Bunker Hill was noirish, beautiful, mysterious, doomed... let's bring it back for one magical afternoon

come explore a lost Los Angeles neighborhood through Nathan Marsak's astonishing photo collection

Gentle reader,

Greetings from your friendly historic Los Angeles sightseeing tour company, now offering digital programming until we can again organize groups to gather and explore the city we love.

In anticipation of Saturday’s webinar The 1910 Los Angeles Times Bombing with Detective Mike Digby, our latest subscriber’s edition newsletter (and free blog preview) feature seldom-seen corners of Downtown’s Baltimore Hotel, where the deadly device was constructed in room 402.

This politically motivated crime forever transformed Los Angeles and shaped national law enforcement policies, and today Mike uses the lessons of the case to train young investigators. Want to read some period newspaper stories to get in the spirit? The Library of Congress has you covered, with sources ranging from the mainstream to fringe. Tune in at noon tomorrow to follow a groundbreaking conspiracy case, and bring your burning questions about bombs, bombers and arson for the lively Q&A session.

On November 14, we’re thrilled to present our second literary webinar, This is Charles Bukowski’s Los Angeles. Expanding on the popular tour, the program is packed with rare photos from the colorful, raunchy and rarely documented neighborhoods where the writer lived, wrote and got into trouble, and is a love letter to Bukowski and to the city. You don’t have to have read everything he wrote to enjoy the show, but we recommend his debut novel Post Office and the film Bukowski: Born Into This as introductions.

Just announced, on November 21, is A Visit to Lost Bunker Hill with author Nathan Marsak, featuring cameo appearances by Bunker Hill native son Gordon Pattison and The Cranky Preservationist. Nathan is one of our oldest friends, so you can expect embarrassing stories of youthful antics along with a fascinating portrait of the lost neighborhood that’s the subject of his new book, Bunker Hill Los Angeles: Essence of Sunshine and Noir. Nathan promises to dig up some photos that haven’t been seen anywhere else, so this one is a must for lovers of old Los Angeles.

Stay tuned as we roll out a new webinar program each Saturday. And remember if you can’t watch live or need to leave mid-stream, you can watch the recording for one full week. There’s still time to see our Hallowe’en webinar 13 Uncanny Los Angeles Crimes & Mysteries through Saturday night. Raymond Chandler, Black Dahlia, Dutch Chocolate Shop, Bradbury Building and Tunnels are now available On-Demand. And we’d love to see you tomorrow at noon for The 1910 Los Angeles Times Bombing with Detective Mike Digby.

yours for Los Angeles,

Kim & Richard


Subscribe! In the latest subscriber's edition of this newsletter—$10/month, cheap!—Exploring the Hidden Spaces in Skid Row's Baltimore Hotel—massive Pennsylvania iron infrastructure, a claw foot bathtub graveyard, and a penthouse pad that needs a lot of love. Not a subscriber? Sneak a peek here.


If you enjoy all we do to celebrate and preserve Los Angeles history, please consider signing up for the subscriber’s edition of this newsletter, or putting a little something into our digital tip jar. Printed matter? We’ve got a swell selection of books and maps, some written by us, others sourced from dusty warehouses. For a wider selection, Bookshop uses the power of distributor Ingram to help independent bookstores stick around. We've curated a selection of uniquely Los Angeles titles, and when you order from these links, it supports participating local shops, and us, too. You can also click here before shopping on Amazon. Or you can reserve a gift certificate to join us for a tour once we're back on the road (tour gift certificates will also be redeemable for the lower priced ticketed webinars while tours are on hiatus)... & if you love what we do, please tell your friends.


We're dark until public health officials determine that groups can gather safely. But in addition to weekly webinar programs, we've got 138 episodes of the podcast You Can't Eat The Sunshine free to download for armchair explorers, and videos of the Downtown L.A. LAVA walking tours, plus Cranky Preservationist videos.


Road Trip! Although public bus tours are on hiatus, we still get around on our social distancing road trips around our beloved Los Angeles. Be a virtual backseat companion when you click the #esotouricroadtrip hashtag, on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook.

The Chinese Historical Society of Southern California Collection has documented 1040 small objects excavated from around Union Station, discarded in old Chinatown from 1880-1933. Trash or treasure, they have a lot of soul.

California voters: check your ballot to make sure it was received and counted. If there's anything amiss, you have until 11/20 to cure your ballot. Make sure your vote counts, and pass it on!

Six years ago, San Pedro Councilman Joe Buscaino filed a motion to landmark Wilmington's Granada Theater. Jose Huizar seconded the motion. And nothing happened. This week, Buscaino reactivated the derelict proposal, with Krekorian taking the disgraced Huizar's slot. Did somebody write a check?

Video Vault: On the latest episode of Tiki Mugs with Ray, Stephen Curran tells the story of Clifton's Cafeteria, L.A. noir and programmatic architecture through pictorial beverage mugs, with a nice shout out to our Raymond Chandler research around 11 minutes in.

Looking for literary landmarks on the west side of Los Angeles, you find a lot of demo permits. (We are still feeling blue about Ray Bradbury's place.)

After the successful recall vote, Solvang isn't going to have pro-development councilman Chris Djernaes to kick around anymore. But will he show up at City Hall to sound off one last time?

The survival of San Francisco map maker Ken Cathcart's reference archives is a small miracle. Zoom in for details here.

File under: hands across America. It’s Richard’s birthday month, so we ordered a box of treats from Newsom's Old Mill Store in Princeton, KY. We don't eat meat, so skipped their famous aged country ham, but we love their cobbler in a jar, the most memorable dessert on our 2017 eclipse trip. Take a virtual shop tour.