A vanished city lives again...

Friday, January 26, 2024


Well, after years of inactivity, I think it's finally time to make it official: this blog is closed.

Not that I've lost interest in Los Angeles history. Not at all. I still find the subject as captivating as ever. What changed is that I learned pretty much everything about old L.A. that I set out to, and more to the point, some time ago, I shifted the focus of my historical sleuthing to the town of my birth – Covina, California – and decided that's where I should concentrate my efforts thenceforth.

So, that's – 30 – for me here! Time to join all those who have gone before me in Los Angeles past.

The Longstreet Palms. Photo courtesy Nathan Marsak.



J Scott Shannon said...

For those who have just discovered Los Angeles Past or who might be thinking of using it as a reference: a few words of caution are probably in order. This blog was basically a journal-like account of my early years as an amateur historian. Although I always did my best to present facts as I discovered them, you are going to find mistakes here and there. (The same can actually be said about any latter-day history, no matter who authored it.) If there's any piece of advice I could give to anyone interested in history, it's this: don't 100% trust any modern account, particularly statements you might find in online archives. The people who curate those sites are almost without exception NOT historians, and it's the most basic mistake you can make to assume that they know anything about the material they're archiving. I've been led astray by photo captions and descriptions more times than I can even begin to count, and in fact most of the mistakes you'll find here came from me foolishly assuming that some faceless scribbler somewhere knew the first thing about what they were describing.

If you're really serious about history and can afford the expense, subscribe to an online newspaper archive, like Newspapers.com. (I do now, and I wish I'd done it years ago.) To get the real lowdown on any historical event or person, you really need to go back and read what people at that time were saying about it. Even old newspapers are not entirely accurate, of course, but they are a way more trustworthy source of information than anything written generations after the fact by people who have zero first-hand knowledge of the subject matter. (And that, of course, includes me.) Overall, though, my intent here was never to be a definitive source, but simply to provide an introductory reference for people who know little or nothing about the history of Los Angeles. Los Angeles Past is meant for beginners, which is exactly what I was when I started this blog all those years ago.

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