Amoeblog

California Fool's Gold -- Exploring Altadena, The Community of the Deodars

Posted by Eric Brightwell, July 17, 2012 11:18pm | Post a Comment
INTRODUCTION TO ALTADENA


When people hear the disyllabic sounds, “alta” and “dena,” I would wager that most of them think of the well-known City of Industry-based Alta Dena Dairy, which was started by the three, Missouri-born Stueve Brothers in Monrovia, California in 1945. Oddly, more than five minutes of internet research haven’t helped me figure out why they named their dairy after a fellow San Gabriel Mountains community located some miles west of their hometown. Nonetheless, I based my map's "typeface" on their logo.



For a community that's never bothered incorporating, Altadena seems to have a very strong sense of pride, place and community. The first time I think I visited Altadena involved walking there from my workplace in Pasadena. Although my journey involved little more than crossing a freeway, once I arrived I felt as if, proverbially speaking, I was no longer in Kansas.


CHARACTER AND CHARACTERIZATION OF ALTADENA

Undoubtedly part of Altadena's unique vibe is owed to its particular racial and ethnic demographics. The population of roughly 43,000 people is 40% white (mostly English and Lebanese), 27% Latino (mostly Mexican), 24% black, 6% Asian – making it noticably less Asian, and much more black than most of the San Gabriel Valley. Indeed, it feels very different from most of LA. Within the community the vibe varies greatly too. Laidback, working class West Altadena feeling worlds rather than miles away from wealthy, woodsy East Altadena, which convincingly enough (for some) stood in for Beverly Hills on the series Beverly Hills, 90210. The foothill neighborhoods swing between eye-searingly dull suburbs and rustic, bohemian and slightly creepy enclaves. 

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California Fool's Gold -- Exploring Mount Washington

Posted by Eric Brightwell, May 22, 2012 07:01pm | Post a Comment

One of the Mount Washington neighborhood signs    
                  A typical Mount Washington street

This here episode is all about Mount Washington -- a hilly and almost entirely residential neighborhood in Northeast Los Angeles (NELA). Its neighbors are Highland Park to the east, Cypress Park to the southwest, Glassell Park to the northwest and Eagle Rock to the north.


Pendersleigh & Sons Cartography's map of Mount Washington (sold)

Pendersleigh & Sons Cartography's map of Northeast Los Angeles

On this adventure I was accompanied by frequent traveling companion, Tim Shimbles.

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California Fool's Gold -- Exploring Lincoln Heights, The Pueblo's Bedroom

Posted by Eric Brightwell, March 8, 2012 09:09pm | Post a Comment
LINCOLN HEIGHTS


Lincoln Heights one of the main neighborhoods of LA's Eastside. Across the LA River it's neighbored by Downtown's Chinatown, North Industrial District (Dog Town), Civic Support, and the Mideast Side's Elysian Park and Elysian Valley to the west and northwest, respectively. It's neighbored the NELA's Cypress Park and Montecito Heights to the north; and fellow Eastside neighborhoods Boyle Heights, El Sereno, and Happy Valley, to the south, east, and north, respectively.

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California Fool's Gold -- Exploring Pasadena, The Crown City of Roses

Posted by Eric Brightwell, January 4, 2012 09:23pm | Post a Comment
INTRODUCTION TO PASADENA


The Pasadena skyline from the San Rafael Hills

Well, I can now admit (now that I'm finally done with it) that I honestly waited and prayed that another neighborhood or community would pass Pasadena in the polls. 

At the time of writing, Bunker Hill (in Downtown Los Angeles), El Monte (in the San Gabriel Valley), Lincoln Heights (in The Eastside) and Mt. Washington (in Northeast LA) are all tied for second place. All of those places seem comparatively way more manageable. Pasadena, I worried, is just too big to summarize in a single blog entry. True, I've tackled the larger (population-wise) Glendale as well as Long Beach (the second largest city in LA County -- after Los Angeles, of course). But even at ninth largest in population (also exceeded by the populations of Santa Clarita in Northwest County, Lancaster and Palmdale in the Antelope Valley, Pomona in the Pomona Valley and Torrance in the South Bay) but Pasadena is big in other ways -- almost too stuffed with culture and history to address in this format.  Alas, however, the people have spoken, so this entry is indeed about Pasadena. Now that I'm finally done, I hope it approaches adequate.

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