The Los Angeles River: Its Life, Death, and Possible Rebirth

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JHU Press, Apr 30, 2001 - Architecture - 369 pages

Winner of the J. B. Jackson Prize from the Association of American Geographers

Three centuries ago, the Los Angeles River meandered through marshes and forests of willow and sycamore. Trout spawned in its waters and grizzly bears roamed its shores. The bountiful environment the river helped create supported one of the largest concentrations of Indians in North America. Today, the river is made almost entirely of concrete. Chain-link fence and barbed wire line its course. Shopping carts and trash litter its channel. Little water flows in the river most of the year, and nearly all that does is treated sewage and oily street runoff. On much of its course, the river looks more like a deserted freeway than a river.

The river's contemporary image belies its former character and its importance to the development of Southern California. Los Angeles would not exist were it not for the river, and the river was crucial to its growth. Recognizing its past and future potential, a potent movement has developed to revitalize its course. The Los Angeles River offers the first comprehensive account of a river that helped give birth to one of the world's great cities, significantly shaped its history, and promises to play a key role in its future.


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User Review  - curtis - LibraryThing

If you didn't know there was such a thing as the LA River, this book probably is more information than you really want to know. If you're strange like me, then you might find the history of the river ... Read full review


The River as It Once Was
Sustenance for the Young Pueblo
Draining the River Dry
A Stream That Could Not Be Trusted
Fiftyone Miles of Concrete
Exhuming the River

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About the author (2001)

Blake Gumprecht is an assistant professor of geography at the University of New Hampshire.

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