Founded in 1769, Los Angeles was a lot different than what it is today.
We don't just mean horse-drawn carriages and demographics, either. The land was not quite the California Dream that it became known for.
The history of Los Angeles is a unique and interesting one. Lots of famous people were born, strange events transpired, and deep secrets kept under wraps. We're here to bring you a little dose of twisted Los Angeles facts to brighten your day.
Without further ado, let's dive into some fun facts about Los Angeles that the tabloids probably never told you about.
Ten Twisted Los Angeles Facts
These facts are in no particular order nor timeline.
1. The LA Coroner's Office Has A Gift Shop
If you stay in some parts of LA long enough, you may find yourself in the Coroner's office. Hopefully, it's in the form of a voluntary visit, not in a bag. Either way, this is a great place to pick up some funky souvenirs.
The gift shop contains lots of tasteful death jokes, props, and creepy jars of unknown contents. Certainly an unexpected place to shop for gag gifts.
2. The Walt Disney Concert Hall Was A Death Ray
Critically-acclaimed architect Frank Gehry blessed the Disney Concert Hall with his designs. It's a mesmerizing piece of work of giant steel pieces and columns. That's not all it was when it was first built, though.
The Concert Hall's initial design was so reflective that it torched nearby buildings, roads, and sidewalks. The surrounding areas could reach temperatures of 140 degrees Fahrenheit. After causing hell and numerous traffic accidents, Disney had to sand down their mirror finish.
Darth Vader probably shed a tear when they built it.
3. Gandhi Rests in the City of Angels
Gandhi's ashes were laid rest at the Lake Shrine Self-Realization Fellowship Temple in LA. If that name sounds pretty convoluted, well, you're not alone. Although it is pretty cool that they chose Los Angeles to memorialize Gandhi, we just don't know why.
Was Gandhi a huge Angels fan? Did he bleed blue and kept it a secret? The world may never know, but you can visit his open temple for free any time you want to ask him.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to meditate on the Ram's Super Bowl prospects.
4. Hef Saved Hollywood
A moment of silence for the father of fun, the Playboy of all playboys, Mr. Hugh Hefner. His legacy will forever be enshrined in elegant nudity, but he was a man of many talents. He was the man in the late 70's when LA needed him.
The Hollywood sign is a global landmark. When it first went up, it wasn't well-maintained and fell into some dark times. It was the object of numerous attacks of graffiti, arson, and vandalism.
The whole sign came down in 1978 and Hugh had to step in to save it. He raised a quarter million dollars to rebuild it. He threw a huge party at the Playboy Mansion and he and the bunnies convinced all the bigwigs to donate.
Thank goodness for booze and the power of the female form.
5. Los Angeles was at War
During WW2, did you know that LA fired shots in defense? Over 1,500 anti-aircraft shells were fired into the air on February 25th, 1942. It was early morning when residents were shaken awake by all the gunfire and explosions.
Who was invading Los Angeles? Well, nobody. It was all a terrible and costly mistake by the military (status quo for WW2, if we're being honest).
Five people paid the price for this trigger-happy event that nobody knows what started it till this day. Some say a weather balloon, others say intentional misinformation sent by enemies.
6. Thomas Edison Birthed Hollywood
Man, Edison invented everything back in the day. In the 1900s, it was Edison who founded the Motion Picture Patents Company. This company was a patent troll of sorts, in that it strangled the ability to create.
Those who could not afford to pay Scrooge for the pleasure of making film had to move out West. We can thank Thomas' greed for the awesome movies we have today. Now you know that Edison deserves an asterisk next to his name in the history books.
7. LA has a Network of Tunnels
Smuggling, hiding, and living under the radar are all great perks of secret tunnels. Los Angeles did all of that and then some, starting in the early 1900s. Eleven miles of tunnels got used for transporting prisoners, cash, drugs, and booze.
The booze was liquid gold during the prohibition era. Many of the big downtown buildings in LA have these secret tunnels connecting them.
8. It's Illegal to Lick Toads in LA
That's right folks, if you come to Los Angeles, you better find another activity. Licking toads may land you in the slammer. Well, the Colorado River Toad, to be exact.
This special toad was made off-limits because of its attractive, potent venom. Yes, people were licking these toads to get a taste of venom. It contains hallucinogenic properties, which is great for losing your mind.
Unfortunately, you may die from this type of overdose, so LA's legal system had to step in. Ruining unpopular fads is kind of an LA thing, sorry toad-lickers.
9. LA Used to Have a Little Italy
Los Angeles, renowned for its diverse blend of cultures. There's China Town, German Town, Korea Town, etc., but there also was an Italy. Little Italy was carved out by Italian immigrants in 1827.
It doesn't exist today for various reasons, one being the limited space itself. Plus, Italian restaurants are everywhere and Americans largely preferring American-Italian food. You can still find remnants of Little Italy today.
Head down to Chinatown and on Olvera Street, you'll see some building leftovers. Who doesn't love Italian leftovers?
10. Los Angeles is an Abbreviation
The original name for LA was the following: "El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles del Río de Porciúncula."
For those mono-lingual folks out there, this means "The Town of Our Lady the Queen of the Angels of the Porciúncula River." It will always be the town of our lady the queen to some of us.
It would get old after the tenth time of having to fill out forms with your address.
The City We All Know and Love
There are many secret Los Angeles facts out there, this was just a sample. Wear your pride of LA everywhere you go with Body Rag tees. These celebrities certainly do.
Don't let anyone tell you that Los Angeles is just a city of boring, famous, rich people. It was founded on weirdness and it lives on it (or under it in tunnels).