Rivers Lost to City
September 20, 2008 § 7 Comments
I did a double take on this title. Was this the Judith Lewis piece, Lost Streams of Los Angeles, featuring, among other things, my creekfreaky research and advocacy for LA’s buried streams?
No, this is a 1924 Los Angeles Times article, a wistful and racially peculiar (to be charitable, we’ll call it naive) obituary to the streams that were being buried at that time. While not making any strong environmental case for preserving these streams, the author nostalgically laments the decline of a more pastoral era, stating: “And so the romance of the city goes – the prosaic storm drains and high priced lots have run the alluring arroyos out of business.”
The story also fills in this Creekfreak on a long-simmering mystery – the name of the creek that used to flow through Lafayette Park – Arroyo de la Brea (Tar Creek). Worth noting the name, as there is a parking lot across the street from Lafayette Park that oozes tar to this day. If you’re into weird urban geology, ask the car rental company permission to go to the back of the lot and take a look.
For the curious, here’s a stormdrain map of a portion of Arroyo de los Reyes, the downtown creek mentioned in the article. I am working on the connection of this to Echo Park-historical maps clearly show two streams that joined where Echo Park lake is today, with a perennial creek flowing along the path that is now Glendale Blvd to 2nd Street. But the maps lose the flow around Figueroa. This description here may fill in the gap – and we Echo Parkians may now have a name for our buried creek!
More later on lost rivers – and more importantly a City effort to preserve what’s left.