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Bunker Hill Los Angeles: Reminiscences of Bygone Days

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Artwork and narrative by Leo Politi based on his reminiscences growing up on Bunker Hill as well as stories from former residents.


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Artwork and narrative by Leo Politi based on his reminiscences growing up on Bunker Hill as well as stories from former residents.

29 review for Bunker Hill Los Angeles: Reminiscences of Bygone Days

  1. 4 out of 5

    Megan

    Once I met a man who grew up in Chavez Ravine. I was so excited to get to speak with someone who had grown up in a place that got so legendarily destroyed in the name of progress. I feel the same way about this book. Leo Politi is in a lot of ways the perfect Angelino. He was Italian, but published his work in English and Spanish. He wrote lots of LA history for children in wonderfully accessible ways. This book is his love letter to another legendary place destroyed by progress. Fueled by nosta Once I met a man who grew up in Chavez Ravine. I was so excited to get to speak with someone who had grown up in a place that got so legendarily destroyed in the name of progress. I feel the same way about this book. Leo Politi is in a lot of ways the perfect Angelino. He was Italian, but published his work in English and Spanish. He wrote lots of LA history for children in wonderfully accessible ways. This book is his love letter to another legendary place destroyed by progress. Fueled by nostalgia it is a heady drink, and all I could do was hum the song "Bunker Hill" and dream of a downtown crowned by Victorian Painted Ladies while I read. "Try, but you can't hide. Impossible. You're lit from the inside."

  2. 4 out of 5

    Robert Vincent

    This is another good picture book with just enough narrative that celebrates “reminiscences of bygone days” of Bunker Hill. Artist author Leo Politi gives a concise history of the old neighborhood and its residents. His color illustrations are somewhat styled like Vincent van Gogh might have done if he were re-planted in 1900 in Los Angeles. Politi’s book was published in 1965 and as stated on the jacket back cover the glory of Bunker Hill had all but faded as the old structures were being torn This is another good picture book with just enough narrative that celebrates “reminiscences of bygone days” of Bunker Hill. Artist author Leo Politi gives a concise history of the old neighborhood and its residents. His color illustrations are somewhat styled like Vincent van Gogh might have done if he were re-planted in 1900 in Los Angeles. Politi’s book was published in 1965 and as stated on the jacket back cover the glory of Bunker Hill had all but faded as the old structures were being torn down. In fact, even back in the 1930’s the move to take down Bunker Hill had been evident. So Politi’s statement about doing this work in the conclusion tells of sad circumstances he could not avoid: “At first, I did this because I wanted to preserve memories of the Hill I truly loved, and I did the sketching only for my personal use and pleasure. Later, friends encouraged me to collect my impressions into a book, with the thought that such a publication might be of interest to others… …In ending I would like to say that what little value this work may have, it has been a work of love and also of protest.” That protest would be against the tearing down of the historic neighborhood structure by structure. If Leo Politi were to be alive today, he would have seen the complete removal of the neighborhood he lived in and loved. Nevertheless, his work is a wonderful remembrance and gives living documentation of the beauty and glory of the once iconic Bunker Hill. The illustrations are outstanding and the author’s descriptions of his own work takes the reader back to the so called “gay nineties” and “turn or the century” Los Angeles of charm, stately houses and interesting people. Politi gives an interesting account of Dr. Lorenzo Zahn whose home was built by his parents in 1874. The address of his home was 427 South Hope Street on Bunker Hill. Dr. Zahn had established a pigeon messenger service. He sent pigeons to Catalina Island and in turn they would fly back with their info to Dr. Zahn’s home. That was quite unique a method of communication, but alas Marconi ruined the business… Once again, I find in reading books, I am led to check out other books and personalities. Politi references the work of Sarah Bixby Smith, “Adobe Days” which is now on my “to read” list. Then he gives credit to fellow painter, Marcel Cavalla and I have checked out his work as well.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Mhd

    Beautiful artwork with personal stories and remembrances by many of Politi's neighbors. A major Los Angeles story! Beautiful artwork with personal stories and remembrances by many of Politi's neighbors. A major Los Angeles story!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Mark

    Leo Politi's Bunker Hill Los Angeles: Reminiscences of Bygone Days was published in 1964 as a protest to the wholesale destruction of an old neighborhood on top of Bunker Hill. The City of Los Angeles condemned the entire hill top as "urban blight" and all of the large Victorian and Queen Ann mansions that once graced Bunker Hill were bulldozed. Even the old streets were torn out. Leo Politi, a famous children's book author and illustrator, had lived in the Bunker Hill neighborhood 30 years Leo Politi's Bunker Hill Los Angeles: Reminiscences of Bygone Days was published in 1964 as a protest to the wholesale destruction of an old neighborhood on top of Bunker Hill. The City of Los Angeles condemned the entire hill top as "urban blight" and all of the large Victorian and Queen Ann mansions that once graced Bunker Hill were bulldozed. Even the old streets were torn out. Leo Politi, a famous children's book author and illustrator, had lived in the Bunker Hill neighborhood 30 years when the decision was made to raze all of the old houses built in the 1880s and 1890s. Before they were all gone, Mr. Politi, compiled a book of illustrations and brief histories of some of the more notable homes on Bunker Hill like the Bradbury Mansion or "The Castle". It is not a long book, and it is mostly illustrations of these phantom houses, but one does sense the loss of a real community of neighbors. Bunker Hill is now crowned with glass and steel skyscrapers of the Financial District. However, now when I walk around the California Plaza or the Disney Concert Hall, I try to imagine those long gone Victorian "Grand Dames". The City of Los Angeles did preserve a handful of homes similar to those bulldozed on Bunker Hill in a small park called "Heritage Square" that is right off the 110 Pasadena Freeway. The Hale House in Heritage Square is the best example of Victorian architecture in the park. See below link: Heritage Square

  5. 4 out of 5

    Viktor

    A thoroughly enjoyable book of the artists drawings of a time all not that long ago at the time. De-LISH!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    Excellent illustrations and narratives to help create an image of what Los Angeles' Bunker Hill was like in its early days. Excellent illustrations and narratives to help create an image of what Los Angeles' Bunker Hill was like in its early days.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jill Mcpartland

  8. 4 out of 5

    Ariel Hudgins

  9. 5 out of 5

    David E.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jan

  11. 5 out of 5

    Michael

  12. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl Klein

  13. 5 out of 5

    Osiris Oliphant

  14. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth Rubens

  15. 4 out of 5

    Sean

  16. 4 out of 5

    Artist-Librarian Hybrid

  17. 5 out of 5

    Polly Nelson

  18. 4 out of 5

    Chang Ohana

  19. 5 out of 5

    Igrowastreesgrow

  20. 4 out of 5

    Joe

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jenna

  22. 5 out of 5

    Alba Innovation

  23. 4 out of 5

    Andrew Scordato

  24. 5 out of 5

    Christine

  25. 5 out of 5

    Gaston Eubanks

  26. 4 out of 5

    Tiffany Schirmer

  27. 4 out of 5

    Reco Sanders

  28. 5 out of 5

    Suzanne

  29. 5 out of 5

    Keith

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