1901 – J. W. Eddy
352 South Hill Street, Los Angeles – map
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.
The Arch, originally constructed the decade after the railway went into service.
Another attractive view (get it? a-track-tive?)
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.
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.
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!
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