Greetings from your friendly Los Angeles tour guides and historians, now packing up the gear to serve birthday cake on Saturday’s special walk around John Fante’s Downtown Los Angeles. The writer was born 114 years ago, but he’s still young and running wild on Bunker Hill through the power of his work. Join us, do!
For our latest post that’s hidden from the rest of the internet, we want to take you inside Southern California’s most beguiling monument to junk yard scavenging: the Simi Valley homestead of Tressa Prisbrey (1896–1988), or “Grandma” Prisbrey’s Bottle Village.
Like the endangered Old Trapper’s Lodge at Pierce College 14 miles to the Southwest, Bottle Village was designated California State Landmark No. 939, part of a 10-site nomination of California outsider art environments championed by Hollywood-based preservation hero Seymour Rosen. It is also on the National Register, one of two environments conceived and created by women artists (the other is by Mary Nohn), and the only one by a self-taught artist. Brava, Grandma!
It now looks different from the vintage postcard image above, with many of the bottle houses that you used to be able to step inside still in ruins from the magnitude 6.7 Northridge earthquake (1994). But Bottle Village remains a fantastic place, and one that desperately needs more friends to help preserve, support and interpret it.
If you’re intrigued and want to explore the landmark yourself, or even become a volunteer, the Preserve Bottle Village nonprofit has a rare public tour scheduled for Sunday, April 16. Now let’s go on in…
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