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Parting Shot

January 29, 2011

Highland Park circa 1905. (Click to biggify.)

Before this blog goes to sleep, want to include this never-before-seen photo of Highland Park circa 1905.

This view is looking Northeast up toward the San Gabriel Mountains from where today is the upper parking lot of the Southwest Museum on Mount Washington. On the left is the The Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway, that we know better today as The Metro Gold Line. On the right is Figueroa lined with power, trolley, telegraph poles and Echo Street running east to Avenue 52. In the foreground are homes of Professor’s Row on Sycamore Terrace. The large buildings to the left are Occidental College on Figueroa Street at Avenue 50.  On the other side of the railroad tracks along between Avenue 50 and 51 where court apartments are today is a very large government-like structure that I can only assume was part of Occidental college. Also, next to the tracks on the south side of Avenue 50 is a building where today is that empty lot with a cement slab and steps to nowhere. In the distance on the left around Avenue 55 is another large building I’m guessing is Saint Luke’s Methodist Church. The hills around Highland Park are largely undeveloped. If this photo were in color we could likely see patches of orange on Poppy Peak to the left.

On the right side of the photograph, just as automobiles do today, the blur of a horse and buggy can be seen speeding down the hill on Figueroa Street (Then Pasadena Avenue) in front of the newly built Pillar of Fire church building. The building closest building to the camera is now where the Arroyo Seco Magnet School is. At this point in 1905, the branch of Arroyo Seco creek has already been graded and bridged over by the Attison Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad, and Figueroa Street. Just across Figueroa from Professor’s Row, it looks like there was a park where the Hillside Baptist Church is between Avenue 50 and Echo. Way off in the distance on the right is The Raymond Hotel (the new 1901 one) in South Pasadena. Along Figueroa, what looks like little bushes are growing, those will become the towering palm trees we see there today. The photo is similar to one found in the LA Library photo archive dated 1908, taken near the same spot, but I haven’t seen this particular photo anywhere before. It’s amazing how many of the homes are still there. Amazing how familiar this place looks. It looks like home, it looks like a place with a history, a place awaiting its future.

23 Comments leave one →
  1. HLP permalink
    January 29, 2011 8:54 am

    I’ve been following your blog since moving to HLP over a year ago. I learned quite a bit about my new neighborhood’s history thanks to you.

    Enjoy the painting!

  2. January 29, 2011 9:09 am

    perfect ending. perfect photo

  3. David Kekone permalink
    January 29, 2011 10:04 am

    Your wonderful insight to all that is Highland Park will be missed.
    Thank You.
    Thank You.
    Thank You.

  4. January 29, 2011 11:40 am


    Your presence will be missed. Although my blog has changed to be very transport (read: bike) centric since I started it not too long ago, 90042 was a big inspiration when I started and 90042 is still hugely influential. You’ve made this blog the best it could possibly be and your break is well deserved. I very much look forward to seeing you pick up the blog again, whenever that will be.



    ps. You are one of the best tweeters around!

  5. Jeff permalink
    January 29, 2011 6:12 pm


    Thank you for all your work over the years on this blog…it is appreciated…

    Hope to see you soon…


  6. nimby permalink
    January 30, 2011 9:17 am

    Thank you for the good work. This blog has been valuable.

  7. January 30, 2011 11:58 pm

    Your pictures and how you retold the history around here was true art! Thanks for all your hard work.

    And good luck on your new art!!

  8. Jones Foyer permalink
    January 31, 2011 10:14 am

    I’m going to miss this blog a LOT! I check it every day. Hope to see your artwork as you develop it on Flickr, Waltarrrr!

  9. January 31, 2011 11:46 am

    we will miss your blog and tweets greatly. steve is a giant history buff and looks forward to your insights and photos. I’ve personally learned so much about highland park thru this blog and your tweets. we look forward to you blogging and tweeting again! steve and jana

    • January 31, 2011 11:54 am

      i hit post too soon. we also wanted to wish you great luck with your art. we hope you find inspiration everywhere…..

  10. January 31, 2011 2:02 pm

    Going to miss all the pictures you dug up! Good luck!

  11. Eric Howard permalink
    January 31, 2011 8:13 pm

    Waltarrrrr, I will miss your blog! It was grrrrreat.

  12. Griffith Park Wayist permalink
    February 4, 2011 10:54 am

    Vaya con carne, Waltarrrr. You da man.

  13. Michele permalink
    February 7, 2011 6:18 pm

    I just discovered this blog and now it is no more?

    (former Highland Park resident 1987-1992)

  14. guia permalink
    February 16, 2011 2:50 pm

    Thanks so much Walter. Wish I had stumbled on your blog sooner. It has been really educting, and have enjoyed passing it along to people. Will look forward to your photostream for updateds. Thanks so much again, and hope you consider comming back in the future!

  15. roy permalink
    February 22, 2011 5:14 pm

    wow! what an awesome photo!!!
    where do you find photos like this of highland park?
    my family and i live on a hill just west of fig and north of meridian…any idea where i could find old photos of that area?

  16. roy permalink
    February 22, 2011 5:14 pm

    wow! what an awesome photo!!!
    where do you find photos like this of highland park?
    my family and i live on a hill just west of fig and north of meridian…any idea where i could find old photos of that area?

    • February 24, 2011 11:23 am

      Thanks. The Los Angeles Public Library, and USC have excellent on-line photo archives. Just search using “Highland Park” as a keyword. The photo seen in this post came from an undisclosed archive, but looks similar to one found in the LAPL archive.

  17. L.F. permalink
    August 16, 2011 8:45 am

    Thank you very much, I can see the street where I’ve lived for over ten years. Peace and Blessings

  18. November 29, 2012 11:41 am

    You possess an absolutely useful site, if you prefer exchanging link with each other, you will increase your google rank and will have more daily entries.
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  19. September 12, 2013 10:10 pm

    I always loved the history of the place i’m living in. I was having brunch one day and found a flyer to They’re about to open up a museum with everything san Fernando valley and I can’t wait.


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