Lunchtime Photo

When I went up to the LA Arboretum last month, I had to leave the park at 5 o’clock and then come back later to get into the evening show. Since I needed to test out my monopod anyway, so I decided to kill some time by heading over to Caltech and taking a look at my old tromping grounds.

This is a picture of the Olive Walk, so named for obvious reasons. Student housing lines both sides. The “old” houses (built in 1931) are on the left: Ricketts in the foreground and Fleming farther down, just past the red Fleming cannon. Blacker is behind Ricketts and Dabney is behind Fleming. On the right are the “new” houses (built in 1960): Lloyd on the right and Page farther down. Ruddock, my house while I was there, is behind the camera adjoining Lloyd.

The scare quotes around “new” and “old” are there because several even newer student residences have been built in the 40 years since I left. I’m not really sure how they’re all referred to these days.

In the far background, dead center, is the Millikan Library. The letters LL are hung from the top in lights, and I have no idea what they mean. If anyone can enlighten me, I’d appreciate it.

UPDATE: The letters stand for Lloyd House. All I had to do was go to Wikipedia: “Every year since 1994, Lloydies have climbed onto the top of Millikan Library to construct the Lloyd Christmas Tree, a monumental structure of numerous Christmas lights strung together to resemble a 10-story Christmas tree topped with a 12-feet-tall “L.” During the big wind storm of 2013, the L broke apart into pieces, so the Lloydies rebuilt the “L”, but replaced it instead with a double “L” that is now 16-feet-tall.”

December 9, 2018 — Pasadena, California


Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2019 demands.

We Recommend


Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.


Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.


We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.