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People & Places

Best Turn-of-the-Century Trip Los Angeles 2010 

Angels Flight

Angels Flight was the title of a low-budget 1965 film noir and a 1999 book by Michael Connelly, but the eponymous funicular has a story of its own. Col. J.W. Eddy, a friend of Abraham Lincoln, built the Los Angeles Incline Railway in 1901, which originally connected Hill and Olive streets. Its two cars, Sinai and Olivet, served early Angelenos who lived in the lavish Victorian mansions on Bunker Hill. After faithfully transporting thousands of people for nearly 70 years, Angels Flight ceased operation in 1969, when the Los Angeles Community Redevelopment Agency began to demolish more than 7,000 low-cost housing units on Bunker Hill. In the meantime, the Cultural Heritage Board (now the Cultural Heritage Commission) designated Angels Flight a cultural monument at its first meeting in 1962. In 1996, the railway reopened a half-block south of its original location, but just five years later, an ascending Olivet abruptly switched into reverse and careened into Sinai, killing one person and injuring eight. Following its second closure in 2001, Angels Flight celebrated its re-re-opening last March and, at 25 cents a ride, it continues to serve as a moving landmark in a city with its own share of ups and downs. 351 S. Hill St., dwntwn. (213) 626-1901, angelsflight.com. —Tanja M. Laden

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Slideshows

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