Ramblings of a Techno-Viking

Griffith Observitory and Park

I've signed up for Markeroni and decided to "Snarf" a few landmarks I knew of in Griffith Park. Griffith J. Griffith was already a millionare when he moved to Los Angeles and purchased a chunk of land called "Rancho Los Felez". A portion of that was donated to the City of Los Angeles to become Griffith Park. He later donated $100,00 to build Griffith Observitory, which opened in 1935. One of the conditions was that the streetcar fare to or from the park could not exceed $0.05, which instead of making the park accessable to the public has had the oposite effect of making sure that no rail transport stops in the park.

My visit started out with Griffith Observitory. There's a statue out front of James Dean for the role the observitory played in "Rebel Without a Cause". The expantion completed about 5 years ago is underground, and involved jacking up the entire building and adding a basement as well as a large room under the front lawn. An exibit I like that tends to be overlooked is the Camera Obscura, that projects live images from outside on a table in a dark room, using no electronics or light amplification. (This one does use electric motors to change the aim.)

My next stop was the Old Zoo Picnic area, where I ate lunch on one of the sunny tables rather than inside of one of the animal display areas.

Travel Town Museum makes me sad in a way -- it's an example of how an effort to preserve and display history can go wrong. It is mostly a collection of trains left out in the weather, with controls welded in place to prevent children from hurting themselves, and many coats of paint failing to prevent them from gradually falling apart. The horsecar now looks like a falling apart wooden flatcar, no trace of the seats or roof remain. (It was in better shape a couple of years ago.) The exibits under a roof are faring better. With the city's and state's financial troubles, it is unlikly the hoped for narrow gauge rail line in the park will be done in the forseeable future. There is a minature rail line that goes around Travel Town, that can be ridden for a small fare.

I went to the Autry Mueseum, but didn't go in since it was close to closing time. Also skipped this trip were the LA Zoo, Merry-go-round, pony rides, the other minature train, the equestrian center, the Bronson Caves, the Greek Theater, all three golf courses, other sports facilities, many picnic areas, two group camping areas, and dozens if not hundreds of miles of hiking, biking, and horse riding trails. It's not a small park, even if they didn't manage to aquire the additional land on the west side.