1901 Col. J.W. Eddy and the Creation of Angels Flight®
Colonel J.W. (James Ward) Eddy was born in 1832 and served in the U.S. Civil War. Today, Col. Eddy rests in peace at Hollywood Forever Cemetery. Col. Eddy was born in Java, New York, in 1832, and he died in California in 1914.
The two Angels Flight® Railway cars have been here in Los Angeles since 1901 (1905 if dated from the rebuilding that resulted in these exact vehicles). That rebuilding was in connection with Col. Eddy’s constructing a trestle over Clay Street so the cars would be going up a constant grade. Clay Street is only a memory now. The City of Los Angeles removed much of the Railway’s old neighborhood — actually, All of the old neighborhood… except for Angels Flight® (moved several hundred feet south). Even Bunker Hill Avenue is gone, only a memory on Bunker Hill.
In 1901, the Third Street Tunnel opened beneath Bunker Hill. So did the Angels Flight® Railway. In May of 1901, Col. J.W. Eddy had sought and received City Council approval to build a funicular by the tunnel. Funicular is from a Latin word, funiculus, which means a slender rope or cord that connects. A funicular is an incline railway. Col. Eddy started building Angels Flight® on August 2, 1901. The Railway opened December 31, 1901. On the Railway’s 1901 Opening Day, more than 2,000 people rode between Hill and Olive Streets.
August 2 to December 31? Try a construction project in Los Angeles in 120 days today!
Second Owner 1912
In addition to the 1905 remodeling, the Railway benefited from the addition of a new Station House and the Hill Street Arch in 1908. Angels Flight® passed to its second private owner in 1912 when Col. J.W. Eddy sold to the Funding Company of Los Angeles.
Third Owner in 1914
The Funding Company of Los Angeles, the 1912 purchaser of Angels Flight®, sold the Railway in 1914. The 1914 purchaser was Continental Securities Company. Engineer Robert M. Moore began service as Railway general manager that year. Robert Moore served the Railway and its passengers for 38 years, from 1914 to 1952.
The Railway’s Manager Becomes the Fourth Owner in 1946
In 1946, engineer Robert W. Moore purchased the Railway from the Continental Securities Company (owner since 1914).
Fifth Owner Takes Over in 1952
In 1952, engineer Robert W. Moore retired and sold the Railway to Lester B. Moreland and Byron Linville. In 1953, Lester B. Moreland’s family purchased banker Byron Linville’s interest in the Railway, becoming sole stockholder. Byron Linville was a prominent banker at Security First National Bank who had developed affection for Angels Flight®. Banker Linville shared a common interest in the workings and history of the Flight with engineer Moreland.
Lester B. Moreland was an electrical engineer with the Department of Water and Power who parked on Bunker Hill so he could ride Angels Flight® on his way to and from his office downtown. Regularly riding the Flight, Lester Moreland got to know Robert Moore, General Manager since 1914 (and owner since 1946).
Mr. Moore realized that Mr. Moreland had a real interest in the Railway’s preservation and was fully capable of operating it. When Robert W. Moore decided to retire, he chose to sell the Railway to Messrs. Moreland and Linville, as noted previously. The Railway was sold to them on August 23, 1952. The Moreland legacy of Railway stewardship lasted until the City’s redevelopment agency forced a sale to the City in 1962.