ELYSIAN VALLEY — A new monument honoring Lewis MacAdams, the poet who raised awareness and appreciation for the long-derided Los Angeles River, was installed a few weeks ago near the waterway MacAdams has championed.
A representation of the 7-foot-high, tinted concrete monument by sculptor Eugene Daub was displayed during a ceremonial unveiling last October. But the completed monolith, which features a relief of MacAdams wearing his trademark pork pie hat, was finally installed in January with little fanfare.
Daub usually works in bronze, but he told the L.A. Times that the material just didn’t seem right for the MacAdams monument.“Almost everything I do is in bronze …. But in this case, concrete seemed appropriate since Lewis has campaigned so hard for its removal from the L.A. River channel.”
The location of the monument reflects the changes unleashed by MacAdams and his movement.
It’s placed on the edge of an expanded Marsh Park, one of the new green spaces that have been created next to the river channel. Behind the monument on the other side of a fence rises a new, 52-unit condominium complex. It’s part of a surge of development and investment that has been pouring into Elysian Valley and other riverside communities to capitalize of the revitalized river.
The four-sided monument is embellished with images of heron, toads, fish and other elements of river wildlife.
The monument also serves as a reminder that while MacAdams is best known for this river advocacy, he is also an accomplished poet whose work has been inspired by the waterway.
Here’s a snippet of his poetry inscribed into the monument:“The river
is a rigorous mistress,
but when you tickle her
with your deeds, you can hear laughter
from beneath her concrete corset.”
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