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The Trolley Took Us To The End 01.28.11

January 29, 2011

The LAMTA "Crying' J Streetcar 3002 on February, 8th 1963 on Pacific Blvd near Vernon-Huntington Park soon after the end to streetcar service was announced. Photo by Alan Weeks via The Metro Transportation Library and Archive.

LAMTA Crying J Streetcar 3002 on the last month of service, March 6, 1963. Photo by Alan Weeks via The Metro Transportation Library and Archive.

Resolutions. –That is what the New Year is for. Resolving to do something different. So too has come time for me to do something different here at the 90042 Blog.

"Goodbye Forever Old Sweethearts and pals!" The LAMTA J Line Crying streetcar at Pico & Grand on March 6, 1963. Photo by Alan Weeks via the Metro Transportation Library and Archive.


This blog started out as an effort by me, Waltarrrrr, as a way to sharpen my abysmal writing skills (paired with dyslexia) while documenting my Highland Park experiences. I soon found out readers actually came to depend on whatever information and perspective I had on this place in Northeast Los Angeles.

The very last Los Angeles streetcar rolls out of service. April Fools Day 1963. Photo by Alan Weeks via The Metro Transportation Library and Archive.

All-too-often I posted the only notices of shootings or murders in our community that real media outlets ignored. I’m quite proud of what I managed to accomplish over the past four-and-a-half years. Stories that would have otherwise never been told, were shared, and history was remembered. I feel the community was better off for whatever contribution was made. I tried to keep it interesting and avoided being too self-indulging. (Sorry, my blog, my indulgence.) So many stories I wanted to do but never had enough time. As small as this zip code seems, or as non-affluent as it may seem, I could have written a story about it every day and never fully told the story of this place we call home.

Los Angeles Transit Line "W" Streetcar on the last day of service on top of Figueora Street at Buena Vista Terrace in Highland Park on April 17, 1958. Photo by Alan Weeks via The Metro Transportation Library and Archive.

Some people I have to really thank for inspiring me, and making this blog what it is. Pasadena Adjacent, your encouragement and interest was always appreciated. The local neighborhood bloggers that kept me from seeming like a howling madman in the wilderness: El Chavo!, Chimatli, El Random Hero, and the other fine folks at LA Eastside. Above The City, Ryan? from York Blvd wherever you disappeared to. LA City Nerd and Militant Angeleno for reminding me place matters. (Especially when it is the best place on Earth!) Scott Beale at Laughing Squid. Sean Bonner (where this WordPress Vigilance theme was first seen), Will Campbell and the rest of the folks at Micheal Schneider at Franklin Avenue (the original L.A. neighborhood blogger as far as I can tell) Highland Park historian, Charles Fisher. Charlie Lummis who spoke to me in my dreams. Thanks to Jesus Sanchez and The Eastsider LA, despite the cartography-challenged view of the Eastside from what is really the Westside, they ALWAYS gave props, credit, and the very important Hat-Tip; which made it worth while. Thanks to the “Repo Man 90042 Scavenger Hunt Team” that inspired the name for this blog. Thanks to Marino Pascal and Christopher Howard for starting the NELA List in 2001. Pat Griffith, Eliot Sekuler, Bill Murray, Martha Benedict and the ASNCAlert List. And special thanks to transportation photographer extraordinaire, Alan Weeks whose photos on the Metro flickr stream inspired me to research and discover Highland Park’s rich history as a streetcar suburb. Last, but never least, the amazing editor who never missed an opportunity to correct me, my darling wife and muse, Cris.

The last streetcar out of the downtown L.A. subway tunnel at Toluca Yard, heading for Glendale on June 19th, 1955. Photo via the Metro Transportation Archive and Library.


May or may not write more about the March Elections. Or express my opinion on York Blvd., the Highland Park Transit Village or other local developments. Can’t say. What I can say is this blog is going to sleep for a while. The weekly posts just won’t be there anymore. Instead, I plan to focus on my first love, Art. I’m a painter by trade. As a byproduct of putting my efforts into writing and researching this blog, I haven’t actually made a painting in some time. In my studio sits a pile of blank canvases awaiting my attention. This year I resolved to start painting rather than writing, to start sketching rather than tweeting. I’m a craftsperson, a maker. At this juncture I need to create tangible objects more than web posts.

It has been a fun trip, but the time has come to put the blog to rest. Thanks for sharing the ride.

Scrap pile 1956.



34 Comments leave one →
  1. jmcglo permalink
    January 29, 2011 6:49 am

    This makes me sad, but I am happy for you as an artist. Your blog has been such an incredible resource for all of us that live here. I’ve been inspired and informed by you and will truly miss your insights. You’ve painted beautiful neighborhood pictures for us here. I hope taking them to your canvases is as productive and powerful for you. Thank you.

  2. LA City Nerd permalink
    January 29, 2011 8:12 am

    Thanks for keeping up the good fight. It’s been years since we were able to blog, but we’ve been checking in on your work and loved it. Thanks for celebrating LA!

  3. Brian Mallman permalink
    January 29, 2011 8:23 am

    Wow! I’m bummed to read this… You’ve done an amazing job and I’ve enjoyed reading your blog from the start. However, it’s nice to hear that you will be getting back to the studio! I wish you all the best. Thanks for everything.

    Brian Mallman

  4. January 29, 2011 9:08 am

    I didn’t fully expect this; but I have sensed a kind of tiredness among us die hard bloggers. I’ll add to the chorus that yes, you will be sorely missed. I completely understand the why(s). Object makers need to make objects. Thanks for the thanks.

    I do hope you make it to the bloggers picnic come March (19th). You’ll have to leave the Highlands for the upper Denas.

  5. Matthew Smith permalink
    January 29, 2011 9:12 am

    Thank you, your blog has been a pleasure, and made me feel at home ever since moving to NELA.

  6. The dude abides permalink
    January 29, 2011 9:41 am

    I came to the 90042 blog party late, but in the year I have been reading it, I have discovered a city I never knew and have been inspired to get on my bike and explore. Thanks for your hard work and relentless effort. This daily read and especially the tweets will be missed.

  7. carol permalink
    January 29, 2011 9:42 am

    I will truly miss this blog. I’ve found it fascinating seeing all the old photos that I haven’t seen before. You’ve done a wonderful job of showing us our history. Many thanks for that! And the best to you in your future endeavors. Hope you’ll update us from time to time on the progress of your new efforts!

  8. Martha Benedict permalink
    January 29, 2011 10:34 am

    Yours has been one of the very best of the local blogs, a new form that you have helped create. 90042′s standard has made all the others better. You have a great heart and a spectacular family to nurture it. I’m looking forward to the ways your creativity will expand beyond the computer.

  9. January 29, 2011 12:05 pm

    This news ruined my 2011. It reminds me of what happened when Streetsblog LA and The Bottleneck Blog (which morphed into The Source) came onto the transit and planning scene – all the fools like me decided it was time to do something else with our time.

    You’ve got a Masters degree in this community. It is insane that we all treated your hard work like the sunshine – lovely and free for all time. “The Patch” is cool, but nowhere near as cool as this blog and your presence on Twitter.

  10. The bug girl permalink
    January 29, 2011 12:06 pm

    What everyone else has said is true for me as well. I have come to love reading your blog and really enjoy the tweets as well. Though not a resident of 90042 (I hale from the 90032) I travel to this area every week and have loved learning more about it. Good luck with your art. Keep us posted on your progress and shows. Your voice will be missed.

  11. Will Campbell permalink
    January 29, 2011 1:56 pm

    I will look forward to however you may decide to one day return to blogville, but in the meantime I’m gonna do my worst not to miss your indispensable blog and my best to live without it. See you on the streets my friend.

  12. Lisa Brewer permalink
    January 29, 2011 2:56 pm

    i knew it! The blog had gone quiet and i could sense some kind of reevaluation taking place.

    Many thanks for the hours and years of work put into bringing this journal to us and huzzah and yes! to your art and your own life.

    But, Dammit, Waltarrrrr, i will miss this blog like nobody’s business.
    i’ve lived in the hood for 15 years. When i first arrived i wondered what it was i’d done but shortly after discovered that Highland Park was the home i’d been looking for all my life.
    My neighborhood is crammed full of the most wonderful people i’ve ever met. We all started meeting and partying and working to better our hood and it’s been a blast. Life on the Blvds seemed sketchy but every year seemed to bring some type of subtle, positive change. The birth of your blog was one of those wondrous emergences. Like, there’s more intelligent life out there!

    It’s the contemplative voice of this blog that i have enjoyed the most, 90042 as journaled thru an artist’s view, with a finely aimed spotlight on the area’s history.

    So yes i’m happy for you but all the same, i’m going to go out in the backyard and throw a fit. Just a little one.

    Peace Out Brother

    PS i do hope you’ll weigh in on that pesky CD14 election coming up. How can you possibly resist that??

  13. Kathleen Mcgregor permalink
    January 29, 2011 10:01 pm

    It was fun while it lasted. I, too, came late to the party. Thank you for the labor of love and best wishes.

  14. January 29, 2011 10:38 pm

    We’re gonna miss you out here in the increasingly shrinking Blog-LA-Sphere! Hope to see you out at the Great LA Walk this fall… one of the routes we’re pondering passes through Highland Park!

  15. David permalink
    January 29, 2011 11:34 pm

    Waltarrrrr (and Chris), thanks for the blog. I found out about the Flying Pigeon bicycle shop through this blog and purchased my first bicycle there as an adult. Your blog, the Flying Pigeon, upright bicycles: all positively grin-inducing. All the best on your artistic journeys!

  16. January 30, 2011 12:18 am

    So I’m one of the ones that kept you from seeming like a howling madman in the wilderness,eh? If that’s a compliment, I’ll take it! If it’s a dis, I’ll take it! :)

    Sorry to see you go but boy do I understand, it ain’t easy coming up with nonsense (on my part) for other people to read on a regular schedule. Most of all I will miss that you were one of the few ad-free blogs out there documenting life in LA, now the bastards trying to make a buck are going to get closer to dominating the landscape. And they never seem to bow out.

    I guess this means in terms of NELA parade coverage Lincoln Heights is gonna win? There’s always an upside.

    Thanks for your work.

    See ya around homie! EL CHAVO!

  17. Carol C permalink
    January 30, 2011 1:20 am

    Waltarrrr – Many thanks and happy painting.

  18. Forrest Rhodes permalink
    January 30, 2011 10:15 am

    Muchisimas gracias and all best wishes to you, Waltarrrr(r?). You can’t know what pleasure I’ve had in reading your work, or the great anticipation with which I hit your bookmark every week (actually, several times every week), or the many times your photo research has elicited an “Oh, wow! I remember that!” Your involvement in and affection for NELA were apparent from the first time I encountered you, and I’m beholden.

    I grew up in Glassell Park/Highland Park/Eagle Rock, then went rocketing off to conquer the world (jury’s still out on that), and finally returned in 2003 to a place that was completely familiar yet completely different. Your writings, and the responses of your regular commenters, reassured me that the things I liked best about being here are still here: neighbors, a sense of community, and people who care about that community.

    Okay, I need to not get all sappy and drippy here. The short version: You did good, chief, and I’m one among many who appreciate all your work. And to paraphrase Kinky Friedman: May the creative gods of your choice smile all over you.


    P.S. One last query for your contributors: does anyone know if there’s a Northeast LA oral history project extant? Just curious.

  19. Ave57 permalink
    January 30, 2011 1:37 pm

    I’ve read the blog regularly since I became a resident of 90042 2+ years ago, and it has immensely enhanced my appreciation and enjoyment of my neighborhood. I’ve been consistently astounded at the range and quality of your expertise. I’m sad to see the blog go, but thankful it was here. Hope to meet you at some point and thank you in person.

  20. Daniel permalink
    January 30, 2011 6:05 pm

    Sad to see you go — I love that you kept the history of this great place alive for those who’ve been here a long time and those of us new to area. Your posts, photos, and insights were always a welcome respite from daily routine. Good luck in your next adventure!

  21. 90042girl permalink
    January 31, 2011 8:11 am

    My heart is selfishly broken

  22. January 31, 2011 9:36 am

    Pink Buddha applauds your choice! Paint on dear artist! Paint on.

  23. sweatywest permalink
    January 31, 2011 11:03 am

    Thank you Waltarrrr. This blog has been such a big part of our life in Highland Park. Good luck.

  24. January 31, 2011 12:55 pm

    NELA will miss your updates but may the muses move you to paint paint paint away! Your creativity and spirit is part of Highland Park. See you at Cafe de Leche!

  25. billy boy permalink
    February 1, 2011 9:07 am

    !?!?!? Aw, crap !
    Gonna miss you, man !
    If I win the lottery, I’ll pay you a fine salary to start the blog up again !
    Punk Rock, Bicycles and BBQ’s!!
    Peace, Homie !

  26. Pladdis permalink
    February 1, 2011 7:43 pm

    No No No No No….! No.

    Oh well.

    Good Luck Brother!

    Don’t say “never,” say “every once in a while.”

    Thank you thank you THANK YOU.

  27. Hollywood Poetry permalink
    February 2, 2011 4:22 pm

    Carol Colin told me to read your blog when I was feeling lonely for L.A.
    with no train ticket to my name. It’s fitting that I cannot talk to her without
    pleading for her to do portraits again, nor to my children without asking them
    to “touch” the world and not just “view” it. But I love everything about your site
    and am so sad to see that last pileup of streetcars. If we can’t cry when we come
    to a corner in our town, why carry cameras?


  28. February 2, 2011 11:40 pm

    Dearest Readers,

    I am truly touched by the outpouring of comments and well wishes here and elsewhere. I am so honored and surprised that the blog meant as much as it did, and wish I didn’t bum so many of you out by putting it to sleep.

    Detoxing from the current events of Northeast LA this week has been hard. Sirens wail, helicopters circle, I see our home mentioned in news articles without even looking for it; Ed Reyes promoting bicycles in the 1st District, and I have had to suppress my urges to get on Twitter and tweet about it. [sigh.]

    Walking up Figueroa on Saturday afternoon to Figueroa Produce, I passed numerous inspirations for stories. The revolutionary events in Egypt this week have been urging me to do a post about Highland Park’s St. Mary’s Coptic Church and how they’ve been affected. But no. I have to decline.

    The problem of time consumption due to blogging has been there for a while. It was really the stories of other Northeasterners, Artists, Frank and Sharon Romero, along with restaurateurs, Kim Dingle and Aude Charles, giving up their stake here, that told me despite what I might be best known for, it is OK to step away and allow yourself to do something different, and let your other passions grow. Like I said, I may post again some day. Never say never. (But I won’t be Brett Favre / Micheal Jordan-ing it anytime soon!) I am happy to say that I have managed to produce some art this week, so at least that part of the plan is working out so far.

    Thanks again. Be well. Peace.


    Operation Ivy “Missionary
    Teddy Thompson “Take Care of Yourself

  29. Cheryl Johnson permalink
    February 3, 2011 4:31 am

    This blog is itself an incredible work of art. I thank you so very much for creating it. May all your projects be graced with light and love. Thank you!

  30. February 6, 2011 1:56 pm

    just want to add to the chorus of “you’ll be missed!” this blog has been my roadmap since moving to the area three years ago. everything i’ve come to love about this place i’ve read about here first and i am positive that my experience of 90042 would not have as blessed without this little corner of the web. hopefully you’ll reconsider and come back to us, but in the meantime i wish you out-of-this-world luck and support in all your endeavors. hope to see you around, friend.

  31. HLP permalink
    July 9, 2011 1:31 am

    Thought you might like this…..


  1. Ladies & Gentlemen: Waltarrrr Has Left The Blogging |
  2. 1,000,000 And Counting: Metro Library’s Historic Photo Collection On Flickr Hits A Major Milestone | Primary Resources
  3. Making a Museum of Today: Culture & Context in Highland Park, Los Angeles | Hartanah.Org

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