My contribution to the Los Angeles Metro Rail System

Before the Metro Gold Line Eastside Extension was opened, I was contacted by Nobuho Nagasawa. She was commissioned to create the artwork for the 1st St and Soto St Metro Gold Line station. She was looking for maps of the area surrounding the 1st / Soto station and found my website on the East Los Angeles Interchange. After searching my collection, I did find two maps that covered that area. The Los Angeles and Alhambra 6′ map sheets from the late 1920’s covered the area she needed with the right resolution. They were then scanned in at high resolution and sent along to her for use. As they were USGS maps, they were within the public domain and easy to transfer.

As I had obtained the maps from a geologist that had marked them up, cleaning them up prior to scanning was essential. I got most of the marks off, but some still remained. It seems they were just enough to “watermark” the maps as indeed from my collection. While not intentional, it did help me identify the maps when I saw them in a video on the opening of the line. In December 2009, I was finally able to see the station in person. The sheer size of the artwork created from these maps was astounding. A portion of a 6′ USGS quad sheet had been transformed into a 30′ x 60′ map going from one side of the station to the other.

The "original" and the artwork. Map sheet being held is the Los Angeles 6' map.
The “original” and the artwork. Map sheet being held is the Los Angeles 6′ map.
Overview of part of the artwork display. Stairs lead to the platform level.
Overview of part of the artwork display. Stairs lead to the platform level.
Western half of the map showing the Los Angeles River and part of downtown.
Western half of the map showing the Los Angeles River and part of downtown.
Central portion of the artwork.
Central portion of the artwork.
Closeup showing some of the marks left on the map. Note the "36" circled in pencil.
Closeup showing some of the marks left on the map. Note the “36” circled in pencil.
Markings for Pliocene Rock (PLIO) and a fault line.
Markings for Pliocene Rock (PLIO) and a fault line.

I wish to thank Nobuho Nagasawa for allowing me the privilege of contributing to the Los Angeles Metro Rail system. It gives me great pleasure to know that something I have in my collection is seeing use in a way I never expected.

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