Display on LA train history extends to Redlands – San Bernardino Sun

Southern California’s old Red Car and Yellow Car system of trolleys is part of a display at L.A.’s Union Station titled “Riding LA: The History of Passenger Travel.” I happened upon it during a recent visit.

Yellow Cars plied the city proper, while the Red Cars extended into the hinterlands, “stretching from San Bernardino to Santa Monica,” as one display card informs us, in the early 1900s. At its height, the system included Riverside and Redlands too before our lines were cut in the early 1940s as the Red Car system withered.

Why? Display text blames the decline on two causes: “lack of ridership with the rise of automobiles and buses” and “a hidden conspiracy to dismantle streetcar systems across the country (for more reference watch ‘Who Framed Roger Rabbit’).”

Ha ha! I didn’t expect to see the 1988 comedy treated as if it were a documentary. The Los Angeles Railroad Heritage Foundation assembled the display, and with a sense of humor.

Foundation volunteers may be cheered that someone took notice — and that I did so after arriving at Union Station via Metrolink.

More rail

Sad to say, the Inland Empire’s rail options aren’t as good now as they were before World War II, and getting L.A.’s modern-day trolley as far as Montclair is requiring a full-bore lobbying push. Still, Metrolink’s commuter rail system operates out to San Bernardino and Riverside, and later this year, service will be extended to Redlands — some 80 years after the Red Cars left.

YWCA (cont’d)

My Jan. 30 column on the Riverside YWCA and architect Julia Morgan, the famed designer of Hearst Castle and the first licensed female architect in California, generated comment. It’s hardly a secret that what is now home to the Riverside Art Museum was the work of Morgan, and yet that fact was less known than it ought to be.

Elizabeth Adame, thanking me for the backstory, said: “Now that I know the architect was a woman, the building has an even greater meaning for me!”

She continued: “I remember taking my first swimming lessons in the indoor pool in the early ’60s when the building was still the YWCA, and many, many art classes there after it became the art museum. I even had one of my pieces in the members’ show in 2018. Such a gem in downtown Riverside.”

Bob Burke said my column brought back memories of going there as a boy to swim in the pool during summertime, when it was co-ed. He added of the 1927 building: “I didn’t realize it was that old, let alone how prestigious.”

All hail the Y.

Straight talk

Pasadena is doing a community read of Riversider Susan Straight’s “In the Country of Women,” but so is Redlands, reader Theresa Dale alerts me.

Sponsored by the A.K. Smiley Public Library, events culminate with an appearance by Straight, who’ll talk and sign books — yep, in person, not by Zoom — at 6:30 p.m. March 24 at the Contemporary Club, 173 S. Eureka St.

Copies of “Women” will be available for purchase courtesy of the Frugal Frigate bookstore. (Librarians might frown on your getting books borrowed from the library inscribed to you.)

Reading (cont’d)

Some of us keep lists of books we’ve read — guilty as charged — and some don’t. Chris Coon of Arcadia is among the latter. “I was told by my fifth-grade teacher it’s not the number but what you get from them,” Coon says. “I don’t keep track of how many but when asked I might respond ‘How many are there?’”

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