Videos of Interest

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Saturday, April 10, 2010

Angels Flight funicular railway, Los Angeles. Opened 1901. Construction: Col. J.W. Eddy


Originally known as the Los Angeles Incline Railway, it was the imagination and perseverance of Colonel James Ward Eddy that led to its construction.  Opening in 1901, it connected the shopping district of downtown Los Angeles to the then upscale residential district of Bunker Hill.

The corner of 3rd and Hill Streets, Los Angeles 1903.

"The World's Shortest Railway" changed ownership a number of times during the ensuing decades.  The grand Victorian homes which stood proudly on Bunker Hill in the teens had gradually become rundown by the 1940s.  The homes and buildings on either side of the railway in the above photograph were gradually replaced with boarding houses and apartments.


Looking down on the intersection of 3rd and Hill Streets, Los Angeles 1950.

In 1959 Angels Flight was scheduled to be demolished as part of the Bunker Hill Urban Renewal Project.  Due to the tenacity of a dedicated group of supporters, Angels Flight was designated a Historic Cultural Landmark and the city dismantled it in 1969 to make way for office buildings and the Angelus Plaza senior condo complex promising to rebuild it in a few years.  It was stored away in a Gardena scrapyard.

Dismantling Angels Flight, Los Angeles 1969.

Those few years turned into 27 years, to be exact.  Finally, in 1996 Angels Flight reopened in it's present location near 4th and Hill Streets directly across from the Grand Central Market.  Retaining 60% of its original materials, it operated until 2001 when an accident caused it's closure.  Construction of a new braking system and other updates were made, and after many false starts over the past few years Angels Flight has reopened for new generations to enjoy.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

May Company, Wilshire & Fairfax, Los Angeles. Opened 1940. Architects: Albert C. Martin & S.A. Marx

David May founded what was to become The May Department Stores Company in Leadville, Colorado in 1877, one year before R.H. Macy founded his famous chain. It was in 1910 that the name The May Department Stores Company, later to be known as May Co., was officially incorporated. The May Company California division was established in 1923 when David May acquired A. Hamburger & Sons Co.

This striking building at the corner of Wilshire Blvd. and S. Fairfax Ave. marks the western end of the "Miracle Mile" in Los Angeles, a brand new concept in city planning for the 1920s that centered around the automobile as opposed to the pedestrian. The May Company Wilshire, as it was soon to be known, was constructed in 1940 by architects Albert C. Martin & S.A. Marx.

I took these photographs when I first moved to the area in 1989. How well I remember the 'store closing' sale during it's final months. Sadly, I never photographed the exquisite interior, with its wood paneled elevators and it's polished escalators. In my mind I can still picture the interior as it was when I walked through the doors off Wilshire Blvd. The May Company chain dissolved in 1993 and many of it's stores became Macy's Department Stores. Happily, this building was preserved and acquired by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. They've retained its streamlined facade for future generations to appreciate.


May Company Wilshire, corner of Wilshire Blvd. & S. Fairfax Ave., Los Angeles (1989)




May Company Wilshire, looking east down Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles (1989)