Taste of the Mideast Side — at the Los Angeles County Store

Pendersleigh & Sons Cartography

Taste of the Mideast Side

If there are regular readers of my column here on the Amoeblog, they’ve probably seen some of the hand-drawn and hand-painted maps which I include in my series of Southland explorations I call California Fool’s Gold. Right now a series of new maps are on display at the Los Angeles County Store in East Hollywood. None, except the Los Feliz map, have been the subject of Eric’s Blog entries yet.

Eric Brightwell Cartography Art Show Los Angeles County Store

The Los Angeles County Store is a great retail shop which features only goods designed and manufactured in Los Angeles County. The opening has already passed but the maps can still be seen in person if you head over there soon — the show ends on 21 September.

Pendersleigh & Sons Cartography's Map of the Mideast Side (3rd Edition)
Pendersleigh & Sons Cartography’s Map of the Mideast Side (3rd Edition)

I refer to the set of paintings as Taste of the Mideast Side — a reference to Taste of the Eastside, a four-year-old food event which despite its name never features restaurants from the Eastside unless you clarify that you’re talking about the Eastside of Central Los Angeles (aka the original Westside). By the way, there is an older pre-existing event called The Taste of East L.A. which as its name correctly suggests, features restaurants from East Los Angeles — a neighborhood actually located in the Eastside.

Anyway, here are the maps included in the show (which you can vote for me to write about here).

EdendalePendersleigh & Sons Cartography’s map of Edendale

Edendale was subdivided around 1903. It was the original home of Los Angeles’s film studios, before Hollywood. The first studio, Selig Polyscope Company, was demolished and the arrival of the 2 Freewaymade the neighborhood decidedly less edenic. The old Mack Sennett Keystone Studio still stands behind a Jack in the Box — utilized for public storage. Although the name has faded from most memories (a post office branch still bears it) there have been efforts to play up associations with it as with the Edendalerestaurant and bar (in the Ivanhoe tract of Silver Lake) and the Mabel Normand Stage in Hollywood, which was recently renamed Mack Sennett Studios).

Pendersleigh & Sons Cartography's map of Elysian Heights
Pendersleigh & Sons Cartography’s map of Elysian Heights
Elysian Heights was subdivided around 1890. The northern corner was home to the Semi Tropic Spiritualists, a 19th Century group whose beliefs mixed the progressive and supernatural. The neighborhood later became known colloquially as “Red Hill” for the many anarcho-communists who made it home. Perhaps the most famous resident of Elysian Heights was a gray tabby named Room 8, who reportedly visited Elysian Heights Elementary every school day for many years and became a national celebrity.

Pendersleigh & Sons Cartography's map of Franklin Hills
Pendersleigh & Sons Cartography’s map of Franklin Hills
Franklin Hills seceded from Los Feliz around 1988. Its most iconic figure is the Shakespeare Bridge, the original which was built in 1926 (although it was rebuilt in 1998 after the Northridge earthquake). Beneath the bridge is the John Lautner-designed Midtown School. It was home to two twin homes owned by Royand Walt Disney in the 1920s.  To read more about it, click here.

Pendersleigh & Sons Cartography's map of the Ivanhoe tract
Pendersleigh & Sons Cartography’s map of the Ivanhoe tract
The Ivanhoe tract was subdivided in 1877, when it was located just north of Los Angeles (the border of which then corresponded to Fountain Avenue). It was developed by Hugo Reid, a Mexican-American born in who claimed that it reminded him of Scotland, where he was born. The Ivanhoe name (a reference to Glaswegian author Sir Walter Scott‘s 18th Century novel, Ivanhoe) lives on in Ivanhoe Elementary, theIvanhoe Reservoir, and the Ivanhoe and Scottish related street names like Kenilworth, Locksley, Rowena,Waverly, and others.

Pendersleigh & Sons Cartography's map of Pico-Union
Pendersleigh & Sons Cartography’s map of Pico-Union
Pico-Union began as Pico Heights, which was subdivided in 1887 in what was then Southwest Los Angeles. It was originally an exclusive, white, Protestant neighborhood an was annexed by Los Angeles in 1896. In the 1910s a number of Japanese-Americans moved in and white flight began. Mexicans andGreeks followed and there are still vestiges of the latter population such as the Saint Sophia Greek Orthodox CathedralPapa Cristo’s, and the Los Angeles Greek Fest. The neighborhood was renamed Pico-Union in 1970 by the Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA), who wished to remove any negative associations that Pico Heights was perceived to have acquired. Today it’s mostly home to Central Americans, especially Salvadorans.

Pendersleigh & Sons Cartography's map of Solano Canyon
Pendersleigh & Sons Cartography’s map of Solano Canyon
Solano Canyon was — along with Bishop, La Loma, and Palo Verde — one of the Mexican colonias ofChavez Ravine. The latter three were demolished and the displaced residents were promised public housing in the planned Elysian Park Heights which was to have been designed by great Modernist architectsRichard Neutra and Robert Alexander. Unfortunately for the residents, Elysian Park Heights and all public housing came to a halt when a concerted Right Wing effort tarred such efforts to house the poor and returning war veterans as Communistic. The land was instead given to the Brooklyn Dodgers, who covered it with a massive parking lot and a tiny baseball stadium.
Pendersleigh & Cartography's map of Victor Heights
Pendersleigh & Cartography’s map of Victor Heights
Victor Heights has named after water baron Victor Beaudry, who subdivided the neighborhood around 1886. It is home to the Eastside Market Italian Deli, one of the few remnants of Little Italy (and which is named after the Eastside because it began in Lincoln Heights), wandering peafowl, the Teardrop Locosgang, the art deco Naval and Marine Corps Reserve Center, Los Angeles Building, and the former headquarters of the Metropolitan Water District, designed by William Pereira. Because of its proximity toChinatown and large Chinese-American population, many of the street signs are written in English and Chinese. To read more about it, click here.
Pendersleigh & Sons Cartography's map of Westlake
Pendersleigh & Sons Cartography’s map of Westlake

Westlake Park was originally the old Westside’s counterpart to the Eastside’s Eastlake Park. Eastlake was located in what was then called East Los Angeles but was re-named Lincoln Heights in 1917. Westlake Park was renamed MacArthur Park and although many will argue that the Westlake and MacArthur Park neighborhoods are one-in-the-same although in my experience, the name MacArthur Park is primarily applied to the immediate surroundings whereas, depending on whether or not one lives east or west of Alvarado, they’re almost more likely to claim Downtown or Koreatown, respectively. It’s the second most densely-populated neighborhood in Los Angeles (after Koreatown) and despite it’s declined fashionability, there are many attractions to be experienced (some marked in red on my map).

Eric Brightwell and Alan "The Dingus" GudguyThe Artist and critic Alan “The Dingus” Gudguy having his paw treated like a stress ball

*****

Eric Brightwell is an adventurer, writer, rambler, explorer, cartographer, and guerrilla gardener who is always seeking writing, speaking, traveling, and art opportunities. He is not interested in writing advertorials, clickbait, listicles, or other 21st century variations of spam. Brightwell’s written work has appeared in AmoeblogdiaCRITICS, and KCET Departures. His work has been featured by the American Institute of Architects, the Architecture & Design Museum, the Craft & Folk Art MuseumForm Follows FunctionLos Angeles County StoreSkid Row Housing Trust, and 1650 Gallery. Brightwell has been featured in the Los Angeles TimesHuffington PostLos Angeles MagazineLAistEastsider LABoing Boing,Los Angeles, I’m Yours, and on Notebook on Cities and Culture. He has been a guest speaker on KCRW‘s Which Way, LA? and at Emerson College. Art prints of his maps are available from 1650 Gallery and on other products from Cal31. He is currently writing a book about Los Angeles and you can follow him on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter.

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