This week's LA Daily is about one of my favorite off-the-radar places:
Did you know that around a century ago there was an exclusive, 70-room resort hotel in the hills above Altadena? How about a casino? A zoo? An observatory? A funicular railway that climbed 1400 feet up the mountain at a 62 percent angle to get visitors there and back?
Well, it's true. All of this and more was part of a massive complex of buildings connected by railways that sprawled out across the San Gabriel Mountains from Rubio Canyon to Mount Lowe from 1893 to around 1938. Fires and windstorms repeatedly damaged or destroyed the various buildings, and they eventually gave up trying to go all Swamp Castle on the place and abandoned it, but you can still take a relatively easy hike up the Sam Merrill trail in Altadena to see the ruins, as well as some sensational views of Los Angeles.
Depending on the feedback I get from this column, I may do some more in the future about other off-the-radar places I love, because who doesn't love discovering new places that have been sitting in plain sight for their whole lives?