So I came across this website, with a fantastic history of Mount Washington’s early builders/dweller/hoteliers, and then went to the main page, to discover oodles of other pages, all compiled by the Electric Railway Historical Society. Ok, ok–I’m sure LA City Nerd‘s known about this resource forever, but I’m amazed to see all the detailed info compiled here. Some favorites: the view from Mount Washington:
…and the “trackless trolley” of Laurel Canyon, apparently abandoned after two years:
“The failure of the Hollywood trackless trolley which was quite thoroughly investigated by us at the time, was largely due to the fact that the roads were not paved.”
Runner-up, the Los Angeles Railway Corporation and its fantastic acronym: LARy.
It’s fascinating, the degree to which LA was actually quite well-served by public transportation and rail. Obviously all that fell out of favor with the rise of the car, and the fact that LA had yet to become the suburban megalopolis it is today. The short-sightedness of the folks who ripped out the train and trolley tracks still befuddles me, but doesn’t surprise me: People have always been thus (linked because this, of all the towns I visited in Italy, showed the most obvious “layers” of building, with the vast Estruscan stones at the bases of the buildings, the awkward Middle Ages rough-hewn rocks above that, then some skyward-straining Gothic stuff, then the evenly spaced and Golden-Mean-measured Renaissance architecture, then the baroque…literally beginning below the ground and transforming, time-travelling as it extended upwards…), plunking one layer on top of another on top of another. It’s just fascinating to see our own various urban archaological strata laid down in our own lifetimes, ongoing as we walk the streets, history happening right here and now.