Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Dodger Stadium: Mother Of All Grading Projects

Photo: Antonio Futterer, Holyland Exhibition Collection, 1960. With all the talk about large grading projects in the neighborhood lately,  I thought it was time to run this Dodger Stadium grading photo.  Thanks to Scott Fajack of the Citizen's Committee to Save Elysian Park for identifying the streets in this Elysian Park photo.  (Click on photos to enlarge.)

It's hard to imagine that this was only the beginning of grading for Dodger Stadium.  Paducah Street was one of the streets completely filled in with 8 million cubic yards of earth for Dodger Stadium (Wiki).  At the end of Paducah Street was Palo Verde Elementary, reportedly buried in place. 

The bottom corner of the (above) dirt mound would be the corner of Lilac Terrace & Stadium Way today.  In some places, the fill dirt was 100 feet deep.

There were likely no air quality restrictions or dust control measures on the site.  California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) was not signed into law until 1970. 

It's unlikely any project substantially altering canyons to this extent would get approved today, without years of litigation.  Although, with the current political climate in the City & State, it is good to remember just how important public review of development proposals really is.
Photo: Scott Fajack, March 13, 2012.  It's hard to match the 1960 photo, but houses on Boylston are in the far left, beyond the parking lot.  (The corner of Paducah & Chavez Ravine Road would be over the edge, in the foreground, where the shadow drops off.) 

Both photos were shot from White Knoll Drive above Figueroa Terrace looking north - northeast.

Recommended reading (with a historic map of the area overlayed on a current satellite photo): The Ravine, SolanoCanyon.net
Chavez Ravine Revisited, LA Times, May 12, 2009 (includes a great Harry Chase 1959 bulldozing photo) 

Opening Day at Dodger Stadium is today.  Gates open at 10 AM, expect traffic everywhere around the Stadium including the 2 Freeway, Riverside Drive & Allesandro most of the day.  Game starts at 1:10 PM, expect a military flyover at 1 PM. 

Check The Eastsider for important news and community impacts of Opening Day.

Special thanks to Scott Fajack for research on this post.  It's not easy to fill in the canyons in the photos and understand what you're looking at.