THE VIEW FROM CHALON is one of the most spectacular in Los Angeles, but in the early days when there were just a couple of buildings, the 270-degree the vista from this remote hilltop must have been absolutely breathtaking.
The addition of St. Joseph Hall (science and administration, 1944), Coe Library (1947), the Carondelet House of Studies (1954), Carondelet Hall (1959), Humanities Building (1964), and Drudis-Biada (1974) each took a piece out of the expanse, although there are still plenty of view sites from balconies, patios, roads and between buildings.
This undated postcard predates the Coe Library and shows the surrounding ridges and coastal plain looking southwest, interrupted only by a straggly redwood. The postcard is titled "Facing the Pacific." There was nothing between the Mount and Santa Monica but bare hills.
I admired the view yesterday as I drove downhill toward Chalon Road. The view across Santa Monica Bay toward Catalina Island was crystal clear thanks to the gusty winds. I slowed the car and wondered for the umpteenth time what prompted Mother Margaret Mary Brady to build the campus a thousand feet in the air. The view reminded me yet again of what a special place the Mount is.
I just wish the students would look up once in awhile from thumbing text into their smart phones to take it all in. I guess it's a student thing: One of the alums on my architecture tour in October, who graduated in the 1990s, was blown away by the view. "I just didn't pay attention to it when I was here," she said.