Riverfront Park in Maywood lies on the west side of the Los Angeles River about two miles southeast of downtown Los Angeles. It’s a relatively new park… 2006… in the rapidly changing landscape of metropolitan Los Angeles.
Come along on this journey about Riverfront Park, a Xootr, and a bit of history
Across the river is the city of Bell, a commercial zone, with factories, fenced parking lots for semi trucks, with stores at a jumbo shopping center called the Citadel, plus a BNSF (Burlington Northern and Santa Fe) freight railroad hub. And Bandini Boulevard.
It’s all in the neighborhood of a forgotten landmark of Los Angeles history, Sleepy Lagoon
This was a reservoir in a gravel pit where the 38th Street Gang used to party and swim. These Mexican gang kids used Sleepy Lagoon because they were banned from the segregated municipal swimming pools.
August 1, 1942 there was a dust-up with a competing gang, from which one member, José Díaz, was found dead the next morning.
Hundreds of Mexicans were rounded up by the LAPD
Twenty-two of the Mexicans were charged in the Sleepy Lagoon Murder trial that started October 13, 1941, in a courtroom in the old Lincoln Heights Jail Building at 421 North Avenue 19, just south of Frogtown on the Los Angeles River.
And it all contributed to the infamous Zoot Suit Riots June 3 – 8, 1943, stirred up by societal anger about the Sleepy Lagoon murder, and resentment about the way Mexican gang guys in their zoot suits were wasteful of clothing material during times of WWII rationing.
So much for history… I rode my Xootr scooter today from Riverfront Park down to Imperial Boulevard, and back, on the Los Angeles River Bicycle trail. 8.2 miles in all. You’d never be able to identify a location for the nearby Sleepy Lagoon today, it’s all paved over, cemented in, fenced off.
Today, on the trail, what hit me was the large number of homeless people living in tents either right on the trail or next to it
I spoke with one of them: a guy trained as a chef in Oregon, in recurring trouble with the law, and wearing one of those probation GPS locator devices on one ankle. He was talkative and congenial with me, telling me his law issues stemmed from physical fights he’d had on several occasions in the past. Not drugs, he said. Nor robbery. Who knows what the truth is?
It felt good to make it to the Imperial Highway Bridge, and get a look upstream to where Rio Hondo in its starkly cemented channel joins with the similarly tamed Los Angeles River.
I felt a heightened sense of connection, with my new homeless buddy, with Los Angeles history, and with the dynamically changing tapestry of LA.
Thank you for joining us
We would like to thank you for joining us, and reading this post. Let us know if you enjoyed this post in the comments section below.
Check these other great featured posts by Jonathan Kelley:
- Scooting For Exercise, Use It or Lose It!
- Senior Scooter Ride, Judgement Error
- Compulsive Seniors On Scooters by Jonathan Kelley
- Seniors… Get Hip to Kick Scooters
- Scooter Rides Along Two Rivers In California
- Xootr Scooter Ride From Grant Rea Park
- Xootr Scooter Ride From Treasure Island Park
- Scooters, Mr Kelley, And The Spiral Garden
- The Los Angeles River Bicycle Path
- Tackling Riverside Drive With A Xootr Scooter
Don’t forget to check out Jonathan’s website at JonathanKelley.net.