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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Los Angeles in Los Angeles County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)
 

Angelís Flight

 
 
Angel's Flight Marker image. Click for full size.
By Sandra Hughes, June 1, 2010
1. Angel's Flight Marker
Inscription. Built in 1901 by Colonel J. W. Eddy, lawyer, engineer, and friend of President Lincoln, Angel's Flight is said to be the world's shortest incorporated railway. The counterbalanced cars, controlled by cables, travel a 33 percent grade for 315 feet. It is estimated that Angel's Flight has carried more passengers per mile than any other railway in the world, over a hundred million in its first fifty years. This incline railway is a public utility operating under a franchise granted by the city of Los Angeles.

[ Information on Kiosk at Bottom of the Flight ]
A Penny to “Heaven”
Less than six months after work began, Eddyís railway opened at Third and Hill Streets, one penny each way. For those who preferred to hoof it, or couldnít afford the fare, Eddy built 207 steps on the north side so that no one could claim he had a profit-making monopoly on the ascent.

An observation tower was built at the upper end, the Olive Street terminal, and became known as “Angelís Rest.” This rickety 100-foot tall tower afforded a panoramic view of the burgeoning city. But after a decade, the rotting timbers used in building the Third Street tunnel below made the ground start to sink. (Although the tower was reinforced, it soon became too dangerous to climb, and by 1938, it
Angel's Flight Marker image. Click for full size.
By Sandra Hughes, June 1, 2010
2. Angel's Flight Marker
was taken down).
P.B.O.E.
In 1909 the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks Lodge No. “99” built its headquarters atop Bunker Hill, just in time to host the Elkís national convention. To help lead the way to the new digs, the Elks paid for a red beaux-arts arch and colonnade over the “Angels Flight” Hill Street entrance. The initials “B.P.O.E.” were carved into the archway to direct visiting lodge members to the hilltop convention.
Flight of the Angels
As the trombones played on New Yearís Eve in 1901, two wingless angels took flight, screeching their way to fame as the stars of the worldís “shortest railway.” “Olivet” and “Sanai,” two black-trimmed, cream-colored wooden cars named for two hills in the Holy Land, chugged at a stately pace, journeying 325 feet on a 33% grade. The tiny two-car incline named “Angels Flight” was open for business, and its business was hauling the wealthy residents of the fashionable Victorian hilltop neighborhood down to the flatlands and back up again, 400 times a day, 18 hours out of every 24, seven days a week.
Ups and Downs
Renovated in 1913, the system continued its ups and downs, catering to society matrons who descended with butlers in tow to carry their heavy
Angel's Flight Rail Car image. Click for full size.
By Sandra Hughes, June 1, 2010
3. Angel's Flight Rail Car
packages from Grand Central Market, which had opened in 1917 as the neighborhoodís only full-service grocer.
Civil War Hero
Its creator, Col. James Ward Eddy, was a Civil War hero and a friend of Abraham Lincolnís, a former schoolteacher, a lawyer, an Illinois state senator, and an engineer. Weary of politics, he had pulled up stakes and headed west. He found Bunker Hill and its mansions to be an island of privilege isolated from the shops and commerce below. He conceived the plan of linking the hilltop paradise with the street by means of a counterbalanced funicular.
A Few Years andÖand Three Decades Later
In 1935, when the city planned to widen Hill Street and replace Angels Flight with a nondescript municipal elevator, Angelenos protested. The city backed down for more than 30 years, until 1969, when the colorful cars, (by then repainted in Halloween orange and black) were dismantled, along with the tracks they ran on. The hilltop terminal stood in the way of urban renovation and the crop of skyscrapers that would sprout atop Bunker Hill.

City officials swore that Angels Flight would be back in “a few years.” But a few years became three decades – a long time to wait for the next lift to come along. Encumbered by bureaucratic delays, official excuses, red tape, real estate squabbles and
Angel's Flight Rail Car image. Click for full size.
By Sandra Hughes, June 1, 2010
4. Angel's Flight Rail Car
money woes, Angels Flightís uphill battle to restoration finally ended in 1996, when the Community Redevelopment Agency got the cars rolling again.

The tracks were relocated a half-block south of the original path, and – a city eager to hold on to its past and revive its urban life - Angels Flight and its soaring course have become the most visible and beloved form of public transportation in the City of Angels.
 
Erected 1952 by Beverly Hills Parlor #289, Native Daughters of the Golden West.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Native Sons/Daughters of the Golden West marker series.
 
Location. 34° 3.095′ N, 118° 15.033′ W. Marker is in Los Angeles, California, in Los Angeles County. Marker is on South Olive Street north of West 4th Street. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 351 South Hill Street, Los Angeles CA 90013, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Bradbury Building (approx. 0.2 miles away); Spring Street (approx. 0.2 miles away); Oviatt Building (approx. 0.4 miles away); St. Vincent's Place (approx. half a mile away); Bella Union Hotel Site
Angel's Flight Depot image. Click for full size.
By Sandra Hughes, June 1, 2010
5. Angel's Flight Depot
(approx. 0.6 miles away); Fort Moore (approx. 0.6 miles away); Merced Theatre (approx. 0.7 miles away); Pico House (approx. 0.7 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Los Angeles.
 
Regarding Angelís Flight. Angel's Flight is a landmark railway that has two funicular cars, Sinai and Olivet, in the Bunker Hill district of Los Angeles.

The marker is located at the top of the flight on the right side of the ticket station. Cost is still 25 cents to ride one way and 25 cents back down.
 
Related marker. Click here for another marker that is related to this marker. It is of another incline railway in Pittsburgh.
 
Also see . . .  Angel's Flight. The history of Angel's Flight by The University of Southern California-Regional History Collection. (Submitted on July 6, 2010.) 
 
Categories. 20th CenturyRailroads & Streetcars
 
Angel's Flight Kiosk at Foot of Train to the Left Facing Hill Street image. Click for full size.
By Sandra Hughes, June 1, 2010
6. Angel's Flight Kiosk at Foot of Train to the Left Facing Hill Street
A Penny to "Heaven" & B.P.O.E image. Click for full size.
By Sandra Hughes, June 1, 2010
7. A Penny to "Heaven" & B.P.O.E
Flight of the Angels image. Click for full size.
By Sandra Hughes, June 1, 2010
8. Flight of the Angels
Ups and Downs image. Click for full size.
By Sandra Hughes, June 1, 2010
9. Ups and Downs
Civil War Hero & A Few Years ...and Three Decades Later image. Click for full size.
By Sandra Hughes, June 1, 2010
10. Civil War Hero & A Few Years ...and Three Decades Later
Civil War Hero & A Few Years ...and Three Decades Later -continued image. Click for full size.
By Sandra Hughes, June 1, 2010
11. Civil War Hero & A Few Years ...and Three Decades Later -continued
My Grandfather's Post Card of Angel's Flight from the early 1920's image. Click for full size.
Sandra Hughes Collection
12. My Grandfather's Post Card of Angel's Flight from the early 1920's
Angel's Flight Donors Partial List image. Click for full size.
By Sandra Hughes, June 1, 2010
13. Angel's Flight Donors Partial List
Angels Flight
Railway
"Shortest Railway in the World"
Since 1901
Contributors of Angel's Flight Restoration image. Click for full size.
By Sandra Hughes, June 1, 2010
14. Contributors of Angel's Flight Restoration
3rd and Hill prior to Angels Flight image. Click for full size.
By Sandra Hughes, June 1, 2010
15. 3rd and Hill prior to Angels Flight
Angelís Flight Marker image. Click for full size.
By Denise Boose, October 11, 2014
16. Angelís Flight Marker
Angelís Flight Marker image. Click for full size.
By Denise Boose, October 11, 2014
17. Angelís Flight Marker
Angelís Flight Marker image. Click for full size.
By Denise Boose, October 11, 2014
18. Angelís Flight Marker
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on June 30, 2010, by Sandra Hughes of Killen, Usa. This page has been viewed 2,070 times since then and 64 times this year. This page was the Marker of the Week January 2, 2011. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on June 30, 2010, by Sandra Hughes of Killen, Usa.   7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15. submitted on July 2, 2010, by Sandra Hughes of Killen, Usa.   16, 17, 18. submitted on February 7, 2016, by Denise Boose of Tehachapi, California. • Syd Whittle was the editor who published this page.
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