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Incline L.A.: The Lost Residential Railway of Mt. Washington (Episode 2)

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View Mt. Washington Incline Railway in a larger map

In case you missed it, watch Part 1 on incline railways in downtown L.A. here.

Mount Washington: a hill more than a mountain, the landform in northeast Los Angeles is home today to leafy streets and artists' bungalows. But just a century ago, Mount Washington remained carpeted in chaparral, its hilltop land inaccessible to real estate developers and homebuyers. Ultimately, it was the simple Edwardian technology embodied in the Los Angeles and Mount Washington Incline Railway that conquered the hill.

Closed more than ninety years ago, the Mt. Washington funicular is one of several Southern California incline railways lost to history, their remains rusting on hillsides or long ago sold for scrap, their memory preserved only in the photographs, films, and maps of the region's archives.

Now, discover the story of this lost residential railway -- and other forgotten funiculars --through "Incline L.A.," a new video series showcasing L.A. as Subject member collections and the archivists, historians, and experts who care for them.

Collections Featured in Episode Two: Mt. Washington

Automobile Club of Southern California Archives

Los Angeles Public Library Map Collection

Los Angeles Public Library Photo Collection

Transportation Library & Archives - Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority

USC Libraries - California Historical Society Collection

UCLA, Library Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library

Experts Featured in Episode Two: Mt. Washington

Morgan P. Yates, Automobile Club of Southern California Archives

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A coloring page created by the Los Angeles Public Library's Octavia Lab. An illustration of Manuela C. García sitting next to a phonograph. Behind her is a faint sheet music background.

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Born in Los Angeles in the late 1860s, Manuela C. García is the voice behind over 100 songs in Charles Lummis' recordings of Southwest musical heritage. Known mostly by historians specializing in 19th-century Mexican American music, her voice connects California's present musical history with its past.
 Charles Alston (left) and Hale Woodruff at Beckwourth Pass

How Two African American Artists Explored the Roots of Racism on the West Coast

When Golden State Mutual Life Insurance commissioned artists Charles Alston and Hale Woodruff to design a home office building, the duo traveled across California to retrace the steps of the region's Black explorers, settlers and leaders. Their mission? To design a headquarters for GSM that looked to California's future and recovered an erased Black past.
An image of the French district in downtown Los Angeles. The image shows Aliso Street in downtown Los Angeles, California, with signs labeling buildings "Griffins Transfer and Storage Co." and "Cafe des Alpes" next to "Eden Hotel," which are located on opposite corners of Aliso and Alameda Streets. A Pacific Electric streetcar sign reads "Sierra Madre" and automobiles and horse-drawn wagons are seen in the dirt road.

What Cinco de Mayo Has to do with the French in Early L.A.

Cinco de Mayo is often celebrated wrongly as Mexican Independence Day, but a dig into the historical landscape of Los Angeles in the early 19th century reveals a complex relationship of French émigrés with a Mexican Los Angeles.