Los Angeles history bits

The Orange Line busway extension from Woodland Hills to Chatsworth will follow the route of old Southern Pacific railroad tracks that crossed the Valley starting in 1888. The trains carried out crops, brought in settlers and lumber to build the suburbs, and transported paraplegic GIs to Birmingham Army Hospital (now high school) during World War II. It was the route north up the coast from Los Angeles, via tunnels dug under the Santa Susana Mountains that are still used.

About 900 feet of the historical tracks still remain alongside Canoga Avenue. The last car to occupy those tracks will be loaded up this weekend and taken to Omaha, according to local railroad salvage contractor Dan Huffman. The tracks will then be torn out. I went out and grabbed a one-minute video of the scene, including an Amtrak Surfliner passing by on the active line that intersects with the old route at Plummer Street.

Already gone: John Scheibe, the author of On the Road with Jim Murray, spotted Encino's Chevy's restaurant reduced to rubble the other day. The Ventura Boulevard spot was popular in the 1950s and 60s as The Ram's Horn, run by former UCLA Bruin Don Paul, a linebacker for the L.A. Rams from 1948-55 and a member of the Rams’ 1951 NFL championship team. It was later the Tracton's steakhouse.

More by Kevin Roderick:
Ralph Lawler of the Clippers and the age of Aquarius
Riding the Expo Line to USC 'just magical'
Last bastion of free parking? Loyola Marymount to charge students
Matt Kemp, Dodgers and Kings start big weekend the right way
LA Times writers revisit their '92 riots observations
Recent History stories on LA Observed:
The other horrible April 29 date in Los Angeles history
KNBC 'live-tweeting' the run-up to '92 riots
When Muhammad Ali boxed in LA - and posed for pictures *
MALDEF sues sheriff over withheld Ruben Salazar files
Scenes from a convention - Los Angeles, 1960

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