For Cold War relics in the middle of the city, you can hike up to San Vicente Mountain Park to see the old Nike-Ajax supersonic anti-aircraft missile launch site, or you can just look up wherever you're standing--the city is littered with neglected old civil defense sirens that were supposed to warn the populace of an incoming nuclear attack. KCRW talks to "siren hunter" Dennis Hanley, who has spent years finding, mapping, and photographing the sirens--he remembers hearing one being tested at 10 am on the last Friday of every month when he was growing up in the Valley. The sirens actually date originally to World War II, when they were put up to warn about Japanese attacks, but they proliferated during the Cold War and there were ultimately about 225 within LA city limits, according to Hanley (they were paid for by the feds and operated by the LA County Sheriff's Department). Hanley says about 75 percent are still around, "pretty much abandoned in place," although they're occasionally torn down during construction projects--the one at Sherman Way and Deering in Canoga Park was removed just a few months ago for the construction of an Orange Line parking lot, according to his website. The sirens were last used during a test in 1985. Here's an awesome map if you want to go siren hunting yourself.
· L.A.'s Cold War Sirens [Soundcloud]