Figueroa Street was once the longest street in Los Angeles until it was truncated in Cypress Park by the construction of the Arroyo Seco Parkway. Before that, it was called Pasadena Avenue (the main road to Pasadena) and before that it was called Calle de las Chapules, or Grasshopper Street. A grand avenue with homes, businesses, colleges, and the Pacific Electric Railway that ran in the middle going to Slauson Junction in South Los Angeles.
USC has a wonderful on-line digital archive with gems like the ones above. Here we have a 1905 picture showing Figueroa Street (Pasadena Avenue) looking North at Avenue 51. The baby palm trees have now become giants, and all the telegraph, telephone, electrical and rail lines are gone. So too are many of the houses, and thankfully the rutted dirt road.
Gone too is the Occidental College in its 1908 Highland Park heyday, now replaced with auto repair shops, apartments, and a strip mall.
Remember this feature? Supposed to be weekly. Dominated the month of October, barely made a showing since then, well it is back this week with the front yard of Highland Park artist, Terri Lloyd.
Lloyd’s front yard consists of water-wise cacti, various succulents, and hundreds of her miniature doll head sculptures. A fine example of Highland Park’s eclectic artistic homesteading.
This Saturday is the most important game of the year for Angelenos: the annual USC vs. UCLA football game. One team notoriously the underdog and finishing this year winning only 4 games out of 11. The other, ending their “Useless Season” under sanctions that prohibit them from going on to a bowl game. Pranks have been played, sacred team icons desecrated, threats and insults hurled. It all comes down to one game that will decide who goes home from the Rose Bowl on Saturday with a year’s (or maybe a lifetime) worth of bragging rights.
As different as the two schools claim to be, there is one thing they have in common: The Red Car. Prior to the 1940′s both USC and UCLA were served by the same Pacific Electric Red Car line that went by way of USC and Westwood from Vernon to Inglewood. And while there are no plans to reconnect USC and UCLA with the Expo Line currently under construction, it is nice to think how convenient those Bruin and Trojan pranksters had it years ago.
This Sunday, December 5, 2010 at 1 pm is the 66th Northeast Los Angeles Holiday Parade & Winterfest!
The city’s second oldest holiday parade (Don’t ask about who’s the oldest) is now in its 66th year on what was originally part of Route 66, Figueroa Street. While this year’s East Los Angeles Christmas parade is canceled after 35 years, Highland Park’s parade will soldier on again this year. Never a glamorous parade, but always fun, and filled with people you know. Our local dog parkers, preservationists, activists, community boosters, organizations, beauty queens, drill teams, marching bands, churches, schools, and politicians (including the Mayor) will be there. This year’s parade Grand Marshal is actor, Francesco Quinn.
As of this post there is a 30% chance of rain in the forecast for 90042 on Sunday. But if you survived the 2004 Christmas Parade deluge, this threat of rain shouldn’t scare you. I’ll be live tweeting the parade at HLP90042 on Sunday from along the route. See you there!
Holidays on Route 66
66th Northeast Los Angeles
Holiday Parade & Winterfest
Sunday, December 5, 2010 at 1 p.m.
Figueroa Street from Avenue 60 to Sycamore Grove Park.
Saturday, December 4th at 12:00 pm, Los Angeles City Councilmember, Eric Garcetti will officially dedicate the just completed Elysian Valley Pedestrian and Bike Path on the Los Angeles River.
For decades, people and cyclists have used what was an access road that ran along the L.A. River through the Elysian Valley (Frogtown) neighborhood. While once considered trespassing, residents cut holes through this formerly fenced-off section of the L.A. River just to gain access to this open space. This more natural section of the LA River (thanks to natural springs that prevent paving over) has long been used as a place for people to play, bike, fish, kayak, camp, and relax. (The place has also been a well-known spot for taggers, and local gang, Frogtown 13.)
The project was first approved in 1999, but became bogged down in a what seemed like an endless struggle with easements, property rights, contractors, funding, legal concerns, environmental concerns, jurisdictions, and general bureaucratic laziness. But thanks to constant prodding from activists, and determined leadership, the new bike path is here at last.
As an added bonus this weekend, the bike path-adjacent, Romero Studio will be open for its 29th Annual Christmas Sale. This will be the public’s last chance to visit the Romero’s Frogtown Studio. With sadness and envy we say goodbye to the Romeros who have lived and worked at their Frogtown studio for the past 30 years. Frank and Sharon Romero are selling their building to spend more time in the Rhone River valley of France where they practice their latest love, plein air painting.
The studio is open on Saturday, December 4 & 11, from 7-midnight; and Sunday, December 5 & 12, from noon-6p, and is located on the corner of Blake Avenue and Eads Street in Frogtown, AKA Elysian Valley.
As an added added bonus, stop by and see Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority’s newest pocket park titled, Confluence Park, located where a million pigeons once lived at the corner of Figueroa and San Fernando near the end of the bike path. Again, with all things L.A. River, check out L.A. Creek Freak for more on this development.
As an added added added bonus, former Eagle Rock pop-up coffee shop, Cognoscenti has now popped-up inside newly opened, Proof Bakery at 3156 Glendale Blvd. in Atwater Village. The shop is just a few blocks from the L.A. River Path, and serves the best coffee and pastries in Northeast Los Angeles. –Which should be delightful on a cloudy December Saturday with a 30% chance of rain.