A vanished city lives again...

Monday, October 6, 2014

Bruno Street – The last granite roadway in Los Angeles

I first learned about the granite-paved roadway of Bruno Street from a post in Floyd B. Bariscale's Big Orange Landmarks blog back in 2009, when my obsession with vanished Los Angeles was just gaining its initial momentum.

That linked article above tells the whole story better than I can, so if you want to learn the history of Bruno Street, there's your ref. This post, however, is mostly about my own recent visit, and the granite paving stone (actually known as a "sett") that I was able to score there.

If you read the Big Orange Landmarks post, it mentions that, about six years ago, the Los Angeles Department of Public Works did some repaving on Bruno Street, and they left a small pile of the granite setts behind afterward. Well, it turns out some of those discards are still there, so I asked the manager of the Homegirl Cafe that owns that particular piece of property if I could maybe have one, and he said yes! He gave me a really nice specimen, too, as you can see for yourself below. (Thanks, Joel!)

The side that was once part of the roadway surface was doubtless the one shown directly above; that face is slightly discolored and has a degree of smoothness to it, while the other side is still rough and essentially pristine.

What's really impressive to note about these stones is that they are clearly hand-hewn. Every sett was created with a chisel, hammer, and brute muscle power, and they were obviously set in place by hand, too, one by one.

Not coincidentally, about three weeks previously, a fellow amateur L.A. historian, Michael Ryerson, had given me a red paving brick he had recovered from a remnant of old Mignonette Street, on the other side of downtown off Fremont adjacent to the Harbor Freeway. The story of his own paving stone odyssey can be enjoyed here.

This is the Mignonette brick that M.R. gifted me. (The impressed initials stand for Los Angeles Pressed Brick Co.)

And finally, my two Los Angeles paving stone treasures, now on display here at home.

All photos © J Scott Shannon.



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