Bunker Hill was the first grand Los Angeles neighborhood to flourish outside the bright and dusty Plaza. It was home to the city’s finest families, who built exquisite gingerbread houses with hillside gardens that reflected their wealth and taste. A jaunty funicular delivered residents into the midst of downtown’s commercial center. It was the pride of the west.
Yet somehow, through the vagaries of decades of bust and boom, Bunker Hill became a carbuncle on downtown, filled with social misfits and pensioners, just another deficit in the tax base. By the 1950s, it seemed the only solution to this urban social problem was for the city to reclaim and redevelop.
Or was it? With its demolition went the testament and legacy of a rich and varied community, a densely populated downtown which today’s developers can only dream of. The On Bunker Hill blog was launched in Spring 2008 by a consortium of writers, social historians, librarians and tour guides to shine a light upon this lost community, its demolished mansions, famous and infamous citizens, and the forgotten lessons of downtown’s most successful residential community.
Our goal was to unearth the lost stories of old Bunker Hill, because they are interesting, instructive, and timely, and because those who forget the past are doomed to make the same mistakes their ancestors made.
Tales From Bunker Hill is a 45-60 minute multi-media presentation consisting of some of our favorite posts featured on the On Bunker Hill blog, a presentation of an original map of the neighborhood, and a brief look at the forces which created and shaped the current Bunker Hill (this portion is a short introduction to the themes of the four-hour Esotouric bus adventure The Many Downtowns). The presentation concludes with a question and answer period.