Blog posts will be about once a week, between Thursday and Sunday, for the next few months. Thanks for reading everyone! Feedback is always welcome, leave any suggestions or comments about the site or content in the comments section. Guest writing is also a possibility, if interested at all, leave a comment. Hope everyone in Eagle Rock is doing well.
Archive for September, 2010
I have the pleasure of attending a school with “third largest academic library in the United States”. However, until Eric Warren of the Eagle Rock Valley Historical Society mentioned I might be able to obtain rare Eagle Rock related documents I didn’t really take advantage of this situation. While searching for some special request items for Mr. Warren, I found a small article advertising what Occidental College had to offer… in the year 1903! At that time Oxy was still in Highland Park. The quality of this upload is very poor but it is simply due to the number of transitions this article has undergone before arriving on my computer: Published, 1903, in a “Tournament of Roses Edition Pasadena Daily News”, preserved in relatively good condition for a number of years, photographed with negative put on a micro-film reel (to save space, the physical newspapers take up too much room to have ready for use in the library) with many other LA based newspapers from early 1900′s, printed from printer connected to a micro-film reader, scanned the printed copy from the reel reader image onto my laptop, and lastly uploaded to this blog. Phew!
And here it is…
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The college is situated at Highland Park, in the northeastern part of Los Angeles, on the Pasadena Electric line and Santa Fe Railway. The campus is an eight-acre tract commanding a magnificent view of the Sierra Madre Mountains, and surrounded by picturesque foothills.
The elevation is five hundred feet above sea level, two hundred and fifty feet higher than the center of the city.
A community is growing rapidly around the college, consisting of people of intelligence and good character, containing an active Presbyterian Church and a good public school. It combines the advantages of city and country, and is in short an ideal place of residence.
1. Academy: Open to pupils who have completed the studies required in the first eight grades of public schools. The course occupies four years: and every effort is made to make this department the equal of any high school or academy in the state .It is on the list of schools accredited by the State University.
2. Collegiate: Open to graduates of the Academy, and others who have done equivalent preparatory work.
No better collegiate course of study is offered by any Institution in the state than is offered in the higher department of Occidental College
Classical, Scientific, Literary, and Literary-Musical. The first leads to the degree of Bachelor of Arts: the second to that of Bachelor of Science; the third and fourth to that of Bachelor of Letters
THE OCCIDENTAL SCHOOL OF MUSIC.
Thorough instruction is given in Piano, Organ, and Violin playing; in Voice Culture and sight Singing; and in the Theory of Music.
The Literary-Musical course leading to the degree of B. L. is an adaptation of the Literary course, in which about one-fourth of the time is given to the theory and practice of music.
The climate is specially adapted to outdoor sports. The campus contains tennis courts and a one athletic field. Almost every day. In the year the weather permits ga??? and exercise in the open air.
In addition to this, however, classes in physical culture are formed, when desired, at a moderate expense, under the charge of a skilled teacher.
MORAL AND RELIGIOUS CULTURE
Worship is conducted in the chapel lally, attended by all the student.
The halls of the Young Men’s and Young Women’s Christian Associations are beautifully furnished, and these religious societies are active in promoting growth in Christian character and in training for Christian work.
The college has no dormitory system. Students find homes in the neighborhood with families whom we recommend at reasonable rates for room and board.
A club for men is now in operation and is providing that good board can be had at unexpectedly low rates.
PROGRESS MADE THIS YEAR
There has been this year a marked increase in attendance. Additions have been made to the Library. A friend of the college has made a generous donation toward the further equipment of the Physical, Chemical, and Biological Laboratories. A valuable telescope has been presented by the Presbyterian Board of Aid for Colleges.
The department of Science is now provided with apparatus of the most approved kind of illustrations and research.
For catalogue and other information address: President GUY W. WADSWORTH, D.D.
Los Angeles, Cal
I hope I can find more things like this, if I do, I will be sure to share with you. I wonder how the communities of Highland Park and Eagle Rock would have developed if Occidental had stayed in Highland Park. Or if the campus had stayed in Boyle Heights. As a resident of Eagle Rock, I am glad the campus exists where it is today.
(Sorry for lack of updates, school is getting most of my attention, and rightfully so.)
It seems as though livable communities for LA are in the not too distant future. The first link, in case it does not direct where it should, shows us a quote from whoever updates the TERA facebook page. The quote is in response to my enthusiastic chant in support for pedestrian plaza’s for Eagle Rock and reads:
“Many of us in ER are working on creating more pedestrian friendly, bike friendly boulevards. We have the will, passion and willing leadership, but money and energy (to advocate for these changes) are always needed! Become a TERA member and support our efforts to make this happen!”
So, in case the message isn’t clear, donate money to TERA and volunteer any time you can to make Eagle Rock a bit less car-dependent. I know we live in a city THE CITY synonymous with cars but oddly enough, I can’t imagine anyone moving to Los Angeles because they absolutely love driving. If you love driving and oppose improvements for pedestrian and bicyclists, please, let me know…
…but I digress…
I really wish I had photo realism drawing capabilities, as it is I have mainly been an abstract artist with only one semester’s worth of knowledge from an intro drawing class at Pasadena City College. I am also photo shop illiterate. However, despite my shortcomings, I have tried to deliver imaginative recreations of local streets in Eagle Rock.
Lately I have been feeling particularly supportive of pedestrian plazas. Pedestrian space in LA is at a complete minimum though hopefully events like cicLAvia – the opening of 7-miles of streets in LA to pedestrians and bicyclists, and roller skaters, runners, etc on October 10th, 2010 – will encourage people to be more supportive of reclaiming space from cars.
While Eagle Rock has plenty of strip malls with misleading names like “Occidental Plaza” or even full malls like “Eagle Rock Plaza” they don’t comply with the most popular definition of the word –
plaza |ˈplazə; ˈpläzə|
1. a public square, marketplace, or similar open space in a built-up area. (borrowed from my laptop’s dictionary)
Any ‘plaza’ we have in Eagle Rock right now is just a car parking lot, simple as that.
So… in my efforts of trying to imagine a more pedestrian friendly ER, I recently attempted creating a small plaza, without parked cars, on Caspar Avenue. my location might not seem ideal but I would argue to the contrary. But first let’s see the ‘before and after’ of the space I picked out
Here’s how I evaluated the spot when seeing this picture:
- Dead street (plant life and human life)
- Broken meters
- Has signs of life during morning drop off/afternoon pick up times at the adjacent schools.
- Also looks lively when the Friday’s farmer’s market is in action
Did I leave anything out?
Here’s my rendition of the street as a pedestrian space rather than wasted space:
For the record, drawing cobblestone is not particularly fun. Anyway, in case the picture cannot explain itself, here are my changes in description:
- Convert the area to be on level with the two adjacent sidewalks. This will make walking across from end to end easier, especially for handicap people. The ends would have wide ramps or a curvature to more easily allow car access of necessary and let bicyclists breeze through without damaging their bike or themselves if they pedal from Colorado Boulevard and turn right onto the pedestrian space.
- Apply cobblestone or any kind of textured pavement. This will be aesthetically pleasing, and encourage cyclists to slow down. Bikes can of course ride on textured pavement but a slow pace makes the cobblestone less harsh while riding.
- Add greenery, a bit of life and color.
- Street furniture: benches, public art, trashcans, tasteful street lights intended for pedestrians (most street lights are aimed at cars, only giving pedestrians the residue light or no light at all)
- Grid draining over where current open slits in the concrete let water flow in on the few occasions it does rain. This will also minimize trash which carried into the sewers. I find it unbelievable how many people treat storm drains like secondary trashcans. I guess “out of sight, out of mind” goes a long way to allow people thinking that tossing soda cans or chip bags into a storm drain is okay.
There are other things that could be added, in fact, if you have suggestions please leave comments. Also, I should note that my drawing shows elements I would like to see, it does not represent how I would like the area to look exactly. I want to inspire ideas to you, readers. Something I have seen here in the Easy Bay, on the street Salano Avenue is a giant clock on the corner of an intersection. No doubt everyone has the time on their cellphones but it’s one of those additions or elements that calls ‘small town’. Maybe an analog clock on the brick wall of Corner Pizzeria that lights up at night. I suppose the point is, there is opportunity, potential– however you want to call it… little by little and by changing the way we view our urban space we can make leaps towards greater vibrancy, a more sustainable and livable town.
Now, I think this would be a great location for a pedestrian plaza. I’m sure it would enhance the experience of attending the farmer’s market. More people would sit and eat without feeling as though, oh I don’t know were… sitting-on-plastic-chairs-eating-off=plastic-tables-in-a-parking-lot-with-portapotties-and-trash-bins-in-the-background.
Closing car access here would also make walking and biking to St. Dominics or Eagle Rock Elementary safer. Walking along Colorado would be just that much safer too. It is also likely that business would improve for the neighboring establishments.
So what do you think? There are definitely other opportunities to create pedestrian plazas in Eagle Rock, this is just one option I find particularly attractive.
Bonus: Don’t think we can convert this little space? I urge you to take a look at what has been accomplished elsewhere…. hey, that street looks like Colorado Blvd! Maybe an extensive portion of Colorado Blvd will be converted to a pedestrian space!
There are a few opportunities to share ‘now and then’ or ‘before and after’ type posts for Eagle Rock. Waltarrrr does an excellent job of this on his Highland Park blog. The Eagle Rock book by Eric Warren also captures various Eagle Rock locations from many years ago accompanied by a picture of what those places look like today. This is NOT an attempt to be as informative as either of those sources or to be of their caliber. This is just me, taking an opportunity…
Browsing the LA Public Library Photo Collection there are some “unidentified” homes in Eagle Rock. Interesting stuff, check it out for yourself. One of the first pictures that caught my attention was this one:
Here is the description that follows the picture
“Exterior view of a two-story Colonial Revival style residence located on an unidentified street in Eagle Rock. Several stairs lead to the prominent portico, which has four columns and is topped by a simple pediment. Multi-paned windows are on either side of the main door, with several windows visible throughout the home. Several houses and the mountain range can be seen in the distance.”
The picture is not dated and despite the status as ‘unidentified’ according to the LAPL Photo Collection I felt it looked familiar…
Right across the street from Oxy’s admissions office/parking lot, that’s where this house is. It is great condition with only slight changes made to the property since the B&W photo. The window in the upper right of the roof is new. Today the black fence with greenery define the front lawn and the tiny trees from the old photo are all grown up. Still a lovely home in an equally lovely neighborhood.