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Fort Moore Waterfall Restoration Planned, but Still Years Away

By David Markland
Published: Wednesday, January 12, 2011, at 12:37PM
Fort Moore Memorial David Markland

The wall to the right of this relief was part of an 80-foot-wide waterfall until it was shut off during a 1977 drought.

The Fort Moore Pioneer Memorial was dedicated on July 3rd, 1957, to commemorate the site of a Mexican-American War adobe fort. Located on Hill Street just north of the 101 Freeway, the memorial features the nation’s largest bas-relief military monument. It also featured an 80-foot-wide waterfall, at least until the tap was shut off in a 1977 drought.

"The sound of the waterfall could be heard from blocks away and the splashing water could be felt if you were standing on the sidewalk in front of it," wrote Liza Hernandez in the comments on a previous blogdowntown story mentioning Fort Moore. "And the best thing was that from a several blocks away, southeast of the waterfall, it looked as though the the Hollywood Freeway ran right under this big waterfall, a great optical illusion."

Now, over 33 years later, a plan appears to be in place to get the water running again.

According to Monica Valencia, a spokesman for Councilman Ed Reyes office, $50,000 in Prop K funds will be used for a 2013 environmental study to "assess the structural integrity of the current structure, while identifying how a project would meet Prop K guidelines." An additional $450,000 in Prop K funds allocated for the project will be used for the restoration itself.

Since the Fort Moore park property is currently owned by the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), a Joint Use Agreement between the City and LAUSD must also be worked out. That would determine issues such as maintenance responsibilities and access.

Once the environmental report is finished and the LAUSD partnership determined, Ejike Mbaruguru with the City's Bureau of Engineering believes the restoration should take no more than a year.

Whether any of this comes to pass in 2013 remains to be seen. blogdowntown was unable to find anyone with the city or LAUSD who appeared to be championing the project.

Los Angeles Magazine associate editor and preservationist Chris Nichols said that the last time he checked with the city on when the waterfall would be restored, he was told, “not in our lifetime.”

Still, there do appear to be people who are ready to rise to the occasion. Asked about the project, Regina O’Brien, the Los Angeles Conservancy’s Modern Committee chair, said that she’ll be putting the Fort Moore Memorial waterfall restoration on the agenda. “We would love to take this project up,” she said, “and ‘take it under our wing’ as it were.”

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