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TOUR DU JOUR | SO SoCal

Heaven's Gates

December 22, 1996|Suzy Beal

Brooklyn Avenue Pilings

Alma, Hicks, Ditman avenues at Cesar Chavez Boulevard

Just east of Evergreen Cemetery, several abandoned brick light standards keep vigil on each street corner, comprising sort of semiformal, homely beacons to the ancient (for L.A.) neighborhood beyond.

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Macy Street Viaduct

Cesar Chavez Boulevard between Mission Road and Lyon Street

Four amazingly ornate concrete "doorways" perched somewhat uselessly atop railing of 1926 Spanish Colonial bridge. Incorporating various "revival" elements, each portal sports three iron light fixtures and seems to invite the viewer to pass through into space . . . or the L.A. River.

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Hollywoodland Gates

Beachwood and Westshire drives, Hollywood

Gothic sandstone gates were built in 1923 to welcome home-buyers to Hollywoodland--a perfect fairy-tale entrance for the Norman-Spanish-gingerbread fantasy architecture of the neighborhood. Details include a large brass clock, faux chimney, tunnels and iron-barred ovoid windows.

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Montana Gates

Ocean and Idaho avenues, Santa Monica

Also attributed to Greene & Greene, the two mirror-image double portals make use of granite boulders, bricks and terra cotta Batchelder tiles leading to the Pacific Ocean, and more immediately, a public restroom.

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Rodney Drive Gates

Franklin Avenue and Rodney Drive, Hollywood

Looking like concrete gift boxes or Federalist flowerpots, they challenge the passersby to regard their shabby gentility with the respect they doubtless once commanded . . .

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Oaklawn Waiting Station

Fair Oaks, Oaklawn avenues, South Pasadena

Begun in 1906, the Greene & Greene-designed Pacific Electric waiting station utilizes river boulders and clinker bricks, with inviting built-in benches and Batchelder-tile insets depicting birds, griffins and plants, plus a roof covered with vines. It looks like a gate, but it isn't: the walk-through leads to the abandoned rail bed into the Oaklawn neighborhood.

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