June 26th, 2007



Feathery summer clouds whitened the sky and softened the sunlight all afternoon. The town settled into its weekday placidity and nothing prevented me from joining it. Finding a couple of hours to squander on indolence was nice, and a bonus was the slight cooling trend. So I sat and listened to the sounds fading away as the evening light dimmed. I was surprised at how many birds I heard. Maybe it's the drought in the surrounding forest bringing them here where sprinklers keep the yards green.

Here's something strange to look at. It's an 1886 photo of the first building of Los Angeles High School, which had been built in 1871. In 1886 it was decided that the prominent hillside location of the school would be a perfect site for the new county courthouse, and so the big, two-story frame Italianate building was hiked up and moved a couple of blocks northwest, across some fairly steep terrain. This photo depicts the early stage of the move. I find the sight of this big building precariously perched on a mass of flimsy-looking scaffolding quite astonishing. That it was done in an era when animals, humans, and small steam engines provided all the motive power makes it seem even more remarkable. It's a wonder nobody was killed. The building survived the move and, though it ceased to be used as a high school after a few years, remained in its new location well into the 1940s. It was finally demolished to make way for the construction of the Hollywood Freeway.