May 10, 2013

Photo Essay: Abandoned Naval Housing, Western Avenue

We drive by so much in LA.

I like to walk by and have a look.

I like to park my car, get out and have a look.

Among the attractions that often pass us by as we're tuning our radios, flicking our blinkers, wiping our windshields and shifting our gears are the places that used to be something.

There's not much - or, perhaps, nothing - there now, but - once - something was there.

(This is the same thing I say on many hikes when I encounter some footing or foundation or some stairs to nowhere - "That used to be something.")

Case in point: wedged between a cemetery and an oil refinery along California State Route 213 near the border of Rancho Palos Verdes and San Pedro is a stretch of abandoned sidewalk, beyond which is fenced off. Not much there.

But when you take a closer look...

You come across some secret governmental property...

...with a road that has long since been closed...

...and an unmanned security kiosk.

No one's really around. But it feels like they're watching.

A peek beyond the chainlink fence reveals old naval housing, shrinking into the dusty hillside...

...looking like dollhouses with their still-green bushes and still-standing wooden fences.

Boarded up, they're clearly abandoned, but not in shambles - at least, from the outside.

But you can't get in there.

The fence is patched up, covering any access points that were once made, by deterioration or by force.

Electrical wires dangle...

...trees, shrubs and aloe plants overgrow.

But despite the cracked pavement and the desolation... is not entirely abandoned. The entire parcel is now privately owned.

And they're keeping us out, because they have big plans for it.

I mean, like Surfridge, there's a whole town in there. At 62.5 acres, it's huge.

Developers would like to turn it into a housing project called Ponte Vista...

...which was first proposed at 2300 units in 2005...

...and has since been downsized (a couple of times) to a sprawling suburban gated community of 830 homes.

There has been a huge community uproar over the proposal...

...despite the fact that it is just sitting there, inaccessible to the public...

...right behind a local high school.

Fences beckon climbing.

Barbed wire invites tetanus.

And the biggest community concern over the development proposals?

The traffic.

Related Post:
Photo Essay: Trespassing Through Southland's Military History

Other Reading:
LA City Planning Ponte Vista Historic Resource Report

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  1. I lived here when I was a teenager from 1985 to 1988. So many good times with my friends. It was party central back in the Hair Metal era.

  2. Sadly, it was never mentioned Edward H. Fickett, F.A.I.A. was the architect of all of those homes at Ponte Vista. Thank you for all the photos.

  3. I lived here from 77' - 79'. 5th grade to 7th. A lot of great memories there and friends I made.