Remember Yang — what was it? by Elise Emery, 1973

“Remember Yang-Na. What’s to remember? Who’s heard of Yang-Na?

Certainly not many. But ‘Remember Yang-Na’ is the name of an exhibit opening Monday in the Grand Hall of The Music Center Pavilion. Yang-Na was the first known aboriginal village near the present Los Angeles City Hall. The show is an attempt to depict Los Angeles from pre-colonial times to the present, then project its future to 2001.

One of the most extensive exhibits of its kind undertaken in the area, it includes pertinent materials of many kinds loaned by Los Angeles museums, historical societies, individuals and a host of corporations.

Designer of the show is John Charles Gordon who divided the subject into 10 segments, each representing a significant era in Los Angeles history. These segments he calls islands.

Gordon believes the public will be especially interested by the Yang-Na Indian section for it displays the Southwest Museum’s collection of ancient musical instruments and rare artifacts including mysterious ‘pelican stones’ of an ancient time. These seem to be functional tools, but their exact use isn’t known.

Another display, of more recent time, will be functional scale reproductions of the ‘Big Red Cars’ of the Pacific Electric Railways. The cars will run on tracks and the exhibit will be extended by photographs and maps of the extensive PE system. This display is loaned, in part, by a club composed of five retired business executives called ‘The Toluca Lines Systems.’

‘A third mind-blower,’ says Gordon, ‘probably will be Gernreich’s conception of future dress in Los Angeles. It’s approached from the uni-sex aspect, with men and women in three sets of costumes created for the year 2001. The designs contain way-out caftans, body-suits and tunics. Jerry Decter created the fantastic models especially for this presentation.’

Before the turn of the century, MacArthur Park looked like this in its quiet elegance. This photo, in the ‘Remember Yang-Na’ exhibit, is from the L.A. County Museum of Natural History collection.

Not rapid — but transit was this Los Angeles City Railway streetcar, photographed in 1885. This reminder of early Los Angeles, also from the County Museum of Natural History, is in the Yang-Na’ show at The Music Center Pavilion.

Historic Angel’s Flight, fondly remembered by scores of Southern Californians, ran from Hill Street up Bunker Hill and saved pedestrians many a weary step climbing the incline. This photograph of the lower terminal was taken by Julius Shulman for the Cultural Heritage Board collection.

Saint Joseph’s Catholic Church is one of the major historic sites of Los Angeles, at 12th and Los Angeles streets. Built in 1903, it has ornate interior and Gothic styling. Photo is from the Cultural Heritage Board collection.

This marvelous old Sante Fe train terminal was on Alameda Street in Los Angeles. Photograph is from the collection of the County Museum of Natural History. It is in Music Center exhibit to be seen from Monday through Aug. 26.

‘Remember Yang-Na’ will be open daily through Aug. 26, including Sundays, at no admission charge, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. except on matinee days — Wednesdays and Saturdays — when it will be open from 10 a.m. to noon.”

-Excerpt and images courtesy of, The Independent Press-Telegram (Long Beach, CA,) “Remember Yang-Na — what was it?” by Elise Emery, July 29, 1973

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