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These three Victorian houses once overlooked downtown Los Angeles from a position on Bunker Hill. Though they survived into my lifetime, I have no memory of them. All I can recall on that stretch of the east side of the 300 block of south Olive Street is a parking lot. They were quite splendid, still, in this 1960 photograph.
Their site today is occupied by the large development to which the Angel's Flight funicular railway was moved a number of years ago. In fact, if the house on the right were still there, the top of the railway (formerly about half a block north, at Third Street) would probably be right outside its southern windows- and about twenty feet down, as some 40 feet was removed from the hill's top with redevelopment. I've not seen the new development, except in pictures, but I doubt that I'd like it. I tend to react badly to the urban vacuities which have replaced the subtle and complex patterns of the old city.
These houses have probably been gone a bit more than half as long as they stood. Their site was vacant for decades after they were destroyed. I wonder if what has replaced them will survive as long as they did? If not, I wouldn't be apt to miss it. Undoubtedly, it could easily be replaced by something better. This stately row was not. I'm not sorry that I haven't seen whatever is in this location now, but I wish I could remember having seen these houses.
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borutz: 2nd Mar 2005 - 15:13 GMT
such a pretty photos! also i am like the new homepage look it is really good for the new look and easily to go around on.
hasslehoff: 2nd Mar 2005 - 15:39 GMT
it is something of great interest to me to see old photographs of places familiar to me. to see what has been and gone. what was and what is now. it is interesting to see how development is not necessarily synonymous with progress.
these building were pretty.
elaine: 23rd Apr 2005 - 07:58 GMT
Joe, looking through your articles here, it seems amazing to me that you even attempt to live in Los Angeles, with your sensibility. I mean, there are some nooks and crannies, but it does strike me as being generally pretty harsh and car based, wheras you seem to be the kind of contemplative soul perfect for, I dunno, Venice, or somewhere?
Lili: 12th Jun 2005 - 13:41 GMT
In a certain way the photos, the description and the comments make me think of how the values of those who control large material interests, such as money or realestate, are often, it appears, not balanced; makes me think of one of John Carpenter's (sp?) early
EvilGentleman: 17th Jul 2006 - 08:18 GMT
I find it absolutely incredible that historical stuctures are valued so little in a land where they are so rare. I could understand Europeans not being terribly attached to hundred-year-old buildings, but they also have Roman ruins and Gothic cathedrals. Over here, these Victorian buildings are often the oldest structures around, yet nobody cares. If you look at the way the historic parts of many North American cities are preserved, it seems that the missionaries came and left a few scattered museums, and then a few hundred years later, skyscrapers, pareking lots, shopping malls and apartment blocks filled in the gaps. Most cities have no historical continuity, just the very earliest stuff and the modern. What a disgraceful lack of respect for all the people that spent hundreds of years to build the missions into the cities we know today.
mariesandoval: 20th Apr 2007 - 19:13 GMT
This saddens me. The victorian homes have so much life in them. The beauty within it self shows it. Why would anyone destory such beauty. To build other buildings that we have enough of. We need to be reminded on how life is to short for us-not to be able to enjoy what these homes give to us. Which is Happiness just by looking back to the past and how everyone was happy - to help each other when needed. Because the warmth of the house gave the warmth within us. Thats the way it should be. Thats what i see when i look at this photo of the victorian houses. Joe thanks for your for trying your best to recall on what you can. Maybe not everyone shares my point of view-but each house as a story to tell. Just look and you can see. april 19-07
Franny Wentzel: 9th Feb 2010 - 15:20 GMT
An early image of the Angels Flight funicular...
At the time it was for the use of residents atop Bunker Hill. The builders also put up a little observation tower to let people see the distant San Gabriel Mountains. By the time 1940s film noirs were showing the system as a backdrop larger buildings had taken over much of the area.
The Angels Flight was dismantled in the 60s and reerected a half- block away in the 90s. It was closed at the turn of this century due to an fatal accident blamed on a faulty redesign of the haulage mechanism. It has yet to reopen.
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