Bunker Hill Park

Saturday, September 10, 2005

An ongoing conversation on geography with Brady Westwater, President of Downtown Los Angeles Neighborhood Council: (I have added picture links to help clarify)


Actually - The park isn't really on Bunker Hill, you know.

My reply:

Tell me more, I am aware that the part of the hill which is now called the 101 freeway was called 'fort hill' or 'fort moore hill' and that the little piece of the hill where the high school originally sat and was later removed for the courthouse, now the criminal courts building (which, oddly, sits in a pit), was called Poundcake Hill. I thought Bunker Hill was all the hills south of Temple, which ended about where the library is. A crescent shape, which is still there but much flattened, the other end of which would have been Court Flight at Broadway opposite City Hall and the beautiful but now extinct Hall of Records, in between.

Are there other names? or configurations? I still think Bunker Hill Park is an appropriate name. Better than Civic Park for sure. Bunker Hill Avenue was between Grand and Flower and ran all the way from Fifth to where there is still a small piece above China Town. Right through the Music Center Plaza which is the West end of the park, which approximates the old path of Court Street down to Broadway and then Spring. 'Bunker Hill Park' memorializes the hills it replaces. There was a park high above First and Hill, or at least vacant land. I have seen a great picture on the web looking down from there to the Times building down below.

Brady replies:

As for Bunker vs. Poundcake - lots of contradictory stuff out there, but a couple of points are agreed upon. Temple was laid out in the notch between Fort(Moore) Hill and Poundcake Hill, making all of Poundcake south of Temple.

The old Courthouse and old Episcopal Church were on the South side of Temple and were at the bottom of Poundcake. They are where the criminal courts building is now at Temple and Spring, which was the northern edge of Poundcake.

Old photos show Poundcake extending far, way far to the east of Bunker Hill - where the mid to upper civic center is now.

Second Street seems always to have been considered to be on Bunker Hill.

The Bunker Hill re-development project's North end is First Street, though some contemporary - but no old ones that I know of - show it going to the Freeway.

The Mott tract map of 1868 predates the Bunker Hill residential development, but it includes All of Poundcake and misses part of the heart of Bunker Hill housing area - making it not a reliable point of reference.

Of the homes referred to as being on Bunker Hill over the years, I do not recall any of them being North of Second Street, though that is my recall.

I have found no dividing line between Bunker Hill and Poundcake Hill ever mentioned.

end brady's reply

we will explore this more. The underlying issue is what to call the park. What do you think?


  • This will be our Central Park, Millenium Park, Hyde Park, Union Square, La Rambla (=Promenade), Champs-Elysees (=Elysian Fields), St. Peter's Square, Washington Mall, Red Square, etc. The names of these places fall into two categories: straightforward descriptive, or honoring a great historical person or event. I favor a straightforward name, since in this day and age, it's difficult for us to agree on a person to honor.

    My submission: Grand Square Park. Then the associated mixed-use project can be named Grand Square.

    Simple and declarative, easy for everybody to understand, tourists and locals alike. Is it too "standard"? I don't know. But I like it a lot.

    Despite the project's lack of "squareness", I like "Square" because it has lots of good connotations, it suggests a town center, an urban gathering place for lots of people. And if "Square" sounds too hokey or small-towny, "Grand" certainly mitigates that view. "Grand Square Park", to me, is the next best thing to "Central Park" (which is already taken!!!).

    To me, naming the park "Bunker Hill Park" after the hill is a nice nod to the past, but to me sounds way to "local interest". This is a park for the entire city, the region, the worlds, IMO, not just for Downtown history buffs. That's just my humble opinion.

    By Anonymous Joel C, at Sat Sep 10, 08:13:00 PM 2005  

  • The name of the blog is really meant to be descriptive and not to dictate a name for the park. The blog about the park up on Bunker Hill.

    I have a streak in me that would not let me use their name, Grand Avenue whatever. Not that I don't think it is appropriate I just want to allow for other choices.

    I do think Bunker Hill Park is descriptive of the park, too. Everyone would understand which park it was. It has a more down home flavor that I like. Like it is a holdover from more innocent days. But it might be time for Los Angeles to drop the names it picked up from cities back east. Grand Square Park does that and it has, to me, a pleasing ambiguity.

    Thanks for posting

    By Blogger Tim, at Sun Sep 11, 03:15:00 AM 2005  

  • Then just called it Pueblo Park or People Park or better yet Angels or Angelino Park something simple non-geographical and unpretentious in its name.

    By Blogger PracticalVisionary, at Wed Sep 28, 12:41:00 PM 2005  

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