Monday November 21, 2022

The New York Times

Today we’ll start with a short history lesson about one of Los Angeles’s most vital (and most forgotten) landmarks: the Los Angeles River.

For centuries, the river, which begins in the San Fernando Valley and ends in the ocean in Long Beach, sustained small communities of Native peoples. In the 1800s it nurtured hundreds of vineyards and orange groves, and exporting the harvests helped expand the Southland’s reputation around the globe. The city of Los Angeles ultimately formed around the river, as opposed to along the coast, because it was the region’s source of fresh water.

But the river flooded frequently. And as Los Angeles grew, development encroached on the river’s banks, leaving less open land to absorb the overflow. That came with disastrous consequences: During a heavy rainstorm in February 1938, the Los Angeles River burst its banks and ultimately killed 87 people.

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