The frogs came to Frogtown in 1954, according to local residents interviewed in the 1980's by the L.A.Times. That was the year land was cleared for the Golden State Freeway, which isolates the little neighborhood from the rest of the city. Many streets, like Allesandro used to go across Riverside Dr. and into the hills above the valley.
Before the freeway was built, the neighborhood didn't seem to have any particular name. It was part of Rancho Los Feliz. Later, the farmers came, including Jesse Hunter in 1849, fresh from the gold fields. His heirs continued to farm the land, or sell it to the railroads, into the 1920's. Then came the small tracts and the little houses. These humble subdivisions didn't get the heavy promotion that larger ones got.
This one was built in 1920. In 1939, it rented for $30 a month, more than the average, which was $25. Many people associate the horizontal fencing with gentrification.
Like so many others, this one got a coat of stucco sometime after it was built in 1925. The rent in 1939 was only $18 per month.
This one was moved here from South Central Los Angeles by the current owner's great-grandmother.
At the corner of Knox and Blake.
This won't be here much longer. That's a notice of demolition on the fence.
This one is currently receiving a fresh coat of green paint.
while this sits under the moon with white roses in front.
I took this in 2007, and don't know whether this house with its sweet little porch is still there.
Or this example of the hedge-trimmer's art
Dorris Place Elementary School is a handsome building with a beautiful front entrance.
I spoke with the property owner on his way out. He says people still come around looking for the bakery, and he even still gets mail for the 4S employee group. He saved the old awning from its days as Bimbo. He's also a dog lover, like myself. A new development is planned here.
Most of the factories came after the land use map of 1939 was published, and the L.A. River was channelized. Many were built in the area that was subject to flooding before channelization.
You can't always tell what they are up to behind the chain link fences
but what do they do at ameco
and what will they make of all this stuff?
Frogtown residents like to draw faces on chairs
They decorate their garden walls
Place a bow on a lawn sculpture.
paint each brick a different color
or leave an enigmatic message on the wall of an abandoned parking lot.
decorate a fence with butterflies
or paper cranes
There's plenty of local color.
The circus was painted on a silver wall.
She is with Jesus now. I found the location of this wall. It's painted solid green now.
As far back as 1989, the L.A. Times noticed that artists were moving into frog town. The downtown arts district was becoming too expensive even then. Frogtown began holding an annual ArtWalk in 2005. Unfortunately, the 2015 ArtWalk was canceled.
Hugo Martinez Tecoatl has participated in the art walk, in 2011 and other years. In 2006 he painted a wonderful mural along the bike path when it was still just a service road.
It's a time of change in Frogtown. Riverhouse is under construction.
The project's website says, "Be a pioneer, become one of the first to own a home on the L.A. River and witness its revitalization first hand." They forget that even before Jesse Hunter bought land here with his gold rush earnings in 1849, it was not an uninhabited wilderness.
On the other hand, it wasn't a beautiful spot before
Here are a few links about Frogtown:
Way back in 2007, when I was ambling down the river in frog town, Atwater
In 2010, Will Coley interviewed long-time residents for his video mapping Frogtown.
In Aug. 2014, L.A. Weekly described Frogtown as L.A.s hottest new neighborhood, but the residents declined the honor.
KCET discussed gentrification issues July 2, 2015
Residents are not embracing change, according to the August 3, 2015 Community Beacon.
On August 14, 2015 Curbed reported on zoning changes
A local resident has assured me there are still frogs in Frogtown, though not as many as there had been in an earlier time. I can only hope the things I like about Frogtown will still be there in years to come.