Walkable Places You Drive By.


  On the east side of Van Nuys Boulevard, south of Oxnard, there is a conglomeration of small shops. Signs advertise a Kirby Vacuum shop, Attorney Sandra Nutt, a Farmers Insurance office, PC Tech Computer Repair, Young Actors Space, and a Los Angeles Wedding Chapel. Angeleno Mortuary and Benjamin Moore Catalina Paint fill up the…

The McKinley Home for Boys: 13840 Riverside Drive, Sherman Oaks, CA.


The Reverend and Mrs. Uriah Gregory established the Industrial Home Society in 1900. Their mission: to look after orphaned, abused and homeless children at their 33-acre estate in Artesia, CA. Later renamed The McKinley Home For Boys (after President William McKinley who was assassinated in 1901), the institution acquired, around 1920, some 200 acres of…

1960: Peace March at Kester and Noble in Sherman Oaks, CA.


At the height of the Cold War, a brave and liberal minded group of progressive people marched through Los Angeles and eventually ended up in Moscow where they worked to defuse tensions between the US and the Soviet Union. Los Angeles at that time was a conservative, anti-communist city whose main industry, Hollywood, was just…

The Virtues of Good Driving: 1959.


There was a time in Los Angeles, many years ago, when young women had figures, and older men, with community support, hired them to present awards to "good driving" teenagers. TheĀ Road-E-O Safe Driving Contest promoted safe rules of the road. Strange to our modern eyes to see scantily dressed pretty girls handing out trophies for…

Royal Oaks, 1950


Browsing through the archives of the Huntington Library, I came across a set of photographs by Maynard Parker. They depict the inside and outside of a new home, one of 119 in a 100-acre development called Royal Oaks, south of Sepulveda, near Ventura, in 1950. Back then there was no 405, no 101. Sepulveda Blvd.…

Building the Self-Esteem of Properties.


A recent run of work inside a Ventura Boulevard real estate office brought me into the world of those listings, words and photos, meant to build the self-esteem of homes. I speak of the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and its breathless descriptions of current residences offered for sale. Awkward, ill-proportioned, ungainly, ostentatious, oversized, outdated, gaudy,…