In the late 1960s, after the Community Redevelopment Agency bought up all the boarding houses, hotels, shops and taverns, displaced 9000 people and brought in the bulldozers, it seemed like the end for Bunker Hill, the Victorian neighborhood above Downtown. But a funny thing happened, as the proposed redevelopment stalled and new ideas about adaptive reuse, historic preservation, environmentalism and tenants rights took root: people who never visited old Bunker Hill began to study, celebrate and explore it–virtually–through the thousands of photos, film clips, stories and paintings that survive. Bunker Hill might be dead, but its ghosts are active and eager to meet you.
Join Esotouric and Bunker Hill historian Nathan Marsak for an immersive time travel trip onto modern Bunker Hill, to explore the lost neighborhood and how it grew, with stops to memorialize iconic landmarks and fascinating personalities, and its double life as a favorite film noir location. Then once you’ve fallen in love with the lively and lovely old neighborhood, we’ll break your heart with how local and Federal officials conspired to knock it all down, and the lessons this failed redevelopment scheme can teach Angelenos of today. Plus, we’ll explore the new Bunker Hill’s best buildings and public spaces, an open-air Museum of Modernism, featuring remarkable examples of Late Moderne, New Formalist, Postmodernism and more, and revisit some notorious crime scenes from the past.
If that sounds like an unusually rich and layered walking tour, that’s because it is! Our guest host Nathan Marsak is the author of three very different books about Bunker Hill–Bunker Hill Los Angeles, Bunker Noir! and Marsak’s Guide to Bunker Hill–and this tour includes elements of all of them. You’ll have a chance to buy copies and get them autographed after the tour.
Tour begins at 10:30am sharp, with check-in time 10am at the patio outside Grand Central Market at 324 S Hill St, Los Angeles, CA 90013. Please arrive on time and proceed to the check in table to get signed in and logged in to the smartphone slideshow. Scroll down for tour rules and recommendations.
There are numerous paid public parking lots around Grand Central Market, including GCM’s multi-level lot at 308 South Hill Street Los Angeles, California 90013. The nearest Metro stations are Civic Center/Grand Park and Pershing Square. If using public transit, this link can help you plan your trip:
BE PREPARED: This is a walking hour lasting 3 hours, over a mix of level ground and occasional hills and stairs moving at a casual pace. Wear comfortable walking shoes, sunscreen and a hat. Bring your smartphone so you can view the tour slide show. We will have a cooler with cold water, and you’re encouraged to bring a full water bottle. A restroom will be available at the start, the middle, and at the end of the tour. If you need more information about what to expect, please email us.
COVID SAFETY: At this time, we no longer require that masks be worn on walking tours, with the exception of when we visit the cramped and unventilated basement speakeasy beneath the King Edward Hotel and the Dutch Chocolate Shop space. Please bring a mask to wear for this portion of the tour. If you forget your mask, we can provide one on check in.
CAMERA POLICY: No video- or audio-taping unless it has been pre-cleared with us, please. Still cameras and sketchbooks are fine.
If you feel like you’re getting sick, if you test positive for Covid-19, or if you have knowingly been in contact with a positive case of Covid-19 in the last 7 days, please do not attend the tour. Let us know not to expect you. If notified at least 72 hours before tour departure, we can refund or reschedule your booking. If notified at least 24 hours before departure, we can honor the booking on a future date. You may also gift your ticket to someone else—we will need their name, email address and phone number to make this switch.