The kodachrome slide above was taken by in 1952 by Charles Cushman, one of the most famous amateur photographers of the last century. Despite having visited Los Angeles at least four times between 1940 and 1959, it seems that Cushman did not find the place particularly interesting as a photographic subject, given the small number of photographs that he took in the city. Nonetheless, he did manage to leave behind several tantalizing, full-color glimpses of Bunker Hill on the eve of its destruction.
Cushman’s photograph shows a portion of the dense residential neighborhood that once occupied northern Bunker Hill before urban renewal took its course. Although the rest of the redevelopment area has since been fully rebuilt, this particular pocket bordering the Civic Center remains somewhat barren a half-century after its clearance. Interestingly, the story of the dirt mound in the foreground of both pictures was written about in detail at On Bunker Hill.
The pictures also prominently feature the eastern portal of the Second Street Tunnel, opened in 1924. Despite its great popularity as a filming location for car commercials, the tunnel has been rather poorly maintained by the city – particularly unfortunate is the disappearance of its original decorative balustrades.
The Dirt Patch of Second and Hill [On Bunker Hill]
The automakers’ tunnel of love is a cause for reflection [LA Times]
Source: Neil, Dan. “The automakers’ tunnel of love is a cause for reflection.” Los Angeles Times. 29 Apr. 2009. http://articles.latimes.com/2009/apr/21/business/fi-ct-neil21.
Original photo: Cushman, Charles W. “The 2nd St. Tunnel from 2nd & Hill St. Los Angeles – P05742.” 1952. Charles W. Cushman Photograph Collection. Indiana University Archives. http://purl.dlib.indiana.edu/iudl/archives/cushman/P05742.