The Treasures and Tragedies of Elysian Park On Demand Webinar

Our deep Los Angeles history videos are now available on a subscription streaming channel, with all you can watch by the month or the year. To learn more and see everything on the channel, click here.

If you’d like to subscribe and watch this webinar first, you’ll find it here.

If you asked a random sampling of Angelenos to name a mountainous municipal green space, most would say Griffith Park. But its smaller easterly neighbor Elysian Park, ten years older than Griffith, is equally packed with history, intrigue, beauty and tragedy.

Join Esotouric, L.A.’s most eclectic sightseeing tour company, for an immersive webinar exploring the cultural, natural, redevelopment, public policy, art and architectural history of Elysian Park, and the fascinating characters who have made history within its 600 acres.

Featured on this webinar:

• The story of the dedicated activist group Citizen’s Committee To Save Elysian Park (established 1965) and how founder Grace E. Simons used her experience as a journalist to turn neighbors into bare-knuckles public policy warriors protecting their beloved park from City Hall land grabs.

• A virtual tour of Francios Scotti’s sprawling faux bois waterfall gardens (1937), a city landmark hidden inside the Police Academy. Joining us is Terry Eagan, Southern California’s premier craftsman and restorer of faux bois, who will walk us through Scotti’s masterpiece and explain the tools and techniques of this traditional decorative landscaping technique.

• The story of how Barlow Respiratory Hospital’s historic campus, a city landmark, has served the community through more than a century of public health crises, from its founding as a TB sanitarium through establishment of California’s first AIDS hospice and our current pandemic.

• All about the long-forgotten World War I Victory Memorial Grove at Lilac Terrace and its recent restoration and reactivation. Joining us is historian and advocate Courtland Jindra, who studied the history and got city approval to bring in a volunteer crew to bring the lost memorial back from decades of neglect and vandalism.

• The grim tale of the city’s eminent domain seizure of Chavez Ravine for a failed public housing project, and the subsequent eviction of the remaining families in 1959. Our special guests are Bunker Hill redevelopment historian Nathan Marsak and Gordon Pattison, whose family was displaced from Bunker Hill in the 1960s. Gordon will give his evictee’s eye view of the Chavez Ravine tragedy and discuss the long term effect of displacement on communities.

And more Elysian Park lore to be revealed! This webinar is an illustrated lecture packed with rare photos that will bring the history of Elysian Park. And you’ll find the look of an Esotouric webinar is a little different than your standard dry Zoom session, with lively interactive graphics courtesy of the mmhmm app.

After the presentations, Kim, Richard, Terry, Courtland, Gordon and Nathan will answer your questions, so get ready to be a part of the show.

About Terry Eagan: Terry is the artisan of the Faux Bois Concrete Restoration Project at The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. Visit his website.

About Courtland Jindra: An early campaigner in California for the centennial of WW1, Courtland Jindra is an amateur historian and volunteer since 2014 for the United States World War I Centennial Commission. His “Great War” interest is largely focused on America’s contribution to and remembrance of it. Delving into Los Angeles Times’ archives, Jindra has located numerous memorials to the war in Southern California. He is a passionate advocate for highlighting their importance, and through them the war effort writ large. Learn more about his Victory Memorial Grove preservation campaign.

About Gordon Pattison: Gordon Pattison is a native son of Bunker Hill. His family owned the Salt Box and the Castle, the last two homes standing after the neighborhood was cleared for redevelopment. To learn more, see Gordon’s LAVA Sunday Salon presentation Old Bunker Hill: One Family’s Perspective. Gordon can also be found talking about Angels Flight Railway on Off-Ramp, visiting the few remaining pieces of his family’s houses at Heritage Square Museum, on KCET’s Lost L.A. series Lost Hills episode, L.A. As Subject’s funicular feature and remembering novelist John Fante at his square dedication and atop Bunker Hill. He can also be found on Esotouric’s The Lowdown on Downtown tours, sharing memories of lost Bunker Hill.

About Nathan Marsak: Nathan is the author of the books “Bunker Hill Los Angeles: Essence of Sunshine and Noir” and “Los Angeles Neon” and can be found spitting tacks in the character of The Cranky Preservationist. His blog is Bunker Hill Los Angeles.


About Esotouric: As undergraduates at UC Santa Cruz, Kim Cooper and Richard Schave inexplicably hated one another on sight. (Perhaps less inexplicably, their academic advisor believed they were soul mates). A chance meeting 18 years later proved much more agreeable. Richard wooed Kim with high level library database access, with which she launched the 1947project true crime blog, highlighting a crime a day from the year of The Black Dahlia and Bugsy Siegel slayings. The popular blog’s readers demanded a tour, and then another. The tour was magical, a hothouse inspiring new ways for the by-then-newlyweds to tell the story of Los Angeles. Esotouric was born in 2007 with a calendar packed with true crime, literary, architecture and rock and roll tours. Ever since, it has provided a platform for promoting historic preservation issues (like the Save the 76 Ball campaign and the landmarking of Charles Bukowski’s bungalow), building a community of urban explorers (including dozens of free talks and tours under the umbrella of LAVA) and digging even deeper into the secret heart of the city they love.

Rights and permissions: By attending an Esotouric webinar, you acknowledge that the entirety of the presentation is copyrighted, and no portion of the video or text may be reproduced in any fashion.

On-Demand Webinars

True Crime

California Culture