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Los Angeles Air Raid Siren No 184 Falls

Q: If a 1950s air raid siren falls in South Los Angeles, will anybody come and get it? Obsolete infrastructure can be beautiful in its decay, but not when it fails, spilling potentially deadly hunks of steel onto private property. When Siren No. 184 came down, we got...

Raymond & Cissy Chandler in the 1950 census

Happy 1950 U.S. Census release day! It’s 72 years since enumerators with cute little clipboards and mechanical pencils fanned out across post-war America and asked every soul they could buttonhole for their stats. A decade ago, I blogged about the 1940 Census...

Save Cornelius Johnson’s Olympic Oak

Real estate developers have drawn a bullseye around many of the most historic neighborhoods in Los Angeles, where they are displacing working class tenants, demolishing naturally occurring affordable housing, and getting parcels rezoned to build out-of-scale new...

The Leland Hotel, Empty No More

There’s something wonderful happening on “The Nickel,” the portion of Fifth Street that connects the gritty Skid Row neighborhood of Downtown Los Angeles with the business district to the West: the early 20th century residency hotels whose owner Izek...

Monastery of the Angels Advocacy Campaign

May 13, 2022: Announcing the creation of Friends of the Angels. When we learned that the Dominican Order might no longer be able to maintain the Monastery of the Angeles in Hollywood, and that the land might be sold for private use or redevelopment, we came together...

The Hotel Barclay, Empty No More

In 2018, we celebrated the return of two treasures of Downtown Los Angeles to useful service as residential buildings, when the Healthy Housing Foundation purchased the largely vacant King Edward and Baltimore hotels from developer Izek Shomof. Although a binding...
Big John Maljevic, 1927-2021

Big John Maljevic, 1927-2021

Yesterday we lost Big John, our dear friend who was the most extraordinary portal to the weird, creative, anything-goes Los Angeles that used to be. John was a master craftsman, a builder of car washes, a teetotaler nightclub owner, designer of crooked gambling...
The Eagle Tree: Dead or Alive?

The Eagle Tree: Dead or Alive?

Richard Schave looks on The Eagle Tree, November 2019 It’s always unpleasant to break the news that a significant cultural landmark is in trouble. During a pandemic, it feels cruel. But we can’t sit on this information any longer: Compton’s landmark...
King Eddy Bar poem (1997)

King Eddy Bar poem (1997)

Do you love and miss the old King Eddy bar as it was before the Downtown L.A. gentrification brush blotted out its soul? Come slip into that dark, cool place in this poem by Bernard Tucker, graciously shared by his sons. King Eddy Bar The door yawns lets in the...

Vermonica Lives!

December 1, 2020 update: Today, with little fanfare due to the public health restrictions in Los Angeles and in full daylight, the lamps of the restored Vermonica were switched on by artist Sheila Klein. A proper celebration will take place when it is again safe to...