"Natural and man-made catastrophes have played a part in the destruction of many old cityscapes in the United States. The original buildings of our nation's capital city – Washington, D.C. – were torched by invading British troops during the War of 1812. Most of Chicago was wiped out by its Great Fire of 1871. Victorian San Francisco was destroyed by its famous earthquake and fire of 1906.
"Historical Los Angeles, though, suffered a no-less-thorough destruction of its own. This civic calamity was no act of war nor of God, however. Old L.A. was destroyed intentionally by its own government and citizenry in the name of 'progress.'
"So complete was this man-wrought devastation that a person born in Los Angeles in 1875 and living a normal life span of 75 years would have lived long enough to see virtually the entire city they grew up and grew old in wiped clean off the face of the earth. And whatever life there was left in Los Angeles by 1950 was finally bled out of it by the freeways.
"By the time I was born in an L.A. suburb in 1954, Los Angeles had become little more than a commuter destination. When I was growing up, that's all it ever was to me. I never knew Los Angeles as a living city, as my mother and father had. So when I left the L.A. area for greener pastures at the age of 28, I didn't feel like I was leaving anyplace particularly special.
"In recent years, however, I have been delving ever-deeper into the pre-WWII history of Los Angeles, and I'm finding it to be quite a revelatory experience. Piece by piece, I am uncovering a vanished world. This historical city is almost entirely new and unfamiliar to me. It's been a fascinating adventure thus far! Old Los Angeles was a truly amazing place. Have a look through this blog and you'll see what I mean!