The infamous, sprawling Winchester Mystery House has plans to allow overnight stays and full onsite alcohol consumption
Form and Landscape - Southern California Edison and the Los Angeles Basin, 1940-1990 - is a series of themed exhibitions that tell the story of how Los Angeles 'became modern' by using photos from the comprehensive archives of Southern California Edison. The photos portray the many roles that electricity has played in the development and modernization of Californian life and culture (domestic life, signage, streetscapes, etc.). Part of the Getty's Pacific Standard Time Presents initiative.
Anyone who has spent any time at all on the Western side of San Francisco is familiar with the name Sutro. Being the 24th mayor of the City was actually one of his smaller and lesser-known accomplishments. Born in Prussia in 1830, he first made a name for himself with The Sutro Tunnel, which was used to drain water from underneath the Comstock Lode, improving working conditions and lowering the mine's operating costs. He sold his interest in the company he founded and left for San Francisco, where he built himself a mansion, among other things... [more inside]
Since 2009, a thread on the Skyscraper Page forums has been dedicated to trawling for old photos and stories of Los Angeles, mostly from the LA Public Library and USC Archives. Thousands of posts have accumulated into a fascinating portrait of the city. [more inside]
Plenty of people collect Disneyana, the toys, books, animation cels, and theme-park souvenirs. Then there are those fans who collect information and details on the Disney parks themselves, collecting official park maps or drawing up their own ride blueprints, assembling the design history behind the attractions, and even collecting vintage tickets and ticket books. Yesterland (previously: 1, 2, 3) is an ever-growing collection of Disneyland history, and has an updated collection of links to similar fan sites and Imagineering blogs, which is a whole collection of rabbit holes of nostalgia and behind-the-scense information. So grab a riding crop and pretend like it's the 60s all over again!
Of the hundreds of species of palm trees you might find in southern California, only one is native to the state, and that shaggy specimen is naturally found around springs and arroyos in the desert southwest, not lined along beach community parks and streets. How did a desert tree become an icon of fruitful turn of the twentieth century Los Angeles, the former garden city? KCET writer Nathan Masters provides a brief history of palm trees in southern California. [more inside]
A box of raisins saves a family from the Nazis. The Pop Laval Foundation in Fresno, CA adds an interesting WWII story to a historical photo from a local raisin processing plant.
Lookout Mountain Laboratories (Hollywood, CA) was originally built in 1941 as an air defense station. But after WWII, the US Air Force repurposed it into a secret film studio which operated for 22 years during the Cold War. The studio produced classified movies for all branches of the US Armed Forces, as well as the Atomic Energy Commission, until it was deactivated in 1969. During this time, cameramen, who referred to themselves as "atomic" cinematographers, were hired to shoot footage of atomic bomb tests in Nevada, Utah, New Mexico and the South Pacific. Some of their films have been declassified and can be seen here. [more inside]
Over fifty years after Los Angeles' first nuclear meltdown, the State of California is finally getting around to decontaminating the radioactive fallout.
Marin County Oral History "From 1974 to 1984, Carla Ehat, with partner Anne Kent, and later Genevieve Martinelli, traveled from one end of Marin County [California] to the other, interviewing a broad spectrum of Marin's long-time residents, ranging from ranchers to politicians and including descendents of early pioneer families." Each link on the list includes a photo, bio, full text of the interview, and, the best part, short audio excerpts from the interviews. Many of the folks interviewed were born in the 1880s or 1890s.
In Our Own Backyard: Resisting Nazi Propaganda In Southern California 1933 - 1945, a digital exhibition from the Oviatt Library at Cal State Northridge. "The Nazi Propaganda period, 1933 to 1945, chronicles a crucial twelve years in American history. This exhibit's story about the local threat to American ideals demonstrates how European events reached across the ocean and affected people in Southern California -- in our own backyard." Magazines, pamphlets, newspapers, stickers and more. [more inside]
E Clampus Vitus is a fraternal organization rooted in the California Gold Rush. Although some of its primary functions are beer drinking and implicitly poking fun at stodgier fraternal orders, it has also developed into a locally important benevolent organization. [more inside]
Drive-through trees, Olvera Street, Knott's Berry Farm, and lots of other images and postcards of California at Image Archaeology.
The [US] National Trust for Historic Preservation has released its 21st annual list of the nation's Most Endangered Historic Places. Among them: Sumner Elementary School in Topeka, Kansas, (where Linda Brown tried to register for school, resulting in Brown vs. Board of Education); New York City's Lower East Side; California's State Parks; Philadelphia's Boyd Theatre, and several others. The previous 20 years of Most Endangered Historic Places can be found in the Archive. [more inside]
You’d need years to really study these murals of Califonia’s history - the artist certainly had a lot a free time to create them. You'd probably also need a special invitation to engage in a multi-year study in the gallery - and you probably don't want one.
Jonson takes pictures of The Salton Sea, which is a strange place, like some kind of huge, perpetual, Burning Man, but by a huge, salty, polluted, manmade lake with distant shores, dying fish, has-been resort towns, Salvation Mountain, fundie dinos, fountains of youth, and nice churches. [via mefi projects] [previously] [howdy]
Call her Madame. Among the old-timers, the story went like this: a woman known to everyone as Madame came to California from Kentucky with her children and her husband. But once they were in the Gold Rush State, her husband left her. Desperate to find work, she introduced herself to a movie director named D. W. Griffith. He not only cast her in his movie, but the two became friends for life. And with this woman, called Madame Sul-Te-Wan, what we now call Black Hollywood began -- as a new book by historian Donald Bogle explains. (more inside)
Those OLD states are totally 2004. I should wait until Thursday, but: If you're fed up with the idea of living in America OR Canada, consider moving to The State of Jefferson, a county on the Cali/Oregon border with big dreams and a kickass flag. Of course, they haven't seceded yet, but when they do, it's only going to be a matter of time before we can all live in the utopian Republic of Cascadia, where, as Jefferson residents, we'll run on Metric Time and help strengthen Cascadia's southern border against Californian incursions.
And hey! Public radio!
And hey! Public radio!
The Kumeyaay Nation of southern California. 'This Web site is dedicated to the promotion and preservation of the Kumeyaay culture. Kumeyaay.com tells the story from the Kumeyaay perspective, and is the premiere source for Kumeyaay Indian information.' With an interesting history, language and culture section.
The Computer History Museum is hosting this years Vintage Computer Festival in Mountain View, California. Featuring live demonstatrions of a Xerox Alto as well as an auction for a Commodore 64 prototype, this year promises to be fun for geeks of all ages. (via Wired)
The California Historical Society is a fine resource, from its extensive collections, online exhibitions, to its citrus label highlights, and more. [Flash]