Archive for June 12th, 2008

California falls into the sea: a preview

Thursday, June 12th, 2008

In 1929 a charming “community of bungalows” on the picturesque southern tip of San Pedro began to slide into the sea. Literally.

Sometimes it moved as fast as a foot a day, but nonetheless, the collapse was gradual enough that almost all of the houses were moved in time and nobody was harmed. By 1941 however, the entire area had become so unstable that the city had to fence it off.

Naturally the fence doesn’t stop photographers, urban explorers, shifty teenagers and pretty much everyone else from exploring what is now known as Sunken City. The jagged street that plunges into the ocean across from Catalina Island and the foundations of long-gone houses are irresistible.

“The manhole entrances were all brickwork,” says John Nieto, education director for the Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy.

“There’s all this ancient 80-year-old stuff – you can see the type of construction of the roads and the type of construction of the electric line. It’s almost like an archaeology exhibit.”

It’s like the end of Planet of the Apes, only with normal everyday life instead of a highly recognizable political and cultural icon.

For more groovy pictures of Sunken City, check out this Flickr account and this one.

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