Tag Archives: Los Angeles

Veterans Memorial Square and the Monument to Peace That Wasn’t

Los Angeles City Councilman Gilbert Lindsey roared at the demonstrators who filled the council chamber, “I don’t care what you do, just shut up!” Lindsey’s anger had been aroused on behalf of members of the American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the other “real people of America,” who wanted to erect a veterans […]

The Shoestring Strip: Los Angeles Goes Out on a Limb

Have you ever wondered why the city of LA looks the way that it does? With that bulbous north west growth atop a long skinny stick, it’s always reminded me of a droopy lollypop or perhaps a lopsided barbell. Over the years, the city that began in 1781 as a perfect square clearly morphed into […]

Signal Film Company: Helen Holmes and Highland Park’s Very Own Movie Studio

As a genre, the action film has a long pedigree. The massive explosions, thrilling chases and courageous heroes who barely, but inevitably, defy death to win the day have been the backbone of Hollywood cinema since its inception. Today, we typically think of these films as largely created by, and for, men but this wasn’t […]

Sycamore Grove Park: A Garden for the Masses

A brief and cryptic paragraph in the October 11, 1910 edition of the Los Angeles Herald caught my eye. Sandwiched between a story about a restaurateur cited for allowing patrons to shoot craps with “dice made of lumps of sugar” and the previous night’s bowling scores, was the headline, “Japanese Will Prepare Plans for Park […]

Scholl Canyon from Mountain Meadow to Landfill: the Political History of Figueroa Street’s Northern Terminus

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 […]

Sole Survivor: Forgotten Van de Kamp’s Holland Bakery Hangs On in South LA

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 […]

“Another Giant Gone”: Earl Grant and the Pigalle

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 […]

Ana Bégué de Packman, Pioneer of Preservation

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 […]

Abandoning Fig: The High Cost of Cartographic Uncertainty

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 […]

Hero or Huckster: Harry Coyne the Dynamite Fiend

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 […]

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