Thursday, October 5, 2017

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


Interactive Map! Click on green points to view hotspots, or click here for larger view.


It's October, which means we celebrate the 7th anniversary of CicLAvia, its 23rd iteration, and say "hola" to the HOLA route (Heart of L.A.), which is not necessarily the original CicLAvia route, but does contain some elements of it, and pretty much the centralized essence of it.
 
If this route seems somewhat familiar, it's a modification of the October 5, 2014 route, minus the long eastward jaunt through Boyle Heights and into East Los Angeles proper. Unfortunately we're not going to go that far this time. but fortunately, it won't be so damn hot like it was that day, either!
 
But lest you think this Epic CicLAvia Tour post is just some cut-and-paste job from the 2014 guide, he did care enough to make a few additions this time around.

So there it is folks, take it:

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 eight years ago and updated it to a more contemporary Eastside-style flavor. Don't call it gentrification, call it gentrification. In the decade or so of the establishment's existence, it has already established its own traditions, namely the Thursday night themed karaoke nights, paying tribute to artists such as Latin superstars Juan Gabriel, Selena and Esteban Morrissey.

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

This is the new town square for Boyle Heights, where Mariachi musicians have been hanging out to get picked up for since the 1930s. The Kiosko, or bandstand, that sits in the plaza is actually not that historic. It was given as a gift from the Mexican state of Jalisco, who literally shipped it over in 1998 where it was assembled in place. But it only gets used once a year for the Santa Cecilia Festival around every November 21.
The plaza is also home of the Metro Gold Line station of the same name, which opened in 2009. The unique lending library Libros Schmibros relocated here in 2011. This place could warrant a Militant blog post in itself -- no, an entire week of posts! Don't miss the Farmers Market events there every Friday and Sunday!

3. Boyle Hotel (Cummings Block)
1889
103 N. Boyle Ave, Boyle Heights

This brick Queen Anne-style building, built in 1889 and designed by architect W.R. Norton was one of the first commercial buildings in Boyle Heights, and is one of the longest-standing commercial buildings in all of Los Angeles. The hotel was an important social and political center in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and in the 1960s, started to become a popular lodging spot for Mariachi musicians. It recently underwent a major renovation which created 51 low-income housing units and three street-level retail units, one of which will be the new home of nearby Libros Schmibros bookstore


4. 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.

5. Neighborhood Music School
1947 (Built 1890s)
358 S. Boyle Ave, Boyle Heights

The Neighborhood Music School is exactly what it is. But it's also a Boyle Heights institution. Originally founded 100 years ago when it was located on Mozart Street (orchestral rimshot), the school moved to this Victorian home in 1947 where it still offers music lessons to local youth and the public can drop by on weekends to attend free recital concerts.

6. Sakura Gardens/Jewish Home For The Aging
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. In 2016, nonprofit Keiro sold the facility to the for-profit Pacifica Senior Living, though not without controversy. The new owners renamed it "Sakura Gardens." With the Hollenbeck Palms retirement home just down the street (and site of the John Edward Hollenbeck Estate, remember?) Boyle is a popular corridor for Senior Livin.'

7. 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.

8. Site of Southern Pacific Arcade Station
1888-1914
4th and Alameda streets, Downtown Los Angeles

Before there was a Union Station, there were various rail passenger terminals in Los Angeles, many of them just a short distance from the Los Angeles River. On what currently stands as a large shopping mall, this was the original site of the Southern Pacific Railroad’s Arcade Station which served passengers up until 100 years ago. A popular landmark of this station was a young palm tree, which was moved a century ago to Exposition Park where it stands today, much taller, in front of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Unfortunately for indie rock fans, the Arcade Station was not devastated by a Fire, but was dismantled and replaced by a new station, the Central Station, located one block south.

9. Site of Metro Regional Connector Little Tokyo Station
2021
1st Street and Central Avenue, Little Tokyo

Just a few years from now, Metro will open its Regional Connector project, a new subway under Downtown Los Angeles that will re-align three light rail lines into two and provide continuous, transfer-free service from Azusa to Long Beach and East Los Angeles to Santa Monica. Although Little Tokyo already has a Gold Line station just yards away, that will be demolished and the station replaced with a new underground facility where the current construction activity exists. It's rather fascinating, and it's one way Little Tokyo will more resemble Big Tokyo.  The businesses around the station have been impacted by construction, so make sure you support them, not only during CicLAvia but after!
10. Astronaut Ellison S. Onizuka Space Shuttle Memorial
1990
Astronaut Ellison S Onizuka and San Pedro streets, Little Tokyo

Nestled in Little Tokyo’s Weller Court shopping center, just behind Shinkichi Tajiri’s Friendship Knot sculpture, is a seemingly random model of a launch-position space shuttle and its booster rockets. But upon closer inspection it’s a memorial to Ellison S. Onizuka, the  Hawaii-born NASA astronaut who in 1985 became the first Japanese American in space. Later that year, he was the Grand Marshal of Little Tokyo’s Nisei Week Parade. But on January 28, 1986, Onizuka and six other astronauts were on that fateful final mission of the space shuttle Challenger, which exploded following its launch. The local Japanese American community created a memorial organization in Onizuka’s name that awards science scholarships to Japanese American youth, and in 1990, this 1/10th-size scale model of the shuttle, built by Isao Hirai of Hawthorne, was dedicated as a memorial monument to the astronaut.

11. Site of Terasaki Budokan2019
237 S. Los Angeles Street, Little Tokyo

Another anticipated addition to Little Tokyo is this budokan (Japanese for "martial arts hall"), which has been a long-standing dream for the Japanese American community, going back over 40 years. After a long period of fundraising and dealing with bureaucratic red tape, the facility, named after the late Dr. Paul Terasaki, whose foundation kicked in $3.5 million of the project's cost, broke ground this past Summer.  A percentage of the funding was also contributed by the LA84 Foundation, which came from the profit surplus from the 1984 Olympics. After this venue opens in 2019, might it become a karate or judo venue for the 2028 games?

12. Site of Historic Broadway Station
2021
2nd and Spring streets, Downtown Los Angeles

The CicLAvia route also follows part of the Metro Regional Connector route, with the second of the three new stops being here on Broadway and 2nd Street, which will serve the historic theater district, Gallery Row and parts of the Civic Center.

NAVIGATIONAL NOTE: 
• If heading north to Chinatown, skip to #22.
If heading south to the Theatre District, skip to #17.


13. Pacific Electric Tunnel
1925
Toluca Street south of 2nd Street, Downtown

For 30 years, Los Angeles' first subway tunnel allowed the Pacific Electric's Red Cars to bypass the traffic of Downtown's surface streets and sped up the travel times to places like Burbank, Santa Monica or the San Fernando Valley before it was abandoned in 1955. Soon after, the area surrounding the tunnel portal and adjacent electric power substation became blighted and a haven for the homeless and graffiti artists, while the tunnel itself became part garbage dump, part urban spelunking adventure (The Militant has been in the tunnel before). In 2007, a large apartment building designed for upscale, gentrifying types was built on the site of the Red Car yard, thus blocking the tunnel and dashing any hopes of it being revived as part of our modern rail system (it's been holding up well structurally for nearly 60 years without any maintenance whatsoever). But if you look at the back of the property, you can see the boarded-up tunnel with an artistic homage to its former purpose (and do browse the apartment building's lobby for some PE photos and diagrams).

14. Vista Hermosa Natural Park
2008
100 N. Toluca Street, Echo Park

The Militant loves to poke fun at the failures of the Los Angeles Unified School District, but once in a while, those failures turn out to be wonderful things. Take for instance the Belmont Learning Center, at one time the LAUSD’s costliest boondoggle, which was stalled and scaled back due to environmental concerns (there used to be oil wells around here). The school district gave up a portion of its land to the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, who in turn built a really beautiful oasis of California native plants and a killer view of the DTLA skyline. The Militant covered its opening back in 2008. It’s more than worth visiting during CicLAvia, or at any other time.

1953
1345 W. 1st St, Echo Park

Los Angeles native Bob Baker, who has been working puppets since the age of eight, and has built an impressive resume doing puppetry for various television and movie projects, founded this theater with Alton Wood in 1961, purchasing this single-story building, formerly a scenery workshop for the Academy Awards. Since then, he has been running America's longest-operating puppet theater company, even to this day at the age of 90. Going to this theater is one of those things every Angeleno must do before they die (or move away -- same thing). In 2009, the building became a legit Historic-Cultural Monument of the City of Los Angeles.

16. Echo Park Recreation Center
1948
Glendale Boulevard at Temple Street

You might pass this tennis court and nearby swimming pool every day and wonder, "Who the hell would put a tennis court/swimming pool right next to a freeway?" Well, no one put them next to a freeway, but they put the freeway next to them. Before 1948, Echo Park wasn't just a pretty little lake with lotus flowers and paddle boats, but it was a park park, with recreation facilities and everything. It stretched as south as Temple Street. But it stood in the path of the almighty Cahuenga Parkway (now the Hollywood Freeway, or "The 101"), which cut the park in two. Hmm. That sounds familiar...
• South Spur to Broadway Theatre District:

17. Bradbury Building
1893
304 S. Broadway, Downtown

A building that's famously meh on the outside, but OMG from the inside, this building has been featured in movies from Chinatown to Blade Runner to 500 Days of Summer. Designed by Sumner Hunt and modified by George Wyman, this 5-story structure was designed to look like the 21st century from 19th century eyes. Despite the ahead-of-its-time design, this building has nothing to do with sci-fi author Ray Bradbury, but was named after developer and 1800s rich dude Lewis Bradbury.

18. Grand Central Market
1917
317 S. Broadway, Downtown

Everyone knows this is Los Angeles' premier public marketplace, and the Militant probably doesn't need to include this since you may or may nor already be getting your Eggslut on (The Militant, on the other hand, prefers tacos and tortas from Roast To Go, and will incite a riot in the event that eatery is kicked out by gentrification). But The Militant is including it in this Epic CicLAvia Tour guide only for the fact that Grand Central Market is turning 100 years old this year! The market will have a day-long 100th birthday celebration on Friday, October 27.

19. Biddy Mason Park
1991
331 S. Spring St (entrance on Broadway), Downtown

Born as a slave in Georgia, Bridget "Biddy" Mason was a renaissance woman of her time. Having followed Mormon settlers west, she gained her freedom when California became a slavery-free Union state. As a nurse, she founded the first child care center in Los Angeles and later became a lucrative property owner and philanthropist, having founded the First AME Church, now a major institution in Los Angeles' African American community. She died in 1891 and was buried at ...Evergreen Cemetery (which you might have also seen earlier...see how things all tie together?). A century after her passing, this mini-park in DTLA, on the site of her house, was built and dedicated.

20. Broadway-Spring Arcade Building
1924
541 S. Spring St (entrance on Broadway), Downtown

This unique building is actually three, opened in 1924 on the site of Mercantile Place, a 40-foot street cut between 4th and 5th streets connecting Broadway and Spring. Mercantile Place was a popular shopping and gathering locale in the early 1900s. Having fallen into decay by the 1970s, it was recently renovated and is now famous for, some of the newest, hottest eateries in town (Guisados DTLA is located here, BTW). It also becomes an artistic venue during the DTLA ArtWalk.

21. Clifton's Cafeteria 
1935
648 S. Broadway, Downtown

The sole survivor of 10 kitschy and theatrical themed cafeterias founded by Clifford Clinton around Southern California (and now you know what inspired the Fry's Electronics stores), this location known as Brookdale, was the second in the chain and the most iconic. The current incarnation of the restaurant opened in 2015 after half a decade of renovation by new owner Andrew Meieran, who kinda made it quasi-hipsterfied, but at least preserved the decor even though the food costs like twice as much as it used to. But do go down to the basement level, near the restrooms, just to glance at the world's oldest continuously-lit neon light.

• North Spur to Chinatown:

22. U.S. Federal Courthouse
2016
145 S. Broadway, Downtown

This big glass cube that is responsible for blocking your view of the Downtown Los Angeles skyline from Grand Park used to be a hole in the ground was once the site of the Junipero Serra State Office Building, which was damaged in the 1994 Northridge Earthquake and abandoned and demolished in 1998. This 10-story, 400-foot-tall U.S. Federal Courthouse building (don't we already have a few of those?), designed by Skidmore Owings and Merrill, opened in 2016. Do check out the embossed bald eagle situated over the main entrance on 1st Street.

23. Site of 1910 Los Angeles Times Bombing
1910
Northeast corner of Broadway and 1st Street, Downtown

This longtime empty lot, previously identified in this CicLAvia tour as the foundation of a state office building condemned after the 1971 Sylmar Earthquake has some additional history. It was recently dissevered to be the location of the 1910 bombing of the (then) Los Angeles Times building, which happened 104 years ago this week. The dynamite bombing was discovered to have been the work of Ortie McManigal and brothers John and James McNamara, all affiliated with the Iron Workers Union,  in what was meant to protest the newspaper's staunchly anti-union practices. 21 people died when the 16 sticks of dynamite exploded just outside the building at 1:07 a.m. on October 1, 1910, the explosion was exacerbated by natural gas lines which blew up a large section of the building. The Times since built a new building in its place, and later relocated across 1st Street to its current location. Today, the lot is being readied for an expansion of Grand Park.

24. Site of Court Flight
1904 (demolished 1943)
Broadway between Temple and Hill streets, Downtown

With Angels Flight fiiiiiiiiiinally up and running again (fingers crossed), it's time to pay tribute to the city's other funicular, its cousin to the northeast, Court Flight. Built in 1904, it went up the northern end of Bunker Hill and was next to a former road called Court Street, hence its name. Even shorter than its more famous cousin at 200 feet, it ran steeper at a height of 200 feet. It was burned by a fire in 1943 and never reconstructed. The hill was eventually chipped away. The north side of the stairways going up to the Court of Flags (wonder if that was intentional there) in today's Grand Park is the precise location of ol' Courty.


25. 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. The building is currently undergoing a major renovation project to modernize the facilities and repair damage from the 1994 Northridge Earthquake. It is slated to re-open as a LEED Gold Certified building (gotta be sustainable, y'all) in 2015, and the Sheriff's and District Attorney's offices will return.


26. Fort Moore Pioneer Memorial
1957
451 N. Hill St, Downtown

Way, way, waaaaay back before we had tall building and freeways, Downtown Los Angeles (well Los Angeles, period back then) had a bunch of hills, Bunker Hill being the most famed one. There was also Fort Hill, the site of a Mexican-American War encampment. On July 4, 1847 the facility was called Fort Moore (and the hill Fort Moore Hill), after Captain Benjamin D. Moore of the U.S. 1st Dragoons regiment, who was killed six months earlier in a battle near San Diego. The 1st Dragoons and the Mormon Batallion established the new fort and raised the U.S. flag during the first-ever observed Independence Day in Los Angeles. This event was immortalized in a bas-relief stone monument made in the 1950s. Speaking of forts, the very street you're riding (or walking, or skating, or scootering, or stand-up-paddling, or pogo-sticking) was once called "Fort Street," which inevitably led to directional problems some six blocks south of here. The monument also includes a fountain, which was shut off in 1977...due to the drought at the time. So where's the actual hill, you ask? It was bulldozed away in the late 1940s to make room for the 101 Freeway (is this a recurring theme for this CicLAvia or what?!)

37. 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.

38.  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!

39. 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.


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

The northern terminus of CicLAvia is no stranger to public events; it was made for them. In the Summer it hosted three very popular Chinatown Summer Nights events. But don't let the "Old Chinatown" neon sign fool you -- This is actually Los Angeles' new Chinatown, which dates back to the 1930s. The real Old Chinatown was several blocks south, where a thriving community of Cantonese-speaking immigrants

lived near the river, north of Aliso Street. Of course, they were kicked out in the early '30s to make room for Union Station. So they moved a few blocks north, in the former Little Italy, and they've been there ever since. Well, not really, since some of them moved east to the San Gabriel Valley and were supplemented with Mandarin-speaking immigrants from Taiwan and Mainland China. But you get the idea.

Happy CicLAvia, Los Angeles! Enjoy, GO DODGERS and STAY MILITANT!

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

The Militant's Epic Militant CicLAvia Tour XXII!!


Check out this slick video of the CicLAvia route:


And check out The Militant's video on San Pedro, made in 2011:



2017 marks the year when we go on a not one, not two, not three, not four but FIVE CicLAvia schedule. The third route of 2017 and the 22nd event takes us down south - way south - to the Harbor area, where we ride between the port communities of Wilmington and San Pedro, both communities that have been part of the City of Los Angeles since 1909. The Militant was extra excited as this is an entirely new route, which meant hours upon hours of Epic Militant Research that needed to be done to bring this to you. So without delay, here we go, yo!

NOTE: When sharing pictures or selfies of any of these locations along your CicLAvia ride on Sunday, don't forget to tag #EpicCicLAviaTour when posting on social media!

1. Phineas Banning Museum
1864
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 - BanningStagecoaches.com. 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.
 

2. Avalon Palm Trees
1931
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.

3. The Don Hotel
1929
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.”

4. Granada Theater
1926
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.

5. Wilmington Municipal Building
1928
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.

6. Wilmington Waterfront Park/Harry Bridges Blvd
2011
Harry Bridges Blvd between Lagoon Ave and Figueroa St, Wilmington

Wilmington Waterfront Park, which opened in 2011, was created a decade ago as a project to provide a 30-acre buffer zone in the form of public open space between the Port of Los Angeles and the residential community in Wilmington. The park features green space/landscaping, paths and walkways, benches, water features, pedestrian bridges, restrooms, drinking fountains, binoculars and a children’s playground. The project also widened Harry Bridges Boulevard.

And who, exactly, is Harry Bridges? He was a 20th century labor leader in the West Coast best known for forming the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) in 1937. The union is a huge presence in the blue-collar port communities of Wilmington and San Pedro. Labor unions are richly embedded in San Pedro history, as you will see ahead.

7. 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). 

8. Gaffey Street Incinerator (a.k.a. The “San Pedro” Tower)
1954
1900 Gaffey St

This 154-foot tower, viewable from the CicLAvia route, as well as to all vehicles rolling into ‘Pedro on the 110 South, was constructed in 1954 as a smokestack for the City of Los Angeles’ Harbor Incinerator. See, back in the old days, there were no landfills and certainly no recycling, so people burned their trash and it made the air all crappy, but hey, that’s the way they rolled. Fortunately, it only polluted San Pedro for three years, as it was shut down in 1957 due to air standards requirements (Hooray!). Somewhere along the way, the letters “SAN PEDRO” were painted on the smokestack, and it became a beloved landmark and a source of local pride for residents of ‘Pedro. There are no plans to demolish the smokestack, despite it not being operational for 60 years.

9. Vincent Thomas Bridge
1963
CA State Route 47 between Harbor Blvd and Ferry St, San Pedro

As the sole suspension bridge in Southern California, the teal-colored Vincent Thomas (no, not "St. Vincent Thomas") Bridge has traversed the Port of Los Angeles' Main Channel between mainland San Pedro and Terminal Island for over 50 years.  The 1,500 foot-long passage was named after the California State Assemblyman who represented the San Pedro area from 1941 to 1979 (longest of any Assemblymember) and lobbied since the 1940s to have a large bridge built that would support the trucking traffic coming into and out of the harbor area. For its first 37 years, tolls (25 cents, later 50 cents) were collected (Assemblyman Thomas himself paid the first toll on opening day) for westbound traffic, which were discontinued in 2000 after the bridge paid for itself. At 335 feet tall, its towers are the tallest structures in the Harbor area, which are also lit at night. Also famous (and infamous) as a location for movie shoots and suicides, the bridge is San Pedro's iconic landmark, which can even be seen (on a clear day, of course) from Griffith Park.

10. Battleship USS Iowa
1942/2012
Berth 87, 250 S Harbor Blvd, San Pedro

This storied US Navy battleship served in both the European and Pacific theatres of World War II (including carrying President Franklin Roosevelt to an important wartime summit with Winston Churchill and Josef Stalin), the Korean War and the Cold War. In April 1989, an unusual turret explosion onboard killed 47 sailors, sparking numerous conspiracy theories as to its origin. The ship was retired in 1990 and was moored in Philadelphia and Newport, Rhode Island before being sent to Suisun Bay in Northern California where it stayed from 2001 to 2011, and finally arrived in San Pedro in 2012 where the Navy donated it for its present use as the Pacific Battleship Museum.


11. San Pedro Waterfront Red Car Station
2003
6th St and Sampson Way, San Pedro

The Militant is known for sharing many stories about the Red Cars of the Pacific Electric Railway, that once rolled through Southern California, including creating an Epic Militant Pacific Electric Archaeology Map in 2015. In 2003, a small, 1.5-mile re-creation of part of a Red Car route known as the San Pedro Waterfront Red Car Line was built along the waterfront between the Cruise Center on Swinford Street and 22nd Street as a tourist attraction using two replica cars and, occasionally, one restored historic Red Car. In September 2015 the Waterfront Red Car ceased operation due to the re-alignment of Sampson Way. The City of Los Angeles, which operated the line plans to revive the trolley line in a few years after the redevelopment of the Waterfront area (of course, the City said the exact same thing about Angels Flight Railway in Downtown after they dismantled it in 1969, and it took 27 years to re-open that…). Anyway, one of the stations of the San Pedro Waterfront Red Car is here, unused. It’s kind of a shame The Militant has to point this out as another Red Car relic.

12. Los Angeles Maritime Museum/Municipal Ferry Terminal
1941
Berth 84, 600 S. Sampson Way, San Pedro

Built as part of President FDR’s Works Project Administration program, this Streamline Moderne building, designed by Derwood L. Irvin opened in 1941 as a ferry terminal. From 1941 to 1963, a pair double-decker ferry boats shuttled between downtown San Pedro and Terminal Island, just across the channel, which was home to several tuna fish canneries, and until 1942, a thriving Japanese community. Supplanted by the opening of the Vincent Thomas Bridge, the ferry operation ceased the day before the bridge opened. In 1976, the former ferry terminal building was adaptively re-used as the Los Angeles Maritime Museum, the largest of its kind on the West Coast, with exhibits dedicated to San Pedro’s fishing, commercial diving, merchant marine and naval histories.

13. San Pedro Municipal Building
1928
638 S Beacon St, San Pedro

One of three satellite city halls in the City of Los Angeles (the other two are in Van Nuys and West Los Angeles), this seven-story building, designed by Charles O. Britton opened in 1928 (the same year as our current main City Hall building), houses the local offices of 15th District Councilman Joe Buscaino, several City departments, a satellite City Council meeting chamber and a currently-unused courthouse and jail on the top floor.

14. Site of Liberty Hill
1923
5th St and Harbor Blvd, San Pedro

This site was ground zero of the San Pedro Maritime Strike, a major labor action in Spring of 1923 by the Marine Transport Workers Industrial Union 510, which involved 3,000 longshoremen protesting low wages, poor working conditions and the state’s Criminal Syndicalism Law, which was responsible for the imprisonment of several union activists. The strike immobilized 90 ships in the Port of Los Angeles. The strikers occupied a parcel on this site, which they called "Liberty Hill." On May 15, writer and activist Upton Sinclair got involved in the strike and read the Bill of Rights aloud to the picketers. He and three others were arrested by the LAPD, of which the arresting officer told him, “We’ll have none of that constitution stuff.” That incident led to the formation of the Southern California chapter of the ACLU. The union finally got most their demands in a contract over a decade later, in 1934. The Syndicalism Law was eventually ruled unconstitutional in 1968. The event also inspired the name of a nonprofit social justice organization that was founded in 1976. A historical marker on this site commemorates the strike and Sinclair's arrest.

15. Warner Grand Theatre
1931
478 W. 6th St, San Pedro

This iconic Art Deco landmark was designed by B. Marcus Priteca, best known for designing the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood. Harry, Albert, Sam and Jack Warner (a.k.a. The Actual Warner Brothers) commissioned Priteca to design a trio of Southern California Art-Deco Warner chain theaters in Beverly Hills, Huntington Beach and San Pedro. This is the only surviving example of the three. Known as "The Castle of Your Dreams,” it was the first sound-equipped theater in the South Bay area and had all of the facilities required for Vaudeville shows (which were never performed). After being in decay since the 1960s, the City of Los Angeles purchased the building and is used for arts and culture events. It has also been undergoing a slow but ongoing renovation process intended to restore the theater to its 1930s condition.

16. Croatian Cultural Center of Greater Los Angeles
1928/1997
510 W. 7th St, San Pedro

Over 10,000 Croatian Americans live in and near San Pedro, the largest concentration in the western US. Most of them settled in this coastal Mediterranean village that reminded them of home from the 1860s to the 1960s. Notable Croat Angelenos include Rudy Svorinich, Jr., Los Angeles City Councilman from 1993 to 2001 and Carmen Trutanich, Los Angeles City Attorney from 2009 to 2013 – both native San Pedrans. But longtime State Assemblyman Vincent (Tomasevich) Thomas, yes, the bridge's namesake, was a 2nd-generation Croat American raised in San Pedro. The most well-known Croat from the area was Martin J. Bogdanovich, a Croatian immigrant who founded a tuna canning empire in 1917 that was later known as the Star-Kist Tuna Company. In 1997, Svorinich arranged to have the City purchase this former 1920s bank building for use as a cultural center for the Croatian American community. Recently, there was a proposal to move the Croatian Consulate General from Bentwood to this building, but apparently things didn't go as planned.

17. Fort MacArthur (Middle Reservation)
1914
Pacific Ave and Meyler Rd, San Pedro

Named not after the same military MacArthur guy as MacArthur Park, but in fact his father, Lieutenant General Arthur MacArthur (a man so nice, he was named twice), this installation was originally designated by President Grover Cleveland in 1888 for use as a military installation. It was formally established in 1914 and used as a major U.S. Army training ground for World War I soldiers. It continued its purpose in World War II as a defense installation along the Pacific coast.The Fort site actually occupied a large part of southern San Pedro -- the location close to the CicLAvia route is known as the Middle Reservation, which housed barracks and administration buildings and still is run today as a military installation, this time since 1982 as an annex of the Los Angeles Air Force Base. The Upper Reservation once housed barracks and a missile launch site and is now Angels Gate Park, which is also home of the Ft. MacArthur Museum. The Lower Reservation, which housed ships and amphibian vessels, is now the Cabrillo Beach Marina.

See you or not see you on the streets this Sunday! Happy CicLAvia!

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

The Militant's Epic Militant CicLAvia Tour XXI!!

Interactive map! Click and drag to navigate. To view larger version, click here.

The 21st iteration of CicLAvia (and the second one of 2017) brings us the first all-new alignment since the Southeast Cities route from May, 2016. Which means...it's time for another Militant Angeleno Epic CicLAvia Tour guide!

[cue fanfare music]

This time around, we're on the second route not served by Metro Rail (though it is Metrolink-accessible), and visit the Los Angeles community of Atwater Village and the Jewel City of Glendale. Even though this route is a mini-CicLAvia route of just a little over three miles, there's tons of historical and notable points of interest along this route, and in fact, The Militant had to pare down the list just so he doesn't stay up until 5 a.m. like he usually does when he does these posts (ya, really)! So, without any delay...let's get it started!

1. Glendale-Hyperion Viaduct
1928
Hyperion Avenue, Silver Lake/Atwater Village

This 400 foot-long concrete arch bridge links the community of Silver Lake in the south with Atwater Village in the north, traversing the Los Angeles River below. Designed by Merrill Butler, who also designed another iconic Los Angeles River bridge downstream, the Sixth Street Viaduct (R.I.P.), the bridge replaced an old 1910 wooden crossing that was severely damaged during a 1927 flood. The current bridge was built later that year and opened in September 1928, which was also dedicated to World War I veterans and honorarily dubbed "Victory Memorial." In 1988, the bridge appeared in the movie, Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (and thus a smaller replica of the bridge was later built at Disney's California Adventure theme park in Anaheim, paying homage to the original Walt Disney Studios' neighborhood (located where the Gelson's supermarket stands today)). Recently, the bridge was Ground Zero in a 2013-2015 controversy over whether the eventual renovation of the bridge should be designed in a more bicycle/pedestrian-friendly manner vs. a more automobile-centric design.

The Militant visited this bridge in July of 2007 in a very early MA blog post.

2. Pacific Electric Bridge Abutments and Red Car Mural
1929 (dismantled 1955); 2004
Los Angeles River at Glendale Blvd, Atwater Village

If you follow The Militant, you should know by now that his legendary epic Pacific Electric Archaeology Map from 2015 features a set of seven concrete bridge abutments across the Los Angeles River as one of the remnant traces of Red Car infrastructure. A bridge once rested on these abutments from 1929 to 1955 that carried the beloved trolleys between Downtown Los Angeles to Burbank.  In 2004, local Atwater Village muralist Rafael Escamilla painted a mural on one of the abutments, which faces Red Car River Park, which was part of the old trolley's right-of-way. The line continued up Glendale Blvd and on to Brand Blvd in Glendale, before veering west on Glenoaks Blvd to Burbank.

3. Black Eyed Peas Recording Studio
Opened 1996
3101 Glendale Blvd, Atwater Village

This nondescript brown two-story building on the corner of Glendale Blvd and Glenfeliz Ave features a recording studio (on the 2nd floor) owned by Los Angeles hip-hop/pop group Black Eyed Peas. Their first few albums were recorded here, including this '90s-era jam. Though the group uses more high-end recording facilities around the world, and will.i.am now has his own home studio in his Los Feliz residence, the facility is still used by members of the band and their extended musical family.

4. G-Son Studios/Beastie Boys Recording Studio
Opened 1991
3208 1/2 Glendale Blvd, Atwater Village

The Peas aren't the only hip-hop influence on da AWV.  Groundbreaking NY rap trio the Beastie Boys transplanted themselves to this part of Los Angeles during the 1990s (influenced by their producer and musical collaborator, the Los Angeles-raised Mario Caldato, Jr.) and recorded the albums, Check Your Head, Ill Communication and Hello Nasty here in this loft space, known as G-Son Studios,  located above today's State Farm insurance office. The facility was also the headquarters of the Beasties' record label and magazine, Grand Royal. The studio was sold in 2006.

Oh yeah, R.I.P. MCA.

5. Atwater Village Redwood Tree
1964
Glendale Blvd median at Larga Ave., Atwater Village

You don't have to travel 203 miles to a national park in the Sierra Nevadas to see a redwood tree -- you can see one right here in Atwater Village during CicLAvia! This lone redwood was planted in the Glendale Blvd median by community members in 1964 and today stands at nearly 90 feet tall. Each December, the redwood is lighted by the Atwater Village Chamber of Commerce as a Christmas tree and the lighting ceremony has been an annual holiday community event for over 20 years.

6. Seeley's Furniture Building
1925/1946
1800 S. Brand Blvd, Glendale

Built in 1925 as a Spanish Baroque bank building by local architect Alfred Priest, the George Seeley Furniture Company took over the building in 1931,  expanded it in 1939, and in 1946 got the Streamline Moderne make-over that remains today. The furniture store with the iconic large red neon sign was in operation until 1994, when the company closed for good. The building underwent an $8 million restoration and re-opened in 2012 as a collection of leased offices and artists' studios now known as Seeley Studios.

7. Forest Lawn Memorial Park Glendale
1906
1712 S. Glendale Ave, Glendale

Past the world's largest wrought iron gates at the entrance is the original location of the Southern California cemetery chain and the final resting place of over 250,000 people, including the likes of Elizabeth Taylor, Walt Disney (no, he was not frozen), Michael Jackson and someone you know. Forest Lawn was founded in 1906 by businessman Hubert Eaton, who wanted to re-invent the cemetery by doing away with large tombstones and emphasizing landscaping and art. He also innovated the industry with an on-site mortuary. The large white building at the top of the hill with the cross on top of it (changed to a star during the Christmas holiday season) houses a free museum with rotating exhibitions, as well as the world's largest framed canvas painting, the 195-foot long The Crucifixion, completed in 1896 by Polish artist Jan Styka, who brought it to the U.S. to be displayed at the St. Louis 1904 World's Fair. Too large to be transported back to Poland, it remained in the U.S. and was lost for years until Eaton bought it in 1944 and constructed the building to display it. The Militant once rode his bike here to pay his respects to a departed operative, but was told by security that bikes weren't allowed. He asked the security where in the Forest Lawn's policies were bikes not allowed (it does not appear in any signs in the park) and the security staff couldn't find it. So there.

8. Glendale Train Station
1924
400 W. Cerritos Ave, Glendale

Originally known as the Tropico depot (more on this later), this Spanish Colonial Revival station, designed by MacDonald & Cuchot and opened in 1924, was built by the Southern Pacific Railroad, eventually serving Bay Area-bound trains such as the Daylight and the Lark. Amtrak took over train service in 1971. In 1982-1983, the Glendale station was a stop for the short-lived proto-commuter rail experiment known as CalTrain which ran from Los Angeles to Oxnard for all but 6 months. In 1989, the City of Glendale purchased the station from the Southern Pacific and in 1992, the station found real commuter service in the form of Metrolink, which serves Ventura County and the Antelope Valley. The station was renovated in 1999 and expanded to a multi-modal transportation center.

9. Tropico 
1887
Glendale south of Chevy Chase Drive

The southwestern section of Glendale was once an independent town named Tropico. With fertile soil formed by the floodplains of the nearby Los Angeles River, the area was famous for its strawberry farms. It also grew a business district centered at San Fernando Road and Central Avenue (pictured left), and Forest Lawn Memorial Park was born as part of Tropico in 1906. The town became incorporated in 1911, but in 1917 its residents voted to be annexed to Glendale. Not much remains of any reference of Tropico, except for the Tropico Motel (401 W. Chevy Chase Dr) and the Tropico U.S. Post Office (120 E. Chevy Chase Dr).

10. Dinah's Fried Chicken
1967
4106 San Fernando Rd, Glendale

Just a couple blocks west of the CicLAvia route is Glendale's iconic Dinah's Fried Chicken, serving its popular boxes of fried chicken and gizzards since 1967. Established by a group of golfers, the Dinah's soft-of-chain operated a handful of restaurants around Southern California that were independently owned and operated but shared common recipes and branding (the Dinah's Family Restaurant in Culver City is the other remaining establishment). The 2006 motion picture, Little Miss Sunshine made Dinah's world-famous as their brightly-colored fried chicken buckets were featured in the film.

11. Chevy Chase Drive
c. 1920s
Chevy Chase Drive, Glendale

When The Militant was much younger (known as Lil'Mil), he used to wonder, when the family car drove through Glendale, why that guy from Saturday Night Live had a street named after him. It turns out the street was not named after the comedian born Cornelius Chase of Fletch and Clark Griswold fame (the name was apparently a nickname given to him by his grandmother), but after Scottish folklore, namely a story entitled The Ballad of Chevy Chase. The story refers to an apocryphal battle (the "chase") in the Cheviot Hills (no, not that Cheviot Hills) of Scotland (a.k.a. "Chevy") that thwarted off an invasion of the country. Why the Scottish reference? The Jewel City was developed in the 1880s by Leslie Coombs "L.C." Brand, a Scottish American businessman and real estate dude, whose name adorns the city's main street. And also, if it's noot Scottish, it's crap!

12. Riverdale Roundabout
2008
Riverdale Dr and Columbus Ave, Glendale

Since the last CicLAvia (Culver City meets Venice) in March featured a traffic circle, it's only fitting that you visit Glendale's only traffic circle, where Riverdale Drive intersects with Columbus Avenue, just a few short blocks west of the CicLAvia route. In 2008, Riverdale became Glendale's bike-friendly guinea pig, with the street re-configured with bike lanes to form an east-west corridor linking various parks within Glendale. So yes, you can visit this traffic circle via Glendale's existing bike infrastructure.

13. St. Mary's Armenian Apostolic Church 
1926/1975
500 S. Central Ave, Glendale

Los Angeles might have Little Armenia, but Glendale has Big Armenia, with a population of 40% of all Glendalians being of Armenian descent.  Though Glendale has had an Armenian community dating back to the 1920s, the majority of them arrived in the late 1970s, when the diasporic Armenian community in Lebanon fled that country during its civil war, and when Armenians in Iran likewise left when the Shah fell from power and the current Islamic fundamentalist regime took over.  They settled in Glendale as it was close to the existing Armenian community in East Hollywood (now Little Armenia), yet more affordable to live.  In the 1990s, another wave of Armenians arrived in Glendale, this time from the former Soviet republic of Armenia, after the dissolution of the USSR. The community established its first house of worship in a small building on Carlton Drive in 1975, and in 1988, the growing congregation took over the 1926 Colonial-style former First Church of Christ Scientist on Central Avenue. Although the St. Mary's wanted to build a dome on the structure in the 1990s to match the traditional church architecture of the motherland, the building's historic preservation status prevented them from doing it.

14. Glendale Galleria
1976
100 W. Broadway, Glendale

Built as a means to invigorate the Glendale economy and to fill a regional void for The Broadway department store between Panorama City and Pasadena (the local chain was one of the mall's development partners and the anchor tenant), the Glendale Galleria opened on October 14, 1976. And while its sister shopping center in Sherman Oaks laid claim as the, like, total epicenter of 1980s Valley Girl culture, the more alliterate Glendale Galleria went on to become the fourth largest shopping mall in Southern California and the first location for chains such as Panda Express, The Disney Store and The Apple Store. Designed by architect Jon Jerde, its layout and style became an archetype for indoor shopping malls across the country during the 1970s and 1980s.  The mall was expanded with a new eastern wing across Central Ave in 1983 and underwent a 21st century facelift in 2012 in the wake of the opening of its next-door neighbor, The Americana at Brand.

The Militant may or many not have had his first date at this mall. In November 1992, during his first visit to California after winning the presidential election, then-president-elect Bill Clinton did some Holiday shopping at the Galleria with a crowd of over 30,000 to greet him (The Militant may or may not have been there, and may or may not have caught a glimpse of him in his limo as he left).

15.  Max's Of Manila Restaurant/Cattleman's Ranch
1980
313 W. Broadway, Glendale

In addition to a large Armenian community, Glendale is also home to a notable Filipino immigrant population. This rustic-looking building is the first American location (opened 1980) of a major Philippine restaurant chain, specializing in Filipino-style fried chicken (sounds like a culinary theme for this CicLAvia...). If this building looks familiar, the facade is used as the setting for Louis Huang's Orlando restaurant Cattleman's Ranch in the hit ABC TV series, Fresh Off The Boat.

16. Security Trust and Savings Bank/Site of Glendale Pacific Electric Depot
1923
100 N. Brand Blvd, Glendale

The first "high-rise" (as in over two stories) building in Glendale was this Classical style six-story building on the northeast corner of Brand Blvd and Broadway, designed by Alfred Priest (who also designed the Seeley's Furniture building down the street). This was the home of the Security Trust and Savings Bank, which was a popular local bank chain in Southern California at the time. The bank took over the former First National Bank of Glendale (founded by L.C. Brand) in 1921 and eventually became Security Pacific Bank, and is now part of the Bank of America borg. Before the bank building was built, this was the site of the Glendale Pacific Electric depot, built in 1906 to serve the electric railway line that ran up and down Brand Boulevard. L.C. Brand sought the help of his friend and fellow real estate guy Henry Huntington to build his electric trolley line through Glendale to help sell property tracts and to spur development. The rest is history. You can say the place has Brand's brand all over it.  This building  has a historical marker placed by the city recognizing the bank building's history and the PE station that stood here prior to it.

17.  The Alex Theatre
1925
216 N. Brand Blvd, Glendale

Designed by the architectural firm of Meyer & Holler (who also designed Grauman's Chinese and Egyptian theatres in Hollywood), The Alexander Theatre (named after Alexander Langley, of the Langley family that operated theatres around Southern California at the time) opened in 1925 as a venue for vaudeville entertainment, silent movies and staged plays. In 1939 the iconic facade and spire was built, designed by Lindley & Selkirk. The theatre also features a Wurlizer pipe organ, which was played by a live organist, which was the typical soundtrack for silent movies. The design of The Alex made it a popular location for world premieres of motion pictures, and from the 1940s to the 1980s, it existed as Glendale's premier movie palace. It was renovated in 1993 and is now owned by the City of Glendale for arts programming (The Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra makes its seasonal home here) and special events.

18.  Porto's Bakery
1982
315 N. Brand Blvd, Glendale

Three things are absolutely guaranteed at Sunday's CicLAvia: 1) Sunny skies; 2) Smiling faces; and 3) A seriously long-ass line in front of Porto's.
The legendary bakery was founded by the Porto family, who fled Fidel Castro's Cuba in the 1960s. The original location was actually in Silver Lake, on Sunset Boulevard and Silver Lake Drive (Los Angeles' Cuban community was once concentrated in the Echo Park-Silver Lake vicinity). In 1982, the family moved the bakery to Glendale where they actually did it and became legends. After over 45 years in business, Porto's sells 1.5 million cheese rolls and about 600,000 potato balls each month, and a little Yelp hype last year didn't hurt either. Porto's now boasts locations in Burbank, Downey, Buena Park and soon in West Covfeve Covina. Soon, places outside of Southern California will be clamoring to have a Porto's in their town, and numerous Porto's imitators will open up, each with lookalike beige, brown and yellow boxes, boasting that they're better than the original. It's good that this CicLAvia route is only three miles, so you can enjoy the route in its entirety while spending most of your day in the Porto's line.

19. Glendale Federal Savings Building
1959
401 N. Brand Blvd, Glendale

All you Mid-Century Modern fetishists, prepare to have an archigasm at CicLAvia! This quirky 10-story building, originally the home of Glendale Federal Savings, was designed by Peruvian-born architect W.A. Sarmiento, who made some bank out of drawing up bank buildings. But this was his most well-known structure, recognized by the Los Angeles Conservancy, which features an external elevator bank. Glendale Federal merged with California Federal in 1998, and today it's part of Citi Bank. The building is now home to the Hollywood Production Center (despite not actually being in Hollywood).

20. Vierendeel Truss Bridges 
1937-1938
Verdugo Wash at Geneva Street, Glendale
Verdugo Wash at Glenoaks Blvd, Glendale
Verdugo Wash at Kenilworth Ave, Glendale

We began our Epic CicLAvia Tour with a bridge, so it's appropo that we end it with a bridge. Verdugo Wash, a 9 1/2-mile tributary of the Los Angeles River, runs south from La Crescenta paralleling the 2 Freeway, and west paralleling the 134 Freeway, where it flows in to the river near the Los Angeles Zoo area. As a part of President Franklin Roosevelt's Works Progress Administration program, the War Department's U.S. Engineers (the predecessor of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers) built a series of eight steel bridges (using local steel manufactured by Consolidated Steel Corp. of Los Angeles) traversing Verdugo Wash, all in the Vierendeel Truss design, which was invented in 1896 by Belgian engineer Arthur Vierendeel. Unlike standard truss bridges, there are no diagonal members. Glendale is the home of the only Vierendeel Truss Bridges in the United States, the first of which was built at the Verdugo Wash's Central Avenue crossing. Brand Boulevard had a twin bridge, which had a separate girder bridge for the Pacific Electric in the middle. In the mid-1980s, all but three of the bridges (at Geneva Street, Glenoaks Avenue and Kenilworth Avenue) were torn down by the City of Glendale and replaced with boring concrete bridges (You can say that Glendale had some truss issues). Today you can admire the last remaining Vierendeel Truss bridges in America.

The Militant wants to raise a fist and give massive props to the Tropico Station Glendale blog, which provided an additional source of research info for this post! Happy CicLAvia on Sunday, and see you or not see you on the streets!