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Our city is a 469-square-mile mash-up of palmy beaches, stunning architecture and movie stars, right? Well, yes. But did you know it’s also full of abandoned Nazi compounds, stolen water supplies and homes entirely swallowed by the Pacific?

We learned all this and more from Tom Explores Los Angeles, a free 12-part YouTube series that follows charming everyman Tom Carroll as he narrates his walks through oft-neglected parts of Los Angeles--think a mile-long walkway along the first freeway in the West or the little-known neighborhoods that were decimated by the building of LAX. 

Carroll’s thoughtful commentary probes elements of our city we take for granted. For example, he travels to the Owens Valley and discovers a fertile farmland turned dust bowl due to our insatiable urban thirst. And stories range from the spooky (an abandoned Nazi compound in Beverly Hills) to the sweet (a New Deal-funded garden idyll in Griffith Park).

We love that each webisode is less than ten minutes long and packed with juicy info. Carroll also provides a handy Google Maps link, should you want to visit these places on your own.

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