The View from Mount Lookout  | Lost LA | Season 1 | Episode 2

The View from Mount Lookout | Lost LA | Season 1 | Episode 2

So this magnificent lithograph from 1877 is looking southeast across a little
town of Los Angeles, pretty much at the very first moment
when it is connected to the larger world of America. [theme music] So let’s see what we have here. It’s quite a spectacular image. It says “Drawn and published by E.S.Glover” So, um, obviously
there’s drawing involved. It’s not a photographic image. The lithograph is one
man’s view from the highest point. It was called Mount Lookout; 726 feet high. And we’re on the Mount Lookout trail. It was, it was the main path where everyone would come up from the pueblo Sonora Town and walk up to Mount Lookout and, and get a view
out to the ocean and over the whole city. This is most definitely done on a stone.
On a lime stone. No question about it, right? Because there was really no
other way of reproducing things, in terms of the the fastness, with, with an incredible
amount of detail. You look very closely at the drawing there’s just it’s made up of just tiny tiny little spots and the surface of the stone is is like a very
fine-grained sand paper so when you’re drawing on it um, your grease pencil is just touching
those tiny little tops on on the top of the stone. This grease crayon will create
a mark in a memory on the stone so you have to maintain the stone, wet, then you bulid up a film of ink, you put in a paper, you pass it through pressure, and it picks up the image. These birds-eye views are not just a historical record, they have an iconic
value. This lithograph exists in part to emphasize that Los Angeles is no longer
a violent Western boomtown, that Los Angeles is a settled place that decent
white Americans can settle in and make a home. I don’t know if, uh, at that time whether
there were, uh, lithographic presses in Los Angeles. It could have been printed
someplace else. There is… …printed in San Francisco… One of the reasons why the churches are
so significant in this graphic, they show domestication of everyday life. The high school is important; shows that
expansion of civic life. The railroads are given prominence; shows
expansion of economic life. And the vastness of where the city might go is shown to offer the viewer a dream of metropolis that would span the whole of
what one sees in this panorama. So we’re pretty much– this is taken from a little
bit further up Wow. This is it’s one of the greatest views in the city. What’s not here today is what’s most
obvious in this map. In 1877, Los Angeles was a very hilly city. Much of the
elevation has been sliced away again and again and again until in many instances
the hills are no longer there. The the saddest thing is seeing how the
mountains have been carved up. And all the connections we’ve lost; being able to
walk to Chinatown, or walk to the cornfield or just walk easier to
downtown. What might be said about the recent past in Los Angeles is erasing features in the landscape. Oddly enough if you could extend the
drawing further down, here we would be standing on the upper deck of Dodger Stadium. Dodger Stadium would be right here. Most people come to the top of the park
and look around and they take in the beautiful view of downtown and they
assume it’s always been like that but the fact of the matter is when Walter
O’Malley cited this park, he put the third base line due north to get the
best son conditions on the playing field and the only thing on the skyline and
downtown was city hall. I’m sure they had no idea when the stadium was built
in 1962, that suddenly in 2015, it would be the third oldest ballpark in the
major leagues and just become an iconic part of the city. The topography on the site is very
complex. To actually grade the stadium into a bowl and then create these areas
for parking… I don’t know if you know, but the actual shape of the site is that of a
baseball glove. As far as the what we call the top of the park, that area was asphalt and it was just basically another parking area about 10 feet below. It was
all down with crazy asphalt ramps going up to gates. I mean it was clear to us
that the view was awesome. Mia Lehrer’s team, with the renovations they did up at the top of the park, are trying to recreate this view and it’s it’s quite majestic it’s
great that the new ownership of the Dodgers are trying to embrace this. When this park opened in 1962 one of the only deficiencies that Walter O’Malley himself
saw in it was that there wasn’t enough landscaping and he immediately set out to plant
thousands of trees and flowers. Well we have tried to build on that and we’ve taken over some of the area that used to be parking in order to create these
pedestrian plazas. These layers of Palms would unveil these views and really celebrate the existing city skyline but also the emerging city skyline. The city of tomorrow will have many features of the city of 1877. We always are
working with the materials of the past. We’re always partly in the past in Los Angeles. So reclaiming that top, people could have that amazing view of the city and really, for
the first time, really be able to pause and then enjoy. Placeless locales become
places through memory. The persistence of lives
lived in that place. So Los Angeles to me is not an empty void. It’s not the history of this place. It’s not a placeless place Los Angeles is crowded with history.

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2 Replies to “The View from Mount Lookout | Lost LA | Season 1 | Episode 2”

  1. It's sad that Chavez ravine was not even mentioned during the dodger stadium history. I guess they forgot about all the displacement of Mexican Americans that occurred to obtain that land the stadium was built on. SMH.

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