Friday, August 16, 2019

The Militant's Epic Militant CicLAvia Tour XXXII!!

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The fourth of six CicLAvias in 2019 and the 32nd iteration of Los Angeles' showcase open streets event takes place this Sunday, 8/18. Though unfortunately not in the San Fernando Valley, as the date would otherwise dictate, but on the other side of The Hill, with a 6-mile course linking the ethnically diverse East Hollywood with the star-studded central Hollywood and the prideful and design-conscious West Hollywood. Dubbed by CicLAvia's organizers as "Meet The Hollywoods" (Can they try to find better names of events without using the word "meet" or "meets"? The Militant is willing to help them out in that department - seriously -- email him), The organizers challenge CicLAvians to re-discover neighborhoods they may or may not already know. The Militant, too, wants people to re-discover the communities along every CicLAvia route: There have been 31 unique routes during the entire history of CicLAvia so far (the first two events had the same course), and The Militant Angeleno has tirelessly [takes, long deep breath] taken time out of his militant and extramilitant life to share with you his intimate knowledge of secret and unique points of interest.

If you're familiar with The Militant's Epic CicLAvia Tour guides, you'll know that a lot of the points of interest are connected with another in some way, and this one is no exception. Our CicLAvia tour begins in a triangle formed by local streets, and as you will see, you'll see that pattern repeats itself all the way to the opposite end of the route!

So here goes the CicLAvia guide for this Sunday. As always, see you or not see you on the streets!

1. Vermont Triangle
Hollywood Blvd, Vermont Ave & Prospect Ave, East Hollywood

A year after the town of Hollywood voted to be annexed by Los Angeles in 1910, the Pacific Electric Railway extended its tracks from Sunset Boulevard to Hollywood Blvd. This triangular space, formed by Hollywood, Vermont and Prospect Avenue (the former moniker of Hollywood Blvd that retains its name eastward of the triangle), became a popular Red Car stop until service here ended in 1954. It maintained its use as a transportation facility, becoming not only a bus stop, but also a taxi layover zone. It became a de facto green space up until the early 21st century, where it turned into a popular locale for homeless encampments, despite the city's efforts to landscape it into a beautified public space.

2. Hollyhock House
4800 Hollywood Blvd, East Hollywood

The former residence of oil heiress, proto-feminist, patron of the arts and cultural influencer Aline Barnsdall (pronounced "barns-doll," not "barns-dale"), it was built in 1921 and designed by none other than Frank Lloyd MF'ing Wright. Named after Barnsdall's favorite flower (which forms a design motif around the building), it was borne from much bickering and head-clashing between the architect and client due to the home not being built to her tastes and cost overruns. In 1926 she up and left, sort of, donating the house and most of the property sitting on Olive Hill to the City of Los Angeles for artistic and recreational purposes. Although, she did live in a now-demolished residence on the west side of the park for the last two decades of her life. Last month, Hollyhock House was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site - the first such in Los Angeles.

3. Mosque Shopping Center/Calmos Gas Station
4982 Hollywood Blvd, East Hollywood

This unassuming L-shaped shopping center on Hollywood and Alexandria sports a pair of towering minarets on top of its roof. Was it a mosque at one time? Was this home of an Islamic community in the past? Actually, no. they're the last vestiges of Calmos Auto Service Center, a gas station built in 1923 that became part of Union Oil's 76 chain. Its architecture reflects the whole Arab/Egyptian aesthetic fetish/appropriation thing back in the '20s, a decade which was marked by the 1921 Rudolph Valentino film, "The Sheik" and the 1922 discovery of King Tut's tomb. As seen in the historic 1924 photo, the dome of the "mosque" was a now-demolished structure that housed the area for the gas pumps.

1615 N. Alexandria Ave., Little Armenia

This K-12 Armenian private school, affiliated with the St. Garabed  Armenian Apostolic Church across the street, is one of the biggest cultural anchors in Little Armenia. Named after its founders, not only is it the alma mater of 3/4ths of the rock band System Of A Down, but its relatively-new library building was designed to resemble Noah's Ark, as it was believed the ark landed in Mt. Ararat, the highest mountain in ancient Armenia and an iconic cultural landmark for the country. The school will be celebrating its 50th anniversary this week on Tuesday, August 20.

5. Thai Spirit House
5321 Hollywood Blvd, Thai Town

Just to the right of the driveway of the Thailand Plaza shopping center, across from the Buddha shrine, is one of the most tucked-away curiosities in the Hollywood area. Known by the uninitiated as a "doll house," this miniature Siam-style abode serves as a cultural function to the nearby Silom market and the former Thai restaurant on the premises: Known as a "spirit house," it is built away from a business to ward away evil or mischievous spirits by leading them to an alternate location (plus water/fruit offerings) so their bad juju doesn't affect you.

6. Thai Town Gateway Statues
5448 Hollywood Blvd, Thai Town

This pair of bronze statues on pedestals towering over Hollywood Boulevard function as the gateway of Thai Town. First installed in 2007 and the subject of The Militant's first ever blog post, it depicts a figure known as an apsonsi, a half-angel, half-lion creature from Thai mythology, chosen for its attributes as a protector. The statues were made in Thailand and flown from Bangkok, which, like Los Angeles, is also known as "The City of Angels."
Another pair of statues were installed near Normandie Avenue in 2012.

7. Mayer Building
5504 Hollywood Blvd, East Hollywood

This four-story, Art Deco edifice, also known as the Hollywood Western Building, was designed by S. Charles Lee, who also happened to design many a structure featured in The Militant's Epic CicLAvia Tour guides. Named after its developer Louis B. Mayer (as in Metro Goldwyn Mayer) it served as the first home of the Motion Picture Academy of America (a.k.a. The Ratings People) and Central Casting. More recently, it serves as the local field office of U.S. Congressman Adam Schiff. Be on the look out for one of them trolley wire support rings, still embedded into the side of the building!

8. Hollywood Pantages Theatre
Hollywood Blvd, Hollywood

Opened in 1930, this was actually the second theatre in Los Angeles bearing the Pantages name (the first one, still standing on 7th and Hill streets, opened a decade earlier and was renamed the Warner Theatre in 1929). This was also the last theater built bearing the name of vaudeville promoter Alexander Pantages, who ran a chain of 84 theaters across North America back in the day. The iconic Art Deco venue designed by B. Marcus Priteca (who also drew up the DTLA Pantages, as well as other theaters) actually functioned as a cinema for most of its history until 1977 when it ran the Broadway musical Bubbling Brown Sugar and the rest is Jazz Hands history. But did you know that the building constructed nearly 90 years ago is actually incomplete? It was originally supposed to stand 12 stories tall with offices. There have been recent proposals to complete the structure.

9. Hollywood Brown Derby Site/Metro Bike Hub
1628 N. Vine St, Hollywood

Did you know that Metro's Hollywood Bike Hub facility, which opened in 2017, stands on the very site of the Hollywood Brown Derby restaurant? This was the second location of the legendary local restaurant chain, which began on Wilshire Boulevard. Back in the Hollywood Heyday of the first half of the 20th century, it was like the lunch and dining hotspot for famous film stars and industry moguls. But perhaps the biggest star associated with the Hollywood Brown Derby was the Cobb Salad, invented here circa 1937. Named after Brown Derby co-owner Robert Cobb, it was an improvised mish-mash of leftover salad ingredients, either made for theater mogul Sid Grauman or by Cobb himself as a late-night meal (depending on which version of the legend). The restaurant closed down in 1985 and the iconic Mediterranean-style structure was burned in a fire two years later. It was finally demolished in the mid-1990s after the Northridge Earthquake.

10. Capitol Records Building/Hollywood Jazz Mural
1750 N. Vine St, Hollywood

You may or may not already know that the Capitol Records building is: a) The world's first circular office building (designed by Louis Naidorf of Welton Becket associates -- the same architectural firm that designed the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion; b) Designed like a stack of records; and c) The FAA warning light atop its spire spells "HOLLYWOOD" in Morse Code. What you probably didn't know was that Capitol Records, founded in 1942, was the first major record label headquartered in the West Coast, and that the building was largely financed by the profits made from its premier artist at the time, Nat King Cole. Also, this is one of two skyscrapers in Los Angeles with a spire, the second being the Wilshire Grand Center. And speaking of Nat King Cole, Capitol's classic crooner is depicted front and center in the 88 foot-wide mural facing the building's south parking lot, "Hollywood Jazz, 1948-1972" by African American muralist (and Lynwood native) Richard Wyatt, Jr. painted in 1990 and restored in 2011. If you're into the Walk of Fame stars, all four members of The Beatles, as well as Tejana singer Selena, have their pavement honors in front of the building.

11. 'Once Upon A Time in Hollywood' Filming Locations
Hollywood Blvd between Vine Street and Cherokee Avenue

Location scenes from the 2019 Quentin Tarantino film, "Once Upon A Time In Hollywood" were filmed in summer and winter 2018 on The Boulevard between Vine Street and Cherokee Avenue, which itself became an actor, dressed in late-1960s period signs, ads and aesthetic. The 1923 Guaranty Building on 6331 Hollywood Blvd (now the L.Ron Hubbard Museum) got a retro-look as a Bank of America branch. And up Ivar Street, Joseph's Cafe (1775 Ivar) stood in for the iconic West Hollywood nightclub Pandora's Box.

12. Janes House (Oldest House in Hollywood)
6541 Hollywood Blvd, Hollywood

At the far end of this collection of restaurants and bars stands the oldest extant house in Hollywood -- a Queen Anne/Dutch Colonial Revival abode built in 1903 developed by none other than H.J. Whitley himself (as in the dude who founded Hollywood in 1886). It was owned by members of the Janes family from Illinois for some 80 years and also functioned as a small private school (attended by the children of celebrities) until the mid-1920s. In 1985, the house was moved several yards north to its current location and the Hollywood-facing part of the property was developed. Today it functions as a 1920s-themed speakeasy bar called No Vacancy at Hotel Juniper.

13. Grauman's Egyptian Theatre
6706 Hollywood Blvd, Hollywood

Built in 1922 by cinema mogul Sid Grauman, this was his first venue in Hollywood after opening the Million Dollar Theatre in Downtown Los Angeles. Designed by the team of Gabriel Meyer and Philip Holler (who also designed The Egyptian's younger and more famous sister down the street, The Grauman's Chinese Theatre), it was inspired by the popular "Egypt-mania" sweeping the world following the 1922 discovery of King Tut's tomb. From the 1970s to the 1990s it ran under the Mann Theatres chain (The Militant saw "Return of the Jedi" here during opening weekend in 1983), and was sold to American Cinematheque in 1996, re-opening two years later after a major renovation. It may or may not be purchased by Netflix.

14. Hollywood High School
1521 N. Highland Ave, Hollywood

Originally founded in 1903 as a two-room school a few blocks north above a Masonic Lodge the same year the town of Hollywood was in incorporated, the campus moved to its current location a year later. In the 1920s, its mascot, The Sheik, was named after the hit 1921 Rudolph Valentino movie of the same name. Since then it has boasted a large number of famous alumni, such as Los Angeles Times publisher Norman Chandler (Class of 1917), actress Carole Lombard (1923),  "Looney Tunes" animator Chuck Jones (1930), actress Lana Turner (1936), "People's Court" judge Joseph Wapner (1937), actor Mickey Rooney (1938), actress Judy Garland (1940), Secretary of State Warren Christopher (1940),  actor James Garner (1944), actress/comedian Carol Burnett (1951), actor/singer Ricky Nelson (1958), actor John Ritter (1966), actor Laurence Fishburne (1980), actress Sarah Jessica Parker (1983) and R&B singer Brandy (1996). A large mural outside the school's auditorium depicts famous alums as well as other celebrities.

15. Highland Avenue
Highland Avenue, Hollywood

Highland Avenue was not named after the Scottish Highlands, nor any other geography or topography, but in memory of a local woman named Highland Price. Her best friend and neighbor, Mary Penman Moll, who lived where the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel now stands, donated a strip of property to be built as a road. She named it in memory of Price, who passed away at the time and was the first person interred at Hollywood (now Hollywood Forever) Cemetery in 1900. The street became an important north-south thoroughfare, especially one connecting directly with the San Fernando Valley via the Cahuenga Pass. From 1911 to 1952, it carried the Pacific Electric Railway lines between Los Angeles and the SFV.

16. Formosa Cafe/PE Red Car 913
7156 Santa Monica Blvd, West Hollywood

This iconic restaurant, bar and Hollywood hangout (just across the street from the Samuel Goldwyn Studio) opened in 1925 by former boxer Jimmy Bernstein, who used an old Pacific Electric Red Car. The adjoining building was built in 1939. In the 1940s, Hong Kong-born chef Lem Quon was hired to cook at the Formosa and later became Bernstein's business partner, taking over ownership after his death in 1976. Quon died in 1993, with family members taking over ownership afterward. Threatened with demolition several times, the Formosa persevered. It was featured in the 1990s movies "L.A. Confidential" and "Swingers." In the 2010s decade, after various remodeling and re-remodeling, it was purchased by the 1933 Group in 2017 and re-opened this year with the Red Car (#913, in full view on Formosa Avenue) re-painted and the establishment restored to its Golden Era charm.

17. Crescent Heights Triangle/Quint Cutoff
Santa Monica Blvd & Crescent Heights Blvd, West Hollywood

Have you ever wondered why there's a "triangle" at the corner of Santa Monica and Crescent Heights boulevards? It's a remaining vestige of a half-mile railroad line known as the Quint Cutoff built in 1900 connecting a rock quarry west of Laurel Canyon with the railroad tracks along Santa Monica Boulevard. The "triangle" section is known in railroad terms as a "wye," which enables a locomotive to reverse direction without the use of a turntable. Another "wye" was built at the opposite end of the line where it meets Sunset Boulevard. The Pacific Electric Railway briefly took over this railroad line in 1911 until it was dismantled shortly after that year, but the alignment of the "wye" tracks on both ends were built into the modern street grid.

18. Plummer Park
7377 Santa Monica Blvd, West Hollywood

In 1874, Anglo-Mexican couple Capt. John and Maria Cecila Plummer purchased a ranch formerly part of Rancho La Brea (bounded by present-day Santa Monica Blvd, La Brea Ave, Fountain Ave & Gardner St) to raise their sons Juan and Eugenio and grow vegetables to sell to residents of nearby Los Angeles. The Plummers were good friends with the Leonis family, who had a ranch of their own way over the hill in present-day Calabasas. After John and Maria died, the ranch was divided and plots sold off, with Los Angeles County purchasing a large portion in 1937 to use as a public park, with new facilities being built as part of FDR's Works Progress Administration projects. Eugenio lived in the 1877 family house until his death in 1943. The Plummer House was the oldest house in Hollywood until it was moved in 1983 to the grounds of the Leonis Adobe in Calabasas, whereby the 1903 Janes House (See #12) took the crown as the oldest Hollywood home.

19. Sal Guarriello Veterans' Memorial
Santa Monica Blvd & Holloway Dr

Salvatore "Sal" Guarriello was an Italian American WeHo resident who was best known as serving on the West Hollywood City Council from 1990 to 2009, and served as mayor four times during that tenure. During World War II, he served in the U.S. Army as a combat medic in Italy and established the West Hollywood Veterans' Memorial in Holloway Park in 2003. After his death in 2009, the City of West Hollywood re-dedicated their civic veterans' monument as the Sal Guarriello Veterans' Memorial in honor of its most respected veteran and civic official.

20. Site of La Cienega Lanes/Flippers Roller Boogie Palace
8491 Santa Monica Blvd, West Hollywood

What stands as a CVS Pharmacy with a concave facade was a popular youth recreational venue for various generations. In 1946, TV host Art Linkletter established Art Linkletter's La Cienega Lanes bowling alley, becoming a popular place to roll strikes during the golden era of bowling in the post-World War II era. From 1979 to 1981, the alley became Flippers Roller Boogie Palace, a popular roller skating rink and music venue during the influential post-disco new wave/punk era of Los Angeles. Local bands like The Plimsouls, Berlin and the Go-Gos, as well as up-and-coming popular acts like The Talking Heads and Prince performed there. In 1984, the building became the Esprit clothing flagship store.

21. Site of Pacific Electric Sherman Yard/Pacific Design Center
1896-1954; 1975

West Hollywood was originally known as Sherman, named after Moses Hazeltine Sherman, land developer and railroad executive (Yes, the SFV's Sherman Way and Hazeltine Ave were named after him) who co-founded the Los Angeles Pacific Railway, linking Santa Monica with Los Angeles. The area on the former Rancho La Brea land that sat midway between the two cities was chosen as the site of a railroad yard, and a settlement named after Sherman developed around it. In 1925, the town on unincorporated Los Angeles County land chose to re-name itself "West Hollywood" to closer associate with Tinseltown. Because it was on County land, and thus patrolled by the Sheriff's Department, it began to attract gay and lesbian residents during the Prohibition Era due to the Los Angeles Police Department's frequent raids of gay and lesbian establishments in Los Angeles city (whereas the Sheriff's Department was much more tolerant). The Los Angeles Pacific Railway became part of the Pacific Electric Railway starting in 1911, and the yard became the main facility for its Western District, until the last Red Car in the area rolled in 1954. Southern Pacific freight trains took over the tracks on Santa Monica Boulevard, though not as frequently, and in 1974, the yard was demolished to make room for the sprawling Pacific Design Center, which opened the year later. The PDC was designed by Argentinian architect Cesar Pelli, who passed away one month ago.

22. Norma Triangle
Santa Monica Blvd/Doheny Dr/Sunset Bl-Holloway Dr, West Hollywood

Our CicLAvia tour begins with one triangle, and ends with another: The right-triangle formed by Doheny Drive, Sunset Boulevard/Holloway Drive and Santa Monica Boulevard features one of West Hollywood's biggest residential and commercial districts. Norma Triangle was named not after actress Norma Talmadge, but after the wife or child of a Los Angeles Pacific Railroad executive during the area's days as Sherman, as many streets were named at the time. Featuring the famed Sunset Strip on its north side, and the LGBT-oriented "Boys Town" nightclub district on the south, the area also includes the former residence and studio of architect Lloyd Wright (son of Hollyhock House designer (See #2) Frank Lloyd MF'ing Wright, and who also assisted designing Barnsdall residence himself - see how things tie together on these CicLAvia guides?) on 858 N. Doheny Drive.

Happy CicLAvia on Sunday! Don't forget to share this guide with a friend!

Thursday, June 27, 2019

The Militant's Epic Militant CicLAvia Tour XXXI!!!

Click here to view larger map!

Happy Summer, everyone! The third (of six!) CicLAvia of 2019 and the 31st iteration of Los Angeles' open streets event is here again, this time running through the southern end of Central Los Angeles. While technically not a new route (The first "To The Sea" CicLAvia alignment in April, 2013 ran through the Venice Boulevard section of this route), this does bring the communities of Los Angeles' Mid-City into the CicLAvia fold for the first time. Sandwiched between Hancock Park/Koreatown to the north and South Los Angeles al sur, the Mid-City neighborhoods feature a diverse mix of African American, Latín, Immigrant African, Korean and Caribbean residents.

It's an area that was an "urban suburb" of streetcar corridors (The Pacific Electric on Venice, the Los Angeles Railway on Washington), houses, shops and houses of worship in popular early 20th-century aesthetic styles, with well-defined artistic pockets, both historic and contemporary. So, see you or not see you on the streets this Sunday! And here we go...

1. Powers Place - Shortest Street in Los Angeles
Powers Place and Alvarado Terrace, Pico-Union

You all know the longest street in Los Angeles, right? It's Sepulveda Boulevard. But what's the shortest street in the city? It's right here! It's Powers Place, a whopping 30 feet in length! Named after Los Angeles City Council president Pomeroy Powers, who spearheaded the effort to create a city park (originally named Terrace Park) at the neighborhood of Craftsman, Tudor and Victorian-style houses built in the early 1900s decade. All six historic houses along Alvarado Terrace were designated by the City as Historic-Cultural Monuments in 1971.

2. Iglesia Adventista Central/1st Church of Christ, Scientist
1366 S. Alvarado Street, Pico-Union

Currently the site of a 7th Day Adventist Church catering to a Latín congregation, this 107-year old Mediterranean Romanesque Revival house of worship has changed owners, and even denominations, and has had a long, and even dark, history behind it. Built in 1912 as the 1st Church of Christ, Scientist, it served its Christian Science congregation for six decades, before it became a Jewish synagogue for a few years. In the mid-1970s, it became the Los Angeles location of The People's Temple, the cult founded by Jim Jones, who infamously led over 900 his followers to live in a commune in Jonestown, Guyana, and consequently, to die in the largest mass-suicide in history (which spawned the euphemism, "Don't drink the Kool-Aid"). The current Adventist church has been there since the late 1970s, since, Jim Jones uh...couldn't really use it anymore. The church structure was inducted into the National Register of Historic Sites in 1984.

3. Hoover Street - Original City Boundary
Hoover Street, Pico-Union

CicLAvia only runs for a few yards on this street, but note how all the streets east of Hoover run in a diagonal fashion, and all the streets west run perfectly east-west. Yes, Virginia, Los Angeles was not always big and sprawled. From 1850 to 1896, Hoover was the original western boundary of the City of Los Angeles, which meant that over 120 years ago, you'd be on the Westside. On April 2, 1896, the "Western Addition" was annexed into the City, extending the boundaries a few miles west to Arlington Avenue (more on this latter...)

4. Loyola High School
1901 Venice Blvd, Byzantine-Latino Quarter

Founded in 1865 at St. Vincent Court off of 7th Street in Downtown (a spot on the "Heart of LA" CicLAvia Tour), this Jesuit-run Catholic boys' high school is the oldest continuously-running educational institution in Los Angeles. The school moved to its current location in 1917 after splitting from the affiliated Loyola Marymount University, and after Irish philanthropist Thomas P. Higgins (who owned the Higgins Building on 2nd and Main in Downtown) donated land in what was then the southwestern corner of the city. Home of the Cubs, the school celebrated its sesquicentennial in 2015. Famous alums include volleyball great Sinjin Smith, Vons grocery founder Wilfred Von der Ahe, broadcaster Stan Chambers and holy Homeboy Fr. Greg Boyle.

5. Angelus-Rosedale Cemetery
1831 W. Washington Blvd, West Adams

This 65-acre memorial park, originally established as Rosedale Cemetery, has been serving Los Angeles for the past 135 years, and is the final resting place of a number of historic Angelenos, such as Port of Los Angeles founder Phineas Banning, the City of Burbank's namesake Dr. David Burbank, jazz legend Eric Dolphy, actress Hattie McDaniel and mayors George Alexander, Arthur C. Harper, Owen McAleer, John G. Nichols, Frank Rader and Frederick T. Woodman. One of the most notable graves is that of Catalina Island developer George Shatto, who is interred in a pyramid!

6. Westmoreland Heights Tract Monument
Westmoreland Avenue and Venice Boulevard, Harvard Heights

In an era before cities erected standard street signs on corners, tract home developments established concrete or masonry monuments bearing the name of the development as well as the street. This one bears the name of the Westmoreland Heights tract, established in 1899, featuring homes built in the Craftsman, Tudor/Craftsman and American Foursquare styles. Many of the residents were the owners of large local businesses. If you notice, the sign facing Venice Blvd bears the name "16th Street." West of Downtown, 16th Street is nowhere to be found on any maps (not even in La Guía de los Hermanos Tomas) - that's because 16th Street was re-named Venice Boulevard in 1932.

7. Ray Charles RPM International Studios
2107 W. Washington Blvd, Harvard Heights.

This 11,488 square foot, two -story building, designed by Joe Adams and Ray Charles himself opened in 1964 as the legendary musician's personal recording studio and offices (he lived in nearby Leimert Park at the time). One of his biggest hits, "Georgia On My Mind" was recorded here, as well as his 2004 Grammy-winning swan song album, Genius Loves Company. It was designated as a Historic-Cultural Monument by the City of Los Angeles in 2004, just prior to Charles' death and since 2010 functions as the Ray Charles Memorial Library, a museum dedicated to the singer's career, featuring free tours of the facility (by appointment) on Mondays thru Wednesdays.

8. Arlington Ave - Old City Boundary
Arlington Ave, Arlington Heights

Continuing the Los Angeles City Boundary history, Arlington Avenue was once the westernmost border of the City from 1896 to 1909, when the Colegrove Addition (which stretched north towards Hollywood) was annexed into the City. Note how the street dramatically widens west of Arlington - that, of course, was to accommodate both automobiles and the Pacific Electric Red Car tracks, which run the rest of the way along Venice Blvd.

9. Washington Square Market/Swap Meet
4060 Washington Blvd, Mid-City

This shopping center, built in the mid-1960s used to feature a Ralphs supermarket (hence the vestigal red oval sign) and local shops. Since the 1980s the shopping center has hosted an indoor swap meet, akin to the large Slauson Swap Meet in South Los Angeles and the soon-to-close Union Discounts in East Hollywood, an indoor bazaar featuring clothing, shoes, sporting goods, repair/service stalls, salons and eateries owned by upstart immigrant entrepreneurs.

10. St. Paul's Catholic Church
4120 Washington Blvd, Mid-City

Originally established on the site of a convent in 1917 among bean fields and oil derricks, the current Romanesque church building (inspired by the Basilica Papale San Paolo fuori le Mura in Rome) was built 20 years later and designed by famed Los Angeles architects John C. Austin and Frederick Ashley, who also designed the Griffith Observatory (which opened two years earlier). Today, St. Paul's serves a Spanish, English and Korean-speaking congregation. Their annual Parish Festival also happens to be scheduled concurrently with CicLAvia, so one can check out the rides, games and food in their parking lot.

11. Wellington Square
Victoria Avenue, Wellington Road, Virginia Road and Buckingham Road (south of Washington Boulevard), Mid-City

Developed by M.J. Nolan on land formerly owned by George L. Crenshaw (Yup,, that Crenshaw), this four-block neighborhood features over 200 Spanish Colonial, Tudor, French Norman, Craftsman and Revival-style residences. Today, the neighborhood is starting to get Capital "G," but you can check out their weekly Farmers' Market on the parking lot at Wellington Road and Washington Boulevard, also happening on Sunday between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m.

12. First Presbyterian Church of Los Angeles
1809 West Boulevard, Mid-City

This Presbyterian church community, which moved several times around Los Angeles in its 132-year history, settled at this location in 1924. The congregation became predominantly African American in makeup in the 1960s, which it remains today, although the church shares the building with a separate Korean church. This Gothic Revival church structure was also designed by John C. Austin and Frederick Ashley (architects of St. Paul's down the street, remember?), along with Frederic Roehrig, who designed Pasadena's iconic Hotel Green. Check out the old-school incinerator chimney facing Washington Blvd!

13. Nate Holden Performing Arts Center/Ebony Showcase Theater
4718 Washington Blvd, Mid-City

Named after the longtime African American Los Angeles city councilman (1987-2002), this City-owned facility, which opened in 2004, hosts community-based performing arts and arts education programs. It was built on the site of the Ebony Showcase Theater, the first African American-owned theater building in Los Angeles, which was founded in 1950 by actor Nick Stewart (who voiced Brer Bear in Disney's "Song of the South") and his wife Edna. That theater featured community-based performing arts programs which ran until the 1998, when the City's Community Redevelopment Agency took over the Northridge earthquake-damaged building by eminent domain.

14. Trabue Pittman Building/Willing Workers Building
4801 Washington Blvd, Mid-City

This Art Deco structure, built in 1931 at the northwest corner of Washington and Rimpau (where the Los Angeles Railway's W Line ended) was designed by celebrated architect S. Charles Lee. Owned by the Tabue Pittman Corporation, it was leased to various businesses over the years, including an F.W. Woolworth's store and a Bank of America branch. Today it is the home of Willing Workers, Inc, a non-profit that trains developmentally-disabled adults for workforce employment.

15. St. Elmo Village
4830 St. Elmo Drive, Mid-City

This unique artists community was founded by the late African American artist Rozzell Sykes and his nephew Roderick, who purchased several homes in the neighborhood to save them from demolition and create a multicultural artists' community as an urban experiment. The community organizes the annual St. Elmo Festival every May to celebrate the arts. Fifty years later, now run by Roderick Sykes, the community is still going strong.

16. Dodgers Mural House
1626 S. La Brea Ave, Mid-City

This unoccupied single-story house built in 1927 awaiting rehabilitation became a canvas for muralist and Dodger fan Hector "Tetris" Arias to celebrate the team's appearance in the 2018 World Series. Painted blue and featuring legendary lefties Fernando Valenzuela and Clayton Kershaw, the mural garnered media attention last Fall. The artist also painted a mural of third baseman Justin Turner on a condemned house near 62nd and Broadway in South Los Angeles prior to the team's 2017 World Series appearance, but that has been since demolished and a new structure has taken over. This mural, like the likelhood of the Dodgers' appearing in the next World Series, still remains, so expect the artist to simply upgrade the year on the mural.

17. Roscoe's House of Chicken & Waffles (New Location)
Washington Boulevard and La Brea Avenue, Mid-City

Roscoe's House of Chicken & Waffles, which was founded by Herb Hudson (no one actually knows who "Roscoe" is...) and first opened on Gower Street in Hollywood in 1975, needs no introduction. But the so-called flagship location on Pico Boulevard (visited by President Barack Obama in 2011) a half-mile north, is slated to be replaced with this new location, opening sometime this Summer, once all the permits are approved and Hudson finally pays off his Chapter 11 debt.

18. U.S. Post Office, West Adams Ray Charles Station
4960 W. Washington Blvd, Mid-City

This post office building, which opened in 1983 and serves the 90016 ZIP code, was dedicated as the Ray Charles Station U.S. Post Office in August 2005, in memory of the one of neighborhood's most prominent figures, whose RPM International Studios is located just a mile and a half east. The post office joins other facilities named after legendary musical artists, such as Nat King Cole on Western and 3rd (seen in last August's "Celebrate LA" CicLAvia Tour) and Marvin Gaye, on Vermont and 35th,  dedicated earlier this month.

Happy CicLAvia!

Friday, April 26, 2019

The Militnt's Epic Militant CicLAvia Tour XXX!!!

Interactive map! Click here for larger version!

The second CicLAvia of 2019 is also the 30th (count' em!) iteration of Los Angeles' (and vicinity's) regular open streets event, having started just eight and a half years ago. This route is short and sweet -- the shortest CicLAvia route to date at 2.27 miles. It's basically a truncated version and 1/4 of the  "San Pedro Meets Wilmington" route from August 13, 2017.

Speaking of Short and Sweet, this route will only feature 10 points of interest. But these short routes are ideal for hanging out and chillin' as opposed to the whole "We gotta cover every inch of this route! MOVE!" pedaling rush. But hey, at least the DMZ's (Dismount Zones) are at a minimum this time!

As usual, see you or not see you on the streets on Sunday! HAPPY CICLAVIA!

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. Wilmington Cemetery
605 East O St, Wilmington

Built on a plot of donated land just north of Banning Park by Mr. Wilmington Himself, Phineas Banning (who was laid to rest here in 1885), this cemetery, one of the oldest in the state of California, is also the final resting place of numerous local Civil War and World War I veterans. It is also designated as a Los Angeles City Historic-Cultural Monument (#414).

2. 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 Ube stagecoaches, he launched his own startup - Then he started buying up vacant marshland property near San Pedro and named it after his Delaware hometown of Wilmington. He also was a big visionary type and thought the whole San Pedro-Wilmington are would make a nice port for Los Angeles. Back then, the city was looking at making Santa Monica a port. That big thing he did? He went next level on all them fools and built a railroad from Los Angeles to San Pedro. The City was all like, "Dude, we got a port now." The reason why the City of Los Angeles has a big skinny stick in the bottom is because of Banning. The reason why millions of tons of cargo goes in and out of ships in this area today is because of Banning. The reason why the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are the largest ship terminal complex in the United States is because of Banning. The Greek Renaissance Revival structure in the middle of this 20-acre park in Wilmington was his residence from 1864 to 1885. The City of Los Angeles bought the site in 1927 for historic preservation.

3. William Wrigley's Court of Nations1927
Lakme Avenue, Banning Boulevard and Cary Avenue between M and L streets, Wilmington

This plot of land south of Banning Park was purchased by chewing gum magnate and Chicago Cubs owner William Wrigley, Jr in 1927 from Phineas Banning (This was not the first time Wrigley dealt with Banning; he also purchased Catalina Island from him in 1919). Wrigley built several residences to house the workers of his local companies, which also included the Wilmington Lines ship ferry company, which transported tourists from the mainland to Avalon. He hired architect Sid Spearin, who designed houses in Spanish, Dutch, American Colonial and Tudor Revival styles and called it "The Court of Nations." The neighborhood became a historic preservation zone in 2001. 

4. Avalon Palm Trees
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.

5. The Don Hotel
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.”

6. Granada Theater
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.

7. Wilmington Municipal Building
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.

8. Brick House
109 W. C Street, Wilmington

She's mighty-mighty, just lettin' it all hang out.

9. Wilmington Waterfront Park/Harry Bridges Blvd
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.

10. The Southernmost End of Figueroa Street
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). 

Saturday, March 2, 2019

The Militant's Epic Militant CicLAvia Tour XXIX!!!

For larger version of map, click here.

The first CicLAvia of 2019 is the earliest calendar date CicLAvia event and the second during the Winter season. And with a high temperature of 61 degrees, this will beat out the last CicLAvia in December in terms of coldest to date.

This is the 29th iteration of CicLAvia, with a 5.8-mile route that is a truncated version of the March 2017 "Culver City Meets Venice" course, and parts of which were also covered in the August 2015 and April 2013 open streets events.

You should know the drill by now, Share this link on your Facebooks, Twitters and Instagrams, visit the sights yourselves -- and if you do, use the hashtag, #EpicCicLAviaTourAnd here...we...go!

1. Site of King's Tropical Inn
5879 Washington Blvd, Culver City

The sight of this Byzantine domed structure will strike a chord in many older Angelenos. Established in 1925 by restaurateur John G. King, in the era before Zankou, Koo-Koo-Roo, Pioneer Chicken or even Knott's Chicken Dinners, this was the place for a chicken dinner in the Los Angeles area. King's wooden tropical-style hut burned down in a 1930 fire, but was replaced later that year by the familiar domed building that featured an exotic koi goldfish pond in the front. The Southern-style chicken and jumbo squab (that's roast pigeon) dinners were still legendary and the place remained popular through the 1940s and '50s. The restaurant closed down in the mid-1960s and was eventually repurposed as tire and auto body shop in the 1980s. It was demolished in 1994 following damage from the Northridge Earthquake. A Culver City historical marker is placed at the location and the archway of the modern shopping center at Washington and La Cienega pays architectural homage to the dome.

2. Syd Kronenthal Park
3459 McManus Ave, Culver City

This six-acre park on the northeast corner of El Ciudad de Culver is in a unique location: Los Angeles-adjacent, situated along the banks of Ballona Creek, it opened in 1940 as McManus Park where Pacific Electric Red Cars sped by for the next 13 years. In 1992 the park was re-named after longtime Culver City municipal employee "Uncle" Syd Kronenthal (1923-2015) who, during his 52-year tenure, helped develop the city's Recreation and Parks department and established 14 parks in the Heart of Screenland. Today, the park, just two blocks south of the CicLAvia route, is also accessible via the Expo Line Bike Path and the Ballona Creek Bike Path.

3. Hayden Tract
Area bounded by National Blvd, Ballona Creek, Higuera St and Hayden Ave, Culver City

This tell-tale set of architecturally-unique buildings makes up Culver City's Hayden Tract, a collection of offices, art galleries, design firms and entertainment and tech industry studios. What was once Culver City's oldest industrial district, architect Eric Owen Moss and developers Frederick and Laurie Samitaur Smith created the Hayden Tract in 1986 as a redevelopment project and economic development engine fueled by arts and design. The result is buildings known as "The Beehive," "The Stealth" and "The Umbrella," a dance studio known as Conjuntive Points, Moss' own design studio and one of Los Angeles' most innovative design centers.

4. Helms Bakery
8758 Venice Blvd, Los Angeles

From 1931 to 1969, Angelenos knew their bread, and it came from blue-and-yellow delivery trucks from the legendary Helms Bakery, founded at this site, with eventual satellite bakeries in Montebello and San Bernardino. It was the official bread of the 1932 Olympic Games here in Los Angeles, and the bread was so renowned, it was provided to the U.S. Olympic teams in subsequent Olympiads. It was even the first bread eaten on The Moon, as part of the Apollo 11 astronauts' food rations. But you couldn't buy the bread in any store, it was only from their delivery trucks (yes, the food truck craze is not new round here) with their tell-tale "TOOT! TOOT!" whistle. Ultimately, after an era where people bought food from delivery trucks, the Helms brand succumbed to the rise of the supermarket. This building and its trademark neon sign stand, adaptively reused, as a testament to its history and impact on Southern California. But everything old is new, and the Helms Bakery plans to re-open again!

5. Culver City Metro Expo Line Station/Site of Culver Junction
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."

6. Ince Boulevard/The Culver Studios
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 WindKing KongE.T. and The Matrix.

7. 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.

8. Culver Hotel
9400 Culver Blvd, Culver City

This 6-story triangular building, originally named Hotel Hunt, opened in 1924 as Culver City's first skyscraper (it was the tallest building between Downtown Los Angeles and Venice)  and housed Harry Culver's personal office on the second floor. Numerous Hollywood stars have stayed here, such as Joan Crawford, Clark Gable, Greta Garbo and Ronald Reagan, and most notably the little people actors who played the Munchkins in The Wizard of Oz during its filming down the street. Actor John Wayne was one of the later owners, and it was fully restored in the 1990s.

9. The Washington Building
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.

10. Kirk Douglas Theatre/Culver Theatre
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.

11. Sony Pictures Studios/MGM Studios
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. Not to be outdone by Universal and Warner Brothers, but you can also take a tour of this studio lot (weekdays only).

If heading northwest along Motor Avenue, please skip to #21.

12. La Ballona Elementary School
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.

13. King Fahad Mosque
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.

14. Tellefson Park/Rollerdrome Site
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.

15. Tito's Tacos
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 "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. All is good now, and Tito's is a mainstay of every Culver City CicLAvia. The moral of the story? Never fear CicLAvia, and a little communication and understanding goes a long way.

16. The Oval District/Palm Place
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.

17. Mar Vista Hill (a.k.a. The 'Mar Vista' in Mar Vista)
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!

18. State Route CA 187
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.

19. Mario's Brothers Market
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"!

20. Venice High School
13000 Venice Blvd, Venice

Venice's namesake secondary school was one of three on-location sites for Rydell High in the 1978 motion picture Greaseand 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!

Motor Avenue Branch:21. Digital Imaging Center
10354 Venice Blvd, Culver City

Not historic, but this is The Militant's go-to place for making physical prints of his digital photographs. Nice folks, nice prices and quick service!

22. The Original Location of Versailles Cuban Restaurant
10319 Venice Blvd, Palms

Home of their legendary garlic chicken and black beans, among other menu items, this restaurant was founded at this location by Cuban immigrant Orlando Garcia in 1981 after opening a restaurant called El Rincon Criollo near Downtown Los Angeles in the late 1970s. So why is does an iconic Cuban restaurant bear the name of a historic palace in France? Originally to be named "El Rincon Criollo #2," it was named "Versailles" at the urging of his son and current owner William Garcia, who recalls visiting a fishing village called Versailles during his youth with his father, and stayed at Miami's Versailles hotel after his own wedding. And during his honeymoon, the cruise ship's dining room was also called Versailles. So his geographical leitmotif won out. The restaurant, now a local chain, eventually grew to five locations, but three (including locations in Encino and near Beverly Hills) operate today.

23. The Guy on Motor and Venice
3771 Motor Ave, Palms

While waiting for his digital prints at Digital Imaging Center and after shopping for the latest camo threads at The Surplus Store across the street, The Militant stumbled on this rather random, eclectic and interesting thrift/antique store, which, depending on your tastes and interests, is either The Most Awesome Place Evar or a total P.O.S.  -- you decide. The guy is one Rick Lamb, who has run this place since 2002 and donates the proceeds of his sales to the organization Friends of Animals.

24. Iman Cultural Center
3376 Motor Ave, Palms

This cultural center, school and house of worship for Los Angeles' Iranian American Shia Muslim community, most of which live in the Westside. Unlike the immigrants from Iran who identify as Persians (who are mostly Jewish) or other Muslims (who are mostly Sunni Muslims, the majority sect of Islam that has had a 1,387-year tiff with the Shiites) this minority-within-a-minority community holds this venue in high regard. And it's expected to be kickin' in a few weeks when it hosts the Nowruz, or Persian New Year festival on March 21.

25. The National Bend
National Blvd & Rose Avenue, Palms

Whatup with National Boulevard? It is perhaps one of the most perplexing throughfares in all of Los Angeles with its constant, excessive twists, turns and bends. But alas, our Freeway Culture is to blame: Before the late 1950s, National was a somewhat more straightforward street but was consequently chopped up and made into a crooked mess due to the construction of the Santa Monica Freeway. This sharp turn near Rose Avenue features an eclectic, multicultural array of restaurants, markets and shops usually not found in the Westside, such as the Simpang Asia Indonesian market, Madre Oaxacan Restaurant, Hu's Szechuan Restaurant, The Vegan Joint, and just around the corner, Mama's Pizza and the Irish Times pub. The Militant covered this curious corner back in 2007.

See you or not see you on the streets this Sunday! Low chance of rain in the morning, but always remember - THE SUN ALWAYS SHINES ON CICLAVIA! Happy CicLAvia!