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!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

The Militant's Epic Militant CicLAvia Tour XX!!



Interactive map - click and zoom! Click here to view the map separately!


Ahhh, Spring is finally in the air. A time for more daylight, colorful native floral blooms, Dodgers baseball and...CicLAvia! The first Cicla of 2017 brings us back to a virtual re-run of the August 2015 "Culver City Meets Venice" route from The Heart of Screenland (which will be celebrating its 100th birthday this September) to Abbot Kinney's canal city via Mar Vista - although there's a minor modification - the addition of two streets and an alleyway forming a pedestrian zone in Mar Vista between Centinela and Grand View avenues.

This is the 20th iteration of CicLAvia, and The Militant still has yet to miss a single one. So for those of you 20-timers who will be on the streets this Sunday, The Militant will celebrate by pouring a Dos Equis at an unspecified bar or restaurant along the route. If you happen to spot him (not very likely, but who knows?) Then drinks are on The Militant!

You should know the drill by now, Share this link on your Facebooks and Twitters, visit the sights yourselves -- and if you do, Tweet with the hashtag, #EpicCicLAviaTour to stroke The Militant's ego and make him feel like his several days of staying up late at night to research and write all this was worth his while. And most of all, Stay Militant and Enjoy CicLAvia this Sunday! See you or not see you on the streets!

1. Culver City Metro Expo Line Station/Site of Culver Junction
2012
Venice and National boulevards, Culver City

You may or may not have arrived at CicLAvia via the Metro Expo Line, which is the modern reincarnation of the Pacific Electric Santa Monica Air Line. Not only can you experience Los Angeles' transportation present, but you're also in the clear presence of its past -- this area was also the site of Culver Junction, where not one, not two, but three Pacific Electric Red Car lines converged, going to Santa Monica, Venice and Redondo Beach. TIP: Make sure you buy a Day Pass or that your TAP card is well-loaded before CicLAvia, so you don't have to queue at the ticket machines! The Militant says "You're Welcome."

2. Ince Boulevard/The Culver Studios
1918
Ince Blvd & Washington Ave, Culver City

As you make your first turn going westbound on the CicLAvia route, take note of the street name: Ince.

If you know your Culver City history, the town was a planned community built by landowner Harry H. Culver, a Spanish-American war veteran who worked for SFV pioneer Isaac N. Van Nuys and purchased a large section of the old Rancho La Ballona. In 1913 he established the town and filmmaker Thomas Ince moved his operation here from Pacific Palisades (via his Triangle Studios down the street -- more on this later...) and bought this section of land from Culver himself to establish the Ince Studio, which featured a large mansion fashioned after George Washington's Mt. Vernon residence, that remains in full view today. Ince's studio was sold to Cecil B. DeMille after his mysterious death and had changed hands and names over the years, finally adopting its current name of The Culver Studios in 1970. Legendary Hollywood films were shot this studio, including Gone With The WindKing KongE.T. and The Matrix.

3. Pacific Electric Ivy Substation
1907
Venice and Culver boulevards, Palms

Downtown  Culver City is already rich in retail and artistic activity, and has a bevy of well-known eateries, like the popular Father's Office. The Militant can cover that in its own post (and kinda already did before). But welcoming people to Downtown Culver City along Venice Blvd (though technically located in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Palms), a block from the Culver City station is an appropriate link to the past - the Ivy Substation. The single-story Mission Revival-style structure served as a powerhouse for the Pacific Electric Railway from 1907 to 1953, when the Expo Line's predecessor, the Santa Monica Air Line, ceased operation. Today, it's a 99-seat venue for The Actor's Gang theatre company, renovated in the early 1990s. How interesting that a building originally built for transportation infrastructure was repurposed into a building for the arts, which in turn attract people using the new transportation infrastructure.

4. Culver Hotel
1924
9400 Culver Blvd, Culver City

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

5. The Washington Building
1927
9718 W. Washington Blvd, Culver City

Culver City's other 1920s-era triangular building is just down the street from The Culver Hotel. Built by Charles E. Lindblade, a business associate of Harry Culver who also bears a city street name of his own, this Beaux Arts-style building was designed by Arthur D. Scholz and Orville L. Clark. As it is today, the building housed numerous retail and office businesses over the years, including the Culver City post office, the MGM Studios Fan Club and Lindblade's real estate company.

6. Kirk Douglas Theatre/Culver Theatre
1946
9820 W Washington Blvd, Culver City

Built in 1946 as The Culver Theatre, a 1,100-seat Streamline Moderne cinema designed by Karl G. Moeller that screened 20th Century Fox films as part of the Fox West Coast Theatres chain.
It was later operated by the National General and Mann Pictures chains, and finally as an independent theatre. It was split into three screens circa 1970s, and closed in 1989. In 1994, it suffered damage from the 1994 Northridge Earthquake and underwent a major $8 million renovation later in the '90s, re-opening in 2004 as The Kirk Douglas Theatre (with Spartacus himself as a the major contributor in the renovation), operated by Center Theatre Group. It currently features two stages, one seating about 300 and a smaller stage seating around 100.


7. Sony Pictures Studios/MGM Studios
1915
10202 West Washington Boulevard, Culver City

One can't mention Culver City without mentioning its massive movie lot, originally Thomas Ince's (remember him?) Triangle Studios operation until he moved to the Culver Studios property and sold this site to D.W. Griffith and Mack Sennett.  In 1918, the studio was sold to Samuel Goldwyn, which became Metro Goldwyn Mayer in 1924 (following the merger of Metro Pictures, Goldwyn Studios and Louis B. Mayer Productions). It became the Columbia Pictures studios in 1989 and Sony Pictures Studios from 1992 to the present.

On this lot was filmed a countless list of Hollywood productions, most notably The Wizard of Oz in 1939 (you will be riding next to the actual Land of Oz, think about that...), and currently, TV shows like Jeopardy! and Wheel Of Fortune.

8. La Ballona Elementary School
1865
10915 W Washington Blvd, Culver City

This local school is literally some old school Culver City right heah! Established in 1865, it's one of the oldest schools in Los Angeles County still in operation. Back in the day, it had an enrollment of 158 pupils between the ages of 5-15, being taught by one teacher, a Miss Craft who made $50 a month, and the school year lasted seven months, since it revolved around the agricultural calendar of the surrounding area.
When it was established, it was in an unincorporated area that eventually became Palms, which was annexed to the City of Los Angeles in 1914. When Culver City was founded the year before, it had no schools within its boundaries, so another school was built in the area in 1916. Eventually La Ballona was annexed into Culver City in 1920.


9. King Fahad Mosque
1995
10980 Washington Boulevard, Culver City

This Islamic house of worship was built in 1995 as a gift from Saudi Prince Abdulaziz bin Fahad to serve the growing community of Muslims in the Westside, named after the king of Saudi Arabia at the time. Its facade features hand made marble tiles from Turkey, and a 72 foot-high minaret topped with a gold leaf crescent.


10. Tellefson Park/Rollerdrome Site
1976/1928
1105 W. Washington Pl, Culver City

There's a designated activity hub here at this 1.5-acre Culver City park, which was dedicated in 1976 as part of the U.S. Bicentennial celebrations. It was named after former Culver City councilman and city attorney Mike Tellefson, who served the city for 31 years. In 2013, the body of a suicide victim was discovered in the park.

But longtime Culver Citizens remember this site as a legendary roller skating rink called The Rollerdrome,  a wooden structure which opened in 1928 and had a characteristic rounded roof. Roller skating events were centered around the rink's organ, which was played by a live organist, and provided memorable evenings for local families and youths. It was torn down in 1970, which was a shame, since roller skating enjoyed a renaissance of sorts in the '70s.

11. Tito's Tacos
1959
11222 Washington Pl, Culver City

Many Angelenos already know of this longtime Westside (American) taco joint known as Tito's Tacos, which as we all know, was founded in 1959 by a businessman who may or may not be an actual Mexican guy named Tito. Everyone has their opinion on Tito's, but three things are indisputable truths: 1) It's a Culver City Institution; 2) It's not authentic Mexican food and 3) People come here for the nostalgia anyway.

During the last "Culver City Meets Venice" CicLAvia in August 2015, a minor controversy erupted when the restaurant's owner threatened to sue Culver City government for potential lost revenue due to the CicLAvia route, and everyone, including The Militant got all in on that, but ultimately, cooler heads prevailed, and after an intervention by the CicLAvia organization, Tito's Tacos warmed up to the route, and likely did a 180 once crowds queued up along their sidewalk service windows. Titogate 2015 was now history. The moral of the story? Never fear CicLAvia, and a little communication and understanding goes a long way.

12. The Oval District/Palm Place
1912
Area within Washington Place, McLaughlin Ave, Venice Blvd & Inglewood Blvd, Mar Vista

You might not see much from the street level, but this neighborhood just north of the CicLAvia route, a Historic Preservation Overlay Zone known as "The Oval District" is one of the first automobile-oriented property tract developments in Southern California.

When seen from a map or an aerial view. the streets of this 200-unit housing development of predominantly 1- and 2-story homes resembles an hourglass shape with an oval road in the center (which caught The Militant's eye and caused him to investigate the history of the place).

The 137-acre neighborhood was developed in 1912 by a Lillian Charnock Price (there is a "Charnock Road" two blocks north of Venice, BTW) who hired renowned landscape architect and urban planner Wilber David Cook, Jr. (who worked for legendary late 19th/early20th-century landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted to design an "Aristocratic Suburb" marketed as “Palm Place."

The large-sized lots were unique, and park-like in their large setback from the street and the palm tree-lined parkways, but only a small number of homes were built. Price sold the development to Robert Sheman, who was the stepson of Moses Sherman, the developer of the Los Angeles and Pacific Railway, which built the original rail line on nearby Venice Boulevard. What was originally intended to be the first car-oriented development was going to be a transit-oriented development!

But those didn't sell either. The lots were still too large and pricey. So Sherman sold it to a financier group that marketed it as "Marshall Manor" in 1920 and interest began to pick up. But it wasn't until after World War II, when suburbanization was in vogue and Los Angeles' Westside development boom commenced, that the rest of the lots got built.

13. The Mar Vista Pedestrian "Canals"
2017
CicLAvia route between Centinela and Grand View avenues

The end of the CicLAvia route might be more associated with canals, but this newly-added section of the course features a pedestrian-friendly (a.k.a. Dismount City, folks!) zone of activities in the Mar Vista area. The zone includes the Mar Vista Farmers' Market, a couple cafes, a yoga studio and a pet store that features a pet adoption event (on National Puppy Day Weekend, no less).

14. Mar Vista Hill (a.k.a. The 'Mar Vista' in Mar Vista)
1924
Centinela Ave & Rose Ave, Mar Vista

Everyone know that "Mar Vista" is EspaƱol for "sea view." But riding along Centinela or Venice during CicLAvia, you can't even see the sea. Where is it?

Well, The Militant will tell you where to see the "Mar Vista" in Mar Vista. He implores you to take a short detour from the CicLAvia route and continue north along Centinela Avenue, switch your gears (or pedal harder, you fixie heads), and go up the hill (Mar Vista Hill) until you reach Rose Avenue. Then turn right and go  up the hill to the open space that contains the baseball field and community garden. Look to the west, stand on top of the telephone poles laying on the ground in front of the small parking lot, and you can have a semi-unobstructed (damn you, DWP power lines!) view of Santa Monica Bay from the Palos Verdes peninsula to the Santa Monica Mountains.

Mar Vista Hill is a 203-foot-above-sea-level promontory that was once a garbage dump, and was later the site of the Venice Reservoir in 1940 (smart, huh). The reservoir was decommissioned in the 1960s and replaced with the baseball fields you see today.

So come on up to Mar Vista Hill, where you can see the sea, to see all that you can see!

Go visit Mar Vista Hill and tweet a pic of the ocean with the hashtag #EpicCicLAviaTour!


15. State Route CA 187
1964
Venice Boulevard between Lincoln Blvd and the 10 Freeway

You may or may not know that Venice Boulevard, in addition to being a two-time CicLAvia route, was also a Pacific Electric Red Car line, but did you know it's also a designated California State Highway?

In 1964, CalTrans designated State Route 187 starting at the Pacific Ocean. In 1994, it was shortened to the 5.4 miles from Lincoln Boulevard to the 10 Freeway.

The number "187" also happens to be a reference to the California Penal Code designation for murder, which is most likely why a young, '90s-era, pre-commercialized Snoop Dogg is standing by the sign in this photo.

16. Mario's Brothers Market
12904 Venice Blvd, Mar Vista

No deep history behind this neighborhood Mexican corner market on Venice and Beethoven, but the name caught The Militant's eye. He's seen some of you CicLAvians ride in CicLAvia in Mario/Nintendo cosplay, so this would be a perfect photo/selfie opportunity.

While you're here, support the business and buy something inside. Maybe it really is owned by a Mario. Or a Luigi. Ask where The Princess is. If they're successful enough, they might move to a larger location and rename themselves "Super Mario's Brothers."

Tweet a pic of yourself (or your group) in front of Mario's Brothers with the hashtag "#EpicCicLAviaTour"!


17. Venice High School
1920
13000 Venice Blvd, Venice

Venice's namesake secondary school was one of three on-location sites for Rydell High in the 1978 motion picture Greaseand was the school scene in the Britney Spears video for her debut hit, "...Baby One More Time." The main Moderne-style school buildings, built in 1935-37  were designed by local architects John C. Austin and Frederick M. Ashley, who also designed the Griffith Observatory.
The campus is also famous for its statue of legendary Hollywood actress and famous alumna Myrna Loy at the front of the school. Other famous alumni include Beau Bridges, Crispin Glover, the late Ivory Queen of Soul, Teena Marie and In-N-Out Burger founder Harry Snyder. Go Gondoliers!

18. Old Venice Civic Center
1911
681-685 Venice Blvd, Venice

Venice, originally founded as part of Santa Monica, seceded from that city in 1911 and for the next 15 years, functioned as an incorporated city. In 1926, due to political mismanagement and crumbling infrastructure, it was annexed into the City of Los Angeles. Its vestigial remnants of its civic government still remain, though. The old Venice City Hall still stands at 685 Venice Blvd (pictured), now the venue for Beyond Baroque Theatre. Next door on 681 Venice Blvd is the old Venice Police Station, now the home of the Social Public Arts Resource Center (SPARC), the community arts nonprofit that spearheaded the modern urban mural movement. It's interesting to note that both of these government buildings were adaptively re-used for arts purposes. The Militant is looking at the old LAPD Parker Center in DTLA and wonders if it could make some sort of badass performing arts venue...

19. Electric Avenue
1905
Electric Ave and Venice Blvd, Venice

No, '80s singer Eddy Grant didn't rock down to this street to take it higher (VROOOM!) But this street was so-named because it was one of the old Pacific Electric Red Car rights-of-way, which included Pacific Avenue (of course) and Venice Blvd. The railway, of course, was built to serve (and sell property in and around) Abbot Kinney's Venice of America development. Rock on to Electric Avenue towards Brooks Avenue and look to your left for actual remnants of Pacific Electric tracks at Millwood Avenue, Westminster Avenue and Broadway. If that kind of stuff excites you, be on the look out for The Militant's upcoming Pacific Electric Archaeology Map (view the preview edition map here, including Venice sites). And then we take it higher (Oh yeah)!

20. Abbot Kinney Blvd
1992
Abbot Kinney Blvd between Washington Blvd and Main Street

New arrivals to Los Angeles are likely oblivious to the fact that Venice's upscale arts and boutique corridor is technically one of its newest streets. Until 1992, that stretch was confusingly known as West Washington Blvd, which, along with Washington Street and Washington Way, was a source of disorientation among motorists. A small group of business owners lobbied to re-name the stretch after the community's founder. Ignorance of local history was so bad back then, that then-City Councilman Zev Yaroslavsky, who grew up in the Westside, asked aloud at a Los Angeles City Council committee meeting, "Who is Abbot Kinney?" (Really, Zev?!?!) Thankfully, due to a street name change, and other things, we're a lot better at our Los Angeles history.

21. Venice Of America Centennial Park
2005
Venice & Abbot Kinney boulevards

This park, which neighbors the Venice-Abbot Kinney Memorial Branch Library and built for Venice's centennial year of 2005,  was made on the very same median that carried the Pacific Electric Railway tracks, and in honor of that, the design on the park's paving resembles that of railroad tracks. The Militant went there in a famous bike ride to Venice Beach in 2008 and encountered a bunch of ducks walking in this park.

22. Venice Traffic Circle and the Lost Canals
1929
Grand and Windward avenues, Venice

Traffic circles, or "roundabouts" as they're known in Britain, are not a common sight in the US, much less Los Angeles, though a dozen or so are known to exist here (more in a future post). So what up with this one? This part of Venice was part of Abbot Kinney's original "Venice of America," replete with its own canals. But unlike their Italian counterpart, these canals were not physically connected to the ocean, and the water had gone stagnant and kinda gross. By the 1920s, the Venice city infrastructure was falling apart (which meant little resources or political will to maintain the canals), and the automobile had started to conquer the streets of the Southland. So they were filled in circa 1929. The CicLAvia course on Grand Avenue was once the Grand Canal, and the traffic circle was formerly the location of a large saltwater swimming lagoon. The surviving canals, located south of Venice Blvd, were built by a different developer a couple years after Kinney's canals opened.

23. Windward Hotel/Pacific Electric Station
1905
Windward and Pacific avenues, Venice

The Windward Hotel, now a traveler's hostel, is not only the oldest hotel building in Venice, but its eastern ground floor entrance also functioned as Venice's Pacific Electric station. For the first half of the 20th Century, Venice was a popular western destination for the Red Cars, and the preferred way to go. North of Windward Way, there was no Pacific Avenue, but a dedicated "Trolleyway" for the Red Cars. When passengers disembarked at the Venice station before 1929, they were treated to an awe-inspiring view of the large lagoon (now the traffic circle) and canals just across the street, welcoming them to Venice of America. Now, for CicLAvia, when you arrive here, use your imagination and pretend to be transported back to a time when you didn't need cars to get around. On this day, it won't be that hard.

24. Pacific Electric Grand Canal Bridge
1905
Grand Canal at Venice Blvd, Venice



Ride just a few blocks down Pacific Avenue to Venice Boulevard to see Venice's characteristic namesake -- it's system of canals, built in 1905 by the aforementioned Mr. Kinney. The ornate concrete bridge spanning two side of the Los Angeles City parking lot near the Grand Canal is the original bridge that carried the Pacific Electric Venice Short Line tracks until 1950.