Monday, March 7, 2011

La Brea Tar Pits

Oil usually floats on water while tar will lurk below. Now imagine yourself as a Columbian mammoth out for stroll around Los Angeles on a typical zero degree afternoon during the last ice age when you come across inviting warm pools of water that lure you in with the promise of simultaneous bath and drink. You don’t even bother to tell the wife and kids. Suddenly, like a Bugsy Siegel snitch, you’re wearing cement shoes and headed to a Davy’s locker of goo and preservation, later to be excavated and put on display at the George C. Page museum in Hancock Park…..the Ritz of the Pits. And there you are, just another oversized tinsel town figure with a tragic end and afterlife fame.

USC digital achive photos (cir. 1927-1932)

Off to the pits on August 16, 1989 for no particular reason in an era resting on the eve of sweeping technology to come, when we carried a pager (if anything) instead of a cell phone and a call in meant combing the streets to find a phone booth to pair up with your roll of quarters. Though we were mired in pre tech tar, we weren’t all that accountable for street time and the dog could therefore still eat homework. The dow jumps to nearly 2700.

Local plaque and a national natural landmark

Plaque inscription: NO. 170 HANCOCK PARK LA BREA - The bones of thousands of prehistoric animals that had been entrapped during the Ice Age in pools of tar that bubbled from beneath the ground were exhumed from this site. First historic reference to the pools, part of the 1840 Rancho La Brea land grant, was recorded by Gaspar de Portolá in 1769 - first scientific excavations were made by the University of California in 1906. The site was presented to the County of Los Angeles in 1916 by Captain G. Allan Hancock to be developed as a scientific monument.
Location: Hancock Park,
5801 Wilshire Blvd
between Ogden and Curson Sts, Los Angeles, LA County
Google maps: 34.063837,-118.356287

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