If you’ve been in Los Angeles for more than a week or three, you start to notice things, and you may begin to wonder about them. Like why is there a Hollywood sign, and why did it used to say Hollywoodland, as seen in The Rocketeer? Why are LA’s so-called rivers just ugly concrete trenches? What’s with all the palm trees? And why is this place so spread out?
As it happens, the folks at KCET have been answering those questions and many others over at their website, and now they’ve collected the most popular ones into a single post linking a whole lot of interesting articles for your enjoyment.
“That Explains it: Answers to Things You’ve Always Wondered About LA” covers a wide swath of local quirks and oddities, many of which, as it turns out, are due to money and power having its way; for example, the river channelization project of the 1930s and ’40s, which turned prime riverfront property into blighted industrial areas while catastrophically damaging the environment, primarily because private money won out over public space.
At any rate, if you want to know some of the history of this sprawling and often contradictory city, you could easily lose a few hours at the KCET website, following one link to another. Enjoy!