Friday, May 26, 2006

The Not-So-Ancient Ruins of Los Angeles

The old Los Angeles zoo, still found in Griffith Park

Excellent post by Hexodus at about some of the modern "ruins" to be found in Los Angeles (and vicinity).

It's not hard to find evidence of old, abandoned portions of L.A. -- you've seen 'em, but might not have given them much thought. Like those train tracks (left over from the days of the Red Cars -- which haven't existed in over 40 years) still found embedded in the pavement in parts of town (including downtown). Or the old zoo in Griffith Park -- complete with abandoned animal cages.

Some of the spots Hexodus mentions:

1. Sunken City: Remains of a neighborhood perched upon a cliff in San Pedro, now falling apart more and more with each rainstorm. Many pieces of sidewalk and street are scattered at crazy angles throughout the area.

2. The Dominator: The wreck of the Greek freighter, Dominator, which crashed just off the coast of Palos Verdes. The rusting hull paints the shoreline rocks orange as oxidization takes its inevitable course.

3. Echo Mountain House: The remains of a mountaintop resort above Altadena. A century ago there was transport to the top, and a railway up here. Now we just see hotel's foundation and giant rusting gears.

4. Belmont Tunnel: A trolley tunnel cum graffiti yard/tarrasca court, seen in many movies [as well as the music video to the Red Hot Chili Peppers' "Under the Bridge"], and recently deceased despite the best efforts to Save Belmont.

5. Old Zoo: The former site of the Los Angeles Zoo, in Griffith Park, which was closed in 1965 and everything was moved upstream to the current locale. No animals anymore. Just empty cages and picnic tables.

In the comments section, readers also add these:

The Bridge to Nowhere

The old Huntington Hartford estate in Runyon Canyon; the San Gabriel Valley's Bridge to Nowhere; the Bronson Canyon Park caves in the Hollywood Hills; the Spider Pool; and several from the LA City Nerd:

... The rail road tracks that peak through the asphalt on Alameda east of the Civic Center and throughout the industrial area there (long since abandoned, of course).
... The remenants of a former "Red Car bridge" in the hills of Silver Lake/Atwater at Riverside Drive & Glendale. (There are TVs on them now.)
...the Campo de Cahuenga foundations, across Lankershim from Universal Studios?
... Mission Hills' ancient foundations, as well, found this last year:
... the "ruins" of Glendale's "Grand Central Airport," just north of Griffith Park's Ferraro Soccer Fields.
... the lost neighborhoods of LAX, as referenced at Curbed LA.

Here are a few of mine: If you hike up to the Hollywood sign (technically a no-no), you'll see that the cement and metal foundations are still there for the "L," "A," "N" and "D" -- from back when the sign actually said "Hollywoodland." Also, across the street from the Ralphs supermarket on the Miracle Mile, you can still make out the footprint of the streamline moderne Coulter's department store. Sadly, the building was demolished in the early 80s-- and a swampy pit has sat there ever since. But you can still see the bottom of the posts that once held the building up.

Also, you can still frequently make out the ghost of signs that once graced still-standing buildings. Look closely, and you can still make out the word "Prudential" in the Miracle Mile building now known as "Museum Square." And the faint hint of "May Co." remains on the LACMA West building.

The late, lamented Coulter's on Wilshire

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