The Ghostly Remnants of the Old LA County Poor Farm

Within the small LA suburb of Downey sits what appears to be a ghost town. A mixture of overgrown, charred, and boarded up buildings sit behind chainlink fences topped with barbed wire, and gates locked with multiple padlocks. What is this ghostly place? It is what remains of the Los Angeles County Poor Farm. For those…

Tracing California’s Orange Roots at the Citrus State Historic Park

The orange is one of the most iconic things about California. Southern California’s climate makes it a perfect place to grow citrus, and thanks to advances in irrigation, processing, transportation, and the addition of the Washington navel orange, California’s citrus industry boomed in the late 1800s, as oranges and their citrus cousins made for California’s…

The Fleeting Resurrection of the Iconic Aquarius, Hollywood’s Psychedelic Theatre

In my last post I mentioned that Quentin Tarantino brought many long gone 60s LA icons back to life for his film Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood, just to serve in the background. One of these icons was the Aquarius Theatre, which is just down the street from the Cinerama Dome and across from another…

Remembering Balboa Park’s Nudist Colony at the Zoro Garden

One of my favorite places in San Diego is Balboa Park. The sprawling park features fanciful architecture housing a plethora of museums, plus multiple gardens. One such garden is the Zoro Garden, which is tucked away behind a leaf covered wall, and shaded beneath massive trees. When I first gazed upon it I wouldn’t have…

Gallows, Ghosts, and Paved Over Graves: A Visit to San Diego’s Whaley House

On a September day in 1852 James “Yankee Jim” Robinson was taken from an adobe jail to the gallows. Standing upon a wagon, a noose was placed around his neck. When the order was given, the wagon driver pulled away, and Yankee Jim reportedly kept his feet on the wagon as long as possible, but…

Tracing the Journey of Mummified Outlaw Elmer McCurdy to the Long Beach Pike

Last week I talked about the history of Long Beach’s infamous Pike, including the location being used in an episode of Charlie’s Angels and The Six Million Dollar Man. What I didn’t mention was that in the Charlie’s Angels episode, “To Kill an Angel,” a man’s body is found within the Pike’s Laff in the…

Catalina Island: A Tale of Chewing Gum, Grave Robbing, and Movie Stars

On Sunday, Patrick and I finally made it over to the little island of Catalina. If you aren’t familiar with California geography, Catalina is a small island, roughly 30 miles off the coast of Long Beach, accesible by ferry from a handful of ports on the mainland. At just under 75 square miles, about 4,000…

A Slice of Beach Boys History at Pizza Show

When you think about the Beach Boys, you likely think of surfing, hot rods, and perhaps plaid. What you probably don’t think about is pizza. But in the 1960s the original surfing crooners could be found at Pizza Show, a local Italian restaurant in their hometown of Hawthorne. Pizza plus rock-n-roll history? I’m sold! Pizza…