An Aeronaut's View of Los Angeles, 1887 | KCET
An Aeronaut's View of Los Angeles, 1887
In 1887, aeronauts gave the Los Angeles a new way of seeing itself. Floating 9,000 feet above in a hot-air balloon, photographer Edwin H. Husher tilted his camera over the basket’s edge and captured 13 photographic views of the City of Angels.
Husher’s voyage was part of an elaborate publicity stunt orchestrated by the San Francisco Examiner and its new owner, William Randolph Hearst. Though designed to sell advertising – and to top a similar hot-air balloon stunt by Hearst’s archrival Joseph Pulitzer – the event injected extra excitement into a booming city teeming with real-estate boosters and instant millionaires. On the afternoon of June 26, 1887, residents clambered up hills and onto rooftops for a glimpse of the balloon, and a special excursion train brought onlookers from as far as San Bernardino. To entertain crowds gathered around the takeoff site, a team of local ballplayers hosted the San Luis Obispo nine at the Sixth-Street Baseball Park.
Unfortunately, the aircraft did not rise on schedule. As the ballgame's innings wore on, the balloon’s gasbag remained half-inflated. Upon examination, its pilot, Joseph Van Tassell, discovered rocks and dirt lodged inside the air pipe. The Examiner organizers spread rumors of sabotage – perhaps by an agent of the rival San Francisco Chronicle! – through the large and increasingly impatient crowd.
Undaunted, the aeronauts tried again and made their voyage a day late on June 27, rising almost two miles above downtown Los Angeles. The four-hour flight was not without incident. Disaster nearly struck when the aircraft encountered turbulence over the Santa Monica Mountains, and when the balloon finally came to rest in the San Fernando Valley, it touched down on a cactus patch.
Nearly two months later, the Examiner published a special Southern California edition that featured Husher’s images – likely the first aerial photos of Los Angeles. For the first time, Angelenos could contemplate their city as a collection of networked, abstract forms: the unnaturally straight lines of streets, the dark polygonal shapes of pastures, the glistening sandy wash of the untamed Los Angeles River.
A version of this story first appeared on the Los Angeles Magazine website on Aug. 13, 2013.
What is nature? Evan Meyer of UCLA’s Mildred E. Mathias Botanical Garden; Rosemarie Garland-Thomson, disability justice and culture expert; and Rebeca Méndez, a designer and artist whose work addresses climate change, tackle this complex topic.
On Tuesday, November 6th around 80 community members passionate in learning more about California’s recycling industry attended SoCal Connected’s screening/panel discussion of “Life in Plastic: California’s Recycling Woes” at the Pasadena Public Library.
Exactly 25 years ago, 59% of California voters passed the “Save Our State” initiative, better known as Proposition 187, which called for throwing undocumented children out of schools and hospitals and for teachers and nurses to become de-facto immigration
Noah Baumbach’s ‘Marriage Story’ Takes The Audience On An Emotional Journey at the Winter KCET Cinema Series
After the screening, KCET Cinema Series host Pete Hammond conversed with director Noah Baumbach, Laura Dern, and producer David Heyman.
- 1 of 218
- next ›
Griffith Park is one of the largest municipal parks in the United States. Its founder, Griffith J. Griffith, donated the land to the city as a public recreation ground for all the people — an ideal that has been challenged over the years.
During World War II, three renowned photographers captured scenes from the Japanese incarceration: outsiders Dorothea Lange and Ansel Adams and incarceree Tōyō Miyatake who boldly smuggled in a camera lens to document life from within the camp.
Prohibition may have outlawed liquor, but that didn’t mean the booze stopped flowing. Explore the myths of subterranean Los Angeles, crawl through prohibition-era tunnels, and visit some of the city’s oldest speakeasies.
This episode explores how Yosemite has changed over time: from a land maintained by indigenous peoples; to its emergence as a tourist attraction; to the site of conflict over humanity’s relationship with nature.
California’s deserts have sparked imaginations around the world. This episode explores the creation of the Salton Sea; the effort to preserve Joshua Tree National Park; and how commercial interests created desert utopias like Palm Springs.
- 1 of 4
- next ›