Eye on L.A. for July 5, 2008

Originally aired Sat., Apr. 19, at 6:30 p.m.

Author Amy Dawes takes us on a tour of Sunset Boulevard -- the whole 22.4 miles, from its origination at el Pueblo De Los Angeles to the Pacific Ocean. We check out classic historic landmarks in Echo Park, Angelino Heights, Elysian Park, Silver Lake, Los Feliz, Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Bel-Air, Brentwood and the Pacific Palisades along the way.

Book title: Sunset Boulevard-Cruising the Heart of Los Angeles
Author: Amy Dawes
Publisher: Angel City Press / Los Angeles Times Books

Will Rogers State Historic Park
1501 Will Rogers State Park Road
Pacific Palisades, CA 90272
(310) 454-8212 or 800-777-0369

Gladstone's of Malibu
17300 Pacific Coast Highway
Pacific Palisades, Ca 90272
(310) 454-3474



Between 1921 and 1954 Simon Rodia single handedly constructed three tall towers and fourteen other structures within the walls of what used to be his triangular yard. The ornate details and solid construction ultimately warranted the towers the status of an historic landmark -- which is why it remains today.

The Watts Towers Arts Center maintains and restores the towers through California state parks and Los Angeles City cultural affairs.

Tours and enrichment programs are scheduled through The Watts Towers Arts Center as well as on site exhibitions in the Noah Purifoy gallery.

Watts Towers Arts Center
(213) 847-4646
1765 East 107th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90002



Learn more about the Hollywood sign -- past and present.

For more information, visit: www.hollywoodsign.org



Author Kevin Roderick and researcher Eric Lynxwiler take us on a 15.8-mile tour of Wilshire Boulevard starting in Downtown L.A. and ending in Santa Monica, pointing out historic landmarks like the Bullock's Wilshire department store, the original Brown Derby restaurant, The Ambassador Hotel, The Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel and the Santa Monica Statue.

Book title: Wilshire Boulevard: Grand Concourse of Los Angeles
Author: Kevin Roderick and researcher J. Eric Lynxwiler
Publisher: Angel City Press


Seven Things You Probably Don't Know About LA Landmarks

1. Sunset Boulevard is 22.4 miles long. It used to be 24 miles long before its earliest stretch from El Pueblo de Los Angeles to Figueroa was renamed Cesar Chavez Boulevard in 1997. Today Sunset begins at Figueroa and ends in Pacific Palisades at the entrance of Gladstone's seafood restaurant. Sunset is the second longest street within Los Angeles city limits after Sepulveda, which is 25.5 miles long. Sepulveda's official length, which stretches outside of Los Angeles, is 57 miles from the San Pedro Harbor all the way up to the Sepulveda Dam.

2. Schwab's Pharmacy and its famous soda fountain counter stood at 8024 Sunset Boulevard from 1935 to 1987. The Schwab's on Sunset was one of six pharmacies owned by brothers Leon, Bernard, Martin and Jack Schwab. According to author Amy Dawes, music composer Harold Arlen wrote the melody to "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" at the Schwab's soda fountain counter. Schwab's also made it into a scene of the movie "Sunset Boulevard" when William Holden's character stops in to say hello to some friends at the counter.

3. The Hollywood Sign is 45 feet tall, and each letter is 37 feet wide. From "H" to "D," it spans about 450 feet. Steel girders go down 13 feet, stabilizing each letter.

4. The Hollywood Sign is equipped with a webcam, which you can see anytime at www.hollywoodsign.org. The Hollywood sign is also outfitted with high tech cameras and microphones which allow security guards at a nearby location to monitor activity 24 hours a day.

5. The Watts Towers were built between 1921 and 1954 by a man named Simon Rodia who began the project on the side of his house. The towers are encrusted with bits of broken tile, sea shells and glass. If you look closely you can make out pieces of old Seven Up and Milk of Magnesia bottles, Franciscan pottery and the back of a Victorian chair.

6. Today, Wilshire Boulevard, which is 15.8 miles long, starts at Grand Avenue in Downtown LA and ends at Ocean Avenue in front of the Santa Monica Statue in Santa Monica. Wilshire Boulevard originally got its start in 1895 at MacArthur Park, known then as Westlake Park.

7. The "Wilshire Brown Derby" was the first of several Brown Derby restaurants in Los Angeles. In 1926 it originally stood at 3427 Wilshire Boulevard but moved to the other side of the street a few years later. The dome structure was modeled after a bowler hat which was 28 feet in diameter and 17 feet tall. The dome structure still exists but has been set back from Wilshire Boulevard in a strip mall above a Japanese restaurant. The famous Cobb Salad was named after one of the restaurant's owners, Robert H. Cobb, who created the salad as a low-calorie option for actresses watching their waistlines.

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