Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Great (?) Moments in Los Angeles History

So September 4th is the 230th birthday of the city of Los Angeles- HB LA! To celebrate, let’s look back at one of the first mayors of the city- Stephen C. Foster. He served from 1854- 1855, then again in 1856. Why the break? According to “Mayors of Los Angeles”, published by the city- “He was a member of local vigilante groups formed to help control crime during a period of unprecedented lawlessness and once resigned his office to head a lynch mob.” (Italics mine.) Yeah! The mayor left his job to join a lynch mob! Once the job was done, he resumed his duties as mayor. I’m trying to imagine any politician today temporarily leaving office to do something like that.

But if you’re in the mood to celebrate LA’s birthday, why not take a hike? (No, I’m not insulting you.) Los Pobladores, a group made up of the ancestors of the city’s founding families, will take a nine mile hike on September 4- go to for more information.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Double Double Toil and Trouble

The above house is located in:

A)    Germany
B)     Austria
C)    The Land of Oz
D)    Beverly Hills

The answer is, of course, D. What I refer to as the Witch’s House, or others call the Hansel and Gretel house, is located in the flats of Beverly Hills. According to “Architecture in Los Angeles”, it was originally designed in 1921 in Culver City as a movie set and office for Irvin V. Willst Productions, then moved.

The antithesis of a McMansion!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Habit Forming

Among all the sin and debauchery of Hollywood, there are- very improbably- cloistered nuns. Monastery of the Angels, located at
1977 Carmen Avenue
since 1965, is a Dominican order. To support themselves, they run a gift shop and sell chocolate candy, pumpkin bread, and other goodies. The next time you’re in Hollywood and want to do something really different- this is it!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Moomoo Who?

Santa Monica is a friendly, walkable city that attracts a ton of people- locals and tourists alike.  I’ve walked and driven with many of them. And one of their favorite questions when we’re on
Ocean Avenue
and see this sign (right before the pier) is:

“Who the hell is Moomat Ahiko?”

I can now tell you the answer! Moomat Ahiko is not a who- it’s a what. It is a Chumash phrase meaning “Breath of the Ocean”. The Chumash were the native people of the area. The city of Santa Monica gave the former Route 187 this designation in 2004. (Go to The city minutes mention the fact that the staff will explore “signage or some other appropriate marker” to let people know what this phrase means.

It’s 2011- we’re still waiting!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Real Tigers on the Golf Course

Griffith Park, bequeathed by Colonel Griffith in1896, has, among other assets, 53 miles of hiking trails, campgrounds, a zoo, an observatory, and two 18 hole golf courses. They are Harding and Wilson, named after the Presidents. (There is a third course named Roosevelt- only 9 holes!) If you are on the 18th hole of Wilson, getting ready to approach the green, you can hear the animals in the zoo, because it backs up to the fairway. It is a bizarre feeling to be in the middle of Los Angeles with a golf club in your hands, ready to make a shot, and hear the trumpeting of an elephant.
Berlin, LA’s sister city, has Zoo (train) Station near their zoo; LA has a golf course next to theirs!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Citizen Activist At Work

I have already designated the sign that reads “
Christopher Columbus Transcontinental Highway
” as my favorite highway sign- or perhaps I should say my favorite “highway designation”. My favorite sign is (was) an illegally produced and installed freeway sign in Downtown LA, on the 110.

Until this sign was erected, drivers who wished to go north on the 5 had no idea which lane to travel in, or, for that matter, if the 5 continued north. The 5 south was clearly marked. So Richard Ankrom, a local artist, decided to help out motorists. He constructed the sign according to Caltrans’(the governmental agency that oversees the freeways) specifications, then climbed up over the freeway and installed it. No one stopped him (proving if you look like you know what you’re doing, you can get away with anything). It was up for weeks before anyone at Caltrans caught on to the fact that they had not put it up, nor had they authorized it. But- and here’s the most amazing thing- THEY LET IT STAY THERE.

That was in 2001. Finally, in 2008, they substituted their own official Caltrans sign in, which said exactly the same thing- so Mr. Ankrom’s sign has been up 10 years, helping motorists 24/7.