Friday, March 16, 2007

No. 4 - Angels Flight

Angels Flight

Angels Flight
1901 – J. W. Eddy
352 South Hill Street, Los Angeles – map
Declared: 8/6/62

Alright. I know what you’re asking yourself. “Hey, shouldn’t there be an apostrophe in the word ‘Angels’?” You’d think. You can find it written both ways. However, on the Hill Street arch itself, clear as a bell, it reads ‘Angels’, so I’m going with ‘Angels’, sans apostrophe.

Angels Flight was built in 1901 by Colonel J. W. Eddy as a means of public transportation, carrying folks up and down the super-steep (33% grade) 3rd Street between Hill and Olive, where sat the swanky residential Bunker Hill. After Bunker Hill was pretty much cleared away, the funicular lost its function, and it was dismantled – but stored away – in 1969.
Funicular – of or pertaining to a rope or its tension; depending on or worked by a rope.

Funicular railway – one worked by a cable and stationary engine; a cable railway.

Funiculi, Funicula

Angels Flight
The Arch, originally constructed the decade after the railway went into service.

Angels Flight - Tracks
Another attractive view (get it? a-track-tive?)

Angels Flight - Station House
The Station House

After more than half of the original system was restored and relocated about a hundred feet closer to 4th Street, Angels Flight reopened in 1996 only to close down five years later after a fatal accident involving the two cars and some bad brakes.

Angels Flight - View from the Top
The View from the Top

The Angels Flight Railway Foundation has recently announced that a $2.6 million restoration is nearly complete and “The Shortest Railway in the World” should reopen again sometime this summer. That’s great news, especially considering the influx of citizens moving downtown.

Here’s a riddle I made up after visiting Angels Flight:
Q: What’s more annoying than trudging up the Angels Flight hill, on foot, on a scorching 90-degree day?

A: Trudging up the Angels Flight hill, on foot, on a scorching 90-degree day only to find the station house’s water fountain not working.

Angels Flight - Water Fountain
Inoperable Fountain

Compare the two pictures below, the first being the original 3rd Street Angels Flight from about 100 years ago, the second that same view today. It’s hardly any different!

Angels Flight - Original Location

The two cars are named Olivet and Sinai. Go here for a song composed in honor of them.

Go here for some cool old pictures of Angels Flight.

Go here for a 1/24/07 Los Angeles Times article on the planned reopening.

Angels Flight is also on the National Register of Historic Places.

Up next: The Salt Box


gc said...

I plan on visiting Angels Flight on Sunday and found your review to be quite helpful and informative. I loved your riddle even more!

Floyd B. Bariscale said...

Thanks. You'll need to report back on the status of the water fountain.

gc said...

Hello again, We visited Angels Flight yesterday based on your recommendation and loved it. Regrettably, I failed to check the status of the water fountain for you (it was not 90 degrees out, rather an pleasant 68). We also discovered the small outdoor arena at the top of Angels Flight, which was an extra bonus. Thanks again for the recommendation!

Militant Angeleno said...

Something's missing, right? :)
Actually, the brakes weren't bad -- because there were none to bgin with. The drive mechanism failed. Turns out the company that supplied the drive mechanism also made ski lifts in Colorado that failed as well. Tsk tsk. In the meantime, in betweentime, Sinai and Olivet have already been repaired and are in storage at the Metro Red Line maintenance facility on Santa Fe Ave.