Japanese American community, going back over 40 years. After a long period of fundraising and dealing with bureaucratic red tape, the facility, named after the late Dr. Paul Terasaki, whose foundation kicked in $3.5 million of the project's cost, broke ground this past Summer. A percentage of the funding was also contributed by the LA84 Foundation, which came from the profit surplus from the 1984 Olympics. After this venue opens in 2019, might it become a karate or judo venue for the 2028 games?
2nd and Spring streets, Downtown Los Angeles
The CicLAvia route also follows part of the Metro Regional Connector route, with the second of the three new stops being here on Broadway and 2nd Street, which will serve the historic theater district, Gallery Row and parts of the Civic Center.
• If heading north to Chinatown, skip to #22.
• If heading south to the Theatre District, skip to #17.
Toluca Street south of 2nd Street, Downtown
For 30 years, Los Angeles' first subway tunnel allowed the Pacific Electric's Red Cars to bypass the traffic of Downtown's surface streets and sped up the travel times to places like Burbank, Santa Monica or the San Fernando Valley before it was abandoned in 1955. Soon after, the area surrounding the tunnel portal and adjacent electric power substation became blighted and a haven for the homeless and graffiti artists, while the tunnel itself became part garbage dump, part urban spelunking adventure (The Militant has been in the tunnel before). In 2007, a large apartment building designed for upscale, gentrifying types was built on the site of the Red Car yard, thus blocking the tunnel and dashing any hopes of it being revived as part of our modern rail system (it's been holding up well structurally for nearly 60 years without any maintenance whatsoever). But if you look at the back of the property, you can see the boarded-up tunnel with an artistic homage to its former purpose (and do browse the apartment building's lobby for some PE photos and diagrams).
Vista Hermosa Natural Park
Los Angeles native Bob Baker, who has been working puppets since the age of eight, and has built an impressive resume doing puppetry for various television and movie projects, founded this theater with Alton Wood in 1961, purchasing this single-story building, formerly a scenery workshop for the Academy Awards. Since then, he has been running America's longest-operating puppet theater company, even to this day at the age of 90. Going to this theater is one of those things every Angeleno must do before they die (or move away -- same thing). In 2009, the building became a legit Historic-Cultural Monument of the City of Los Angeles.
16. Echo Park Recreation Center
Glendale Boulevard at Temple Street
You might pass this tennis court and nearby swimming pool every day and wonder, "Who the hell would put a tennis court/swimming pool right next to a freeway?" Well, no one put them next to a freeway, but they put the freeway next to them. Before 1948, Echo Park wasn't just a pretty little lake with lotus flowers and paddle boats, but it was a park park, with recreation facilities and everything. It stretched as south as Temple Street. But it stood in the path of the almighty Cahuenga Parkway (now the Hollywood Freeway, or "The 101"), which cut the park in two. Hmm. That sounds familiar...
304 S. Broadway, Downtown
A building that's famously meh on the outside, but OMG from the inside, this building has been featured in movies from Chinatown to Blade Runner to 500 Days of Summer. Designed by Sumner Hunt and modified by George Wyman, this 5-story structure was designed to look like the 21st century from 19th century eyes. Despite the ahead-of-its-time design, this building has nothing to do with sci-fi author Ray Bradbury, but was named after developer and 1800s rich dude Lewis Bradbury.
18. Grand Central Market
317 S. Broadway, Downtown
Everyone knows this is Los Angeles' premier public marketplace, and the Militant probably doesn't need to include this since you may or may nor already be getting your Eggslut on (The Militant, on the other hand, prefers tacos and tortas from Roast To Go, and will incite a riot in the event that eatery is kicked out by gentrification). But The Militant is including it in this Epic CicLAvia Tour guide only for the fact that Grand Central Market is turning 100 years old this year! The market will have a day-long 100th birthday celebration on Friday, October 27.
19. Biddy Mason Park
331 S. Spring St (entrance on Broadway), Downtown
Born as a slave in Georgia, Bridget "Biddy" Mason was a renaissance woman of her time. Having followed Mormon settlers west, she gained her freedom when California became a slavery-free Union state. As a nurse, she founded the first child care center in Los Angeles and later became a lucrative property owner and philanthropist, having founded the First AME Church, now a major institution in Los Angeles' African American community. She died in 1891 and was buried at ...Evergreen Cemetery (which you might have also seen earlier...see how things all tie together?). A century after her passing, this mini-park in DTLA, on the site of her house, was built and dedicated.
Broadway-Spring Arcade Building
541 S. Spring St (entrance on Broadway), Downtown
This unique building is actually three, opened in 1924 on the site of Mercantile Place, a 40-foot street cut between 4th and 5th streets connecting Broadway and Spring. Mercantile Place was a popular shopping and gathering locale in the early 1900s. Having fallen into decay by the 1970s, it was recently renovated and is now famous for, some of the newest, hottest eateries in town (Guisados DTLA is located here, BTW). It also becomes an artistic venue during the DTLA ArtWalk.
648 S. Broadway, Downtown
The sole survivor of 10 kitschy and theatrical themed cafeterias founded by Clifford Clinton around Southern California (and now you know what inspired the Fry's Electronics stores), this location known as Brookdale, was the second in the chain and the most iconic. The current incarnation of the restaurant opened in 2015 after half a decade of renovation by new owner Andrew Meieran, who kinda made it quasi-hipsterfied, but at least preserved the decor even though the food costs like twice as much as it used to. But do go down to the basement level, near the restrooms, just to glance at the world's oldest continuously-lit neon light.
This longtime empty lot, previously identified in this CicLAvia tour as the foundation of a state office building condemned after the 1971 Sylmar Earthquake has some additional history. It was recently dissevered to be the location of the 1910 bombing of the (then) Los Angeles Times building, which happened 104 years ago this week. The dynamite bombing was discovered to have been the work of Ortie McManigal and brothers John and James McNamara, all affiliated with the Iron Workers Union, in what was meant to protest the newspaper's staunchly anti-union practices. 21 people died when the 16 sticks of dynamite exploded just outside the building at 1:07 a.m. on October 1, 1910, the explosion was exacerbated by natural gas lines which blew up a large section of the building. The Times since built a new building in its place, and later relocated across 1st Street to its current location. Today, the lot is being readied for an expansion of Grand Park.
1904 (demolished 1943)
Broadway between Temple and Hill streets, Downtown
With Angels Flightfiiiiiiiiiinally up and running again (fingers crossed), it's time to pay tribute to the city's other funicular, its cousin to the northeast, Court Flight. Built in 1904, it went up the northern end of Bunker Hill and was next to a former road called Court Street, hence its name. Even shorter than its more famous cousin at 200 feet, it ran steeper at a height of 200 feet. It was burned by a fire in 1943 and never reconstructed. The hill was eventually chipped away. The north side of the stairways going up to the Court of Flags (wonder if that was intentional there) in today's Grand Park is the precise location of ol' Courty.
Temple Street and Broadway, Downtown
No, you won't find Superman or any of the Super Friends here. But this building, the oldest surviving government building in the Los Angeles Civic Center, was built in the mid-1920s as the original Los Angeles County Courthouse and Central Jail (which once housed the likes of Busy Siegel, Sirhan Sirhan and Charles Manson), as well as the headquarters for the Sheriff's Office, the District Attorney and the County Coroner. This Beaux Arts-style building was designed by Allied Architects Association, an all-star team of local architects put together to design publicly-funded buildings. The building is currently undergoing a major renovation project to modernize the facilities and repair damage from the 1994 Northridge Earthquake. It is slated to re-open as a LEED Gold Certified building (gotta be sustainable, y'all) in 2015, and the Sheriff's and District Attorney's offices will return.
451 N. Hill St, Downtown
Way, way, waaaaay back before we had tall building and freeways, Downtown Los Angeles (well Los Angeles, period back then) had a bunch of hills, Bunker Hill being the most famed one. There was also Fort Hill, the site of a Mexican-American War encampment. On July 4, 1847 the facility was called Fort Moore (and the hill Fort Moore Hill), after Captain Benjamin D. Moore of the U.S. 1st Dragoons regiment, who was killed six months earlier in a battle near San Diego. The 1st Dragoons and the Mormon Batallion established the new fort and raised the U.S. flag during the first-ever observed Independence Day in Los Angeles. This event was immortalized in a bas-relief stone monument made in the 1950s. Speaking of forts, the very street you're riding (or walking, or skating, or scootering, or stand-up-paddling, or pogo-sticking) was once called "Fort Street," which inevitably led to directional problems some six blocks south of here. The monument also includes a fountain, which was shut off in 1977...due to the drought at the time. So where's the actual hill, you ask? It was bulldozed away in the late 1940s to make room for the 101 Freeway (is this a recurring theme for this CicLAvia or what?!)
Broadway and Cesar E. Chavez. Avenue, Chinatown
Designed to be the symbolic entrance to Los Angeles' Chinatown District, The Chinatown Gateway Monument, a.k.a. the Twin Dragon Towers Gateway, depicts two dragons grabbing at a central pearl, which symbolizes luck, prosperity, and longevity. The 25-foot-tall structure was put up in 2001 and occasionally emanates steam coming from the dragons' mouths. Unlike Anglo dragons, the creatures in Chinese folklore are the good guys, meant to scare away evil spirits.
642 N. Broadway (Facing New High St, south of Ord), Chinatown
If you're ever in some TV trivia contest on your way to being a millionaire and the host asks you, "What is the Militant Angeleno's favorite Vietnamese banh mi place west of the Los Angeles River?" you won't need to call a lifeline, because the answer is Buu Dien. When the Militant has only $4 in his pocket and wants to get a meal in Downtown, this is his go-to joint. A literal hole in the wall in every regard, this place serves bomb-ass (do people still use that phrase) Viet sammiches for less than $3 a pop. And the bread is awesome. And nice and warm. Plus they also serve up spring rolls, desserts, pastries, Vietnamese coffee and pho (never had it here yet, but The Militant's favorite pho WOTLAR is Pho 79 just up the street). People complain about parking in his micro-mini mall, but this is CicLAvia!
1231 N. Spring St, Chinatown
One of the last visible vestiges of Los Angeles' agricultural industry, this family-owned flour mill operated from 1831 to 1997, before moving its operation to a much larger facility in Colton. The facility that still stands today was built in 1883. The mill supplied flour to clients such as Ralphs, Foix French Bakery and La Brea Bakery. In 1999, the family-owned operation was purchased by industry giant Con-Agra Co. The historic building, built even before the railroads arrived in Los Angeles, still has a horse-tethering ring, back to the days when grain was hauled by horse carriage from farms in the San Fernando Valley.
Gin Ling Way between Broadway and Hill, Chintown
The northern terminus of CicLAvia is no stranger to public events; it was made for them. In the Summer it hosted three very popular Chinatown Summer Nights events. But don't let the "Old Chinatown" neon sign fool you -- This is actually Los Angeles' new Chinatown, which dates back to the 1930s. The real Old Chinatown was several blocks south, where a thriving community of Cantonese-speaking immigrants
lived near the river, north of Aliso Street. Of course, they were kicked out in the early '30s to make room for Union Station. So they moved a few blocks north, in the former Little Italy, and they've been there ever since. Well, not really, since some of them moved east to the San Gabriel Valley and were supplemented with Mandarin-speaking immigrants from Taiwan and Mainland China. But you get the idea.
Happy CicLAvia, Los Angeles! Enjoy, GO DODGERS and STAY MILITANT!