Urban Fold

Rebuilding the Long Forgotten Treasures of L.A.'s Golden Era

A $1.1 billion renovation of the Disney California Adventure theme park in Anaheim is oriented around the recreation of Los Angeles landmarks of the 1920s and 30s, when the head mouseketeer himself began building his empire.

Nathan Masters reports on the process by which Disney "Imagineers" sought to choose and reconstruct the extant and demolished landmarks of 1920s and 30s Los Angeles including, Pan-Pacific Auditorium, the Carthay Circle Theater, Pacific Electric's red cars, and the Glendale-Hyperion Bridge.

According to Masters, the project started with extensive research into archival photos and videos from libraries and private collections. "Ultimately, the Imagineers were trying to create an idealized representation of prewar Los Angeles, not an exact replica."

With fantastic historic photos, Masters takes us through a catalog of the historic touchstones one will find embedded in the theme park's layout when it reopens sometime in 2012.

"Although these replicas may be simulacra, removed from the original structures' urban context and repurposed as an entertainment experience, their reappearance at a theme park speaks to the enduring attraction of Southern California history," writes Masters.

Full Story: How Disney Imagineers Recreated '20s and '30s L.A. in 21st-Century Anaheim


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