October 30, 2011

Photo Essay: Corralitas Red Car Property

Last weekend I was still reeling from my visit to New York City the week before, and already feeling rundown, a precursor to the illness which plagues me now.

I wanted to get out and get hiking, but I didn't have a ton of energy or a ton of time.

So I drove to Silver Lake, lured by the promise of an abandoned rail line, and the hopes of seeing some of its vestiges.

I drove to the end of the road and parked. And walked straight past the "End" sign along the fence, hitting a deadend, and the highway.

I turned back and walked along another trail behind a row of houses.

Could an old rail line really have passed through here?

There weren't a lot of signs of anything, and I was literally walking through people's backyards.  At times I was surrounded on one side or both by embankments. Did the Pacific Electric Interurban Streetcar tracks once run along where I was walking, or up there?

I passed a number of stairways heading both up and down. Were they public or private? They seem now to lead to residents' back doors, but did they once lead to the streetcars?

Towards the end, I stumbled upon some stones, perhaps mile stones, perhaps other types of markers or supports...

...until I reached the holy grail, the "Stonehenge" of Silver Lake.

These are the historic concrete footings of the old Fletcher Red Car Viaduct, a bridge which once connected Silver Lake with Glendale, a trestle which was torn down in favor of freeway construction - a palpable example of the changing social landscape and infrastructure of Los Angeles as our fair city became more and more dependent on individualized motorized transportation.

And now, it's about a mile-long hike.

As economical and ecological as public transportation can be, I still prefer individual transportation, be it on foot, on bike, or in my car. I've still never taken the subway in LA - though, frankly, I would if it ran anywhere close enough to my apartment to be useful.

So as rail lines come and go, I'll keep walking along their decommissioned tracks, getting back in my car to drive home.

Related Reading:
Photo Essay: Lake Mead Railroad Trail
Photo Essay: Heart-Pounding Hike to a Lost City
Photo Essay: West Essex Rail Trail
Photo Essay: Walkway Over the Hudson
Photo Essay: The High Line, The Magic Hour
Photo Essay: The High Line at Night
Early Retirement

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