Monday, August 24, 2009

1953: Silver Lake & LA River

Photo: Clarence Inman Collection, 1953. Silver Lake Reservoir to Glendale, showing the LA River, Hyperion Bridge, Fletcher Viaduct, Waverly Neighborhood and Monte Sano. (Click on photo to enlarge with street names.)

Silver Lake is often the forgotten neighborhood when politicos, park agencies and City planners talk about plans for the LA River. The topography of Silver Lake makes them forget just how close we are to the River. The 2 & 5 Freeways also make it challenging for us to access the river. Yet we persist in finding our way to the River. In fact, a new park between the 5 Freeway and the LA River near the Hyperion Bridge is in the planning stages, but there are no plans for public access to it from Silver Lake.

When you talk to people who grew up in the neighborhoods closest to the Red Car Trolley tracks, they all talk fondly about coming down out of the hills, crossing the Red Car tracks and collecting frogs in the LA River. They also share stories of neighbors who built staircases and pathways on their own private property so they could access the Red Car Trolley stops from their backyards.

I've had a few requests for historic photos showing the Waverly Neighborhood near the old Monte Sano Hospital site at Waverly Drive and Glendale Blvd. The Waverly Neighborhood it is just on the other side of Fletcher from the Red Car Property Neighborhood and, in fact, the neighborhoods were linked by the Fletcher Red Car Viaduct.

Bob Inman recently shared some of his father's photographs and recollections of the Waverly Neighborhood near Monte Sano. So this week, we'll look at photos from the Clarence Inman Collection as well as the history of Monte Sano.

Bob Inman grew up in the Waverly Neighborhood a few doors from Monte Sano. Clearly, the neighborhood with its public staircases and walkways inspired him to write the book: A Guide to The Public Stairways of Los Angeles.