Yet Another Air Raid Siren Page


Los Angeles Area


May 23, 2016

Discovered via Google Street View that Siren #40 is gone. According to the picture, the support pole still stands, but the siren itself was removed sometime between May 2011, and July 2014.


April 27, 2016

Thanks to Jason S. for an article about what happened to Siren #202.

http://articles.latimes.com/1994-07-29/local/me-21295_1_fire-station


June 16, 2015

Thanks to Dan C. and Brian F. for alerting me to a picture on Facebook "Vintage Los Angeles" group of Siren 46 on PCH and Sunset!


October 15, 2012

Michael C. Writes:

Hi Dennis,

I'm so glad you maintain this terrific website and that LA Observed brought it much-deserved attention today.

Thanks again for what you do.


October 15, 2012

LA Observed picks up the KCRW story.


October 13, 2012

AJ Writes:

hi dennis,

i love your site! i grew up in benedict canyon/mullholland and used to drive right by hutton and benedict often with my family. i remember (or i think i remember) sitting at that light about to turn onto benedict and there being a siren THERE, on benedict, not on hutton....is it possible that the one on your site (129 i think) was moved? or am i just remembering it wrong??

i don't think i recall them going off but i maybe have a slight memory of it from waaay back (i'm 38 now and lived up there from '79-'87)...possible!

anyways - thanks for the memories! :)

Is is possible that it was relocated. I have stumbled across one instance where this has happened. Someone submitted a picture of Siren 114 in Canoga Park that was moved a few hundred feet. Sadly, it is now gone. Dennis


October 10, 2012

Curbed LA picks up the story KCRW story


October 10, 2012

Mark Tracy writes:

Dear Dennis

I must say I was a kid at Christmas last night listening to Saul Gonzalez' piece on KCRW about your air raid siren research! I thought I was alone in my city wide search for the elusive things! I've enlisted scores of my friends to be my lookouts, and report back to me with any sightings! I can't wait to pore over your extensive map and, yes, id be delighted to share any sightings that might not appear on your map...as unlikely as that may be.

Now I know how those people feel who swear they've seen a UFO! Take care,

Mark


In another note:

Having lived through the Cuban missle crisis of 1962 (its 50th anniversary noted in Saul Gonzales's piece), I can really appreciate the all consuming fear of those days...alleviated somewhat by the notion that we'd all have plenty of time to scamper to a fallout shelter and wait out the nuclear winter!
At any rate, thanks for your meticulous research.

Mark


October 9, 2012

Saul Gonzalez with KCRW does a story on the air raid sirens on Which Way, LA? entitled "Where are LA’s Cold War sirens?"

I have the priveledge of being a part of it!

Siren 116 with Saul Gonzalez (click for larger image)

Here's a link to the story


September 16, 2012

Corrected position of Siren #2 on map


August 12, 2012

Another siren has been removed. Siren 114 at Sherman Way and Deering in Canoga Park has been removed during construction of the Metro Orange Line Sherman Way parking lot.

City-wide total now 75.34%

Thanks to Dan C. for pointing this out.


July 17, 2012

Another missing siren type identified!


Brian F. writes:

I just saw this posted on FB by "Vintage Los Angeles"
Herb Alpert and Jerry Moss
That must the be missing 026 in background…..


June 27, 2012

William W. Writes:

Hello Dennis,

I was pleased to see your site. I was also pleased that you had record of the air raid siren at my elementary school I attended from 1970 to 1977. Windsor Hills Elementary (you have it misspelled on the site) The first Friday of each month at 10:00am we had to have drop drills and that siren would go off . We had to hunker down under the tables. I will never forget as young child the worry felt when we had to do that. But as I got older I realized it was just that, a drill. No attack was imminent. What was a scary sight for me to see during one of those drills was to be outside and watching that horn spin around and to hear the howl of the siren. That left a memorable impression on me forever. Thanks for keeping a record of these. This is an important part of our history.


June 6, 2012

Jeff H. writes:

Hi, thought I'd drop you a line here after the attempt to reach you through the ARS board siren #80 [should be siren #89 ed.] the sd10 that was located at Miramar & Bixel, is now residing in my garage. I picked it up after it was listed for sale on the ARS board.the siren is the only thing I have as I piched the old relay box that went with it.if you have any ?'s email me.....


Sure, if you want to list me Jeff Hughes, Manteca Ca,around Stockton Ca. as the current owner of that sd10 I have no problem with that, I bought it from some building contractor based in Hesperia Ca. I had to drive down from San Jose where I lived at the time to get it. When I arrived at the lot it was laying on the ground still attached to the pole it was mounted on the sheet metal was all bent up but still intact.He asked me if I wanted to take the pole too, I said no. I then asked them for a forklift so I could lift it so I could unbolt the siren from the pole. well we ended up cutting it off the pole at the mounts with a torch and loaded it into the back of my truck. I got the siren to my shop, which I stripped the bent sheet metal off of, the old phone relay which I later tossed, in hindsight I should have kept it. the siren itself is in the corner of my garage and I still have the sheet metal too it but its not attached. I haven't made any attempts to restore it yet. I don't know if it runs cause I don't have access to three phase or a phase converter.I believe it does though as I think for it's age it really doesn't have much run time on it compared to a fire siren from back east or one in tornado alley . I guess I'll have to rent a big generator to find that out eventually. I picked up another sd10 locally but I sold it and decided to keep this one as I kind of though it had a little significance as a Los Angeles CD siren. I don't have any pics of it at this time as there's really nothing to take of it.I had the sheet metal blasted in peroration for paint.That's about it. the siren itself it unrestored. If you have any further questions about this siren , or want to talk sirens in general ,give me a call


April 23, 2012

Nancy L writes:

Hi Dennis. The information on the website is very interesting. I just happened to be writing a cousin about passing some things down to her grand daughter who were our aunt and uncle's when I decided to pull up S. California Air Raid Sirens and walla there was information. I was explaining to my cousin how I have a CITATION from the County of Los Angeles to our uncle regarding V-J Day September 2, 1945 with a list of L.A. County supervisors names so I was explaining in my email to her about the air raids I grew up with.

Sorry to go through all that, but that's the way I am - go over into detail.

The reason I'm writing is because I grew up in La Crescenta, CA north and above the 210 freeway. There used to be an air raid siren at Dunsmore Elementary School as well, but didn't notice it is on the map, so thought I would let you know there was one there. I should call the school and ask if its still there, but I doubt it. I still remember seeing it.

Thank you for your information.

Nanci L
Gardnerville, NV


January 8, 2012

Happy New Year!

A siren in the background of an old Adam-12 episode has been identified as #34. Then and now pictures as well as a short clip of the program itself have been added. See Photo Section.



December 30, 2011

Thanks to Jeremy G., Siren 45 has been found! It was completely concealed inside of a tree! This brings the Total Still Existing up to 75.8%

Also thanks to Jeremy for identifying Siren 92 from a scene in "Last Action Hero". Pictures have been posted in the Photos Section.

Here's what Jeremy wrote:

I am grateful to you for providing so much information about the sirens in LA, especially the official list. I started keeping track of where I saw them several years ago, but the list really helped. I've photographed 51 of them so far myself when I go out on walks to get pictures of murals and cool architecture and other interesting sights.

I recently found siren #45 (still standing) on the north side of Pico between Arapahoe and Hoover. It turns out it had been engulfed by a ficus tree, which the city has trimmed back somewhat, so the siren is partially visible now if you stand south or east of the tree. It is a cannister-top style siren.

There are also pictures of sirens #168, 182, 191 and 202 in an LAFD Centennial book from 1986 that my father has a copy of (although #191 only shows the base of the siren's tower on the roof of the station, not the siren itself). The Library of Congress Card Catalog Number for the book is 85-082586. Maybe I can scan these for you if you can't get hold of a copy.

I have also seen some other sirens in books, TV and movies, which I am trying to make a list of. Siren #92, which was at Angelina and Boylston (which is apparently no longer an intersection due to a public school construction) is very clearly visible in an early scene in the Arnold Schwarzenegger movie "Last Action Hero" (it is the scene where his relative's house explodes). Maybe you can capture a still frame from it.

When I get the information on the others together I can let you know about those too.


February 18, 2011

Another thanks to Dan C. for finding an old picture of Siren 202! Though it's no longer there, we at least have a receord of what kind it was.


January 7, 2011

Happy New Year!

A couple of minor changes and updates to the site have been made.  An old photo of Fire Station 87 was brought to my attention, and there is a partial picture of Siren 106 in it.  Enough to identify the siren type and confirm the suspicion of exactly where it was.  Thanks Dan!

While making the updates, on a whim, googled LAFD Fire Station 82, and was able to find an old picture, identifying the type and location of Siren 168!  Same thing for Fire Station 61, with Siren 169.


June 1, 2010

Hi Dennis,

First of all, thanks for the site. I'm really enjoying it.

I grew up down the street from siren 151. It was mounted in a parking lot of an early strip mall, with a barbershop (the barber's name was A.B. Skee!), a realty office, a cash-only diner and a gas station at the corner of 77th and Sepulveda amoung other small businesses. I remember the siren being about equidistant between Arizona and Sepulveda. The land either belonged to, or was acquired by the Mormon temple immediately north of it and, as you note, it is now a fenced grassy area for after-school activities. Siren 151 was a Type - 1 Rotating. The strip mall and the siren were in place at least through 1991, the last time I ate at the diner.


As for the fate of Siren 176 at UCLA, keep in mind that UCLA is constantly renaming buildings. Early structures were often named after distinguished faculty, then often renamed for large donors.

What is currently known as the Humanities Building (still waiting for that big donor to lend his name to it), was previously known as Kinsey Hall, named after a distinguished professor of physics. Before that, it was simply known as the Physics Building. If you use the flagpole in the 1967 photo on your page http://wirechief.com/sirens/176.htm as a landmark, then look at the campus map where Dickson Court intersects Portola you'll see that the enlarged portion of the 1967 photo is showing the roof of the Humanities Bldg.

I don't know if the siren is still there or not. The building underwent a major renovation and seismic retrofit several years ago, during which time the name was changed and put up for sale. I'm trying to find an accessible location that will let me see the roof of Humanities. Google satellite photos seem to indicate that the siren is gone.

thanks again for the great site. Great memories!

-Kevin



May 24, 2010


Hi Dennis,


My name is Danny and i'm the owner of a Chrysler air raid siren. I live here in LA. I found the siren in a yard in Montclair last year and have almost finished the restoration. The siren is fully operational.


I'm currently researching its history as I dont know where it was originally located. Any help with info, pictures etc. would be appreciated.


Please look at my website
chryslerairraidsiren.com (its new and still being built), and feel free to post a link to my site on your website and perhaps we can work together in the future.

Thanks

Danny


[WOW! This is awesome! Check out the web site at the link above!]



May 10, 2010


Siren 212 discover missing.



April 7, 2010

Hello again,

Last night in my travels I noticed siren no.120 has been taken down. I thought I would pass this on so the list could be updated. This siren was a 500t painted orange by the now defunct El Cubano Market on Victory and Tujunga. [Now a CVS pharmacy - ed.]

Thanks,

Rick K.


April 4, 2010

I do remember as a child going to Canoga Park Elementary School located at 7438 Topanga Canyon Blvd. I would hear one sound quite loud! It used to scare the bajeesus out of all of us. It was located on Valerio St. about 400 to 700 feet east of Topanga Canyon Blvd. on the north side. Your interactive map did not show this siren. Only one that was a short distance away on Owensmouth Ave. I have not been back there in years, and am not sure if it is still there. My classroom was located right on the other side of the street from it. As scary as it was, I have very fond memories of it. Is that weird? I hope this shred of info can assist you in some way. You are welcome to contact me for any questions that you may have. Please keep me informed of any information re: this siren that you may have.

Thanks,


Rick K.


March 15, 2010

In response to Gordon L.'s letter of February 11, I think the list of Sirens from the Leased Lines of Pacific Bell and GTE only reflects the present state of the Siren System in the early 1980.s. A lot happened with the 1957 up grade and even later, a lot of fire stations C. D. sirens were installed quickly in WW-2 on wood platforms and perhaps removed with roof jobs or the station was torn down in the 1960-s or 70-s.

Here are other LA city Fire Stations that had sirens as I remember them in the mid 1960-s with C. D. sirens not on the list.

Harbor city , Frampton at 257 st. Type 4 on wood tower [ station torn down in 1965 now a Post Office . ]

Harbor Gateway Type 2 Federal model 5 On roof of fire station at 182nd st. and Vermont siren removed long ago, was easy to see from Harbor Freeway back in mid 1960's

San Pedro Fire Station at or near 1st and Gaffey street Type 2 Fed. model 5. Fire station torn down decades ago.

LAX Fire Station west of Sepulveda Bl. and just north of tunnel Type 2 Fed. Model 5 siren removed late 1960's or early 1970's

Wilmington , Fire station south of Don Hotel ,Avalon Bl. at I {eye} st. Type 2 Fed. model 5 on wood platform above hose drying tower. Siren removed late 1960's or early 1970 ?

Therefore one or more Fire Stations in the valley, Reseda etc. with a C.D. siren, or had one installed, not on the list is possible to me. Anyone have a old photo?

C. Bryant


March 4, 2010

Mike J. reports a Thunderbolt still standing near where he grew up in the View Park / Windsor Hills area.

He writes:

Hi.

Fascinating site you have. I tripped upon it by accident looking for "emergency preparedness" of all things.

Oddly, after looking through all the lists that you have on your site, I didn't find anywhere the siren located near me.
I was 10 years old in 1985 when it last sounded during it's monthly test, and yet I vividly remember its haunting wail.
And so it still sits there - dormant ever since.

It's located in View Park/Windsor Hills in LA on the grounds of Windsor Hills Elementary.
Google Maps has a nice view of it. (link below)

- Mike

See it at: http://wirechief.com/sirens/w4.htm


February 11, 2010

Gordon L. Writes:

Hi...
My wife and I are both grew up in Reseda in the 50's and 60's and heard the sirens every Friday at 10:00. There was one a block from me on top of the old Reseda fire station (on Reseda Blvd. near Valerio), but I don't see it listed?

When did they stop the sirens from going off?

Thanks for your site...

Gordon


February 9, 2010

Stuart Writes:

Hello first off I want to thank you for a great web site. I have been making visits to the site almost daily in the last few days :O) I have a question and I guess you would be the first person I could ask. I am interested in obtaining a old siren any ideas where to start with this? Any info would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance for your help.

Stuart


January 16, 2010

Sergio G. Writes:

Dennis, thanks so much for having a website such as yours!

You brought back al lot of memories of my childhood here in Los Angeles. I'm 45yrs old and remember the sound of these on the last Friday of each month, if I remember correctly. Some people I mention these sirens to, also fondly remember these with an emotional nostalgia.

My 6yr old son recently became interested in these sirens when we came accross Siren #28 ( I did'nt know they were numbered). I fondly told him about my memories of them. We view youtube videos of operating sirens in Texas and other states.


December 17, 2009

Note received by -anonymous-:

Dennis,

Just came across your air raid siren web site - very interesting,
informative, and enjoyable.

I became personally aquainted with Siren # 176, located on top of
UCLA's old physics building, Kinsey Hall, when I attended that
institution's School of Engineering in the late '70's.

To vent stress during finals week, I used to go up to the roof and
turn on the siren -- but only BETWEEN finals periods, of course. I
would wrap a rubber band around the contacts of a 120 volt relay,
which would send current to a 220v relay, which would then send power
to the siren, which would then begin to wind up to an incredible
volume. It probably took 20 seconds for the siren to reach peak
volume. It was LOUD. The sound would chase me down the stairwell,
which I would exit while trying to look as casual as possible given
the circumstances.

The long-suffering custodial staff would typically take 10 min to
figure out what was going on and turn off the siren. The campus
police attempted regularly, but unsucessfully, to put an end to my
mischief. I even worked out a system to turn on the siren remotely by
means of a string dangling from the roof down to ground level.

Feel free to share my reminicence on your website but please forgive
me if I don't reveal my identity. I'm confident the statute of
limitations has expired, but I don't want the Alumni Association to
track me down.

Best regards,

An anonymouse fellow siren afficcionado


December 6, 2009

Rick F. writes:

Siren Number: 144 is still there. Last time I looked at it, it didn't look
real good. Not like when I saw it as a kid.

Rick


October 6, 2009

Noah S. Writes:

Located at Manchester Avenue and Lincoln Boulevard [number 149, ed.] was removed and donated (siren, pole, controls and all) to the Ft MacArthur Museum in San Pedro in spring 2008. The museum has plans to restore the siren.


September 21, 2009

rgcw5 writes:

HI i happen to be another "siren hunter" and finding out the west hollywood chrysler still up is a great find! If possible check out victorysiren.org (i think its org could be .com ) and update the webmaster about it as it was asumed it was taken down after the northridge quake-obviosly not!

Also for additional reference in west covina there are 3 additional sirens that I know of an sd-10 off badillo and sunset at the fire station one thunderbolt off citrus and the 10 (just south) and one at the city yard off pacific(?) And sunset, also a thunderbolt

Great site! Keep up the great work!
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry


July 13, 2009

Another one bites the dust. On or about July 9, 2009, Siren 214 fell victim to a Lowe's Home Improvement Center, near the 118 Freeway and San Fernando Road in Pacoima. I've been watching this one for a while, but it first looked like it was far enough away from the parking lot not to be in jeopardy. This morning it was gone. After work, I went to the construction site and a security guard confirmed it was removed last week. When asked, he told me that the city, not the contractor, removed it.

When I commented "another piece of history gone forever" he looked at me like I was nuts! Oh well!

Pictures of it can be seen at:
http://wirechief.com/sirens/214.htm


June 8, 2009

I'm sad to report that Los Angeles siren #27 at Van Ness and Fernwood in Hollywood has been removed.

There has been heavy construction adjacent to it, which seems to be a death wish to these things around here.
I did a drive-by Sunday on a hunch, to check on it, and yes, it's history. I don't know exactly how long it's been gone, but I would guess only a few month at the most.

Pictures of it can be seen at:
http://wirechief.com/sirens/27.htm


June 6, 2009

Wayne W. Writes:

Hello My name s Wayne, I am a siren and diaphone enthusiast from West Babylon NY. I would like to point
out that Los Angeles Air Raid Siren #006 has been found using Google Street View, moved approximately one half block south
on Grand. Here s a link showing the Federal Signal model SD-10 Wire Spool still standing tall!
http://maps.google.com/?ie=UTF8&ll=34.039734,-118.263681&spn=0,359.978113&z=16&layer=c&cbll=34.03965,-118.263754&panoid=ZiuUlivBcP8xy0KcurGPSQ&cbp=12,315.01,,0,-26.94

If I find more, I ll pass

em along!

Wayne W.

[Unfortunately, there was an error in Google Maps, and this siren is confirmed as GONE. -editor]


April 19, 2009

Jano B. writes:

Great site! I've been admiring the sirens around los angeles and was wondering if there has been any effort made to attempt restoration, or at least a paint job?

I've wanted to adopt a local siren, do you know who I could talk to?

Thanks for the list on your site too. I now have a new pastime driving around town now.

Thanks for your site,
Jano B


March 27, 2009

JR writes:

Hi, I find your site quite interesting since I seem to have somewhat of a fascination with air raid sirens. I ve had dreams of the future in chaos with air raids sirens going off all over Southern California (where I live). My question is do any of the sirens in the LA metro still work? I know they shut them off in the late 80s, but I guess I m wondering if they could be turned back on. There seems to be a growing tension between the nuclear powers of the world and it would be nice to know that we would be warned by these sirens in case of a nuclear attack ya know? Thanks .

JR
Los Angeles


March 21, 2009

Rosemary W. writes:

came across your web page last night and was so impressed that I went out this afternoon to look at nearby sirens. I viewed #113 and #223 and took photos. I see you already have nice pictures of these two on the site, so I have not attached mine. My blog is "Touring the Valley" at http://tourthevalley.blogspot.com/. I have an entry about the sirens scheduled for April 30.

Cheers,
Rosemary


March 21,2009

Rob D. writes:

Hi,

Are you in LA? I moved to L.A. recently and I started checking out all the SD10's and model 5/3's still up. I am a big siren fan from back east. I am trying to launch a citizens project to at least get these sirens painted up in fresh CD yellow or a color that the city of LA would like. I talked to one official and he told me they have no interst at this time in removing the sirens.. So the next best thing would be to keep them in good appearence.
All of these sirens should work just fine mechanically. I have never seen a dead 3 phase siren. But the wiring would have to be all redone to DTMF if they ever wanted to re activate any of these. Good site you got. I have taken a bunch of pictures of the ones I have seen. These SD10's went up in 1952. prior to the SD10's and newer model 5's they had a bunch of FEDELCODE sirens but not as many... The older FEDELCODE sirens were removed when the SD10's went up.

Rob


March 19, 2009

Sean, "CoasterKid" reports the location of previously not-found Siren 83! It seems that some of the streets in the San Pedro area have been renamed sometime in the past. The San Pedro Bay Historical Society makes mention on their web site that certain streets are "no longer in existance (i.e. Channel Hieghts)", and "are shown on a 1953 Thomas Bros. map book".

Sean reports "I believe Channel Heights Drive became Park Western Drive. Google the intersection of N. Park Western Drive & Via la Paz; you can see the siren in streetview (facing south)."

This bring the City-Wide Total of sirens that still exist up to 76.71%

It's also intersting to note that the power lines are still connected. As far as I know, the only other one is Siren 179 at 1st St. and Larchmont.

Thank you to Sean and all those who have provided information for this website/project!


February 18, 2008

Thanks largely to Brian F., I have created a "non-L.A." Siren page. The intent of this is to document the existence and location of outdoor warning sirens in the Southern California area that are not included in the City Of Los Angeles Official List. This has the potential to be a vary large list! Due to the large geographic area involved, I will be relying heavily on input from others.

Again thanks to Brian F. for the numerous updates to the main list, including the previous locations of Sirens #136 and #53.


January, 2008

Have been making a half-serious effort to make a visual check on as many sirens as possible. Have not found any missing since the concentrated effort of late 2006, except as noted elsewhere on this site. This is good news, and yet a bit surprising that more are not being removed.

The trees around Siren #212 have been trimmed, now making it easily visible from the 118 Freeway.


April 21, 2007

Another find. Siren #52. Previously unable to find intersection on map, an old Chevron map dated 1969 had it. A visit to the area revealed it to still be standing, where once was a residential area, is now the El Segundo Blue Butterfly Habitat Restoration Area.

This bring the City-Wide total back up to 76.6%


April 16, 2007

Alan S. reports siren #115 has been removed sometime late in March 2007, bringing the City-Wide total down to 76.1%, and the Valley total to 85.7%


April 14, 2007

Rick J. Surfaces!

Rick J., the provider of the LA City "Official List" and the inspiration for this site, found this site and my plea to find out who he is, and has contacted me. Here is his email to me:

Subject: Who's Rick J.?

I am!
Hi....came across your site while doing some checking up on L.A. air
raid sirens. I read where you wanted to know who I was. Well, here I
am. I'm not too much into the sirens as much as before. I was doing
the same thing you were....driving around the valley, up and down
streets looking for sirens. It was fun. But when I got the list, it
kinda took the wind out of my sails for me. Now it was too easy to find
the sirens, so I let it go by the wayside. But I'm glad the list helped
others. I know I burned a lot of gas driving around.

Your site looks great. Keep up the work.

Rick J.


February 3, 2007

Another find was made! Thanks to local.live.com, another visit to Siren #129 was in order, and there is was! Must have driven right past it in the past. It is a bit overgrown down near street level. This bring the City-Wide total to 76.6%


February 1, 2007

Another new find! While driving home from work, I spotted from the freeway Siren #133 in amongst some trees! I could hardly believe my eyes, since I have passed by this location within a couple hundred feet, by a conservative estimate, over 9,000 times! And never noticed it before. The trees all around it are pretty bare this time of year, but the siren itself is above the surrounding tree-tops. This brings the City-Wide total to 76.1%


December 26, 2006

Finished first run through of map editing and verifying. Added links to all available pictures on the map callouts. Also, now using the proper method for publishing the map, including obtaining a Google API key. This seems to have increased the map performance greatly.

Next, I plan on fine tuning the Siren List with Notes page, to incorporate links to photos and maps.

Happy New Year to all, and Happy Siren Hunting too! Please keep the comments and updates coming!


December 17, 2006

I've been working over the map, using the "hybrid" (aerial photo with street names) function to more accurately place the locations. I am about 3/4 finished, and should have it done in a few weeks.

In the process, I found two locations that had previously been Unable to Locate status. Number 152 could be seen in the aerial photo, so it was worth revisiting. Number 7 was should to be in existence in 2003, and the parking lot shown in the photo could be seen about a half a block from the intersection.

Both are still there, bringing the "still there to gone" ratio up to 75.7%. It was worth the drive.


November 4, 2006

I've been spending some time reviewing my notes and data, and discovered that there was a second location I had overlooked. After picking up these two last locations, the "still there to gone" ratio is now 74.8%.

I have also been "fine tuning" the map. As a side note, Mapbuilder.net has indicated that they will be making some changes during the first week of November. It's not clear what impact that will have on the Interactive Siren Map, but my data is secure.

My plans for the future include streamlining the site by integrating the notes and photos into the map, so the visitor will not need to bounce back and forth between these different sections of the site.

As always, any submissions or comments are welcome!

"Found" = still there
"Need" = need to find location
"UTL or Gone" = either unable to locate or has been removed.


October 8, 2006

I spent the day making a concentrated effort to pick-off the 45 some-odd remaining locations I hadn't visited yet. I found that the best time for this is Sunday morning, as the traffic is the lightest. After a very long day, and about 155 miles later, I'm almost there! My neck is stiff from looking down at the GPS-connected laptop with mapping software, and updating my notes file.

For some reason, I seem to have omitted ONE location! At least it's not too far from home. In addition to picking up this last location, I plan on revisiting some of the Unable To Locate sites, to make sure I didn't overlook anything. I don't expect this to change the overall "Still There to Gone" ratio, but as it sits right now, it appears that City-Wide, 73% still exist.

Some thoughts and observations:

There seems to no obvious answer to why so many of them remain, and why some have been removed. It seems that a lot of sirens were located at or adjacent to fire stations. Many of the UTL's are at fire stations that have been removed from service, replaced, or simply "spruced up". Others appear to have fallen by the wayside by construction projects (The Daffodil Siren #4, for example), while many more seem to have had buildings constructed right up against them. #203, #209 and #115 are good examples. One of my first out-of-the-valley hunts took me to Siren #95 in Bel Aire, giving me the false impression that sirens located in affluent areas would be the first ones to be removed. Not so! Many remain in high-rent districts around town, and many have been removed from poorer, depressed areas as well. One up-scale homeless person living by Siren #65 even has a tent!

What's the story with the ones where just the pole remains? Did vandals get the sirens? Some I have found have obviously been vandalized (#137 has been grafitti'd, someone climbed #11 to put a flag in the basket, a couple have had their control box pried open.)

Trees must have been a lot shorter when these were installed. Several are partially blocked by trees, and at least one, #98, is almost completely overgrown. Certainly they could not have been installed in such close proximity to trees!

Why have some been painted? (#186, #120, and #124 to name a few) Was #124 done by bored firefighters looking to spruce up their now-abandoned station? Did they use a ladder truck to do it?

Anyway, it's been a fun project so far. Please keep the updates coming, so we can track the shrinking number of surviving sirens.


September, 2006

I have now completed the first pass of all the siren locations in the San Fernando Valley. While many have been removed (or simply couldn't be located) the good news is that MOST of the sirens still exist! Actually, of the 63 locations listed in the Valley, only 8 are gone. Therefore, 87.3% are still there.

I have completed most of Hollywood and the West Side, and next my plan is to tackle the Downtown area, where the siren density is the highest. From what I've seen so far, I don't think the "survival rate" will come anywhere near the 88.7% mark.


August, 2006

Does the Internet need another web site devoted to this topic? Probably not, but here goes anyway!

What is Siren Hunting, and why would anybody even care about them anymore? I grew up in the San Fernando Valley area, and lived just down the street from an air raid siren. Number 116, to be exact. I never new what it's number was, or even that they had numbers for that matter, until about a week ago. (More on this later) It was a great thrill hearing the monthly tests as a youngster. I remember on at least one occasion standing across the street from it during one of the tests, and it was amazingly loud! Fortunately, I don't believe it had any long-term effects on my hearing. (Eh? Can you speak up a little?) At the time, I could not relate to their intended purpose, nor their perceived importance. They were simply a novelty that made a whole lot of noise!


Jumping ahead to sometime around the late 1990's, I was sitting in the car waiting outside the Veterinary Clinic on Roscoe and Balboa looking westward towards Siren #111 (since removed). Memories of the sounds of these sirens came back to me at once. Along with that came a host of other questions. How many of these were there? How many are still left? Will they ever be used again? If so, how many still work? Were they placed at regular distance intervals? The search was on, and an attempt to answer these questions began. Now, every time I happened across one, I would write down it's location. Soon I discovered there were different types. Since I had only seen the rotating type before this, I had assumed that's what they all looked like.

I started plotting the locations on the computer using a mapping program called Delorme Street Atlas. There didn't seems to be any real pattern to where they were located. As more and more were added, large holes in the map began to form, where I was certain there should be a siren. I began cris-crossing the areas looking for sirens. It became harder and harder to find more sirens. Sometimes when I least expected it, boom, there was a new one! This went on for a number of years, and after a short time, I stopped driving around specifically looking for more. If I happened across one, great! On the list it would go. As it turns out, I had located 55 sirens! Since I travel around the city quite a bit for my job, I did have a fair amount of opportunity.

Using the Street Atlas mapping program worked out pretty well, but it was hard to share with others or publish to a web site. There had to be a better way, but for now, it will have to do. Since I wasn't adding many more sirens, it was good enough. More on this a little later.

Everything was soon about to change. I received an email from a former classmate that he and his wife were going to be in L.A. for a visit, and would like to see me. Sounds like fun! It's been a long time, and with them living in Oregon, there haven't been many opportunities. During the visit, I asked them what have they been seeing and doing while they were here. When they said "driving around taking pictures of old air-raid sirens", I about fell out of the chair! We had never spoken about the old sirens before, so needless to say I was surprised that there are other people interested in these old relics of the past. My computer was immediately called to action, showing my map and also pictures that I have taken.

When asked how they knew where to look, I was surprised and pleased to learn that an Official List from the 1980's was available on the Internet. My previous attempts to locate such information in the past have not been successful. He didn't have the URL of the site with him, but when they returned home, he sent it to me. It turned out to be a GREAT site. I was anxious to contact the owner and compare notes, and more importantly, to thank him for obtaining, scanning, and sharing the Official List. Unfortunately, even though there was a plea to send siren status updates to the webmaster, and even a form to use, there was no contact information given.

So here is my plea. If anyone knows "Rick J." or who ever it is that operates the site at http://home.socal.rr.com/rickjs/sirens/, Please let me know! I can be contacted at dennis@wirechief.com.

Back to my story. Now that the information contained in the Official List is in my hot little hands, it's time to put ALL the dots on my map! This turned out to be pretty time consuming, but I was anxious to finish it up, so I could get out and do some Siren Hunting. It became very obvious that there are (or were) many more in the downtown area, and much closer together than in the San Fernando Valley. Since I now have all the locations on my map, it is a simple matter to download them all into my GPS. Siren Hunting will never be the same.

The problem of publishing and sharing the maps was still there. I wonder how businesses place all there locations on an interactive map on their web sites? Such a system would be ideal for this application. A quick Google search provided some leads. Then, after checking out a few, I stumbled across MapBuilder.net. This was just what the Doctor ordered! The price is right (FREE!). And best of all, since I already had the locations entered in my Street Atlas map, I could simply export them to a file, edit it a little, and the Geocoding was done. The file is uploaded as a CSV to their site, and away you go. I received the URL to the Rick J.'s Official List site on August 21, and had the interactive map up and running with all the siren locations on August 25. Times (and computers) have sure changed in the last 8 or 10 years since I began Siren Hunting!

Anyway, I hope you enjoy this site, and find it useful. I plan on keeping it updated frequently, at least as long at it takes to get it to 100%. As mentioned above, I am grateful for the efforts of others, and would appreciate the feedback and updates from anyone who is also curious out these rusting dinosaurs that are scattered about our city.

Thanks to Dan and Patty from Portland, Oregon, for re-starting my interest in yet another odd hobby!

Dennis Hanley
dennis@wirechief.com


Here is a link to the
ORIGINAL MAP mentioned above, created around 1998 or so.


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