The frustrating job of protecting the foundations of L.A. history

Why would anyone care about a some old chunks of concrete scattered on a Silver Lake hillside above an ARCO gas station?  For Silver Lake resident and blogger Diane Edwardson, the blocks near Fletcher and Riverside drives really do serve as concrete reminders of the former wooden Pacific Electric Red Car bridge or viaduct (pictured above) that  swept above the intersection and across the Los Angeles River.  The blocks that served as footings for the bridge have been designated a city cultural historic monument. That does not seem to matter to the person or persons who have used the footings to serve as foundations for a wooden wheel and some other objects.

While the wheel and other sculptures have their fans, Edwardson considers them an illegal alteration of a historic landmark as well as ugly. Her effort to get the wooden structures removed, however, have not been successful. In a recent post, she noted that the city’s Lot Cleaning Division posted a notice on one of the wooden structures back in June warning that the city would remove  weeds and rubbish on the hillside. The weeds went but the wheel and other objects stayed. Edwardson, who has also appealed to Council District 13 for help, has grown weary trying to get rid of these immovable objects:

“But then, what’s one more piece of crap to look at when you have power lines, ugly rooftops, major commuter streets and the 5 Freeway to clutter the view.”

Top Photo: 1942 image by Bruce Wojcik/Corralitas Red Car Property. Photo was taken from Riverside Drive looking east to Fletcher Drive. Bottom photo by Diane Edwardson.


  1. OMG, this makes no sense. The idea that a wooden sculpture makes a concrete block look like one more piece of crap to look at is risible. I don’t see this as illegally altering the footings; I see this as celebrating their historical significance by employing them as the temporary foundations for the display of art. What could be better? Rebuilding the bridge of course. (Great photo.)

  2. I’ve always wondered what those concrete footings were originally used for. Thanks for the history lesson!

  3. It’s guerrilla art. Whoever made it spent their own time and energy, knowing it would eventually go away. If don’t like it, show some initiative, round up a guerrilla art removal posse, and go take it down.

    That is, unless you prefer the sound of your own complaints to the unadorned concrete blocks.

  4. I agree with first poster. I think the wooden sculpture is nice and adds to the concrete. It’s not harming it.

  5. More ugliness in this city… Who’s got a cordless SawZall? It’d be fun to take it down…

  6. It is not “nice”, does not “add to the concrete”. I don’t care how much time or energy was spent – it’s unpleasant to view and an insult.

  7. @resident. AGREED! just take the damn thing down yourself if you don’t like it. lazy!

  8. I’m surprised that no one has mentioned that before the wagon wheel installation thing we had about a year and a half of looking at an installation of smashed TV screens that were propped up all over the property. That was quite an eye sore. I think Guerrilla art can be fascinating and thought provoking, but the community shouldn’t have to live with it for months or even years. Like anything unmaintained, it will attract more debris and visual clutter. It’s the city’s responsibility to keep city hillsides free of fire producing weeds, trash and certainly the wagon wheel timber would fall into that fire hazard category. We need your help Eric Garcetti!!


    We’ve lived in Silver Lake 22 years and consider those “concrete blocks” to
    be our version of Stonehenge!

    They add character to our eclectic neighborhood and are testimony to how unique a place this is. By all means, we hope they stay in place and accorded recognition as cultural landmarks.

    We commend Dianne Edwardson for the work she’s done over the years to preserve the distinctive nature of our neighborhood. Many others also celebrate the people, the plants, the birds and other wildlife, and, yes, even the concrete blocks that make us who we are.

  10. I have lived in this immediate neighborhood for 12 years and I love that this hillside has become a place for alternative expression. Of course some people will hate it and some will absolutely love it and I think that is an important and provocative place to be. The TV screen installation assaulted warmongering, corruption and the Bush administration. LA culture and Silverlake culture is unique and I am grateful to live in a place where there is room for everyone, including the fringe. This is not an intolerance, but as a practical matter, people who like and prefer everything to be neat and orderly might find themselves more at home in the suburbs rather than the inner city.

  11. I dig it and agree with resident’s post, keep the spirit of the installation by taking it down on your own. Perhaps Diane can provide her own idea for the footings so they are not just “footings”.

  12. I thought the TV screens with messages were great! they were there for a while too….

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