When we think of traveling to Los Angeles we think Movie Star gazing in Hollywood, The oddities of Venice Beach, Shopping in Beverly Hills, the professional sports, Amusement parks among other things. But what if you want to see the other side of L.A., the real Los Angeles. Well here are 7 things you can add to your bucket list the next time to travel to Tinseltown.
From 1921-1954 Simon Rodia, an Italian immigrant with very little formal education built these towers in his back yard. The tallest tower is 99 1/2 feet tall, just 6 inches shorter than the city allows. They were build with local scrap ranging from old railroads, broken clay pots, glass bottles and other materials. Simon was just 4’10” and he did all the work himself, sometimes walking as much as 20 miles to collect materials needed for its construction. To this day they stand as a landmark visited by thousands every year.
Beneath the city streets lay 11 miles of underground tunnels that were used for transporting goods at one time. During the Prohibition of the 1930’s when the rest of the city was dry the tunnels were used to transport beer and liquor to the speakeasies hidden back doors. Besides these tunnels there are also abandoned subway and equestrian tunnels that were thought to be used by gangsters to move throughout the city without being seen, the police to transport prisoners, banks to move large sums of money and both coroners and mobsters to store dead bodies. Most are shut off now but there are a few that are still used for city employees to move from building to building and some are used as film locations.
Located in a suburb of L.A. called San Pedro, Sunken City is literally a city that has been washed away into the ocean. In 1929 the neighborhood of Point Fermin suffered a landslide that washed away several houses, commercial buildings, streets and sidewalks. The washed away area ended up at the banks of the Pacific Ocean and if you look closely you can still see remains of the old pipes and concrete.
This local attraction sits in the Bunker Hill community of L.A. It is a 2 1/2 foot funicular railway that runs about 300 feet up the hillside. The original train was built in 1901 and opperated until 1969. A new train was built down the street opened in 1996 and closed for several years after a death occurred on the train. It has been seen on TV and film about 30 times and still popular with tourists to this day.
This was Walt Disney’s original barn where he used it to build his trains. It is said that this is the birthplace of Imagineering. The barn was originally located on his property in Holmby Hills California but when his home was sold, the new owners tried to renovate the home but were forced to demolish it due to Asbestos. It was then moved to the site in Griffith Park where it still stands. Although the barn itself is fairly small it is loaded with Disney memorabilia but mark your Calendar if you want to go because it is only open the 3rd Sunday of the month from 11 am to 3 pm.
The building is a national historic landmark that was originally built by the former gold mining millionaire Lewis Bradbury. The story of it’s design is pretty interesting. Bradbury hired a local architect named Sumner Hunt. When Bradbury saw Hunt’s design for th ebuilding he quickly dismissed it because it was not up to his expectations. As he walked out of Hunt’s office he saw a young inexperienced draftsman named George Wyman and Bradbury asked him if he wanted to design his building. Here’s where it gets weird. Not sure if he should do it because he knew he would be stealing a client from his boss, he called on his dead brother for advice. You can read the rest of the story here.
The Whaley House (San Diego)
Known as the most Haunted house in America. It was built on top of the site of a former graveyard and throughout it’s history has been the site of a courthouse, a theater and a general store. Several family members have died in the house throughout the early years. Several years before the house was built by Mr. Whaley a man was hanged at the same location for attempting to steal a boat. It is rumored that his spirit still haunts the house to this day.