Saturday, November 30, 2013

Secret Stairs Walk #3-Glassell Park North-York and beyond

This "Secret Stairs" walk takes place off of Eagle Rock Blvd.  The author suggests stopping at Auntie Em's Kitchen on 4616 Eagle Rock Blvd.  The start of the walk is on Avenue 40, which is about 6 blocks away from the restaurant.

Wall art that was seen while we were walking along Eagle Rock Blvd.

Avenue 40 dead ends into Scandia Way, where you find the first stairway.

This is a rare wooden staircase and is not in the best of repair, but is a throwback to when all of the city's public walks were built from wood.  Once you get up the 25 stairs, then there is a steep paved walkway that ends with another 10 steps.  The author describes this part of the walk as "dull."  There are things to see, but nothing exciting.  The following pictures are what we saw:

The second staircase is of relatively recent construction and is a giant staircase of 132 steps.  It is a zigzag design with a double-L base and sold handrail all the way to the top.  There is wall art and places to stop on the way up, that afford views of the valley and the San Gabriel Mountains.

There is more walking in a residential area and another staircase.  This one is similar to the first one, in that it is a wooden staircase and has 17 steps and then a long sloping walkway with 2 dogs that were barking at us on the way down. There are 47 wooden steps at the end.

After these stairs it is time to head for the car and drive home.  It has been a good walk!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

History of Buena Park, CA

Information for this blog was taken from the Buena Park Historical Society and Wikipedia

It is uncertain what the exact derivation of Buena Park is, but it most likely relates to the artesian well and its parklike grounds that was once located at the current intersection of Artesia and Beach Blvd.  The local people referred to the area as "Plaza Buena" which means "good park" in spanish.  Another theory is that Whitaker used the name of a Chicago suburb:  Buena Park, Illinois, although this city was also named in 1887.    The city was incorporated on January 27, 1953.  It was an agricultural center when it was founded, primarily dairy, wine and citrus.  It is now a residential suburb and commercial hub.

Original Spanish explorers settled on the enormous ranchos by land grants made by the King of Spain.  Manuel Nieto of the Portola Expedition received such a grant in 1783, which was divided by his heirs into five separate ranchos in 1834.  One of them was Rancho Los Coyotes, which  included 46,86 acres and included the current site of the City of Buena Park where the rancho's adobe headquarters was located on what is now Los Coyotes County Club's golf course.

The area was transferred from the Spanish to Mexican rule in 1822.  The area was ceded to the United States at the end of Mexican-American War in 1848 and  California became a state in 1850.    Americanization further expanded in the area after completion of the transcontinental railroad in 1869 and its connection to Los angeles in 1875. Abel Stearns acquired Rancho Los Coyotes in consideration for loans made to Pio and Address Pico.  In 1885, James A. Whitaker, a wholesale grocer from chicago purchased 690 acres of the land from Stearns and in 1887, he founded the City of Buena Park in conjunction with the railway development of what is now Orange county.

Places to go now are Knott's Berry Farm, Soak City, Medieval Times.  The City of Buena Park has a history park on Beach Blvd., which includes several historic buildings.  The Whitaker-Jaynes House serves as the city's local history museum.

The Bacon House  was built about 1884 by an unknown squatter in a remote area of Abel stern's Rancho Los Coyotes.  the land was being held in trust for a minor, named Fredrick B. Ramige of Calhoun, Iowa, who had inherited it.  At maturity in 1894, Ramige sold ten acres of land and the house to Jacob Hamm for $625.  Hamm worked for the Southern Pacific Railroad in Banning and had married the Widow Shance whose brother was plant manager for the Pacific Condensed Milk Company; which was more commonly known as the Lilly Creamery.  About 1900, Hamm traded his equity in the land and house for another house in Buena Park owned by Robert d. Bacon. Bacon had come to the area in 1888 and used the ten acre as a nucleus for what was to become a successful and progressive farm.  Bacon married Agatha Van Loenen in 1905 and their three children were all born in the house.  By 1913, a more substantial home had been built on the property, so the original house was used as a storehouse.  Bacon served as a trustee of the Centralia School district and worked to form a storm district for the control of the Santa Ana River.

The Bacon Family gave the house to the City of Buena Park in 1976 and it was moved to the Whitaker-Jaynes Estate Park and was restored to commemorate the United State bicentennial.  The Bacon House is a rare surviving example of the single wall method of construction.

The Stage Stop Hotel was built in 1890 and was once an overnight rest stop for stagecoach travelers coming down from Los Angeles.

Bacon House

Sunday, November 24, 2013

A California Thanksgiving

A few years ago on Thanksgiving,  Mari and I decided to drive down the coast and take pictures, but first we had to deal with traffic:

This is what we got to see:

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Olinda, CA

Olinda is a neighborhood that is located in Brea, CA; which is located in Orange County.  Originally the village was founded in the 1890's in present day Carbon Canyon.  The area grew when "black gold", otherwise known as petroleum was discovered at the adjacent Brea-Olinda Oil Field.  The site is now registered as a California Historical Landmark.

In 1894, Abel Stearns, who was owner of the land, sold 1200 acres to the west of Olinda to the newly created Union Oil Company of California and by 1898 many nearby hills began sporting wooden oil drilling towers.  In 1908, the village of Randolph, which was named for railway engineer, Epis Randolph was founded south of Brea Canyon for the oil workers and their families.

On January 19, 1911, the town map, which included Olinda and Randolph was filed under Brea.  Brea comes from the Spanish word for "national asphalt".  On February 23, 1917, with a population of 752, Brea was incorporated as the eighth official city of Orange County.

The name Olinda was revived in 1964 for a quiet neighborhood built in the hills near the site of the original village.  The neighborhood has six streets and contains about 120 homes, of which many are horse properties.  There is also a condominium complex and a small elementary school in the area.

Brea began as a center of crude oil production, which later changed to citrus production.  Brea is currently an important retail center, due to Brea Mall and the recent redevelopment of downtown Brea.  Brea is also known for its extensive public art program, which began in 1975 and continues on with over 140 artworks in the collection that are placed throughout the city.  Brea's public art program has been used as a model and inspiration for many Public Art Programs nationwide.

Sunset magazine named Brea one of the five best suburbs to live in the Western United States in early 2006.

The following pictures are from the historic area of Olinda.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Secret Stairs #2-Eagle Rock

"Secret Stairs-A walking guide to the historic staircases of Los Angeles" is by Charles Fleming.  "This book is designed to celebrate urban hiking by exposing the semi-secret network of public staircases that lace the hillsides of certain Los Angeles neighborhoods.  The staircases themselves are historical reminders of a time when Los Angeles was not a city of cars.  City planners and developers installed them as direct routes for pedestrians to get down the hills to school, the supermarket and transit lines."

"Each of the walks in the book, with one or two exceptions, begins and ends at an easily located cafe or restaurant that provides food, drink and other comforts.  Each is served by public transport and is measured for distance and difficulty.  One is a gentle stroll and five is a serious hike.  Information is also included as to the approximate amount of time required and the number of staircase steps involved.   There are 42 walks in the whole book.

The one I am writing about is Walk #2, which is in Eagle Rock, CA.  The duration is about  90 minutes and a distance of 3.8 miles with 328 steps.  The difficulty is 3.  The walk starts near the corner of Colorado Blvd and Townsend and heads east on Colorado.  This is the same Colorado Blvd. in Pasadena, where the Rose Parade is held on New Year's Day.

Turn right on Los Robles Street and walk to the end of the block.

Turn left at Holbrook Street and at the T-intersection with Mt. Helena Ave., is the first staircase.

The first staircase was built in 1927 by C.W. Ellis and is 31 stairs.  There is a walkway and another eight stairs and another sloping walkway over the crest and then down 21 stairs to the corner of Linda Rosa and Saginaw Street.  Walk across the intersection and down Saginaw for one block, then turn right onto Neola Place.  The next staircase is on Neola  and goes behind a schoolyard.

Go to the corner of Wiota, turn right and walk to Yosemite Drive.  Cross at the light and turn left at Yosemite  and then turn right onto Glacier.  The next staircase is on Glacier and is 20 steps.  Turn left on Oak Grove and then turn left on Figueroa and walk back to Yosemite.  Cross to the other side of Figueroa and head up the hill and find the next staircase on the left.

This is a monumental set of stairs, that is decorated with a mural of Tai Chi students.  There are 64 steps and a concrete slope that lands on Glen Arbor Ave.  Turn right and head downhill and turn right on Buena Vista Terrace.  Back on Figueroa cross at the crosswalk and turn right, heading back downhill on Figueroa toward Yosemite.  Opposite the Tai Chi steps, there is another staircase.

This staircase is at the turning for Eucalyptus Lane.  The houses in this area are old and somewhat ramshackle, and the trees and vines are old and overgrown.  Follow the white wooden fence and Buena Vista  hugs the hillside, remaining shady and pleasantly funky.  There are eastern views to the hills of El Sereno

Turn left onto Tipton Terrace and there is a broken down wooden staircase with a ramp, connecting Tipton Terrace to Tipton Way.  Continue onto Buena Vista Terrace and continue up and over the rise and down the other side and turn right onto Nolden Street. Here is a sidewalk staircase that descends to Oak Grove Drive. There is an elevated tree house on the corner.  As you walk along Oak Grove there are small Craftsman cottages. Turn right onto Avoca Street and walk three blocks and turn left onto Yosemite.  Cross when it is safe.

Turn right onto Floristand Ave and then turn right onto Linda Rose and begin the final flight of stairs, which is another sidewalk staircase.  Turn left as Linda Rosa rises and turns briefly onto Loleta and then bear right as Linda Rosa resumes.  At the first turning to the left, drop onto Hartwick Street, which descends you back onto Colorado Blvd. Along Hartwick, there are a number of nicely preserved older homes.

These are other pictures I took along this walk.  I will share more of the walks as we do them.  If you live in the Los Angeles area, buy the book and enjoy.