A politician with a gun and a badge — that’s what L.A. County’s sheriff is and has been. And the arrangement of having an elected top lawman has led to some strange situations and outsized personalities since we got our first sheriff in April 1850.
Reggie the alligator and Bubbles the hippo captured the public imagination. Civil War-era camels were a spectacle. And the feral parrots and Catalina bison are just as Californian as any native species at this point.
You can determine L.A.'s seasons by our plant life. For example, right now, it’s jacaranda-blooms-stuck-to-your-windshield season. And to understand the Southern California landscape you see, you have to realize that, like you, it is probably not from around here.
Everybody knows Angels Flight. But what about Court Flight? Or the Mt. Washington Railway? Or the Catalina Island funicular? Here’s the story of the cars that climbed Southern California’s hills and the automobiles and other calamities that all but made them extinct.
If you’re feeling the springtime itch to go look at open houses, first of all, we’re sorry about the sticker shock. But here’s a primer on the hodgepodge of home styles you’ll see around Southern California.
Native American settlements were first, and then the rancho system -- Spanish then Mexican land grants throughout California -- were built atop and near those settlements and still shape our geography and place names.
“Them: Covenant” on Amazon Prime is a reminder of the all-too-common housing covenants that restricted who could buy homes in certain neighborhoods in Compton, around Southern California and elsewhere. Determined Black people over the decades fought for their rights to live where they pleased.
A deadly fireworks explosion in Ontario is a reminder of California’s patchwork of pyrotechnics laws: illegal in L.A., legal in the next town over, sometimes. The current status quo partly dates to a Sacramento corruption and sex scandal in the 1980s.
Long before Disneyland and Magic Mountain, Southern California was home to some pretty wild amusement parks, including those with lions, gators and, as one unlucky person discovered in the 1970s, an actual dead guy.
Bing Crosby sang about it. “Chinatown” immortalized its centrality to L.A.'s water story. And in any other metropolis, the San Fernando Valley would probably stand on its own. Patt Morrison explains the Valley.
Along La Cienega near Inglewood. At Beverly Hills High School. In people’s backyards in Echo Park. Atop Signal Hill. Oil wells are everywhere in and around L.A. You sure don’t see that in Paris (France).