Filming a Train Ride Down Pacific Coast Highway in 1898 | KCET
Filming a Train Ride Down Pacific Coast Highway in 1898
Santa Monica's McClure Tunnel – is there a more dramatic 400 feet of roadway in all Southern California? First, the daylight fades as you leave behind the Santa Monica Freeway and plunge through the tunnel's eastern portal. The road curves through the darkness, and then a new world flashes before you. As your eyes readjust, it all comes into focus: the rolling surf of the Pacific, a strip of sand, the hills of Malibu. You are now driving the Pacific Coast Highway.
L.A.'s Earliest Film History
It's an old thrill – one that long predates both the Santa Monica Freeway and Pacific Coast Highway, as “Going Through the Tunnel,” a film shot in early January 1898 by the Edison Manufacturing Company’s Frederick Blechynden, shows.
As early as 1886, the Southern Pacific bored a tunnel through Santa Monica's ocean bluffs so that trains traveling through the Santa Monica Arroyo – a natural drainage that once marked the southern edge of town – could turn parallel to the beach toward a long shipping wharf up the coast. Pacific Electric trolleys later used this curved tunnel, which remained in service until shortly before its rotted wooden frame collapsed in 1935.
By then the state had already drafted plans to reconfigure the historic conduit. When the dust settled in 1936, Olympic Boulevard traced the old path of the railroad through the arroyo, and a wide, arched concrete tunnel curved through the bluffs where the wooden railroad shaft had been. One final change came in 1965, when the Santa Monica Freeway replaced Olympic Boulevard through the arroyo. Ever since, the tunnel has marked the western terminus of Interstate 10's route – and a dramatic way to experience the continent's end.
This story originally appeared on Gizmodo's Southland on April 29, 2014. The 1898 film footage above appears courtesy of the Library of Congress Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division.
Ava Duvernay, Grace Lee and Marjan Safinia Amplify Stories of Defiant Women of Color Transforming Politics
Directed by Grace Lee and Marjan Safinia, “And She Could Be Next” tracks the campaigns of six women of color who sought office as well as the efforts of all the seasoned organizers and ordinary folks who made those campaigns possible.
'You Started The Corona!' Asian American Californians Have Reported Over 800 Hate Incidents During Pandemic
Another museum has closed due to COVID-19, but this time, it’s continuing online.
For nearly 30 years, Tom Dwyer worked with North East Trees, the non-profit organization responsible for planting some of the first trees and building some of the first parks along the Los Angeles River.
Explore the lasting impact of the Shindana Toy Company, created out of the need for community empowerment following the 1965 Watts uprising, whose ethnically correct black dolls forever changed the American doll industry.
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.
This episode explores how surfers, bodybuilders, and acrobats taught Californians how to have fun and stay young at the beach — and how the 1966 documentary The Endless Summer shared the Southern California idea of the beach with the rest of the world.