rejectomorph (flying_blind) wrote,


I've spent another night spent mucking about in the detritus of California's history at the State Library web site, while listening to the rain fall. The rain gradually diminished, and now has failed. I was hoping that it would last long enough to sing me to sleep. It might yet return, though, as the sky shows no indication of clearing. The clouds remain so dense that I can't even see a bright spot that would indicate the position of the moon.

In the Arnold Hylen collection of photographs, I found one that shows three Victorian houses which 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 Olive Street is a parking lot. They are quite splendid still in Hylen's 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. 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.

As always, click through on the picture to see the larger versions.

Olive Street, Los Angeles, 1960
Olive Street, Los Angeles, 1960

These three Victorians were on the east side of the 300 block of Olive Street in downtown Los Angeles until the mid-1960s, when they, and all their neighboring buildings, were demolished for the Bunker Hill urban renewal project.


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