South Los Angeles, Figueroa Street

Photography and audio by Francine Orr

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Tucked away in an alley at the dead end of West 131st Street in unincorporated South L.A., a horse is getting washed down and Gregory Jackson is boasting of the stable's past.

"This is the grandfather," said Jackson, 48, who has been coming to the stable for more than two decades. "You can go to any rodeo in Southern California and tell them about us and they know who we are."

The stable is in a neighborhood that Jackson said is called The Hill, named simply after a high dirt mound that used to rise there. He said the stable used to be one of the only landmarks around. There are large, square buildings nearby that contain furniture depots, factories, clothing warehouses and companies that make trash cans and dish racks.

Behind other drab signs and aluminum doors, tucked away off South Figueroa Street near the stable and in the shadow of large big-box buildings, there are other neighborhood secrets. A block down at West 130th Street is the Original Cycle Studio Los Angeles, where owner Derrick Amos shows there's more to his store than freshly painted Harley-Davidson motorcycles. On the second floor, he flips a switch to neon lights illuminating a lounge and bar. On the first floor is a recording studio.

He said he moved his business into the neighborhood three years ago and gets along best with workers at the stable, despite his more modern transportation.

"They work with real horses, and we work with iron horses," he said.

--Ari B. Bloomekatz

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