Tonight’s the Night!

The Great Book Launch of 2020 is upon us! Now normally we’d all be somewhere with wine and cheese, but this time you have to consume your own wine and cheese. (But hey, at least you get to be in your jammies.) It’s free! Watch me pontificate on Powerpoint! Ask me questions! Drink all the wine and eat all the cheese without anyone judging you! Tonight at 6:00!

Register for this this event by clicking here.

BHLA in Los Angeles Magazine

Chris Nichols wrote a nice piece about us today in Los Angeles Magazine:

…and we could not be more thrilled. Take a look at it here.

What you’ll notice, too, are the images within the article. They are a representative sampling of shots you’ll find inside the book. Most you’ve never seen before; no-one has. Like this one.

I’d never seen a shot of the demolition of 310 South Grand Avenue either, until I bought this slide from a woman in Maine. (Hi Susan!) Just some of the treasures that lay in wait for you when you pick up your copy of…Bunker Hill, Los Angeles.

The Big Book Launch!

Now, normally, a book launch involves us all getting together, and there’s wine, and cheese, perhaps some dancing; maybe some fisticuffs, as y’all had too much wine; there’s a load of vintage cars parked out front, and uh-oh that guy showed up, and it ends with at least a few people hooking up. But we don’t live in that kind of world anymore, so we’re just going to have to make do.

As such, there shall be in its stead a virtual event. I promise to make it as interesting as I can on my end, showing slides and talking Bunker Hill—your job is to get in your cups and enjoy the show and we’ll all be transported back to a more civilized time.

Next Thursday. Click this link!

Here, Pumpkin Patch Marsak makes use of the book, for it is nothing if not a comfy cat pillow. In fact, massive scientific research went into the production of Bunker Hill, Los Angeles to achieve that specific function. But ah! were that this blog just pictures of cats enjoying their new pillow. We could certainly do that, with grace and alacrity. But we must recognize the book’s supplementary purpose, and attend to that too.

You see, the book is also, it seems, full of all sorts of useful information about Bunker Hill. It’s the story of shifting cultural demographics: as the rich moved there and built grand homes, then moved away, moving west in their march to the sea, they were replaced by the elderly urban poor. The Hill has an architectural history of grand, florid Queen Anne homes and cool Beaux-Arts classicism, and handsome Mission Revival—all of which have been replaced by the museum of modernism we have today. There’s political history, as an underclass battled it out with social engineers, big government, and developers who sought to demolish their neighborhood. Ultimately, it’s a social and cultural history about the lives lived in this complex neighborhood, all of which were displaced off the Hill. All this and more, as revealed through more than 200 rarely-seen images.

This site will tell you more about the book, and keep you updated with news about the many forthcoming (virtual) events. And, because we’re the self-styled Institute for Advanced Bunker Hill Studies, we shall here investigate those bits of Bunker Hill minutiae too arcane to include in the book.

And, Pumpkin Patch having co-authored the book and designed much of the pillow science, demands more cat portraiture.

Greetings, Fellow Hill Enthusiast!

And welcome to the website for the book Bunker Hill, Los Angeles.

Hardback, 176 pages, 200+ images, many in color, many never-before-seen.

As I write this, the book is scheduled to be published in a week and change, on September 22nd.

Just received my advance copy. I won’t be modest; the damn thing’s gorgeous. It is published by Angel City Press, who have this to say about it:

Bunker Hill is the highest point of downtown Los Angeles, both literally and figuratively. Its circle of life has created a continuous saga of change, each chapter rich with captivating characters, structures, and culture. In Bunker Hill Los Angeles: Essence of Sunshine and Noir, historian Nathan Marsak tells the story of the Hill, from the district’s inception in the mid-19th century to its present day. Once home to wealthy Angelenos living in LA’s “first suburb,” then the epicenter of the city’s shifting demographics and the shadow and vice of an urban underbelly, Bunker Hill survived its attempted erasure and burgeoned as a hub of arts, politics, business, and tourism.

As compelling as the story of the destruction of Bunker Hill is—with all the good intentions and bad results endemic to city politics—it was its people who made the Hill at once desirable and undesirable. Marsak commemorates the poets and writers, artists and activists, little guys and big guys, and of course, the many architects who built and rebuilt the community on the Hill—time after historic time. 

Any fan of American architecture will treasure Marsak’s analysis of buildings that have crowned the Hill: the exuberance of Victorian shingle and spindlework, from Mission to Modern, from Queen Anne to Frank Gehry, Bunker Hill has been home to it all, the ever-changing built environment. 

With more than 150 photographs—many in color—as well as maps and vintage ephemera to tell his dramatic visual story, Marsak lures us into Bunker Hill Los Angeles and shares its lost world, then guides us to its new one.

Should you wish to pre-order Bunker Hill, Los Angeles, the definitive disquisition about this most fascinating of subjects, please do so here.