Monday, July 23, 2012

What I didn't know

Charlotte Von Troesch Mural at Downey High

As I drove around Downey yesterday looking for a picture for my post, I stopped at Downey High School to take a picture of the demolition that is going on as part of a campus renovation project.

I took a few pictures, including this one of the school's mural, but the sunlight was harsh, the fence was in the way, and nothing turned out very well.

Photo by George Redfox
Not being up on the news the last few days, I was shocked to discover this morning that the mural was gone. Demolished. In hundreds of little pieces on the ground. According to various reports, the cost of preserving and moving the mural was too high.

The mural was created in 1973 by local artist, sculptor, and Downey High art teacher Charlotte von Troesch. I lived across the street from Charlotte for almost 20 years. I knew her simply as Charlotte, our eccentric artist neighbor who had a beautiful Dalmatian and who told great stories about our neighborhood in the "old" days, when the neighborhood cows used to get loose and wander through her garden.

In addition to a backyard filled with what were to me somewhat odd sculptures, Charlotte also had a fish pond, whose fish were so used to her daily feedings that they popped up to the surface as soon as she touched the water. This was unfortunate, as I learned when my cat started depositing dead goldfish on my back door mat.

Until today, I never knew that she was a world-famous artist, or that the mural that I used to pass almost daily was her creation.


  1. At least you get to photograph the mural before the demolition. I like the final result of the fence in the foreground.

  2. When I found out that they were going to tear down the Downey High School mural I almost cried. Mrs. Troesch was my art teacher back in 1968. My sister (who passed away a few years ago) worked on the mural in 1973 or 1974. She was so proud of working on the mural and I know she too would have been very upset by the demolition of this beautiful work of art.


Thanks for your comments! Due to the constant spamming, we can no longer accept anonymous comments, but we hope you'll log in and let us know what you think.