A nervous ride on Angels Flight

Dec. 31, 1901: "In the presence of an admiring and awestruck multitude," Los Angeles Mayor Meredith "Pinky" Snyder was among the first passengers on Angels Flight, the 298-foot funicular from Hill Street to the top of Bunker Hill, The Times reported.

A large crowd gathered at the top to watch the "new double-barreled railroad," The Times said:

"A hush fell upon the vast concourse and enveloped it like a wet towel. Inside the little engine-house came the sharp tinkle of an electric bell, and the engineer grasped the lever and threw it back. Behold, the cars began to move! The one at the top moved down and the one at the bottom moved up."

The crowd watched for the mayor, who finally made the trip, "holding on by the dashboard with one hand and his other hand back to his pistol pocket, prepared to shoot the cable in two if the car showed any symptoms of shooting over the hill and into space," The Times said.

Later, Snyder "spoke of the time when as a lonely young man, far from his home and people, he had climbed up to the top of this same hill and looked out over what was then a little city. He contrasted the present view that presented itself, looking over a metropolis."

The Los Angeles Times wishes to extend its appreciation to Peter Lee, a Cal State Northridge graduate student, for his assistance in helping find many "Times Past" facts used in celebrating the paper's 125th anniversary.

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