When Elysian Park took a tumble in 1937

ELYSIAN  VALLEY — The Eastsider spotted this 1937 news reel posted on Facebook page of the Citizens Committee To Save Elysian Park. It shows the aftermath of a 1937 landslide that damaged the Riverside Drive bridge along the L.A. River. “Starting with a gap only an inch wide, Mother Earth moves a mountain into the lap of the city,” the news announcer proclaims.

Nearly 70 years later, that landslide was mentioned in a 2006 report about replacing the bridge, located near interchange of the 5 and 110 Freeways, with a new span, which is now under construction. Says the report:

According to the Seismic Hazard map, a large landslide area is located just above Riverside Drive approximately 328 to 656 ft from the bridge; the approach may overlie material involved in the slide …The slide was active in 1937 when it blocked Riverside Drive. Because the Los Angeles River is now confined to a concrete channel, undercutting should no longer be a problem, but any substantial excavations within or below the hillside must evaluate the potential for destabilizing the slope.


  1. Wow. Great find.

  2. wow … Los Angle -ess? Is this how people used to pronounce the name? And yes, I know that the soft “g” pronunciation we currently use is a bastardized Anglicization of a Spanish word, but it’s what’s in common usage. I just wasn’t aware that it wasn’t always pronounced by non-Spanish speakers with a soft “g”. Would be curious to know when the change occurred and how it started.

    • I remember hearing that one of our previous mayors – Sam Yorty, I think – pronounced “Los Angeles” with a hard g, as the announcer did in this news reel. I guess you could call such pronunciation “Egyptian style.” (Egyptians pronounce all “g”s hard. “Jemia” becomes “gemia,” “Jamal” becomes “gamal,” and so on.)

  3. I can recall a similar landslide occurring near Dorris Place in the 70s.

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