Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The Wednesday Post

Back to California, part 2
in the Valley of the Bears which we find out what's happening these days at the sites of last week's boring postcards!

This is the world's tallest and largest single span suspension bridge.

The Golden Gate Bridge still exists.  It is no longer the world's largest single span suspension bridge, however.  It had been passed by the Verrazano Narrows Bridge in 1964, seven years before this particular card was placed in the mail.  Now it's in twelfth place.  The longest single suspension span since 1998 has been on the Akashi Kaikyo Bridge, which connects two of Japan's big islands, Honshu and Shikoku, via smaller Awaji Island.

The tallest single-span suspension bridge is harder to figure, but at 321 meters high the new Russky Bridge between Vladevostock and a suburban island certainly whups the tar out of the Golden Gate.  Also, although it's not a single span by any means, France's new Millau Viaduct is quite something to look at.

One of the interesting shops in the El Paseo is that of W.T. Genns, Studio 20, dealer in old books.

"The El Paseo" still exists, although the nomenclature is kind of hard to untangle. Usually called the Paseo de la Guerra or the Casa de la Guerra, this cluster of Spanish colonial buildings has been a mall of specialty shops for many decades. If you say "El Paseo" today, you are probably referring to the compound's most famous tenant, a Mexican restaurant at which many movie people and other celebrities have dined and partied over the decades.

W.T. Genns, dealer in old books, no longer exists as far as I can tell.  Indeed, it was tough to find evidence that the shop had ever existed in the first place.  Ol' Genns apparently did a little bit of specialty publishing on the side, though, and we can find evidence of a handful of local history titles like Mission San Luis Obispo in the Valley of the Bears that he produced in the 60s and 70s.

Entrance to Forest Lawn is guarded by the largest set of wrought iron gates in the world.

Forest Lawn Memorial Park still exists. It is one of the most famous cemeteries in the world, having been the target of the best-selling 1960s expose of the funeral industry The American Way of Death and Evelyn Waugh's satiric novel The Loved One. It's also famous as the burial site for many famous entertainers. Those wrought iron gates were seen a lot a few years back during news coverage of the funeral of a popular singer.

Their claim to be the largest set of wrought iron gates in the world is not hotly disputed. The authority for the claim appears to be its assertion on this postcard.

Harmony Grove Road at Questhaven Road, Escondido, Calif.
One of San Diego County's finest family recreation spots.  Camping -- Horseback Riding -- Hayrides -- Boating -- Fishing

The Elfin Forest Vacation Ranch no longer exists.  Founded in the late '50s as "Tooth Acres" -- the developer was a dentist -- the Elfin Forest Vacation Ranch only lasted a couple of decades. A 1979 flood took out the dam on Escondido Creek, and with it went lakeside camping, boating, and fishing. San Diego hiking guides from recent years describe "ruins" or just "an abundance of debris" where the resort used to be.

Here's what the site looks like these days; the old dam would have been roughly where Questhaven Road is today.

Railroad and Highway bridge connecting Needes, California and Topock, Arizona.  The graceful span at the right carries gas from the wells of New Mexico to supply the city of San Francisco.

The leftmost bridge still exists.  It's a railroad bridge, built in 1945.

The center bridge was originally a railroad bridge -- you can see the characteristic gradual curve leading up to it in the postcard -- but it was converted to a highway bridge after the new rail bridge opened in '45.  It no longer exists.  They tore that sucker down in 1978 and replaced it with a wider crossing for Interstate 40.

The I-40 bridge, with the railroad bridge visible behind it.
The arched bridge on the right was originally a road bridge, but when road traffic was moved to the center bridge because railroad traffic was -- hey, wake up!  Anyway, it still exists and has been used for a natural gas pipeline since the 1940s.

There are also two new suspension bridges mixed in with the three that just carry small pipes.  I should be able to figure out what they're carrying, but I can't. 

The old arch bridge, which we know carries natural gas, with the newer and smaller suspended pipelines in front of
and behind it, carrying we do not know what.  More natural gas would probably be a reasonable guess.
Incidentally, the whole business is more south of Needles than east of Needles.  But I never niggle.


Libby said...

Just want to voice my ongoing approbation for the updates on the boring postcards.

Michael5000 said...

Yay, Libby's still around!!