Jenny Burman Jenny Burman
A Los Angeles blog
from Echo Park

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Loads of waters running deep

Ever since I've lived in the Silver Lake-Echo Park region, I've always heard that there were underground streams running beneath us in this area. One myth -- or was it true? -- was that the constant water wash running down Angus in Silver Lake for some years came from an underground stream. It's been dry in that spot for a while now, so I assume a stream was not the source.

And then, of course, there is the bottling plant down on York Ave. Sparkletts, I think. Porch talk has them pumping their water right at the spot.

Now comes along my friend Darrell Kunitomi to put facts to work. He found a great map: described by Myriad Small Things as "the intimate history of the suburban landscape from the point of view of water in Northeast Los Angeles..."

It shows an 1888 map of storm drains and "water courses," toggling it with a modern map. Muy interesante.

I asked Darrell where he found the map, and he wrote:

I was out in cyberspace [a few days ago], and sent it along to you and several others, native Angelenos and fellow fly fishers who could be concerned with water matters.
It may have been from the marvelous L.A. Creek Freak blog. So much lore and history -- and longing -- on that site. Appeals to me, because as an Angeleno who fished Echo Park as a boy, whose father actually swam in the L.A. River in the 1920s as a boy in Little Tokyo and who vividly recalls a greener (vacant lots were our playgrounds, where we constructed tunnels in the high weeds and forts and treehouses) more open less congested Los Angeles (driving to Disneyland was fantastic when the orange groves were in bloom, and Knott's Berry Farm's parking lots were dirt) I miss my old city. I miss the butterflies that flew all over Los Angeles. I could catch over a dozen species with the net my mom made. I mounted them in Riker boxes. Now and then a lost Monarch came through.
I visit rivers and streams now as an adult fly fisher. In many ways I search, and find, what now seems lost in the city.

A greener time -- fed by the same waters that run beneath us today. Perhaps!

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