Archives For History

Victoria Beach Tower

February 18, 2015 — Leave a comment

Victoria Beach is one of Orange County’s more secluded public areas, the tiny beach is guarded by rocky cliffs on both ends and is only accessible by a narrow concrete stairway down a steep slope. Above the beach, lush hillsides are dotted with large houses on stilts where the county’s wealthiest residents reside. Beyond the beach’s north end is a small cove, best explored at low tide, which harbors a storybook mystery known to some locals as the Pirate Tower.

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The 60 foot rocket-like structure seems to have been carved out of the cliff by massive waves hundreds of years ago. Ocean breezes moan through small portals covered by rusting metal grates on the tower’s sides and a large door at the structure’s base, also covered in rust, reveals a wooden spiral staircase twisting to the ledge above.

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According to a report written by the California Department of Parks and Recreation, both the house and tower were built in 1926 for the family of William E. Brown, a state senator representing California’s 37th district, and a frequent Christian Science lecturer. As it turns out, the tower is nothing more than a fancy staircase for the homeowner above. But the backstory is interesting nonetheless.

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The tower is located below Victoria Drive off the South Coast Highway at Victoria Beach.

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To gain access to the tower take Dumond Drive down to the beach and turn right and walk along the cliff. Access may be limited depending on the tide.

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Watch a video here.

WHAT: Victoria Beach Tower
WHEN: Sunup to sundown 
WHERE: Laguna Beach, CA

SOCIAL MEDIA: Yelp

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Bungalow Heaven

February 11, 2015 — Leave a comment

Bungalow Heaven is a quiet, leafy, close-knit neighborhood of historic, early 20th century bungalow homes, many built during the Arts & Crafts period. The Landmark District, the first of its kind in Pasadena, was created in 1989 to preserve the historic significance of these homes. Recently, Bungalow Heaven has been listed in the National Register of Historic Places and has been designated as one of the “10 great places in America” by the APA.

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The homes were primarily constructed in the early 1900’s in the spirit of the Arts and Crafts movement. The Arts and Crafts movement placed a strong emphasis on individual craftsmanship and attention to detail. The style is perhaps best represented by Pasadena’s Gamble House, butBungalow Heaven represents the style in a manner consistent with the common Pasadena residents daily experience.

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Every April Bungalow Heaven is filled with visitors who pay homage to what makes the neighborhood historic, the homes. The Home Tour is a celebration of the people that lived here before and the artistry of the architecture of a time gone by. In an era where the old is torn down for newer flashier things, it’s good to know that there is still a place where people can come and honor the past.

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The current residents of the neighborhood were so proud of their homes that they wanted to get the government involved; they had the area designated as a Landmark District by the city in 1989, which helped impose restrictions on the kind of alterations that homeowners could perform. They convinced the U.S. Department of the Interior to include the area in the National Register of Historic Places in 2008. The residents also help run the Annual Bungalow Heaven Home Tour, which provides an opportunity to tour the interiors of selected homes. The Tour is a great idea since it is otherwise not socially acceptable to walk through strangers homes.

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The Tour features the homes along North Chester Ave. and North Michigan Ave. between East Mountain Street and East Orange Boulevard. The homes have many distinctive features. The Craftsman Bungalow exteriors are characterized by their one-and-a-half-story height, slanted roof,  wide front porch, and sleeping porch. The interiors often contain built-in cabinets and seats, a California basement, and an emphasis on all things horizontal. Many of the homes along Michigan Ave. feature arroyo stones within their fireplaces and along the front porch and intricate windows within the wide front doors. These characteristics were particularly prominent in the “Living History Home” featured on the Tour. The Living History Home Tour takes you through the lives of character actors portraying the realty issues in the 1970’s.

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WHAT: Bungalow Heaven
WHEN: Contact for details 
WHERE: Pasadena, CA 91102

CONTACT INFO: (626) 585-2172 | bhna@bungalowheaven.org

SOCIAL MEDIA: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Yelp

Dear reader,

I appreciate your support and feedback. Please respond to this article now by leaving a comment and/or “liking” it. For exciting, up to date events in Los Angeles, subscribe to this blog via email. You can also share this article with friends and family and visit us on FacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram.

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The Gamble House

February 6, 2015 — Leave a comment

The Gamble House in Pasadena is an outstanding example of American Arts and Crafts style architecture. The house and furnishings were designed by architects Charles and Henry Greene in 1908 for David and Mary Gamble of the Procter & Gamble Company.

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The house, designated a National Historic Landmark in 1978, is owned by the City of Pasadena and operated by the University of Southern California.

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One-hour docent-led tours are available to the public Thursday-Sunday. Tours begin at noon with the last tour beginning at 3:00 p.m. A picnic opportunity awaits every week on Brown-Bag Tuesdays. Enjoy your lunch on the terrace and take a docent-led 20-minute tour at 12:15 or 12:45 pm. Docent-led tours are the only way to gain access to the interior of the house. Advance reservations are strongly recommended.

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WHAT: The Gamble House
WHEN: Open daily 
WHERE: 4 Westmoreland Place | Pasadena, CA 91103

CONTACT INFO: (626) 793-3334 | gamblehs@usc.edu

SOCIAL MEDIA: Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Yelp

Dear reader,

I appreciate your support and feedback. Please respond to this article now by leaving a comment and/or “liking” it. For exciting, up to date events in Los Angeles, subscribe to this blog via email. You can also share this article with friends and family and visit us on FacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram.

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Today, scientists make a career out of asking big questions about our world. They research and hypothesize, design experiments to prove or demolish assumptions, and argue their point of view — and they do it with a disciplined rigor. But there are also great scientists like Benjamin Franklin, Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin and Henry David Thoreau who approached science not as a job but a hobby, as they pursued understanding of how the world works. Attend First Fridays at the National History Museum to learn more and enjoy science by night!

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Today, with technology, social media, crowdsourcing and the resurgence of the DIY movement, a general public of science enthusiasts — anybody with a passion for adventure and inquiry — can participate in the journey of discovery.

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What would happen if science was our common language and part of our everyday vocabulary? Instead of a select few, what could a thousand pairs of eyes add to the discovery of a new comet? How could hundreds of people across the country help paint a clearer picture of species diversity?  With the rise of the “citizens” and the “scientists” working collaboratively, we can revolutionize and redefine scientific exploration. Join the National History Museum this season as they hear from the makers, doers and dreamers who are creating tomorrow’s scientific community today.

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Each discussion forum will be moderated by Michael W. Quick, Ph.D. (Department of Biological Sciences, Executive Vice Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, University of Southern California)

WHAT: First Fridays At The Natural History Museum
WHEN: First Fridays of the month
WHERE: 900 Exposition Blvd. | Los Angeles, CA 90007

DETAILS: 

  • Tickets:
    • Nonmembers $18 (February through May) and $25 (June) | Members FREE (limited tickets available)
  • Dates:
    • February 6, 2015 – Sold Out. Additional tickets may be released at the door at 7:00 pm
    • March 6, 2015 – Tickets on sale now
    • April 10, 2015
    • May 1, 2015
    • June 5, 2015
    • Nonmembers: $18 (February through May), $25 (June)
      Members: FREE (limited tickets available)

CONTACT INFO: (213) 763-3466

SOCIAL MEDIA: Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram | Yelp

Dear reader,

I appreciate your support and feedback. Please respond to this article now by leaving a comment and/or “liking” it. For exciting, up to date events in Los Angeles, subscribe to this blog via email. You can also share this article with friends and family and visit us on FacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram.

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The Watts Towers

January 19, 2015 — Leave a comment

The Watts Towers, Towers of Simon Rodia, or Nuestro Pueblo (“our town”), are within the Simon Rodia State Historic Park, in the Watts community of Los Angeles. They are a collection of 17 interconnected sculptural structures, the tallest reaching a height of over 99 feet.

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The towers and walls were designed and built by Italian immigrant construction worker and tile mason Sabato (“Simon”) Rodia (1879-1965), over a period of 33 years, from 1921 to 1954. The work is an example of outsider art, vernacular architecture and Italian-American naïve art.

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The towers were designated a National Historic Landmark and a California Historical Landmark in 1990. They are also a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument, and on the National Register of Historic Places in Los Angeles.

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WHAT: The Watts Towers
WHEN: Open daily – except closed to the public Monday and Tuesday, but Towers Structure can still be viewed as the structure is outdoors.
WHERE: 1727 East 107th Street | Los Angeles, CA 90002

DETAILS: 

  • Tours: Thursday, Friday, 11:00 am – 3:00 pm, Saturday 10:30 am – 3:00 pm, Sunday 12:00 pm – 3:00 pm 
  • Admission: Adult $7, Seniors and Children 13 – 17 $3, Children 12 and under Free

CONTACT INFO: (213) 847-4646

SOCIAL MEDIA: Facebook | YouTube | Yelp

Dear reader,

I appreciate your support and feedback. Please respond to this article now by leaving a comment and/or “liking” it. For exciting, up to date events in Los Angeles, subscribe to this blog via email. You can also share this article with friends and family and visit us on FacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram.

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