Thursday, March 31, 2011

Trip to Tritch - Part 2

The back door to Tritch's Hardware. When I was a kid I would hang on these railings as my dad went in to shop.  The funny thing is I didn't remember this until I went with my boys when they were young and one of them did the same thing!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Trip to Tritch - Part 1

Over the years,  I have probably made a "quick trip to Tritch" a thousand times!  As a third generation customer,  I have a lot of memories of Tritch, and again,  my image of a hardware store is completely based on this one!  As a kid,  while my dad was building one of his houses, we would frequently run down for something small,  a specific bolt or screw,  a plumbing fitting,  or a pound of 16 penny nails.  I loved the nail bin,  I would take the little rake thing and scoop up the nails, or just push them around.  If we didn't need nails, I would hang out by the nail bins anyway,  putting misplaced nails back in the right bins. If you go to a big box store the nails are all packaged in little boxes.  I much prefer the tactile experience of grabbing the nails I want,  weighing them on the big scale, and pouring them into a bag! There are still multiple generations of Tritches there to help me find whatever I need, and I love that my boys grew up exploring the same narrow aisles that I did! 

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Sounds, Familiar

On the last Friday of every month at 10:00am I would hear the familiar wail of the Air Raid Sirens.  Throughout my childhood these 2 minute tests were so regular that when they ended in 1985 I almost missed them!  
The Air Raid Sirens started going up just weeks after Pearl Harbor, and eventually about 225 were installed.  About 150 still remain,  silent and rusting.  There are actually people who search these things out,  and one person has put together a thorough website. They are not pretty,  but they are a reminder of a part of our history, and I think it is important that at least some of them remain a part of our landscape.  

Monday, March 28, 2011

Graceful and Practical

I only noticed this little building a few years ago, although it is probably twice as old as I am.  It is set back from the street between two other storefronts,  right on Colorado in the middle of Eagle Rock.  What I love about this little structure is that it probably hasn't changed since it was built, and it features these perfect little curved braces. More proof that even the most utilitarian details can be designed to be attractive.  Look around,  there are little examples of good design everywhere! 

Sunday, March 27, 2011

I (Heart) Eagle Rock!

This week the heart sign was added to the Oxford English Dictionary as the first graphical symbol to signify a word in the reference work's 127-year history.  In commemoration I submit the above photo!  I was shooting the Rock and looked up through the trees at this view of the "beak".  It wasn't until I got home that I realized the foliage created a heart-shaped frame!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Old Library after the Storm

Another storm has passed through,  leaving Eagle Rock clean and green! This is the Center for the Arts, Eagle Rock,  but to me it will always be the Eagle Rock Library! This 1914 building was my childhood library,  I remember fondly going to story-time on the weekends just inside this great window.  The bookshelves were all real wood, the nice old librarians kept the place quiet, and there was an actual card catalog!  My image of a traditional library is completely based on my childhood in this building! When the actual library was moved to it's new location  there was a time when I worried this old classic would be lost,  but it is now a thriving community center!  I have been to community meetings, art shows and concerts in here, and when I was shooting these pictures I could hear kids taking music lessons inside.  It is so nice to see my favorite library alive and well and looking better than ever!

Friday, March 25, 2011

My Walk to School - Part 8

This is a detail of the building from yesterday.  These huge concrete vessels have never held anything in my lifetime,  except my imagination!  Were they intended to be for bonfires? Sacrificial altars? Or just planters that were never used?  Can you imagine a utility company putting such useless and beautiful details in a structure built today?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

My Walk to School - Part 7

Just a block away from Eagle Rock Elementary I would cut across the grass of this great old building.  As a little kid I had no idea what it was,  but based on the architecture I knew that it was something special.  The monumental design,  the unique iron gates and other details all told me that whoever went in here was important.  I probably fantasized that it was something very top secret!  Maybe some day I will meet a person going inside and find out the truth!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

After the Storm

The sky after our most recent rain storm was spectacular so I decided to hike up to the top of Oxy Hill to watch the sunset.  I used to come up here all the time as a kid, it was the best place to fly a kite in Eagle Rock!   

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Storm Damage


Our recent storm caused this great old street tree to fall,  completely blocking Yosemite Drive. No one was hurt that I know of,  but the tree pretty much totaled this car. 

Monday, March 21, 2011

...the Details Remain the Same!

This building housed the auto mechanic for my first car, then it was a restaurant/art gallery, now I think it is an art studio. I love that these details have been preserved all these years!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

A Little Warmth

On gray rainy days like today it is nice to find a little warm glow, like this lamp outside of Ernie's!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Storm Clouds

Great clouds this morning - looks like Eagle Rock will be getting some actual weather this week!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Thursday, March 17, 2011


What a wonderful and unexpected find! These handcrafted tiles representing Eagle Rock's High School, City Hall, and my favorite store, Tritch Hardware, are part of a decorated trash can on Colorado Blvd.,  right in front of Tritch!  Check it out!       

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Signs of Eagle Rock - 1

Occasionally I will feature some of the great old signs in our town.  Some famous and easy to see,  some hidden from view.  
The Islander was probably built here because of the proximity to the Rose Bowl and old Route 66 as it ran down Figueroa a few blocks away.  While still in operation as a motel, the building has been sadly neglected. The upside is that it has not been badly remodeled, the original Streamline architecture seems to be intact. Maybe someone will buy it someday and do a proper historic restoration on this classic! 

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

My Walk to School - Part 6

The tree outside the house of one of my childhood friends.  I know we are all getting older,  but at least I don't need 4 crutches to hold me up!  Still, a beautiful tree!

Monday, March 14, 2011

My Walk to School - Part 5

After passing the house of my first crush,  there is a long empty stretch of road.   One day on the way home I found a lighter.  I climbed up the wall behind this fire hydrant and hid it there. Whenever I walked home alone I would climb up to the top of the wall and play with my secret toy!  40 years later nothing has changed, but the wall looks so small now!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Old Pillers Sign

Pillers was a clothing store when I was a kid, and has gone through many uses since then. Currently it is a charter school.  I'm really glad this huge original sign has survived!

Saturday, March 12, 2011


It's Saturday,  let's take a break from the walk to school with... SpiderCow!

Friday, March 11, 2011

My Walk to School - Part 4

This lovely stone stairway leads to the home of a family I have known all my life, and they still live there! The son gave me my first job in the movies, and we are still friends!  

I'm writing this as I watch the devastation from the horrible earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan this morning.  While we Eagle Rockers have lived through many smaller earthquakes,  we are incredibly lucky that we have not had to deal with a tsunami. My thoughts and best wishes to all those affected by this natural disaster.   

Thursday, March 10, 2011

My Walk to School - Part 3

I love my childhood neighborhood because it is still so quiet that I can walk right in the middle of the street and notice the details!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

My Walk to School - Part 2

One day as I was walking along our normally quiet street,  a huge firetruck suddenly appeared around the corner coming right at me! I was so scared I leapt over this fence and slid down the hill! Every time I walk by this part of the fence I remember that day!  

This is also the empty lot that I had hoped to buy when I grew up and build my own castle.  I even drew plans for it! 

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

My Walk to School - Part 1

OK,  I'm cheating, this is not a recent picture, but was probably taken around 1969, when I was about 7 years old. This is one of 5 houses my dad built on this hill, so my walk to school started around here until I was about 9 years old.  His first, second, and fifth houses are still in remarkably original condition,  but this third one, built in 1964-5 has been significantly altered.  (For more about my dad's houses check out the link for my book at the bottom of this blog!) 

These homes are built onto the steep hillside and all have a great view of the entire Eagle Rock Valley.  My mom was able to sit on the deck and see me walking part of the way to school, although I don't think I knew that at the time!  

The rest of this series will feature current photos of things I remember from my walk to Eagle Rock Elementary School,  more than 40 years ago! 

Monday, March 7, 2011

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Ancient Ruins?

Is this some ancient Mayan ruin in the jungles of the Yucatan? No, it's in Eagle Rock!  Anyone recognize it?

Saturday, March 5, 2011

OXY in Detail

Almost everyone who has entered the Occidental College campus has passed by these columns, but how many have stopped to look at the intricate design?  This attention to detail is almost lost in today's construction,  so I really enjoy it when I find it!

Friday, March 4, 2011


These Power lines are coming out of the DWP substation building hidden away in the canyon at the top of Figueroa.  I have always wanted to get closer to the building, but based on the number of cameras and fences,  it's pretty obvious I am not welcome!  It has been used as a movie location though,  it doubled for a prison at the beginning of "Face Off" and was also in an "X-Files"!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Ernie's at Night

This blog is not about promoting local businesses, but there are a few Eagle Rock icons that will appear now and then!  Ernie's has been my family restaurant for as long as I can remember!  We use to go almost weekly to the old location on Colorado Blvd right in the middle of what is now the Eagle Rock Plaza.  When they moved in 1973 to make way for the plaza,  we followed them, and I still take my family!  This sign and some of the paintings and decorations inside were also moved from the original location.  

So many memories of Ernie's:
- As a little boy I was absolutely sure the "senoritas" in the old paintings were the most beautiful women in the world! 
- When I started learning Spanish at school I always ordered for myself in Spanish.  I still remember exactly what I said! 
- As we left, my parents would always let us pick out our favorite mints,  but would not give them to us until we "buckled up"! 

One of the reasons Ernie's is so special to me is that they have not changed and updated everything. When I order the same items I did 40 years ago they taste just like I remember, bringing back so many good memories!  

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Eagle Rock Itself!

Here it is!  I grew up believing the "Indian Legend" that the indentation on the rock was made when a giant eagle that was carrying away a child crashed into it. Since then I've heard many other possible origins for the name over the years, and certainly the profile is reminiscent of a beak! The Eagle Rock is a source of pride for many of us, and was dedicated by the City of Los Angeles in 1962.  In the 1980s a developer threatened to build apartments around the Rock.  The community rallied together and got the city to purchase the property below the Rock and make it a little park.  

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Welcome to my Home Town of Eagle Rock!

What better place to start that the lovely campus of Occidental College! My grandfather attended OXY in the early 1900s, as did my father in the 1950s.  My parents met there and I grew up across the street from OXY, so as a child it was my front yard!  It has been a part of my family for 100 years, and I still go back and visit there often!