LAist reports on our 6-month metamorphosis from group tours to online webinars...

...and a chance to sleuth The Black Dahlia on October 10

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.

Today on, reporter Mike Roe interviewed us about the challenges of transforming a community-centered sightseeing tour company into something safe and engaging while we’re living through a pandemic. But raising all those monarch butterflies taught us a thing or two about reinvention. If you’ve ever wanted to peer under the hood at how a small tourism business handled what we hope is a once-in-a-lifetime crisis, have a look.

Saturday at noon, our traditional tour boarding time, we’ll go live with our debut webinar program Inside the Bradbury Building (September 26). If you’re otherwise engaged, you’ll have a week to tune in to the recording. We’d love to “see” you there.

In addition to Inside the Dutch Chocolate Shop (October 3), we’ve just announced Black Dahlia Days: Sleuthing out Beth Short’s Southern California (October 10), with special guest Joan Renner. Two true crime historians (and one patient husband) invite you to dig deeper into the case that haunts us, and explore some time capsule landmarks where the crime and its cultural impact still feel as fresh as a new bruise.

Today, we went live on Facebook to preview the upcoming webinars and the visual language of the mmhmm software that lets our talking heads share the screen with the environments and archival material we’ll be exploring. Click here or on the photo to have a look.

We’re so happy to have found a way to bring folks together again to explore Los Angeles culture, landmarks and lore, and are grateful that the webinars are already finding an audience.

We hope they provide a little window of pleasure and discovery and take the edge off for you, as preparing for them has been for us. There really is nothing more absorbing than sleuthing out an historical mystery and revealing fresh facets of the city we love.

yours for Los Angeles,

Kim & Richard


Subscribe! In the latest subscriber's edition of this newsletter—$10/month, cheap!—Archeological Explorations in Downtown's Mayan Theatre—the exotic architecture is spectacular, but it's some pencil stub scribblings on a plain cement wall that really blew our mind. Not a subscriber? Sneak a peek here.


If you enjoy all we do to celebrate and preserve Los Angeles history and would like to say thank you, please consider signing up for the subscriber’s edition of this newsletter, or putting a little something into our digital tip jar. Looking for something L.A.-centric to enliven your collection? We’ve got a swell selection of local history 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.

Corruption Corner: To live and bribe in LA: How a developer broke into the City of Angels and became a central character in the Huizar scandal... and got a lobbyist pal to suggest they are a "victim" of "cancel culture"… the latest in Jose Huizar's stoopid challenge to Grand Jury selection in his RICO indictment: the U.S. Attorney cites United States v. Gotti (!!), graciously assumes every time Huizar asks for records from the 2020 Grand Jury, he actually means 2019 (PDF link).

Farewell to Kay Porter, tireless San Diego preservationist and one of the visionaries who ensured our favorite Victorian, Villa Montezuma, would celebrate its centennial and then some.

Getting a read on the coronavirus state of Vroman’s, our oldest and our best book store. Do some holiday shopping here!

The Alpine Village historic landmark hearing before the County Supervisors is Tuesday, September 29 at 9:30 a.m. You can send an email, or call in to testify in support of this cultural treasure. The owners aren't too interested, but what potential (PDF link)!

October 1 at the Cultural Heritage Commission: owner nominates San Pedro's prewar French Norman apartments Leone's Castle, Howard Hughes' Art Deco HQ, Gregory Ain's Avenel co-op, kinetic and sound artist Stephan von Huene’s craftman home and two significant Chicano arts centers in Highland Park (PDF link).

The National Trust has released its 2020 list of the 11 Most Endangered Places, and we're pleased they've taken up Hall of Waters in Excelsior Springs, MO. We made a special trip to see this decaying Art Deco marvel, and have been worried sick about it!

Video vault: powerful testimony from Marcia Warfield Flannery, who was twice swept away in the New Years 1934 mudslide, and rescued her father and brother. Fires followed by rain was a deadly combination for the foothill communities…. Our preservation pal Nathan Marsak had an online book release talk for the newly released Bunker Hill Los Angeles, and you can tune in here.

The Pacific Dining Car looks dead, but the fourth generation family owner hopes to keep the body warm. We're pulling for 'em.

Onni Group demolished Acres of Books! All that's left standing on the stalled Broadway Block project in Long Beach is a sliver of the front facade. The landmark always was promised to be integrated in the new project, but what can we expect from the offshore developer that seeks to knock down half the Los Angeles Times building?