A walking tour through old Santa Monica:

Palm Tree
It is a lovely Fall day – the skies are clear, and it’s warm as summer.


I work in a converted art gallery in the industrial area of this small beach town.

jen cute 1
I grew up here, but it doesn’t look or feel the way it did in the 70s.

This is the way it was even before then, perhaps in the 30s and 40s:

The Little Yellow House

I’ve never seen anybody come in or out of this house.

The Little Yellow House 2

I imagine an old lady, white-haired, shuffling around in a housecoat, and she’s probably lived in this house her whole life. It’s an oasis of calm amidst the tearing-down and the putting-up – I hope that it stays just as it is.

The Overgrown Hutlet

This house is sandwiched between two large townhouses. I love the overgrown yard. But it’s a sign that something new is coming:

An Evil Portent

Someday, a sign will appear….

Quonset Hutlet

…then a fence…..


…and finally, an empty lot.

I watched the indignities of the last weeks and months of the old Victorian house that once stood here, its windows boarded, the trees abused with construction leavings, the portable toilets lined up in the small front yard.

I imagined the family that used to live there-
SaMo High
– perhaps it was the summer cottage of a family that lived in Boyle Heights or City Terrace, neighborhoods that were once at the Westernmost edge of Los Angeles, but are now East of East L.A. A trip out to Santa Monica was a big deal back then.

This is what’s left of the house now.

This is what will replace it:
The Evil Condos

Bigger, newer, more.
The Evil Condos 2
Los Angeles has no room for the old.

The Cute Old Hut
Old can be beautiful.

Masonic Steps

Los Angeles is an impatient city.


8 responses to “Progress”

  1. Hey Jen — I’ve been mulling over a similar post and if I can ever get out with a camera maybe I’ll eventually write it as a companion piece to this one.

    I’m curious about the engraved steps — where are those from? What does it mean to label steps with the names of classical columns?

  2. Jen says:

    I took that picture through the glass doors of the Santa Monica Masonic Temple – I just thought they were so great.
    Yeah, doing this post inspires me to do a more extensive photo essay of the older parts of L.A.

  3. Scotty says:

    I’ll never understand the mentality required to move into a neighborhood and wind up destroying its character by tearing down sweet bungalows and putting up Mc Mansions. Witnessing this over and over is indeed one of the saddest aspects of living in the Southland.

    And I’m sorry to say it, but that’s one cute picture of you up there!

  4. Jeremy says:

    I love that last line: Indeed, Los Angeles is an impatient city.

    I concur about that childhood photo (and I’m amazed at how much it still looks like you.)

  5. Jen says:

    Aw, shucks ;)

  6. cynthia says:

    Great Post Jen and so true, I wish that we had more of the old things around

  7. julie the ping pong queen says:

    okay TGW has been so on target with my thoughts as of late. so another long comment
    Just yesterday morning here in Echo Park I went to my coffee place to see the city demolish the old 1920’s farmhouse that sat on what was called Chicken Corner because of their chicken farm. Condos are to be built.
    I took my Aunt Ditty who is 85 yrs old to Boyle Heights to see my great aunts house and it was demolished.
    Just minutes ago I was driving with a friend who was aggressively etching up on a faded buick covered in dirt and leaves. It was an old lady trying to maneuver through the chaos of todays california. My friend began to cuss at how delayed the old lady was in turning.
    She’s old I said. Let her be. Imagine how crazy this life must seem to her.
    My friend eased back. This is my new fight, I said. But for some reason I just felt like I could cry.
    I looked back as my friend zipped (late for acupuncture) past the buick, the old lady drove slow and straight her blinker still on.

  8. Kate the Great says:

    I love old houses, too.