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Falling Down [Aug. 1st, 2007|04:43 pm]
The larval stage of a bridge fell down just a few miles from here the other day, but I didn't get to see it. There's no word on the fate of the packages in the FedEx truck.

Then while I was writing the collapse of our larval-stage bridge, I heard about the collapse of that mature bridge in Minneapolis. Weird.

And was anybody else unaware that there is a website run by an outfit called the Disaster News Network? It's for those who just can't get enough disaster news through the regular media, I guess.

After viewing the disaster news (of which I get quite enough, thanks) I went looking for an absence of disaster and found this: The larval stage of the modern world is on display in this ca.1896 photo of Broadway in Los Angeles, looking as dry and dusty as my brain feels on this hot August day. I looked at the nine cyclists balanced on their wheels (rented, perhaps, from the establishment occupying the ground floor shop in the Delaware Hotel), and wondered where in that quiet, provincial city they were off to on that placid afternoon some 110 years ago. I guess that's one more thing I'll never know.

[User Picture]From: gutbloom
2007-08-02 03:26 am (UTC)

I Would Like the Stew For Breakfast

"First Class Meals at All Hours"

There off to the dog fights, I think, or maybe they're going to peddle out to the country and have a smoke.
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[User Picture]From: flying_blind
2007-08-02 04:08 am (UTC)

Re: I Would Like the Stew For Breakfast

The cyclists are headed north, so (depending on what turnings they made) they might have reached the open county within ten or fifteen minutes without much exertion. They'd have gotten to the open land sooner had they gone south, as the center of Los Angeles (population somewhere around 70,000 in the mid 1890s) was then in the vicinity of First and Spring Streets, about a quarter mile north of the Delaware Hotel.

For this reason I think your first surmise may be correct, and they were headed for the dog fights, which would most likely have been held at a hastily announced location in either Chinatown or Sonora Town, the old Mexican district, both of which were north of downtown.

But then it's also possible that these were early examples of Southern California's noted health and fitness fanatics, and that they were off on a ten or twelve mile jaunt up the Arroyo Seco to Pasadena where (if the photo is from late enough in the decade) they might have had a go at the first section of Horace Dobbins' California Cycleway, which was opened about that time.

I'm sure the stew would have been fine for breakfast, and most likely would have been served with fresh drop biscuits. Tamales were also popular breakfast fare in Los Angeles in those days, and were widely available even in Anglo restaurants. Either meal would have provided plenty of calories to the avid bycyclist. Men, or their stomachs at least, were made of sterner stuff in those days, I think.

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[User Picture]From: gutbloom
2007-08-02 04:18 am (UTC)

Re: I Would Like the Stew For Breakfast

The Horace Dobbins' Cycleway is remarkable. I'm all for its recreation... it would be a recreation recreation.
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[User Picture]From: flying_blind
2007-08-02 04:51 am (UTC)

Re: I Would Like the Stew For Breakfast

There is a widespread impression among younger Californians that Dobbins' cycleway was completed, but he actually managed to build only the section from downtown Pasadena to a point near that city's southern limits. It was several miles from there to downtown Los Angeles. It wasn't really competition from automobiles that killed the idea, either. Most people just preferred to use the convenient and economical interurban streetcar service which had been in operation for several years before Dobbins began his project.

The legend of the bicycle freeway has been useful in stimulating support for a modern bike path along the Arroyo though. A few years ago they the Pasadena Freeway was shut down for a day and opened to pedestrians and cyclists as a demonstration of what it might be like to have a modern bike path there.

Horace Dobbins was an interesting character from an interesting family. His niece was pioneer aviatrix Pancho Barnes,who was related on the other side of her family to Thaddeus Lowe, builder of another lost landmark of Southern California recreational transportation, the Mount Lowe Railway.
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