1. chrissainth
    June 7, 2010 @ 5:46 pm

    First, kudos on a wonderful blog. I’m a forth generation Angelino who’s just starting to explore the history of what I consider to be, as any Angelino would, ‘my city.’ As I look around, it’s easy to picture my great-grandfather making his way in and out of some of these forgotten places.

    My question:

    You say above that the Hill Crest was demolished before the Sunshine; Mann’s photograph certainly seems to support this.

    But when I visited the americanfilmnoir.com page, the caption to the photograph at the bottom of the page says we’re looking at the demolition of the HIll Crest, and that the Sunshine had already been torn down. Mann’s picture is a fantastic view and clearly shows an empty lot above the Sunshine, so I’m guessing the filmnoir people got it wrong. So what, then, is the building on the bottom right of the latter photograph, and is that actually the Hillcrest being torn down by the crane?

    Thanks so much!


    • nathan
      June 7, 2010 @ 11:27 pm

      Well thank you so much for your kind words!  It isn’t every day we (or anyone) runs into someone who’s been in town for as long as your family has.  And doubly cool that you like the City’s history.

      Lemmee tell you what happened over on this page.   First of all, let me say I think Phil is a total genius and I always get a kick out of turning people on to his site; I have learned much from it.  However, I can see how he got flummoxed with the pic and it wasn’t until you called attention to the image and I really had to look at it that I went — aha.  

      The image is reversed.  Wherever he got it from, he got confused, as anyone would, because they’re tearing down stuff on the east side of the Flight, right?  But check it out:



      Where we are, y’see, is inside the bottom of the Elks Lodge, that is to say, that’s where the crane is.  Below that there’s Clay Street.  The half demolished building next to Angels Flight is the Hulburt.  The big building still standing is the Ferguson.

      Here’s a slightly later image (the crane and its damage done on our side):


      See, at the corner, below the McCoy House (the Victorian with the steep gables) there’s the St. Helena Sanitarium AKA the later Royal Liquor, the Belmont is the tall one next to it — the fenestration is the dead giveaway in both pictures; same parking lot across Hill, Pan American Bldg across the parking lot, etc.

      The Hillcrest started demolition in September of ’61; the Elks started demolition in September of ’62 — given the advanced state of demolition in the pic, with the Hulburt mostly wrecked too, I’m guessing this image dates to, what, January ’63?  The image Jim posted last Saturday of the Sunshine was from late November of ’62.  Don’t know exactly when the Sunshine came down; I do know that the second photo I posted is no later than June of ’65, and the Sunshine (which would have been above the McCoy next to the Flight car) is gone…

      Anyhow, hope that answered your question, it’s always our pleasure to help.  Thanks again for your interest and keep checking in!


  2. Vic Kostrukoff
    January 9, 2019 @ 3:30 am

    I lived at 345 Clay Street when I was 5 years old (1949). We used to play under the Angel’s flight and on the hill. One building that sticks in my memory that is not mentioned in your article was the “Vendome” I think it was a hotel or apartment. Thanks for the memories.


  3. mm Nathan Marsak
    January 10, 2019 @ 6:55 am

    Hiya Vic!  345 Clay, huh?  Wonderful!  We love hearing from folk who have had a first-hand relationship with the Hill.  Here’s a shot of 345 about that time, when it was called the Glenn.  Is this how you remember the place?




  4. mm Nathan Marsak
    January 10, 2019 @ 7:04 am





    This fellow is walking up Clay; the steps to 345 are just ahead of him, and the fire escape is above.

    Here’s an interior shot, Unit 108, from about 1955.



  5. mm Nathan Marsak
    January 10, 2019 @ 7:14 am

    (Seems that the images look tiny, but if you click on them, they enlarge.  So make sure and click on them!  Here are some more.)

    A shot looking at the other side of the street, where the tree is on the right, that would be where 345 was.

    even side

    And then the other way—you mention playing under Angels Flight—well there you are!


    Now, you also mention the Vendome, the only Vendome I’m aware of is the hotel down on Hill next to the fire station, a big old 188os place at 231, demolished in the fall of ’63.



    …is this the one?

    Again, thanks for contacting us and please don’t hesitate to write back with more memories, we’d love to hear from you and hopefully add more info and pictures!  Best, Nathan


    • Vic Kostrukoff
      January 11, 2019 @ 3:12 am

      Hello, Nathan

      I have one photo of the same buildings you show taken from the first floor fire escape at 345 Clay street. How can I get it to you” (I’m not a facebook or twitter user).

      A UPS truck had a parking brake failure and crashed into the older house in my photo, causing a lot of damage. You list the movies that used the hill. I remember a film crew working on Clay street one evening under the Angel’s flight It was a Joan Crawford vehicle called “Sudden Fear” When I saw the movie years later, there didn’t seem to be any scenes from that location.

      The fire escape was attached to our apartment and I played on it a lot. The apartments didn’t have their own bathrooms, instead having two rooms with bathtubs and toilets in the hallway on each floor.

      My friends and I would go the big department stores (Bullocks, Broadway, May Company). They had separate floors for each product family and we would head to the toy floor, tell the guy our parents were downstairs shopping and we would have the run of the place. My first job at 5 years old was hawking newspapers at the corner of 4th and Hill, in front of a drug store (Owl or maybe Thrifty). I couldn’t count yet and I let the customers get their own change from my pouch. There were a couple of movie theaters (Cozy and Roxie, I think) on Broadway near Third Street across from the Million Dollar. At that age, it cost us 9 cents to get in. The movies were old (Frankenstien, Dracula & the Wolfman), but for us it was great. It wasn’t until later, in high school, that I discovered the Follies on Main Street.

      I loved going to the Grand Central Public Market. Their displays of fish and seafood and meats taught me more about biology than I ever learned in school. Do you remember anything about Enderle Hardware, further down Third Street?

      While living on Clay Street, I went to Fremont Elementary, and watched them building the 110 freeway next to the school (1951).

      Good memories!



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