April 18, 2009

Semi Tropic Posts Available On The Corralitas Red Car Property Blog

Photo: Diane Edwardson, March 13, 2009. Native wild cucumber or "California Manroot" reaches for the sun in the Semi Tropic Spiritualists' Tract.

With the goal of helping people see the bigger picture of their neighborhood, all Semi Tropic Spiritualists' Tract posts will continue on the Corralitas Red Car Property Blog.

There is so much development activity on either end of the Red Car Property, it's easier to keep track of it on one blog. See the Links below to follow along with:

16-lot Subdivision in Semi Tropic Spiritualists' Tract
120-unit condo proposal for The Menlo Property
The Legacy of Failed Development

November 26, 2007

Glendale Freeway Construction

Photo: Futterer, Holyland Exhibit, 1960. Click photos to enlarge.

Photo: Futterer, Holyland Exhibit, 1923.

The neighborhood grew up around the Pacific Electric Red Car Stop at Whitmore and Allesandro. Small scale single family homes built on narrow streets (Whitmore St. was described as an "alley" on the 1912 Baist's Atlas) and public staircases allowed for suburban living minutes from Downtown Los Angeles.

In 1955 the Glendale and Edendale Red Car lines were decommissioned. In 1960 homes were demolished or moved for the construction of the 2 Freeway. Large vacant lots in the area like the Semi-Tropic Spiritualists' Tract and the Red Car Property were used for sources of fill dirt to build the area freeways. Later, the same lots were used as dumping grounds for the leftover dirt. The 2 Freeway opened in 1962. For more on our neighborhood history:

November 7, 2007

PUBLIC HEARING on Nov. 14, 2007

Photo: Edwardson, Semi Tropic Spiritualists' Tract
Public Hearing
Wed. Nov 14, 2007
10:30 A.M.
City Hall room 1020
200 N. Spring Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Case Numbers:
VTT 62900-SL
Site: 2400 Allesandro Street
City Council District 13
Silver Lake - Echo Park - Elysian Valley Community Plan
A developer has filed for a zone change and Small-Lot Subdivision of the Semi-Tropic Spiritualists' Garden Lots. The zone change is from R1-1VL to RD6-1VL.

Landacre Cabin, Historic Landmark #839

Photo: Andrew Sears
In 2005 the City declared Paul Landacre's Cabin and grounds at 2006 El Moran a Cultural Historic Landmark. Landacre's work was influenced by and often depicted the neighborhood in his work.
Paul Landacre wrote about his life in the Echo Park hills in 1958, not so different from those who live in the Semi-Tropic Spiritualists' Tract today;
"You see, art is practiced here along with various other concerns -
pruning trees, repairing the roof, watching and feeding wildlife and so
on. Of course, other artists live on wooded hillsides, too, and so do
other people, and it must be conceded that to some of us this kind of
environment is not only valuable, but absolutely necessary - a degree of
seclusion, the life of growing things, awareness that we are a part of
Photo: Andrew Sears
Landacre carved a petrel, his signature bird into the roof vents on each side of his house. He used the petrel as his trademark on his work, often in place of his signature.
Landacre struggled with physical disabilities most of his life. He identified with the petrel since they learn to fly by jumping off a cliff; falling into the raging sea; hurling themselves off the peaks of waves until they learn to fly. They crash into the rocks and waves, beat up, but they learn to fly.

Paul Landacre

Paul Landacre was the preeminent American wood-cut print artist of the 20th Century. Landacre's work reflected not only the character of the California landscape, but particularly in the 1930s; the character of his own Echo Park neighborhood. His style was clearly influenced by the natural beauty and dramatic quality of light in his own neighborhood. In fact, the neighborhood was often the subject of his work.

Right: Lot Cleaning, 1935, Landacre comments on the City's practice of setting fire to the hillsides for brush clearance. Landacre wrote numerous letters to the local newspapers, presented a petition to City Council and created the prize winning print in protest of the City's policy.
Below: Sultry Day, 1937 depicts wife and cat at his beloved home with the intersection of Modjeska Ave. and Peru St. in the background.

Landacre worked out of his home on El Moran Ave. in the Semi-Tropic Spiritualists' Tract for more than 30 years, until his death in 1963. Landacre's cabin, the grounds around his cabin and the hillside of the tract retain the same rural character that existed when Landacre created his unique works of art. It's a place where the natural beauty and quality of light still inspire artists today.

February 24, 2007

Semi Tropic Spiritualists' Tract 1923

Photo: 1923, Holyland Exhibition, Silver Lake
(click photo to enlarge)
Photo above is shot from what was the future site of the Holyland Exhibition at the corner of Lake View Ave. and Allesandro Way. Their founder, Futterer, documented neighborhood growth.
The group of houses at the center of the hillside in the Semi-Tropic Tract are on Alvarado. In the foreground, the mule team is clearing the forest for road building and subdivision. The Glendale (2) Freeway now runs through the part of the photo where the mule teams are working. The Whitmore Red Car Trolley stop was at the intersection of Allesandro Ave. and Whitmore.