Trout spawned in its waters and grizzly bears roamed its shores. The bountiful environment the river helped create supported one of the largest concentrations of Indians in North America. Today, the river is made almost entirely of concrete. Chain-link fence and barbed wire line its course. Shopping carts and trash litter its channel. Little water flows in the river most of the year, and nearly all that does is treated sewage and oily street runoff. On much of its course, the river looks more like a deserted freeway than a river. The river''s contemporary image belies its former character and its importance to the development of Southern California. Los Angeles would not exist were it not for the river, and the river was crucial to its growth. Recognizing its past and future potential, a potent movement has developed to revitalize its course. The Los Angeles River offers the first comprehensive account of a river that helped give birth to one of the world''s great cities, significantly shaped its history, and promises to play a key role in its future.
This fascinating book is packed with information about the history of Los Angeles. Not many present-day Angelenos would know that the location for the city was chosen because of the once-abundant flow of the Rio de Porciuncula, or Los Angeles River. Blake Gumprecht pulls an amazing feat in researching the River's many incarnations alongside the history of the growth of Los Angeles. In addition to providing detailed reports of the River's former courses, and devastating accounts of some of the River's infamo..
Reading this book was an assignement for a geography course I was taking in college. My first thoughts were "A book on the L.A. River? How can they write an entire book on a river that flows a couple of days per year?" My indifference to the subject was quickly dismissed after the first few pages. This book is very insightful! It gives a detailed history on L.A., from it's foundation as a tiny pueblo to the sprawling metropolis it is today, with the river & water in Southern California being the central the..