More than 53 years after opening day and 36 years after the site was supposed to become a park, the Scholl Canyon Landfill apparently needs more room. The landfill has had a complicated history and I wonder what the original advocates and opponents would think about the current plans to expand. The landfill’s creation pitted […]

I should have known that the crazy Art Deco tower at 4157 South Figueroa was more than just some 1930s folly (figure 1). When the original permits came back from the city’s Building and Safety department, it was so obvious. Of course this was one of the Van de Kamp’s Holland Dutch Bakery sites. Along […]

It was standing room only when Earl Grant played the Club Pigalle. Located at 4135 South Figueroa, the venue hosted hundreds of musicians, comedians and other local acts, but when Earl Grant, “master of the organ and pianist extraordinaire” took the stage, the crowd surged.[i] Grant was so popular that the room had to be […]

Most Angelenos are familiar with Christine Sterling and her efforts to preserve the Avila Adobe and create a Mexican-themed market place at Olvera Street. Unfortunately, the hundreds of other women who were involved in the city’s preservation work are less well known.[i] Among these women, Ana Bégué de Packman stands out in quixotic detail. As […]

In September 1890 members of the Board of Public Works took a tour of the city. In the vicinity of Pico Boulevard, where Pearl met Figueroa, a discussion started about “opening Figueroa through.”  The tour goers noted that the street stopped abruptly and claimed not to know “how it became obliterated and appropriated as private […]

On the night of February 6 1896, an explosion rocked the slumbering West Adams neighborhood.  “Dynamite fiends” had apparently attempted to blow up the house of Thomas Douglas Stimson at 2421 Figueroa (figure 1). Neighbors George and Frank Sabichi ran to help with their guns drawn. They fired at a shadowy fleeing figure, but the […]

How do you begin to tell the story of a single street?  Do you start at its geographic origin or terminus? Describe its length, breadth and width? Provide a summary of the buildings that line it? Or, do you attempt to narrate the lives of the many individuals who occupy it? While there is obviously […]

In August of 1930, Basil Heathcote of the Los Angeles Times railed against the gods of progress that were responsible for the “meaningless back-East appellations” given to Los Angeles’ thoroughfares. He, like many writers before and since, specifically lamented the loss of Los Angeles’ “melodic” Spanish street names.[i]  After all, “what could be lovelier, more […]

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