|Photo by Ansel Adams, 1939. La Cienega near Beverly Blvd., Oil well Island in the center of the street. LAPL Photo Archives|
Whenever my Dad would drive us around town, he'd point out different buildings that he thought were interesting. We would sometimes ask, "what was there BEFORE that building was built, Dad?" He'd always yell out, "BEAN FIELDS!" It seems that our end of Los Angeles was filled with bean fields. Really? Green beans? Soy beans? What kind of beans? Do we really eat that many beans? Beans are not glamorous. ORANGES are glamorous and give us an uplifting and sunshine-y view of Los Angeles. We never drove around and heard that different areas around town were orange groves. The oranges were out in the Valley. On the west side, we got beans.
I came across two photos by Ansel Adams on the Los Angeles Public Library Photo Collection of former bean fields, turned into oil fields. It seems that the very busy street of La Cienega Boulevard between Beverly Boulevard and Third Street in what is now known as the Beverly-Grove Area (I still call it West Hollywood), had an oil well right in the middle of the street!
Here's an interesting story about that oil well written by L.A. Times columnist, Steve Harvey in 2010:
An oil well on La Cienega? A bit unusual
the wooden derrick was constructed in 1907, it was in the middle of a
bean field. After the boulevard was extended in 1930, motorists had to
zigzag around the well.
Labels: Architecture, family, Los Angeles, Vintage Photos