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Nathan Masters

Nathan Masters (2018)

Nathan Masters is host and executive producer of Lost L.A., an Emmy Award-winning public television series from KCET and the USC Libraries. The show explores how rare artifacts from Southern California's archives can unlock hidden and often-surprising stories from the region's past. Nathan’s writing has appeared in many publications, including Los Angeles Magazine and the Los Angeles Times. He also helps manage public programs and media initiatives at the USC Libraries, home to the L.A. as Subject research consortium.

Nathan Masters (2018)
A train runs down the path to L.A.'s Union Station.
Article
Lost LA

Railroads Build – and Destroy: Competing Narratives of L.A. Union Station's Birth

Photographs reveal the celebrations surrounding the birth of L.A.'s Union Station, but also present the indiscernible loss of "Old Chinatown," a neighborhood lost to make way for the railroads.
Drawings of Lowe Planet Airship from the 1910 booklet "The Latest Development in Aerial Navigation"
Article
Lost LA

The Man Who Almost Conquered L.A.'s Skies

In the late 1800s, Thaddeus Sobieski Constantine Lowe dreamed of a luxury airship that would conquer the skies. But what Lowe had in ambition he lacked in financial investment.
An archival black and white photo of a San Gabriel Timberland Reserve ranger sitting atop a mule. He's wearing a collared long sleeve shirt and a wide-brim hat. The insignia on his collar reads, "S.G.R.," which stands for San Gabriel Reserve. The ranger and the mule stand among trees.
Article
Lost LA

How California Got Its First National Forest

In the late 1800s, logging and grazing in the San Gabriel Mountains threatened the irrigation-based societies in the valley. President Harrison had a solution. Reserving 555,520 acres of the San Gabriel Mountains, effectively creating Angeles National Forest.
An archival black-and-white photo of a man kneeled with his hand on a vintage car.
Article
Lost LA

When L.A. Drove in the Dark: SoCal During World War II

At the height of World War II, Southern Californians navigated nights in complete darkness as defense authorities imposed severe dimout restrictions on the region, ordering residents to turn of all lights that could be seen from sea at night.
 A map of Los Angeles City, 1867.
Article
Lost LA

The Convoluted Logic of L.A.'s Numbered Avenues

As Los Angeles expanded, a need to clear up confusion for citizens came when duplicate numbered streets and avenues appeared throughout the city.
A mountain range, parts of which are covered in snow.
Article
Lost LA

The Lost Plan to Create a National Park in L.A.’s Backyard

In 1916, the proposed establishment of the Sierra Madre National Park laid in the hands of conservationist Stephen Mather. But an underfunded national park system and the area's lack of "nationally significant" monumental scenery meant a swift end to the plan.
An archival black-and-white photo of Edgar Lucien Larkin inside the Lowe Observatory on Echo Mountain.
Article
Lost LA

Edgar Lucien Larkin: The Wizard of Echo Mountain

Edgar Lucien Larkin came to Southern California in 1900 to work the Lowe Observatory's 16-inch refracting telescope and discuss science with tourists. But what made him stand out and draw crowds up the mountain night after night was the way he explained astronomy as a kind of magic, bridging ancient mystery and modern science.
chutes park distant.jpg
Article
Lost LA

When the Los Angeles Angels Played Ball Inside an Amusement Park

Discover the Angels' humble beginnings as a then-minor-league club playing out of Chutes Park, an all-dirt stadium part of a larger family entertainment center that included attractions like bowling alleys and an 85-foot-tall water ride.
1961 artist's rendering of LAX's Theme Building, designed by architect William Pereira. Courtesy of the California Historical Society Collection, USC Libraries.
Article

The Early History of L.A. International Airport

The transportation hub has hardly stood still since it emerged from the bean fields of Westchester in the late 1920s.
In conversation with original Imagineer Bob Gurr | Katie Noonan
Article
Lost LA

Lost LA Field Notes: Fantasyland

For the Fantasyland episode, I met an Imagineer, sat down with the director of the Walt Disney Archives and went through photos of Universal's original studio tour. We also visited the restaurant that inspired Walt Disney's fantasy theme.
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