Showing posts with label Historical Landmarks. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Historical Landmarks. Show all posts

Monday, January 19, 2015

Historical Landmark #15 Mission Santa Barbara

 2201 Laguna St.
Santa Barbara, California 93105
California Historical Landmark #309

On my first road trip of 2015. I decided to go with my group of friends up north to Santa Barbara. After visiting State St by night , we decided to go on a historical landmark visit so we went to the Santa Barbara Mission.

Founded on December 4th, 1786, it was the tenth of 21 missions in California.  Padre Junipero Serra, who founded the first nine missions, had died 2 years earlier but had planned to build the mission by the presidio (A Spanish military installing) of Santa Barbara. It was Padre Fermin Francisco de Lasuen, his successor, who raided the cross here in 1782.

Prior to the Spanish arrival, the Chumash inhabited the area from Malibu to San Luis Obispo. (I even had the opportunity to go the Chumash Casino during this trip)

The original purpose of the mission (which is something you learned in 4th grade if you lived in California)  was the Christianization of the Chumash Indians. According to the missions history this was considered accomplished by the early 1930's. Soon after the mission was secularized and turned into a school. In 1846 the Governor of California confiscated the land and sold it, however in 1865 President Abraham Lincoln order the land and mission to return to Catholic Church. 

The mission has gone through restoration projects due to Earthquakes but still kept that 1786 glow.

Overall its a nice historical landmark to explore full of nice architecture, gardens and tourist taking pictures. 

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Historical Landmark #14 Watts Towers

California Historical Landmark #993

Address: 1727 E. 107th Street Los Angeles, California 90002

Watts Towers transformed a poor working class neighborhood in South Los Angeles into a world-class destination for folk art. One man, Simon Rodia an Italian immigrant  built the towers by hand in the triangle-shaped yard next to his house between 1921 and 1954. For thirty-three years, he worked on these towers until he one day just left and never came back.  He fashioned scrap steel pipes and colorful broken bits and pieces of glass and pottery, bottle caps, seashells and even bowling balls into what is now known as the Watts Towers. After he left some of the .

By the time Rodia finished working on the towers, they had been discovered as Southern California’s most unusual tourist attraction. In 1959, the City of Los Angeles stated that they were unstable and unsafe and would have to be demolished. Fans from far and near protested. Tests proved their durability and miraculously, they still soar today.

Watts Towers officially became a California Historical Landmark in 1990.

Pictures from my visit on December 7, 2014

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Historical Landmark #13 El Campo Santo Cemetary in Old Town San Diego

2410 San Diego Ave
San Diego, CA92110
California Historical Landmark #68

El Campo Santo Cemetery is San Diego's second oldest cemetery, and dates back to 1849 with the burial of its first resident, Juan Adams. Burials in this Catholic Cemetery continued through 1880, welcoming San Diego dead of all different backgrounds, including, founders of San Diego like the Estudillo family and even notorious criminal Yankee Jim Robinson who was hung at the site of the Whaley House as is said to be one of the popular ghost of the town.

Photo from When I went I could not find it, but it might of been one of the grave sites that no longer had a name other than the rocks indicating that there was a grave,
Between 1849 and 1897, 477 persons were buried in these grounds.

Residents of El Campo Santo have been repeatedly disturbed as the growing city moved the graves to make room for the living. In 1889, the community built a horse-drawn street car line through the cemetery, right over 18 existing graves. This line eventually became a road, San Diego Blvd, and, in 1942, was paved and turned into a modern street. As you walk to this location, the paved down street says that you are currently stepping on old graves.  Most of the graves are not well kept and some are fenced.

This Cemetery does not bring good vibes, as it looks abandoned and a spot for witchcraft and other  practices. As we went in we saw many lighted  candles that were meant for either separation from a lover or other romance with someone. It is not something to be surprise about as this place is not gated and can accessed it any time of the day by jumping over a 3 foot cement fence. 

Friday, October 31, 2014

Historical Landmark #12 Whaley House

Whaley House CA Historical Landmark #65 
2476 San Diego Avenue. 
San Diego, California 

I have visited the Whaley house twice and every time I have been there I  always learn new interesting history behind it. Now a museum, people tour the house looking for ghosts and historical vibes.

The Whaley House built in 1857, was the home of Thomas Whaley and his family . At various times it also housed Whaley's general store, San Diego's second county courthouse, and the first commercial theater in San Diego. The house has witnessed more history than any other building in the city

During your tour you will see the courthouse room, some of the items that were sold in the general store, as well as the theater which is located upstairs.

Americas Most Haunted House in America

According to the Travel Channel's America's Most Haunted, the house is the number one most haunted house in the United States. The alleged hauntings of the Whaley House have been reported on numerous other television programs and been written up in countless publications and books since the house first opened as a museum in 1960

According to the Whaley House main website
The earliest documented ghost at the Whaley House is "Yankee Jim." James (aka Santiago) Robinson was convicted of attempted grand larceny in San Diego in 1852, and hanged on a gallows off the back of a wagon on the site where the house now stands. The local newspaper reported that he "kept his feet in the wagon as long as possible, but was finally pulled off. He swung back and forth like a pendulum until he strangled to death." Although Thomas Whaley had been a spectator at the execution, he did not let it dissuade him from buying the property a few years later and building a home for his family there.

Many visitors to the house have reported encountering the entire Whaley family during museum tours. Many members of the Whaley family died at this house which also includes a suicide from one of the Whaley daughters, Violet Whaley.  The Whaley House stands silently watching over San Diego Avenue  right by Old Town San Diego.  Every day visitors come from around the world to tour the historic museum.

 Pop Media

The Whaley House has been featured in many historical documentaries as well as a wide variety of paranormal and sci-fi shows, including SyFy's Channel's Fact or Fake: Paranormal Files and Travel Channel's Americas Most Haunted

In 2012 there was an independent low-budget movie titled The Haunting of Whaley House. Which uses the history of the Whaleys as the premise of the film. The movie can be found on Netflix. 

Check out the trailer:

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Historical Landmark #11 Mason Street School

Location: 3966 Mason St., Old Town San Diego State Historic Park

Historical Landmark #538 

Built in 1865, this was the first public school house in San Diego. Mary Chase Walker was its first teacher. She received a salary of $65/month. After eleven months she quit teaching and married Ephraim Morse who was president of the school board at the time.

Mason Street Schoolhouse in 1870

The San Diego History Center has an excerpt  from a paper Mary Chase Walker wrote in 1898 entitled Recollections of Early Times in San Diego.

Mary Chase Walker
 I arrived in the bay of San Diego on the morning of July 5, 1865. It was a most desolate looking landscape. The hills were brown and barren; not a tree or green thing was to be seen. Of all the dilapidated, miserable looking places I had ever seen, this was the worst. The buildings were nearly all of adobe, one story in height, with no chimneys. Some of the roofs were covered with tile and some with earth. The first night of my stay at the hotel, a donkey came under my window and saluted me with an unearthly bray. The fleas were plentiful and hungry. Mosquitoes were also in attendance. An Indian man did the cooking and an Irish boy waited on me at the table, and also gave me the news of the town. The landlord told me I could go into the kitchen and cook whatever I wanted if I didn't like the Indian's style and I availed myself of this privilege. I rented two rooms in the Robinson House for $2.00 a month. My school was composed mostly of Spanish and half-breed children, with a few English and several Americans. I aimed to teach which was most meaningful to them; namely reading, spelling, arithmetic, and how to write letters. At recess the Spanish girls smoked cigaritas and the boys amused themselves by lassoing pigs, hens, etc. The Spanish children were very irregular in their attendance at school on account of so many fiestas and amusements of various kinds. For a week before a bull fight the boys were more or less absent, watching preparations, such as fencing up the streets leading to the plaza.
Miss Walker taught for 11 months in the Mason Street School  She became the center of controversy when she invited a black woman to lunch at the Franklin House and some diners stormed out, while others stared with contempt. Her story became so controversial that led to her quitting her position despite being supported by the superintendent (her husband)

Mason Street School served the community from 1865 to 1872. In 1872 the school was moved to a 4 room structure half a mile away. The Mason Street School was converted into a home until about 1918.  From 1918 until the late 1940’s the building housed a restaurant.


The building was restored into a museum  in 1955 and considered a California Historical Landmark. 

Here's a list of punishments at Mason Street Schoolhouse


1. Boys and Girls Playing Together
2. Fighting at School
3. Quareling at School
4. Gambleing or Betting at School
5. Playing at Cards at School
6. Climbing for Every Foot Over Three Feet Up a Tree
7. Telling Lies
8. Telling Tales Out of School
9. Giving Each Other Ill Names
10. Swaring at School
11. For Misbehaving to Girls
12. For Drinking Spiritous Liquors at School
13. Making Swings and Swinging on Them
14. For Waring Long Finger Nails
15. Misbehaving to Persons on the Road
16. For Going to Girls Play Places
17. Girls Going to Boys Play Places
18. Coming to School With Dirty Faces and Hands
19. For Calling Each Other Liars
20. For Wrestling at School
21. For Weting Each Other Washing at Playtime
22. Scuffling at School
23. For Going and Playing about the Mill or Creek
24. For Going about the Barn or doing any Mischief about the Place

Friday, September 19, 2014

Historical Landmark #10 Colorado Street Bridge in Pasadena

Location: Pasadena, California

U.S National Register of Historic Places # 81000156
 Added: February 12, 1981

The Colorado Street Bridge is 101 years old. Construction began in July 1912 and lasted 18 months, employing 40 to 100 workers on any given day. Built with 11,000 cubic yards of concrete -- made from gravel collected from the arroyo -- and 600 tons of steel reinforcement, the bridge cost a total of $235,000.

During that time the bridge was considered the biggest and tallest bridge in California History. The bridge being part of Route 66, allowed travelers to cross the arroyo seco in wagons  into the City of Pasadena. As the boom of the automobiles increased, the bridge was expanded and widened and Colorado Street turned into Colorado Blvd. The bridge kept its name Colorado Street Bridge but soon to many residents and nearby communities it became known as Suicide Bridge.

The first tragic accident that was documented by the LA Times , was when a construction man fell over the bridge and died. The first suicide was on November 16, 1919, and nearly fifty of the suicides occurred during the Great Depression from 1933 to 1937. Another report predicts that ninety-five people committed suicide from the bridge between the years of 1919 and 1937. In 1981, the bridge was declared and registered in the National Register of Historic Places. Due to an earthquake in 88, it was closed off until it was repaired in 1993.

As you now walk around the bridge, there are railings that make it a little harder to commit suicide. The City of Pasadena and suicide prevention organizations also have a poster and hotline numbers all over the bridge.

My visit to this site occurred on September 14, in order to take a look under the bridge you must take little streets. The road under the bridge will actually take you the Rose Bowl. There are many sight seers and hikers.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Historical Landmark #9 Rio San Gabriel Battlefield

Address: Intersection of Washington Blvd and Bluff Road 

 CA Historical Landmark #385

The battle of Rio San Gabriel was fought on January 8, 1847 between the United States and Mexico. 
The U.S commanded by General Stephen W. Kearny went to the headquarters of Commodore Robert F. Stockton in San Diego to discuss their next move.  Both of their missions were to recapture the City of Los Angeles, which they had captured but lost in a matter of days due to failed leadership. In route to Los Angeles, Robert F. Stockton led his force of 500 men from San Diego. 

The Mexican troops were led by Jose Maria Flores who was the Governor of Alta California from 1846 to January 17, 1847

According to the CA State Military Museum,

 U.S. scouts discovered the Mexican position at a key ford along the San Gabriel River on January 7. Stockton and Kearny planned a crossing for the next day. The U.S. forces were formed into a hollow square with the artillery and baggage in the center. Kearny ordered the artillery unlimbered to cover the crossing but Stockton countered the order and began to move across the river. The crossing proved to be especially difficult as Flores was in a good position to contest the crossing from the heights across the river and the ford had patches of quicksand at the bottom of the knee-deep water.
The U.S. force came under fire as it crossed, but due to poor ammunition and bad aim the Mexican artillery proved to be ineffective. The U.S. officers and men manhandled their cannon across while the forward quarter of the square took cover on the riverbank. Stockton personally helped unlimber and direct the artillery, which silenced both Mexican cannon.
 Lacking resources to immediately pursue Flores, Stockton and Kearny stayed on the field overnight and resumed the pursuit the next day, quickly encountering Flores again for the Battle of La Mesa, at the confluence of the San Gabriel and Los Angeles rivers. On January 10 the U.S. forces reoccupied Los Angeles
This battle was relatively short, it killed two officers from each side and wounded a total of 18 from both sides. The San Gabriel Battle was very important because it  led to the conquer of the Cuidad de Los Angeles. 

A memorial of this battlefield  is located at the corner of Washington Blvd. and Bluff Rd. The   memorial  erected by the City of Montebello in 1944 has a plaque and two cannons. 

Pictures taken on Aug. 16, 2014 

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Historical Landmark #8 Pio Pico State Historic Park

Address: 6003 Pioneer Blvd
                Whittier, CA

CA Historical Landmark #127
National Register of Historic Places Reference #73000408

Pío de Jesus Pico is one of California’s most remarkable historical figures.  He witnessed and influenced nearly a century of California history in the 1800’s. Pío Pico was the governor of Alta California in 1832 and again in 1846 before and during the Mexican-American War. Pio Pico was the last Mexican Governor of Alta California and perhaps the one of the first African descendant politicians in North America!

Pio Pico was born in 1801 in Mission San Gabriel, according to records his ancestry included a mixture of Spanish, African and Indian. He live most of this young adult life in San Diego living with his father. It was up until his dad died where  he began exploring other territories receiving land grants where he became influential to California History.

In 1845 Pio Pico became Governor of Alta California. During that time he became a strong leader against the war and invasion of the Americans.

By the 1850's Pico became one of the richest men in Alta California, he purchased Rancho Paso de Bortolo (present day cities Montebello, Whittier, Pico Rivera) and built an adobe house.

After being defeated by the Americans in the  Mexican-American War , Pico fled to Mexico to prevent being captured and taken as a prisoner leaving all his land behind.  He later reclaimed his title to the land  and invested in more real estate, becoming wealthy and influential. In his later years Pico became more private and lived at the present day Pio Pico Historic Park.

Towards the very end of his life just like every rich man in that time frame of the late 1880's he became very poor. He was evicted of his own adobe house in 1892 after thinking he had gotten a loan by Bernard Cohn but ignorantly sold his deed without even realizing.

Pio Pico died in 1894. His remains are actually in the Campo Santo Cemetery that belong to the Workman family. For history of the Campo Santo check out my Historical Landmark #4 post

The Pio Pico Historic Park includes the adobe mansion and green fields which now include park picnic benches. In 1907 the land became historic and by 1917 this site belonged to the state of California. In 1927 the Pio Pico Adobe Mansion became the Pio Pico State Historic Park. Although it has been renovated many times due to floods, and earthquakes the foundation of the adobe house remains.

Present Day Pio Pico Adobe House Picture Taken on 8/10/14

Historical Landmark #127 Plaque. Picture taken 8/10/2014

Original walls most of the house had to be renovated due to floods in the 1920's and the Whittier Narrows earthquake in the 80's

Friday, August 8, 2014

Historical Landmark #7 Rose Bowl

U.S National Historic Landmark
National Register of Historic Places
 Reference #87000755

As my summer vacation came to an end, my pursuit of national and state landmarks will still continue. 

My reason for this visit was not for a historic stadium tour or a random drive up there to know the history, it was because I had tickets for the Eminem/Rhianna concert. Of course, for some this is just a random stadium/venue but this is one of the oldest stadiums built in the United States. Just to give you an idea Dodger Stadium opened in 1962 and the Rose Bowl opened in 1922. The Rose Bowl the third oldest active stadiums of professional sports in the United States only Wrigley Field (Cubs) and Fenway Park (Boston) are the oldest

 College football games, Super Bowls, soccer world cup games (Men's World Cup 1994, Women's world cup 1999), summer olympics of 1984 and 1932, sold out concerts from Guns N' Roses, Pink Floyd, JayZ/Beyonce, Justin Timberlake, Eminem/Rhianna and U2 have all taken place in this historic venue.

Memorable Events:

1999 Women's World Cup Final: 90,000 attended the Rose Bowl to watch the U.S women team defeat China. To this day this game  remains as  the largest crowd ever to watch a women's sporting event. Despite being 8 years old I remember watching this game on T.V.

2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup: 93.000 attended this event. I remember watching this game at the MGM grand hotel before I left to the Electronic Dance Festival.

 I will never forget this game 2006 Rose Bowl USC vs Texas, I am not a fan of college football but this game has to go as one of the best football games ever.

 (Ariel View of the Rose Bowl)

Concert set up for the Rihanna-Eminem Monster Tour -Aug 7
First Game Ever Played at the Rose Bowl

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Historical Landmark #6 Fred C. Nelles Youth Correctional Facility

 Fred C. Nelles Youth Correctional Facility
Address: 11850 Whittier Blvd, Whittier, CA 90606

CA Historical Landmark Reference #947

So I was interested in visiting this site after coming across a video about it on YouTube. Then I remembered how my final college paper about solitary confinement and torture in juvenile delinquency centers actually mentioned this place, so I drove to the City of Whittier to look at this historic landmark.

My visitation attempt failed because you can not go into this property with out proper permits. Although it is not in operation it is still owned by the Department of Corrections and those who want to visit to film or take pictures need to purchase a film permit which runs about 1,000 dollars. Despite the location being on Whittier Blvd, it is hard to see anything from the main street other than the sign.  From the side streets you can see an abandoned area, but it is surrounded by barbed wired.

entrance sign of the Fred C. Nelles Youth Authority

According to the  CA Office of Historic Preservation:
Officially opened as 'Whittier State School' for boys and girls on July 1, 1891. Girls were transferred in 1916 and only boys have been in residence since that time. Renamed 'Fred C. Nelles School for Boys' in 1941 ('For Boys' was dropped around 1970). This school has been in continuous operation serving the needs of juvenile offenders since 1891.

Perhaps a bit outdated this correctional facility has been closed since 2004 and no longer holds any juvenile delinquents.

To get an inside view of the Fred C. Nelles facility look at this music video by The Game which was entirely filmed at that location or go get yourself a trespassing ticket, your choice.

Here is a short documentary that goes into full detail about the history of the Fred C. Nelles facility.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Historical Landmark #5 Golden Gate Theater in East Los Angeles

National Register of Historic Place #82002192

Address: 5176 Whittier Boulevard, East Los Angeles, CA 90022

I moved to the City of Commerce at the young age of 5 in 1996, and every time I would pass through this building I would wonder what it was, it look old and abandoned but it was an impressive historic building. I grew up and learned that it was home to the Golden Gate Theater. As of 2012 this building is no longer abandoned and it is home to a CVS Pharmacy, despite angry outcries by the East Los Angeles community of not being able to restore into a performing arts center, a young generation can at least see the remains of the inside of this historical building.

The Golden Gate Theater was built in 1927, along side a retail building that covered the theater in a Spanish theme palace. The theater built in the corner of Whittier and Atlantic Blvd, seated nearly 1,500 people. According to Steve Saldivar,
Like many theaters during the 20's and 30's, it played silent films and filled the gaps with organ and orchestra music. By the 60's films shared the stage with live acts, rock concerts, and variety acts. By the 70's the theater reflected the changes in demographic, showing films with Spanish subtitles. 
In 1982 the Golden Gate Theater was listed under the National Register of Historical Places, however a steady decline of sales and other newer theaters around the East Los Angeles area forced the theater to close in 1986. Hopes of revival of the theater and shops were cut short due to the 1987 Whittier Narrows Earthquake which created structural damage due to fire. In 1992, the owners demolished the retail section of this lot and began to petition to remove the theater from the list of historical places in order to demolish it as well and create new development.  The City of Los Angeles did not approve of this decision and therefore kept abandoned until 2012 where the theater was converted into a 24 hour CVS.

As soon as this place was opened I went in just to take a look of the inside of the once theater. The inside of this CVS does remind me of old theater as your voice echoes and pictures of the original interior building are hung near the cash registers.

Retail Stores Covering the Golden Gate Theater

Golden Gate Theater
Abandoned Golden Gate Theater during the 90's after the retail shops were demolished

Present Day CVS Pharmacy

Like many theaters during the ’20s and ’30s, it played silent films and filled the gaps with organ and orchestra music - See more at:
Like many theaters during the ’20s and ’30s, it played silent films and filled the gaps with organ and orchestra music - See more at:
Like many theaters during the ’20s and ’30s, it played silent films and filled the gaps with organ and orchestra music - See more at:

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Historical Landmark #4 El Campo Santo Cementary

Address: 15415 E. Don Julian Rd., Industry CA

National Register of Historic Places #145
California Historical Landmark #874

No this is not a creppy cementary that I walked into, this place is actually located within the same address of the Workman and Temple Family Homestead Museum and belonged to the Workman-Temple family. This site is walking distance from the actual museum and anyone can go in there and check it out without a guided tour.  El Campo Santo is one of the oldest cemeteries in California, it contains the remains of the pioneering Workman and Temple families as well as Pío Pico, (the last governor of Alta  California), and John A. Rowland who was part owner of Rancho La Puente along with Workman. The cemetery was iron gated and had a Gothic chapel as describe by the Homestead Museum brochure.

The Campo Santo (which means Cemetery in English) was established in 1855, when William Workman's brother died as he fell of a cliff trying to retrieve some cattle in Northern California during the gold rush. Soon after other Workman family members were buried

When the Workman family lost it all they even lost the cemetery. In 1917 when William Workman's grandson Walter Temple regained ownership of that land  he was able to restore the cemetery.  In 1921 he built a mausoleum (building constructed as a monument enclosing the interment space or burial chamber of a deceased person or people) and moved the remains of his family inside.
He also transferred the remains of Pío Pico and his wife, Ygnacia Alvarado de Pico from a cemetery in Los Angeles to the mausoleum.

Old Chapel before it burned down in the 1900's
(Homestead Museum)

Actual present day view of the mausoleum

Graveyard a few gravestones are there. Walter Temple and John A. Rowland were the only names that I was able to recognize.

John A. Rowland's grave.

The plaque that states that the Workman Family Cemetery is a CA Historical Landmark