Tuesday, August 11, 2009


The second page of the Los Angeles Times (August 11, 2009) talks about a feature of Los Angeles that most of us never think of: creeks. Yes, there are still creeks in L.A., in spite of the concrete, macadam,and condos, and strip malls. Hector Tobar describes seeing fresh, cool water bubble up from the ground near a science building of University High School on the West side.

Jessica Hall of the LA Creek Freak blog guided Tobar. According to the article, our city is still criss-crossed with waterways, and they still carry water from the foothills to the Pacific.

I took one name from the article--Sacatela--and searched the L.A. Library's photo collection. This 1924 picture shows the intersection of 7th Street and Vermont, with Sacatela Creek in the foreground. Here's what the accompanying text says:

Sacatela Creek is shown on the 1902 USGS map as a perennial stream that began in the Franklin Hills and joined Ballona Creek in Koreatown/Mid-City, approximately between Wilton, Westchester, and Country Club Drive. A season stream flowing from today's Silver Lake Reservoir also joined Sacatela Creek near the intersection of today's Beverly Boulevard and Madison Avenue. In 1930, a stormdrain was laid in the stream's path and the creek was filled.

Tobar and Hall talk of "daylighting" streams, which seems to mean not just exposing sections of them to the daylight, but restoring chunks of their environment.

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