The Bowtie Project

View of the Bowtie, 2019.
Photo: Gina Clyne
South of Fletcher: Stories from the Bowtie, Fonografia Collective, 2018
Photo: Bear Guerra
Aerial photo of Taylor Yard
Photo: Gina Clyne
South of Fletcher: Stories from the Bowtie, Fonografia Collective, 2018
Photo: Bear Guerra
View from the Bowtie, 2019.
Photo: Gina Clyne

The Bowtie, or G-1, is an approximately 18-acre parcel located at the northernmost end of the former Taylor Yards, a Southern Pacific Railroad train yard and maintenance facility. The railroad closed the facility in 1985. All structures on the site were razed shortly after, although some concrete foundational relics remain and have been deemed historically significant. G-1 was purchased by California State Parks in 2003 to be developed as a public park and greenway. It remained dormant in terms of public programming for a decade.

The new name for the Bowtie comes from its shape. The parcel is largely covered in asphalt. The site is located along the 11-mile Glendale Narrows stretch of the Los Angeles River, which connects Los Feliz Boulevard with Figueroa Street. The Glendale Narrows portion of the river is “soft-bottom,” meaning that it features a naturalized rather than a concrete bed.

Below we’ve gathered more information and testimony on the history of the site.

South of Fletcher: Stories from the Bowtie

In 2018, Clockshop partnered with Fonografía Collective to produce South of Fletcher: Stories from the Bowtie, an exhibition and podcast series that explored the past, present, and future of the Bowtie. To learn more about the history of the Bowtie, listen to the whole podcast series.

Podcast Episodes

Intro

South of Fletcher:
Stories from the Bowtie

August 8, 2018

2 minutes

In the introduction to the series, follow along as we explore the rhythms of this unique site on the brink of major change.

The Bowtie’s History

This timeline is adapted from Noemi Despland-Lichtert’s “Parcel G” research presentation. Additional information was provided by California State Parks.

PRE-1700s: Tongva Indians occupy the region for centuries.

1769: Portola Expedition records first written words about Los Angeles, including the Los Angeles River.

1771: San Gabriel Mission is completed.

1781: El Pueblo de Los Angeles established. Settlers build a willow pole dam across the Los Angeles River.

1784: 36,000-acre land grant made to Jose Maria Verdugo, includes area that becomes Taylor Yard.

1835: Secularization of missions brings first great land rush to split lands into individual rancho grants.

1847: The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo is signed and the Mexican-American War ends. California is ceded over to the United States and S. C. Foster is appointed mayor of Los Angeles.

1870s: Residential development spreads out from downtown Los Angeles due to expansion of railroads and Silver Lake Dam.

1876: Southern Pacific Railroad line is completed.

1877: Taylor family settles on east bank of Los Angeles River and begins selling farming surplus.

1881: Land where Taylor Yard is located is subdivided and used for agriculture and housing. Taylor family opens general store and milling company at Taylor Yard.

1908: Company and land become known as “Taylor Yard.”

1913: Water from the Owens River is diverted to Los Angeles.

1920s: Taylor Yard undergoes major development, including the South Turntable and machine shops.

1925: Taylor Yard becomes a major rail yard facility.

1938: Los Angeles River floods during a four-day storm. In response, Los Angeles River is channelized in concrete, resulting in fixed course.

1949: Taylor Yard diesel shops built along river to service Southern Pacific’s growing fleet of diesel powered engines.

1960: Southern Pacific Railroad reroutes trains to the Cajon Pass instead of through Los Angeles.

1985: Taylor Yard closes its long-standing purpose as a freight switching facility.

1992: Parcel B developed as Metrolink maintenance facility. Intensive public outreach about the future of Taylor Yard is conducted. The first Taylor Yard Area Planning and Urban Design Workshop is held.

1992-93: Several studies are completed such as: Multi-Use Study on the Los Angeles River at Taylor Yard prepared for the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works; Taylor Yard Development Study prepared for the Los Angeles County MTA; and the Taylor Yard Planning and Urban Design Workshop prepared by the American Institute of Architects.

1997: Over half of the rail is vacated, resulting in development of the FedEx facility on Parcel E.

1998: Legacy Partners proposes a 49-acre business park at the northern end of Taylor Yard. No master plan was ever implemented, and the property was sold piecemeal. River Through Downtown Conference produces a mixed-use plan for the site.

2000: Parcel D is proposed for warehouse development. Community opposed development and ‘Coalition for a State Park at Taylor Yard’ is formed, led by The River Project. Proposition 12, the Statewide Park Bond bill, is passed. Governor Gray Davis approves $45 million to acquire Taylor Yard as a state park.

2001: State acquires Parcel D for State Park development.

2002: The California Coastal Conservancy completes a feasibility study on the opportunities and potential uses at Taylor Yard’s Parcel G-2.

2003: State acquires an additional 18 acres at Parcel G-1.

2014: California State Parks and Clockshop partner to activate Parcel G-1 with art and cultural programming and name it The Bowtie Project.

2019: Governor Gavin Newsom approves California state budget that includes $500K for an initial design proposal for the new State Park at Parcel G-1.