Watts Happening Ride II

It’s another successful IAAL•MAF ride in the books, this one much different from last year’s there-and-back to the Watts Towers of Simon Rodia. This time I went crazy with the research and we made stops at the childhood home of Nobel Peace Prize winner Ralph Bunche (1121 E. 54th Street); the location of the 1969 shootout between Black Panther Party members and the LAPD (4145 Central Avenue); the Dunbar Hotel, which was the center not only of the black community through the 1950s but also of the extensive jazz era that thrived there (4225 Central Avenue). From there we went a few blocks east to the location of the SLA shootout with the LAPD in 1974 that left six of its members dead (1466 E. 54th Street). Then we hit the road south the rest of the way down Central to 103rd Street and a few blocks east across the tracks to get down to the towers for a tour and a group photo…


…before coming back up Avalon to 42nd and stopping to remember the old Wrigley Baseball field that existed there until it was demolished in 1969. After that it was up to King Taco at Washington and San Pedro before coming on home.

It was an amazing experience — not just to be able to behold the glory of Simon Rodia’s lasting achievement, but to be able to do it with a group of 20-plus cyclists who don’t think twice about about riding into part of town few people think of driving through. Thanks to all who joined in the adventure.

Flickr photoset is here.

Published by


Will Campbell arrived in town via the maternity ward at Good Sam Hospital way back in OneNineSixFour and has never stopped calling Los Angeles home. Presently he lives in Silver Lake with his wife Susan, their cat Rocky, dogs Terra and Hazel, and a red-eared slider turtle named Mater. Blogging since 2001, Will's web endeavors extend back to 1995 with laonstage.com, a comprehensive theater site that was well received but ever-short on capital (or a business model). The pinnacle of his online success (which speaks volumes) arrived in 1997, when much to his surprise, a hobby site he'd built called VisuaL.A. was named "best website" in Los Angeles magazine's annual "Best of L.A." issue. He enjoys experiencing (and writing about) pretty much anything creative, explorational and/or adventurous, loves his ebike, is a better tennis player than he is horr golfer, and a lover of all creatures great and small -- emphasis on "all."