Last House Standing on Bunker Hill | KCET
Last House Standing on Bunker Hill
And yet for all its heavy machinery, the Community Redevelopment Agency couldn't touch Stuart Oliver's property.
Oliver's house, shade trees, and two adjoining rental units floated above a desert of virgin real estate -- bare earth from which the steel-and-glass towers of the Financial District would soon rise. Earthmovers had pared down the surrounding land by two stories, clawing into the earth up to the edges of Oliver's 7,940-square-foot parcel.
The resulting earthen stump was the final remnant of old Bunker Hill.
It's tempting to see in photographs like the one above an act of defiance, to cast the house's owner as a stubborn crusader against a misguided urban renewal scheme.
In truth, Oliver was a willing accomplice in Bunker Hill's redevelopment.
A decade after he and his wife moved into their modern domicile at 4th and Hope in 1949, the CRA began offering owners like the Olivers a chance to participate in the hill's transformation. Hold on to your land, it told them, and build something on it that conforms with our master plan. A shrewd businessman, Oliver signed an owner-participant agreement and drafted plans for a 150-unit apartment complex.
Interest in Bunker Hill real estate soon soared well beyond the CRA's initial expectations, however, prompting the agency to revise its master plan. Suddenly, modest apartment buildings such as what Oliver was proposing had no place on Bunker Hill, which the CRA envisioned as a forest of 50-story skyscrapers.
Oliver bickered with the CRA for ten years, during which his hilltop house became increasingly isolated. "It's not the friendly neighborhood it once was," a friend of Oliver's laconically remarked to the Times. Even the postman had trouble finding the address. Finally, in July 1969, Oliver let go of his own redevelopment dreams and sold his land (at a tidy profit) for half a million dollars.
The Olivers then vacated their lonely house, but they didn't move far. Their new home, the recently built Bunker Hill Towers complex, offered unobstructed views of their old. From the tower, they could have seen the bulldozers push their former house off its hilltop perch. They would have seen the steam shovels come next, clearing away the earthen stump to make way for the 55-story Security Pacific Plaza. From their new home, a product itself of redevelopment, they would have witnessed their old neighborhood's final days.
For the last 30 years, El Nopal Press has intentionally been a studio where artists can experiment with printmaking. Some of the most provocative artistic pieces and innovations have come from the studio’s collaborations with women.
Enter to win tickets to the December 18 performance of Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake at the Ahmanson Theatre.
What truly matters? Ali Behdad, professor of literature; Kristy Edmunds, artist and curator; and Michael Eselun, chaplain for the Simms-Mann/UCLA Center for Integrative Oncology discuss the important things in life.
‘Bombshell’ Exposes Media Mogul’s Toxic Sexual Harassment Culture at Fox News on Screen at the KCET Cinema Series
After the screening, KCET Cinema Series host Pete Hammond sat down with director Jay Roach.
- 1 of 225
- 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.
Although best known for designing the homes of celebrities like Lucille Ball and Frank Sinatra, the pioneering African-American architect Paul Revere Williams also contributed to some of the city’ s most recognizable civic structures.
As recently as a century ago, scientists doubted whether the universe extended beyond our own Milky Way — until astronomer Edwin Hubble, working with the world’s most powerful telescope discovered just how vast the universe is.
- 1 of 5
- next ›