City archive photos put to immediate good use

PE viaduct over Fletcher Drive at Riverside Drive. Los Angeles City Archive

Our post yesterday on the new online database of photographs from the city of Los Angeles archive sure attracted a lot of social media attention — thanks for the likes and follows! — and also triggered some enthusiastic exploration of the photos. The images were posted by Anna Sklar and the Los Angeles Historical Society, and include photos of many unexpected locations archived by the city Engineering Department. The blog Corralitas Red Car Property, which focuses on an old Pacific Electric Red Car right-of-way in the Silver Lake area, poked around and discovered this 1928 view of the corner of Riverside Drive and Fletcher Drive in Elysian Valley. It shows the area before Riverside Drive was widened and realigned, and intriguingly shows the viaduct over Fletcher that was used by the Red Cars. You may have seen footings for the viaduct still visible on the slope above Riverside and Fletcher. I especially love seeing this because I used to rent a cottage on Riverside Drive that had a mysteriously wide (to me) dirt parking area above the house. Now I know it probably dates back to the Pacific Electric days.

Fletcher didn't exist under the viaduct when it was first built of all-wood trestle construction in 1904. In 1927 the center section was replaced with steel & the roadbed lowered so Fletcher could be paved through from Atwater to Glendale Blvd in Silver Lake.

Riverside used to follow the curve of the slope more closely prior to paving. Note the flat dirt lot to the left across Fletcher. That would be the new alignment for Riverside Drive.

Yesterday, LA Observed broke the news, LA City Dept of Engineering archive photos were coming online, on the LA City Historical Society website. The photos are a treasure trove of missing pieces from our neighborhood. So many hillsides, streets & homes disappeared when the 2 & 5 Freeways were built through our neighborhood, in addition to the channelization and concreting of the LA River, it is difficult to even recognize the some parts of the same neighborhoods today.

While we're in the neighborhood: Riverside Drive in 1928, looking from the Hyperion bridge back toward Fletcher Drive, with the trestle in the background.

Los Angeles City Archive

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