Moving to the Valley

The blogger (Travels West) known only as M2 appreciates the historical context of his new digs in Studio City.

After looking at a lot of typically ugly L.A. dumps, I found the ideal place quite by chance. It’s in Studio City, my favorite ‘hood in the Valley. On the corner of Vineland and Fruitland (don’t start!), the building was built in the 1950s on property that was part of the old Lankershim homestead. In fact, the Lankershim house still stands at the back of the lot, according to the landlord.

Exploring his new hometown he discovered a Valley aviation landmark, the Portal of the Folded Wings:

In an industrial corner of Burbank, near the railroad, down from the National Guard’s 144th Artillery battery HQ*, and in the glide path of Bob Hope (Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena) Airport, the Portal is a shrine to the aviation history of the area and to the pioneering aviators who flew here. I’d ridden by it a few times, but today decided to find out more.Coffey, who was acting as docent this Sunday afternoon, explained that the Portal was once the entranceway to the Valhalla Memorial Park, a cemetery, under whose archways hearses used to pass on their way to their cold passengers’ final resting places. In the early ‘50s it was rededicated as the shrine to aviation it is today.

Coffey, who had been polishing his black Lincoln Town Car when I rode up, greeted me and let me roam through the three little display rooms packed with aviation models, photographs and memorabilia. The P-38 Lightning was prominent among the displays. Coffey also had one embroidered on his cap. I asked him about this. The P-38, he said, was designed and built by Lockheed a few hundred yards from where we were standing.

“I flew a P-38 in the war,” he said.

Continue the story over at Travels West.