The Griffith Park Zoo was originally opened in 1912, amusingly built on the former location of Griffith J. Griffith’s old ostrich farm. It was opened with 15 animals, and due to lack of funding; it opened without any cages, simply stockades to keep the animals in, which were inadequate for several of the species, kept on site.
Stories claim that the history of the zoo was rocky, and it was always struggling. For example, in 1916, the zoo was apparently leaking sewage into the L.A. River, and later during World War I, a meat shortage made it hard to properly care for the animals, forcing the zoo to substitute horse meat for beef, leading to the deaths of many of the meat eating animals, particularly the big cats. Luckily the zoo was free which kept visitors coming.
Continue reading The Los Angeles Zoo: Then and Now
Lost treasure has been the focus of countless books, myths, and movies for as long as we’ve been telling stories. History is full of tales about stashes of treasure left behind by pirates, scoundrels, and thieves, and lucky for us, some of that fortune is still up for grabs. Here are five undiscovered treasures, along with a few other stories of lost treasure in California.
Continue reading Where’s the gold? Here are 5 California lost treasures
A scenic road winding through mountains, pine forests and pastoral valleys, connecting South County and Lake Elsinore, is a crucial link for commuters, and a weekend thrill ride for motorcyclists, and also a dumping ground used by criminals who wait for the cover of night. It is the stuff of mystery novels, a place where people with secrets push them over steep cliffs or bury them under a thick layer of brush.
The 44-mile Ortega Highway is a twisting two-lane stretch that connects Riverside and Orange counties via the Cleveland National Forest — and it has a killer reputation.
Continue reading The mysterious Ortega Highway: A dumping ground for serial killers
Virgil Earp, the town marshal, enlists Wyatt and Morgan Earp, and Doc Holliday. As they walk down Freemont Street on the way to the O.K. Corral, Virgil hands Doc his shotgun in exchange for Doc’s cane. Doc wears a long overcoat and conceals the shotgun underneath it, as not to frighten the townspeople. In the tense moment that followed, Morgan and Doc cock their guns. Suddenly, Billy Claiborne, who stands away from the area, bolts and runs. Ike grapples with Wyatt, who was about to pistol-whip him. The tension explodes and the fight begins.
Continue reading Tombstone: The Town Too Tough To Die
Deep in the heart of Southern York County, Pennsylvania, lies a strange area commonly known as Spring Valley County Park. What’s so scary about a County Park? Nothing really, except the fact that this land encompasses an area famously known as Rehymeyer’s Hollow or Hex Hollow. Rehmeyer’s Hollow, is located in Central Pennsylvania, near the Maryland border. The area was brought to national attention by a murder, that occurred there in 1928. There have been numerous books written about the area, including a 1988 film called “Apprentice to Murder” starring the great Donald Pleasance. I recommend the film, though it’s difficult to find. A new film called, Hex Hollow: Witchcraft and Murder in Pennsylvania was recently released in 2015.
Continue reading Rehmeyer’s Hollow: The York hex slayers
The name Apalachee is derived from the Indian Tribe that was part of the Creek Confederation, though there is no evidence that this tribe had ever settled in this area. The Georgia Legislature incorporated the town of Apalachee in 1907. However, this community has roots that are much older. The area around Apalachee was settled prior to 1820 and is considered to be one of the oldest communities in Morgan County.
Just off one of my favorite roads, Hwy 441, you’ll find the old Apalachee School House. The now ghost town was named for the Apalachee River, that flows nearby. The town used to have a depot and a Post Office. The Post Office was closed in the 1950s. Apalachee is now a rural area north of Madison, Georgia.
Continue reading Abandoned Apalachee
This is a place with a rich and colorful history. I’m talking about one of those truly Southern Places, shaped by Native American, African and European influences. The ruins sit in a complex ecosystem alongside a major river, that once fed a good-sized little town, a successful textile industry, agriculture, the exchanges of commerce and a decidedly unique public citizenry.
Continue reading The abandoned Scull Shoals mill village: Deep in the Oconee Forest