Showing posts with label CicLAvia. Show all posts
Showing posts with label CicLAvia. Show all posts

Sunday, April 6, 2014

April Foolavia! Y'allz Got Punk'd!


The Militant's favorite day is April Fool's Day. Yes, it was six days ago already, but hear The Militant out. He loves not only the prank aspect of the day, but how the normal can become suddenly abnormal, just for the day. But in this age of Teh Interwebz, though there's a plethora of April Fool's gags to be found online, we're often let in on the prank before we even get a chance to get pranked. And that's kind of sad.

In the past, The Militant has done stuff like turn This Here Blog temporarily into "The Extremist New Yorker," or revealed his identity, or revealed his identity again (on video), or posed as an Angels fan in social media during last year's Dogers Opening Day (yeah, that one was kinda lame).

This year, he was at a loss as to what to do for his April Fool's gag. Revealing his identity? Been there, done that. Re-doing his page as another site? Too much work.

He found his answer when he saw someone tweet the link from his Epic Militant CicLAvia Tour post from last June, which was the same route as today's CicLAvia. These posts get a whole lot of interest...so why not update the post with some fake historical facts?

Yes, parts of The Militant's Epic Militant CicLAvia Tour 5.01 post were not real.

Take note of the date of posting -- April 1, 2014. Of course, by the end of the day, many pranks were explained, but The Militant kept quiet about this one. Of course, there's no rule that says you have to give away the prank by the time it's April 2...

Mind you, the entire post was not fake. He added six more points of interest to his updated post, but only one of them was real. In case you couldn't tell, here were the fake points of interest:

4. Urban Chew
2013
North side of Wilshire Bridge over 110 Fwy

The Militant just discovered this peculiar public art installation by artist Matthew Kasmirofsky while witnessing the Big Pour. About 160 pieces of gum, made of either actual gum pieces or latex rubber, were placed here in an art piece described by the artist as "a commentary on contemporary consumerist culture," especially how things are easily and carelessly discarded after a short time. Kasmirofsky has done similar public art installations in Chicago, Pittsburgh, Montreal and Stockholm.

The Militant totally made this up. There may or may not be pieces of gum on the north side of the Wilshire bridge over the 110, but it's NOT a public art installation. But who knows, it might be someday!

6. Site Of "Redbeard" Pirate Lynching
1879
1675 Wilshire Blvd, Westlake

In 1878 a man known as Cochran "Redbeard" O'Connor, a self-described "pirate," sailed into San Pedro Harbor and arrived into Los Angeles via railroad. He went on a notorious public rampage described, by the old Los Angeles Herald as, "Six months of public drunkenness, vulgarity, and lewd and lascivious behavior, which cannot be fully described in the pages of this publication." Other historical accounts of O'Connor purport he engaged in public displays of urination, indecent exposure, masturbation and groping. Police attempted to arrest him several times, but he somehow eluded them. Finally, on March 27, 1879, he was found attempting to defecate on the front yard of a mansion on Orange Street, when an angry mob chased him down. He was hung by a sycamore tree that stood near where the Home Depot stands today. According to a later Los Angeles Herald article, His boat in San Pedro Harbor was burned and sunken. O'Connor was buried in an unmarked grave at Evergreen Cemetery.

This would probably be the most outlandish fake point of interest, he for sure would have thought someone would have called his bluff on it, but no one did! But could you imagine a nasty pirate running around 1870s Los Angeles? He couldn't even imagine a nasty pirate running around 1970s Los Angeles. Or maybe he could. At any rate, maybe they should have a life-sized figure of Redbeard at The Redwood Bar & Grill in Downtown. Uh, with clothes on.

13. Brotherhood Mansion Site
1898
3183 Wilshire Blvd, Koreatown

The first automobile in Los Angeles took to the streets in 1897 and Delbert J. Walford, businessman and early automobile enthusiast, (and one of the first Angelenos to own a car), created the Most Benevolent Brotherhood of the Horseless Carriage (a.k.a. "The Brotherhood"), perhaps Los Angeles' first-ever car club. Members would offer repairs to stranded motorists, free of charge, hold Saturday afternoon salons to educate the public about the automobile, and offer driving classes for a very small fee. Some though, considered the organization to be a cult-like group, where members lived inside the mansion, maintaining strict standards on uniform dress and hats. In 1903, the group published a 106-page, eerily prophetic utopian (autopian?) manifesto, The Automobile For A Most Glorious California, envisioning a network of "automobile super-roadways" spanning several lanes wide, the creation of "automobile gardens" built around cities and communities oriented towards the car, developed far from the urban core. They also shunned and criticized the use of streetcars, bicycles and long-distance pedestrian travel. Now here comes the strange part: In August 1909, Walford and all of the members who were have known to have lived in the mansion vanished without a trace, leaving all material valuables (aside from their automobiles) behind. Their whereabouts were never found and the mansion was razed in 1917. Ironically, the site is home to the Wilshire/Vermont Metro station.

Though it's true the first auto rolled in Los Angeles in 1897, there was no Delbert J. Walford, nor was there any Most Benevolent Brotherhood of the Horseless Carriage anywhere. He just made that up.
But everyone likes their conspiracy theories, so some cult-like organization behind the propagation of the automobile in Los Angeles might sound plausible to many. The irony of the Wilshire/Vermont station location just made the crazy story even sweeter.

Militant readers Audrey Dalton and questhaven posted in the comments that they couldn't find anything about "The Brotherhood" (no one can, lol...) The Militant got a little nervous, so he just told them that he;d get his books out of storage and give more information by Monday. And this was your "more information!" Bahaha!

19. Site of DeBeers Paradise Flower Garden
1897
Wilshire Blvd and Normandie Avenue, Koreatown

Everyone knows that The Bird of Paradise is Los Angeles' official flower, but how did it become so popular? South African trade importer and horticulturist Wouter DeBeers, who built the DeBeers mansion and gardens in Garvanza, bought a plot of land on Wilshire Boulevard at Normandie Avenue in 1896 in hope of building a second home closer to the city. Having discovered he lacked the funds for constriction, and not wanting his land to remain vacant, imported several Bird of Paradise plants from his native Durban and grew an exotic plant garden on the plot, called "Paradise Flower Garden." Visitors were amazed at the orange bird-like flowers that seemed to flourish with little watering. DeBeers later sold seedlings and eventually became profitable enough to finance construction of his mansion, which he eventually built in 1905. The residence and legendary garden were eventually razed in 1919. The popularity of the flower in Los Angeles was largely credited to DeBeers.

No Wouter DeBeers, and no Paradise Flower Garden. The real story of the Bird of Paradise was that it was introduced to California circa 1853 by a Colonel Warren from Sacramento. But it wasn't until a century later, in 1952, a plant and seed company owner lobbied the City Council to make it official.

22. Crenshaw Tar Pits
Discovered 1902
Wilshire and Crenshaw boulevards, Hancock Park

Everyone knows about the world-famous tar pits of La Brea just down the street, but did you know there's a (much smaller) tar deposit by Wilshire and Crenshaw? Look around towards the back end of the parking lot on the southwest corner and you'll find less than a dozen tar puddles and seeps peeking through the pavement.

The Militant laughs just thinking about this one. How many of you actually bothered to check for tar seeps by Wilshire and Crenshaw? Well, it might be hard to right now due to the Metro Purple Line construction staging area that's there right now. This sounds like one of those Howseresque "Man, I never knew this" Los Angeles places that we all love. The Salt Lake Oil Field, where Arthur Gilmore first discovered oil and the Hancock family found tar deposits on their Rancho La Brea property, is a bit west of here, just west of La Bra Avenue in fact. So, no tar here at all, LOL...

The Berlin Wall entry is the only real new entry. He knew about it for a while but neglected to add it to the original Epic Militant CicLAvia Tour post from last year.

YOU JUST GOT PUNK'D, LOS ANGELES!

Happy April, fools! But The Militant hopes you had an awesome CicLAvia today anyways.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The Militant's Epic Militant CicLAvia Tour 5.01!!!!!!

Click here to open the actual interactive map, because the new Google Maps suck ass.
Yes, friends, it's an exciting week for Los Angeles. Dodger baseball season returns to The Stadium on Friday, and this Sunday, CicLAvia season begins!

This time, the route returns to Ironic Iconic Wilshire Boulevard, a route first used in June of last year. The Militant already wrote one of this legendary Epic Militant CicLAvia Tour posts for that one, but he felt it was time for a minor update.

So after much more Militant research, he adds six additional points of interest to the tour, and even slightly updates some of the other points as well.

You know you totally want to eat this up, so here it is, Los Angeles!

1. One Wilshire Building/Wilshire Bookend Palm Trees
1966
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.

2. Wilshire Grand Center
2017
Wilshire and Figueroa (SW corner), Downtown

This big-ass hole in the ground used to be the Wilshire Grand Hotel, formerly (in reverse chronological order) the Omni Hotel, Los Angeles Hilton, Statler Hilton and Statler Hotel.

On this site will rise 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. It 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.

The current construction site is the location of "The Big Pour" - which lasted from February 15 -16, where 21,200 cubic yards (81 million pounds) of concrete were continuously poured - earning it a Guinness World Record for that feat.

3. L.A. Prime Matter Sculpture
1991
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.

Hopefully participants in a bad-ass event like CicLAvia would get an opportunity to see the pyrotechnics!

4. Urban Chew (April Fools!)
2013
North side of Wilshire Bridge over 110 Fwy

The Militant just discovered this peculiar public art installation by artist Matthew Kasmirofsky while witnessing the Big Pour. About 160 pieces of gum, made of either actual gum pieces or latex rubber, were placed here in an art piece described by the artist as "a commentary on contemporary consumerist culture," especially how things are easily and carelessly discarded after a short time. Kasmirofsky has done similar public art installations in Chicago, Pittsburgh, Montreal and Stockholm.


5. Site of George Shatto Residence/Good Samaritan Hospital
1891
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.

6. Site Of "Redbeard" Pirate Lynching (April Fools!)
1879
1675 Wilshire Blvd, Westlake

In 1878 a man known as Cochran "Redbeard" O'Connor, a self-described "pirate," sailed into San Pedro Harbor and arrived into Los Angeles via railroad. He went on a notorious public rampage described, by the old Los Angeles Herald as, "Six months of public drunkenness, vulgarity, and lewd and lascivious behavior, which cannot be fully described in the pages of this publication." Other historical accounts of O'Connor purport he engaged in public displays of urination, indecent exposure, masturbation and groping. Police attempted to arrest him several times, but he somehow eluded them. Finally, on March 27, 1879, he was found attempting to defecate on the front yard of a mansion on Orange Street, when an angry mob chased him down. He was hung by a sycamore tree that stood near where the Home Depot stands today. According to a later Los Angeles Herald article, His boat in San Pedro Harbor was burned and sunken. O'Connor was buried in an unmarked grave at Evergreen Cemetery.

7. Los Angeles Teachers (a.k.a. 'Stand And Deliver') Mural
1997
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 Deliverstanding 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.

8. Gen. Harrison Gray Otis Statue
1920
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. 


9. Bryson Apartment Building
1913
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.

10. LaFayette Park
1899
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.

11. Bullocks Wilshire/Southwestern Law School
1929
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.

12. Shatto Place
c. 1880s
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.

13. Brotherhood Mansion Site (April Fools!)
1898
3183 Wilshire Blvd, Koreatown

The first automobile in Los Angeles took to the streets in 1897 and Delbert J. Walford, businessman and early automobile enthusiast, (and one of the first Angelenos to own a car), created the Most Benevolent Brotherhood of the Horseless Carriage (a.k.a. "The Brotherhood"), perhaps Los Angeles' first-ever car club. Members would offer repairs to stranded motorists, free of charge, hold Saturday afternoon salons to educate the public about the automobile, and offer driving classes for a very small fee. Some though, considered the organization to be a cult-like group, where members lived inside the mansion, maintaining strict standards on uniform dress and hats. In 1903, the group published a 106-page, eerily prophetic utopian (autopian?) manifesto, The Automobile For A Most Glorious California, envisioning a network of "automobile super-roadways" spanning several lanes wide, the creation of "automobile gardens" built around cities and communities oriented towards the car, developed far from the urban core. They also shunned and criticized the use of streetcars, bicycles and long-distance pedestrian travel. Now here comes the strange part: In August 1909, Walford and all of the members who were have known to have lived in the mansion vanished without a trace, leaving all material valuables (aside from their automobiles) behind. Their whereabouts were never found and the mansion was razed in 1917. Ironically, the site is now the location of the Wilshire/Vermont Metro station.

14. "The Vermont" Highrise Apartment Development
2014
Wilshire Blvd and Vermont Ave., Koreatown

What's with the construction? It's a 30- and 25- story highrise mixed-use apartment development called "The Vermont" by J.H. Snyder Co. which is slated to open sometime this year. It's Metro-accessible, but who the hell can afford the rents for this place?

15. 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?

16. Gaylord Apartments
1924
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.

17. Brown Derby Site
1926
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!

18. Robert F. Kennedy Inspiration Park/Ambassador Hotel Site
2010
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.

19. Site of DeBeers Paradise Flower Garden (April Fools!)
1897
Wilshire Blvd and Normandie Avenue, Koreatown

Everyone knows that The Bird of Paradise is Los Angeles' official flower, but how did it become so popular? South African trade importer and horticulturist Wouter DeBeers, who built the DeBeers mansion and gardens in Garvanza, bought a plot of land on Wilshire Boulevard at Normandie Avenue in 1896 in hope of building a second home closer to the city. Having discovered he lacked the funds for constriction, and not wanting his land to remain vacant, imported several Bird of Paradise plants from his native Durban and grew an exotic plant garden on the plot, called "Paradise Flower Garden." Visitors were amazed at the orange bird-like flowers that seemed to flourish with little watering. DeBeers later sold seedlings and eventually became profitable enough to finance construction of his mansion, which he eventually built in 1905. The residence and legendary garden were eventually razed in 1919. The popularity of the flower in Los Angeles was largely credited to DeBeers.

20. Wiltern Theatre/Pellissier Building
1931
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.

21. The Last House On Wilshire
1918
4016 Wilshire Blvd, Hancock Park

Wilshire Boulevard was once a prestigious address for many a prominent Angeleno, from General Otis to, yep, George Shatto (don't worry, this is probably the last Shatto reference in this post). But after the 1920s, Wilshire became undeniably commercial and even the most dignified free-standing household succumbed to the wrecking ball.

Except this one, standing (quite nicely) on 4016 Wilshire, just yards west of Wilton Place. Built in 1918, this six bedroom, three bathroom, 3300 square-foot single-family home is literally the last of its kind on Wilshire. The earliest recorded owner, John and Katherine Neeland (circa 1921), of Canada, sold it in 1925 to Elmer & Clara Neville. The Neville family trust still owns the house to this day. If you owned the last house on the street, you'd hang on to it, right?

22. Crenshaw Tar Pits (April Fools!)
Discovered 1902
Wilshire and Crenshaw boulevards, Hancock Park

Everyone knows about the world-famous tar pits of La Brea just down the street, but did you know there's a (much smaller) tar deposit by Wilshire and Crenshaw? Look around towards the back end of the parking lot on the southwest corner and you'll find less than a dozen tar puddles and seeps peeking through the pavement.


23. Rimpau Blvd/Rancho Las Cienegas
1823-1920s
South of Wilshire Blvd between Norton Avenue and La Cienega Boulevard, Hancock Park

You may or may not notice that all of the streets south of Wilshire from Norton Avenue to just past the Fairfax Avenue terminus of the CicLAvia route run in a diagonal fashion, akin to the way Downtown Los Angeles streets run. Why? This was once part of the old Rancho Las Cienegas Spanish land grant, which was given in 1823 to Francisco Avila, once mayor of Spanish-era Los Angeles. In 1866, the land was divided among his four children, one of whom was his daughter Francisca, who married a German dude named Theodore Rimpau...Does that name sound familiar? Yep, it's the namesake of Rimpau Blvd. The last remaining rancho land was eventually sold and subdivided by Theodore and Francisca's sons in the 1920s.

24. E. Clem Wilson Building (aka Samsung Building)
1929
Wilshire Blvd and La Brea Ave, Miracle Mile

At 191 feet, it was once the tallest commercial building in Los Angeles (honoring the height-limit restrictions at the time). Built during the first wave of commercial migration from Downtown Los Angeles, this structure originally housed legal and medical offices belonging to Jewish professionals, and was part of the genesis of the Jewish community in this area (centered on Fairfax Avenue). The building once featured a large mast on top to serve dirigible blimps(!) but is most famous for the massive 4-sided neon advertisements installed on the crown in the 1960s: First,  Mutual of Omaha Life Insurance, then Asahi Beer and now Samsung Electronics.


25. The Los Angeles "Hair District"
c. 1970s
Wilshire Blvd between Cloverdale and Burnside avenues.

The Militant wrote about this interesting little business corridor five years ago, noting an unusually high concentration of wig, weave and human hair retailers along this part of Wilshire.

26. The Desmond's Department Store Building
1928
5500 Wilshire Blvd

This is the building that started it all, the archetype that led to many miracles on this mile of Wilshire Boulevard. The Wilshire location of Desmond's Department Store was the first high-end department store on Wilshire, and the retail development anywhere to sport a rear parking lot, and a main entrance that faced the back, rather than the street, as well as large circular display windows to attract motorists.

The 10-story building will soon be adaptively-reused into 175 (luxury, The Militant can assume...) apartments which will open sometime next year.

27. A.W. Ross Monument
1956
5700 Wilshire Blvd (Wilshire Blvd and Curson Ave)

"A. W. Ross, founder and developer of the Miracle Mile. Vision to see, wisdom to know, courage to do."

The story goes: Real estate developer A.W. Ross bought an 18-acre stretch of property along Wilshire Blvd in 1921 for $54,000 and in less than a decade's time, turned that stretch of dirt road, oil fields and farmland into Los Angeles' bougiest stretch of retail, which boomed -- of all times -- during The Great Depression. You can call that a miracle.

Ross was considered an innovator in his day; he brought large-scale, ritzy retail developments to his district, all with rear parking lots, and all made to be visible at 30 miles per hour. Left-turn lanes and synchronized traffic signals were credited to Ross.  Streamline Moderne and Art Deco architecture flourished thanks to Ross' development.

In 1956, this bronze bust was placed on this landscaped traffic island to honor the man who brought the "town" out of Downtown and stretched it out like Laffy Taffy.

But little else is known about A.W. Ross (no, he was not affiliated with the Ross Dress For Less stores). Where did he come from? What was his real estate dealings before the his purchase of Wilshire? What did "A.W." stand for, anyway?

28. Some Hairy Elephants In Some Oily Lake
16,000 B.C.
5801 Wilshire Blvd, Miracle Mile

You may or may not know about this place, built in 1976, and if you don't, there's really no hope for you.

George Allan Hancock, who owned the Rancho La Brea Oil Company, donated a large plot of land to the Los Angeles County Museum of History, Science and Art, who dug the area for Ice Age-era fossils. In 1965, the "Art" part of the LACMHSA (pronounced, "Lakum-Hissa") outgrew Exposition Park and the County gave it its own digs at the western end of the Rancho La Brea site.

29. The Berlin Wall
2009
5900 Wilshire Blvd, Miracle Mile

You already know Wilshire Boulevard is full of local history, but it's also home of world history. An art installation from The Wende Museum called The Wall Project features ten actual sections of the Berlin Wall brought here for the 20th anniversary of its fall (Note to Millennials: Google "Fall of the Berlin Wall," it was a pretty big deal in world history back in the day) and decorated by several famous artists. As you may or may not know, Berlin is one of Los Angeles' 25 Sister Cities.

30. May Company Building/LACMA
1939
6067 Wilshire Blvd, Miracle Mile

Many people know the May Company Building - today part of the LACMA campus, and tomorrow the new home of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Museum - as a Streamline Moderne department store. But did you know it was instrumental in moving Los Angeles' Jewish community from The Eastside and Downtown to Fairfax Avenue?

It all began in 1881 when Asher Hamburger, a well-respected Jewish merchant, opened his People's Store on Main Street in Downtown. The business grew and moved in 1911 to a much larger building on 8th and Broadway and was then known as A. Hamburger and Sons Co until 1923, when the company merged with the Missouri-baed May Company. The new operation, formally known as May Company California, was largely run by the Hamburger family and enjoyed much support and patronage by the local Jewish community.

The opening of the aforementioned E. Clem Wilson Building attracted Jewish professionals farther west. In 1935, there were four synagogues along the Fairfax corridor. In the years following the 1939 opening of May Company's new flagship store on Wilshire and Fairfax, the Jewish population boomed, the number of synagogues tripled by 1945. Post-War growth continued the population boom along Fairfax.

Enjoy your CicLAvia and STAY MILITANT!

Friday, October 4, 2013

The Militant's Epic Militant CicLAvia Tour 6.0 (Or 2.02)!!!!!!



Wel, well, well, we meet again. Time for another wonderful day of sun and smiles, and our third CicLAvia this year. The Militant returns again for yet another Epic Militant CicLAvia Tour, though we may or may not have been to these places before. The Militant has added a few new points of interest, so don't pass this up if you've followed his Epic Militant CicLAvia Tours before.

This route is more or less a mashup of previous routes from last year, which further convolutes The Militant's naming conventions for this particular route. Oh well, it may or may not be the 6th version of the CicLAvia route -- or is it just a variation of the second one? It don't matter. Check it out, check out the sites, spend your dough on food trucks or local businesses, and don't forget your sunscreen. See you or not see you on Sunday!

Note: Though The Militant likes to view the route from west to east for some reason, he has listed these sites from East to West, as some of the sites are related and make a little more sense when going that direction.

East-West Route (Boyle Heights to Mac Arthur Park)

1. Eastside Luv
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 six years ago and updated it to a more contemporary Eastside-style flavor. Don't call it gentrification, call it gentefication.

2. Mariachi Plaza
1889
1st St and Boyle Ave, Boyle Heights

This is the new town square for Boyle Heights, anchored by the historic 1889 Boyle Hotel on the historic Cummings Block, 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 last year. 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!

3. Simon Gless Farmhouse
1887
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.

4. 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 98 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.

5. Keiro Retirement Home/Jewish Home For The Aging
1974/1916
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. 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.'

6. Metro Division 20 Subway Car Yard & Site of Old Santa Fe LaGrande Station
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.

7. Site of Quaker Dairy, Original Little Tokyo Restaurant
1890
304 E. 1st St., Little Tokyo
On the southeast corner of 1st and San Pedro streets once stood the Quaker Dairy, a restaurant started on this site in 1890 by Sanshichi Akita, an immigrant from Japan. Though preceded five years earlier by another restaurant on First St (location unknown), this is the oldest traceable location of a Little Tokyo business. By the end of the 19th century, there were over 16 Japanese-owned restaurants in this stretch of 1st Street, creating what we know as Little Tokyo.

8. Los Angeles Sister Cities Monument
Circa late 1980s
1st and Main streets, Downtown

On the northeast corner of 1st and Main streets stands a pole bearing signs (in the "Blue Blade" style, no less) for every one of Los Angeles' 25 Sister Cities, each pointing towards their location. The signs range from Lusaka, Zambia (the farthest sister city, 10,017 miles) to Vancouver, Canada (the nearest, 1,081 miles) and everywhere in between. Nagoya, Japan is Los Angeles' oldest sister city (1959); Yerevan, Armenia is the newest (2007). Los Angeles, an Olympic host city (1932, 1984) also has that in common with sister cities Athens (1896, 2004), Berlin (1936), Mexico City (1968) and Vancouver (2010). Okay, the Militant is just filling up this paragraph with mindless trivia.

9. New Los Angeles City "Chevy Logo" Street Signs
2009
Various locations along 1st Street, Downtown

Speaking of Blue Blades, and since you're on 1st Street, don't forget to see Los Angeles' new street signs! Featuring a reflective background and typeface, the City Seal and shaped like the Chevrolet logo, these were the subject of The Militant's now-legendary recent post on Los Angeles street signs. Now you can see them for yourself!

10. Los Angeles Police Administration Building
2009
100 W. 1st St, Downtown

Having opened less than two years ago, there's nothing really historic about this building, but do stop and take a picture of City Hall's reflection from the facade's glass panel. It's like, the thing to do.



11. Old State Office Building Foundation
1931 (Demolished 1971)
1st and Spring streets, Downtown
Ever wonder about that park-like area across the street from City Hall, and why there appears to be a foundation but no building? It was once the site of the State Office Building (pictured left, looking north on Spring), which was built in 1931. Forty years later, the 6.4 Sylmar Earthquake rendered it unsafe, and it was demolished. The land was once an openly-accessible parkspace; the Militant remembers going to a demonstration there as a child (Oh this Militant stuff sure started early...)

• If heading on north leg towards Chinatown, skip to #22.

12. Site of the Wilcox Building, First National Bank
1896
2nd and Spring streets, Downtown

Remember Mr. Hollenbeck? He be makin' serious bank! Oh wait, he literally did. As was mentioned, he founded a bank called the First National Bank of Los Angeles, which made its original home here on the southeast corner of 2nd and Spring in what once stood the Wilcox Building. Check this out: First National Bank merged with the Farmers and Merchants Bank to become the Security-First National Bank, which became Security Pacific National Bank (1967), and was eventually purchased by Bank of America in the 199os.

13. Site of Hollenbeck Hotel
1884
2nd and Spring streets, Downtown

Man, this Hollenbeck dude got around! We're not quite through with him yet. Directly across Spring Street from the bank (on what is now a parking lot) stood the Hollenbeck Hotel, a pretty swanky, bougie inn back in the day. He owned not just the hotel, the entire block the hotel stood on (He sooo money!). As more hotels were being built in Downtown, this one eventually lost ground to its competitors and was demolished in 1933.

14. Site of Original Ralphs Supermarket
1873
6th and Spring streets, Downtown

Before the Hotel Hayward building was built in 1905, George A. Ralphs (see, that's why there's no apostrophe) and his brother Walter B. started the Ralphs Bros. Grocers on the southwest corner of 6th and Spring. Their company still continues to this day, and in 2007, the company that started in DTLA returned to the area after some 50 years.

• If heading on south leg towards South Los Angeles, skip to #26.

15. St. Vincent Court
1868
St. Vincent Ct and 7th Street, Downtown

You'd hardly knew it was there, but this alley nestled between Broadway and Hill (blink and you'll miss it!), with its decorative brick pavement and European decor, seemingly belongs to another world. Originally the site of a Catholic college that was the predecessor of today's Loyola Marymount University, today it's a unique food court featuring Armenian and Middle Eastern eateries. The Militant calls it, "Littler Armenia." Check out this Militant Angeleno post on St. Vincent Court from 2008 for more info!


16. Wilshire Grand Hotel Site
2017
Wilshire and Figueroa (SW corner), Downtown

Up until several months ago on that empty lot was the Wilshire Grand Hotel, formerly (in reverse chronological order) the Omni Hotel, Los Angeles Hilton, Statler Hilton and Statler Hotel.

On this site will rise 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. It 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.




17. City View Lofts/Young's Market Company Building
1924
1610 w. 7th St., Pico-Union

Ever wondered what's the deal with this 4-story Italian Renaissance-style building? It was built in 1924 as a liquor warehouse and original headquarters for Young's Market Company, which still operates today as the largest liquor distributor in the West. This building features actual marble columns and a decorative frieze made of terra cotta. The company, in the roaring, pre-depression 1920s, just felt like it. The building was looted and burned in the 1992 Riots and was rehabbed in 1997 to become the City View lofts. The building is in the National Register of Historic Places.

18. Gen. Douglas MacArthur Monument
1955
Southeast corner of MacArthur Park, Westlake

It's sort of strange how a monument to the park's namesake seems almost invisible (Gen John Pershing, MacArthur's WWI counterpart, could totally identify). In fact, most people don't know it's even there, but on the southeast shore of the lake is a dormant memorial fountain featuring a statue of the WWII general overlooking a model of the Pacific theatre (no, not that one) where he led allied forces to eventual victory. It was designed and built in 1955 by Roger Noble Burnham, who previously sculpted the Tommy Trojan statue on the USC campus and taught at the Otis Art School, formerly located nearby.

Northern Route (To Chinatown):


19. Grand Park
1960, 2012
Open space between Grand Avenue and Spring Street, Downtown

Grand Park isn't really a new park, but a renovation and re-branding of what used to be the Los Angeles County Mall.  Since then, it's become Los Angeles' new town square, hosting everything from concerts, to festivals, to weekend movie screenings, to holiday programs, to just a place where kids can splash around in the fountain. The Militant was there on its opening day back in July 2012!

20. Hall Of Justice
1926
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. At the moment, its facade is covered in scaffolding and tarp, as part of 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.


21. Site of Los Angeles' French Quarter
c. 1830s-1960s
Aliso Street and Arcadia Street, Downtown

Beleive it or non, Los Angeles had a French ethnic enclave, called The French Quarter. Before today's Hollywood Freeway trench and nearby parking lots was a bustling community of Franco-American businesses and institutions. When Frenchman Jean-Louis Vignes bought up land on the Yangna village site a few blocks east on Aliso Street, he essentially became the anchor of our French community. In 1912, businessman Marius Taix opened the Champ D'Or Hotel on Commercial Street and then opened his namesake restaurant in the same building in 1927. But the most famous constibution to our French Quarter was Philippe Mathieu's restaurant, which opened in various locations in the area. In 1918, his restaurant on 246 Aliso Street gave birth to The French Dip sandwich. But urban development (and cultural assimilation by the community) destroyed the French Quarter. In 1951, Philippe's moved a few blocks north to their present location on Alameda Street due to Hollywood Freeway construction, and Monsieur Taix's restaurant moved a decade later to Echo Park.

22. Chinatown Gateway Monument
2001
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.

23.  Buu Dien
c. 1990s
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!

24. Capitol Milling Co.
1883
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.


25. Old (New?) Chinatown Central Plaza
1937
Gin Ling Way between Broadway and Hill, Chintown

The new 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.

Southern Route (To South Los Angeles):

26. The I.N. Van Nuys Building
1911
210 W. 7th St (at Spring), Downtown

A 100-year old, 11-story Classical-style building built by banker and landowner Isaac Newton Van Nuys (who owned much of the San Fernando Valley, including his eponymous community). Designated as a Historic Cultural Landmark (#898) in 2007, what was once Los Angeles' most expensive office building ($1.25 million in 1911 dollars) was converted to senior housing. Do check out its unique parking structure, at 719-721 S. Spring St.

27. Great Republic Life Insurance Building
1927
756 S. Spring St., Downtown

The Militant just loves old buildings with their names imprinted on their front and ornate bas-relief designs in the upper financial floors. This 13-story Beaux Arts style building is one of those, home to the Great Republic Life Insurance company, built right before the Great Dperession. This and many other financial institutions up and down Spring Street were part of the "Wall Street of the West." And since this is 2011, think of CicLAvia as #OccupyWallStreetOfTheWest. Today, it's home to the Great Republic Lofts.

28. National City Bank Building
1924
810 S. Spring St., Downtown

Another fine example of 1920s Beaux Arts architecture is the National City Bank (not to be confused with the City National Bank) Building. They just don't make 'em like this anymore. Today, it's home to the National City Tower Lofts.




29. ANJAC Fanshion Buildings
Built various years in the 20th Century
Various Locations along Broadway, Spring and Santee Streets, Downtown

The ANJAC Fashion Buildings (you'll see a whole bunch of 'em) are a collection of older buildings re-purposed for use as rented showroom, warehouse or manufacturing spaces for the local clothing industry. They're all owned by Steve Needleman, who also owns the nearby Orpheum Theatre. One of the ANJAC buildings on nearby Broadway was the site of an historic 3-week garment worker's strike in 1933 that  put Chicano organized labor on the map.

30. Spring/Main Junction 
c 1890s
Spring and Main Streets at 9th Street, Downtown

This very Manhattanesque portion of Downtown Los Angeles might not be The Great White Way, but it did serve as a junction point for both the Pacific Electric and Los Angeles Railway trolleys back in the day. The triangular park in the middle, recently ornamented with public art once served as a passenger platform for the streetcars. The building at the very tip of the corner, just north of it was once the local Anheuser Busch brewing company headquarters. More historical pics hereherehere and here.

31. Harris Newmark Building
1925
127 E. 9th St., Downtown

This 12-story building was at one time the tallest building in Los Angeles, built in honor of Harris Newmark, an early Los Angeles leader, businessman, landowner and philathropist. He helped to found the city of Montebello and helped shape Los Angeles' Jewish community through his leadership and charitable giving. It was once home to Sam's Deli, a local eatery institution that operated from 1963 to 2003. In the '90s, the building was carefully restored using the original blueprints. It now functions today as The New Mart (get it?) 

32. Security Pacific Bank(!)
c 1990s or 2000s
9th and Cecilia streets, Downtown

Now here's a sight that longtime Angelenos haven't seen in a long time - the interlocking "S" logo of Security Pacific National Bank. Once upon a time, there were actually large banks founded and headquartered in Los Angeles. Security Pacific, a major bank whose heritage dates back to 1868 was swallowed up by the big, evil Bank of America in 1992. The Militant discovered recently that this apparent vestige of days gone by is actually more recent, as a new but unrelated Security Pacific began in 2005 and went out of business just three years later (the bank space in this building is vacant and currently available for lease). Judging by the condition of the sign, this may or may not be the case.  

33. Dude, Where's My 9th Street?
1928
9th Street-Olympic Blvd at Ceres Ave.

Chalk this one up, along with the two San Vicente Boulevards, as one of the great street mysteries of Los Angeles. While heading east on 9th Street, the thoroughfare inexplicably becomes Olympic Boulevard, only to vanish into oblivion. Olympic, on the other hand, resurfaces west of San Julian and heads all the way Santa Monica's 5th Street. The Militant is only announcing this as a public service just so you won't think anyone was f'ing with your mind as you head east on 9th.

34. Central Market 
c 1930s
1227 E. Olympic Blvd, Downtown

This wholesale market operated in partial competition to the much larger wholesale market just a few blocks east, but it's in a supplementary role nowadays as a wholesale meat and poultry facility.

35. Los Angeles Wholesale Produce Market
1918, expanded in 1986
Central and Olympic Blvd, Downtown

Anyone who says Los Angeles, or even Downtown Los Angeles, isn't a 24-hour city, has obviously never been here. From about 2 a.m. to 2 p.m. (the action begins at 4 a.m. and ends before 10 a.m.), trucks roll up to unload fresh-from-the-farm produce in bulk for purchase. This market is mostly for supermarkets, distributors and restaurants, but anyone can purchase at the vendors here (you just have to take home a big-ass crate of apples rather than just a couple pounds). The Grand Central Market performed this role all but briefly before it was maxed out, and a new produce market, on 7th and Central was built closer to the railroad tracks in 1918. In 1986, the facility was expanded to what you see today. Check out this YouTube video of how the market looked like in 1963!

36. Yellow Car Tracks
c. early 1900s
12th Street at Central Avenue, Downtown

Look at the cracks and crevices in the street, just east of the crosswalk: TRACK! These tracks carried the Yellow Cars of the Los Angeles Railway's 2 Line, which ran from South Central through Downtown to the City Terrace area in The Eastside. Look carefully and you can see the old school inlaid brickwork in between the tracks! And unlike #26 above, the tracks are verified to be there!

1936
1334 S. Central Ave, Downtown

Coca-Cola has been locally bottled in Los Angeles since 1895, with about five different locations in the Downtown area throughout history. But this is by far the most recognizable. A ship-like design by Robert Derrah (who also crafted Hollywood's likewise-nautical-flavored Crossroads Of The World) makes this one of Los Angeles' most unique buildings. And they'll be handing out free Coke and related beverage samples!

38. African American Firefighter Museum (Fire Station 30)
1913, 1997
1401 S. Central Ave, Downtown

Originally built as LAFD fire station 30, it was one of two "Blacks Only" stations between 1924 and 1955, when the fire department was integrated and the station de-commissioned. In 1997 the building  was converted into a museum to celebrate the contributions of African Americans in the LAFD and to highlight the long and painful struggle to integration and racial equality. The LAFD of today has a black Fire Chief, which would never have been possible without the struggles, stories and service of the people recognized at this museum. Definitely check it out.