Early Los Angeles City Views (1900 - 1925)

Historical Photos of Early Los Angeles

 
(1922)^ - Hollywood Bowl at the first Symphony Under the Stars. This was the "Bowl's" official opening and was on the site of a natural amphitheater formerly known as the Daisy Dell.  

 

Historical Notes

On July 11, 1922, with the audience seated on simple wooden benches placed on the natural hillsides of Bolton Canyon, conductor Alfred Hertz and the Los Angeles Philharmonic inaugurated the first season of music under the stars at the Hollywood Bowl. The Bowl was very close to its natural state, with only makeshift wooden benches for the audience, and eventually a simple awning over the stage.

The Hollywood Bowl has been the summer home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, since its official opening in 1922.*^

 

 

 
(ca. 1922)^ - Concert by Rosa Paniella at the Hollywood Bowl. Note the location of the parked cars.  

 

Historical Notes

In 1922 the price of admission to the Hollywood Bowl was only 25 cents.

 

 

Click HERE to see more in Early Views of the Hollywood Bowl

 

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Downtown LA

 
(ca. 1918)^^ -  View looking north on Los Angeles Street from Third Street. There are two sets of streetcar tracks running down the middle of Third Street through the dirt intersection. Los Angeles Street is crowded with horses, carriages, automobiles, and pedestrians. A lone bicyclist is headed into the traffic at right.  

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1920)^ - View of Los Angeles Street, looking north from 3rd Street. Horse drawn vehicles as well as automobiles travel on this busy street.  Note how some of the cars are parked perpendicular to the curb.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1920s)^#^ – View looking at the northwest corner of 2nd and Los Angeles streets.  They're advertising clean beds in the upstairs windows.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1922)^^ -  Engineering notebook photo print of unrepaired pavement over recent excavation on Vermont Avenue 100 feet south of 54th Street, Los Angeles. In the background can be seen businesses with signs reading:  “Hoffs Dry Goods – Mens Wear” and “Jewler, Optician”  

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1922)^^ - View of Western Avenue looking north from Pico Street. Billboard signs can be seen along the street advertising various business from gasoline to real estate.  

 

 

 

 
(1922)^ - View of the Arnold Building on the northwest corner of 7th and Figueroa. Several banners hang outside of the building. They read: "Hudson and Essex motor cars. Greatly reduced. Effective immediately", and "Hudson and Essex. At it again. Lower prices. Easier terms". Electric car tracks and wiring can be seen on the streets and above, and a police officer stands in the middle of the street directing traffic, although there is none.  

 

Historical Notes

The Arnold Building seen above served as the framework for the Statler Hotel in 1951.^

 

 

 
(1921)^^ - Birdseye view of Seventh Street looking west from Broadway, showing the Vogel Block on the corner at left.  The three-story building is topped by a spired dome and covered with signs. Its windows have molding reminiscent of Victorian architecture.  

 

Historical Notes

In 1921 the 1893-built Vogel Block would be demolished to make room for Loew's State Theatre (currently United Building).

 

 

 
(ca. 1921)^^ – View of the Loew's State Building (Loew's State Theatre) at the southwest corner of Seventh Street and Broadway. Many streetcars can be seen operating here as thousands crowd into the theatre.  

 

Historical Notes

Loew's State Theatre was built as the west coast showcase for the product of the Loew's subsidiary Metro Pictures. The opening was on November 12, 1921 at one of downtown's busiest intersections, 7th and Broadway. Loew's State once used entrances on both streets. The 7th St. entrance was closed in 1936.**^#

 

 

 
(1922)^ - Exterior view of Loew's State Theatre building located at the intersection of Broadway and 7th Streets. Entrance to the theatre is on the left of this photo. Marquee reads: Now- Flapper week-Doris May in "Gay and Devilish." Occupants of the building also includes a dentist, Headquarters for Moore for Senator campaign, Star Shoe Co. and the Owl Drug. Co. The streets are crowded with pedestrians crossing and standing along the sidewalks.  

 

Historical Notes

The Loew's State Theater is noted for the seated Buddha located in a niche above the proscenium arch. The exterior has an elaborate "silver platter" chased ornamentation above the ground story.

In 1998, Metropolitan Theaters stopped showing movies at the State and leased the space to the Universal Church. As of 2008, the State was being operated as a Spanish-language church.*^

 

 

 
(ca. 1922)^ - Cars are lined up in both directions on Broadway and pedestrians are numerous in this view of Broadway looking towards 7th St. On the corner of 7th (upper left side in the picture) is the Bank of America.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1922)^^ -  Photograph (engineering notebook photoprint) taken at the head of 5th Street on Fremont Avenue looking east, showing possibilities of extending 5th Street through to Olive Street. The State Normal School is seen in the background where 5th Street would need to go through to complete the extension.  

 

Historical Notes

In 1922 the State Normal School was demolished and 5th Street was straightened to run through the property.  The remainder of the site was eventually occupied by the Los Angeles Central Library (1925). 

Click HERE to see the connection between the State Normal School and UCLA.

 

 

 

 
(1923)^ - An unpaved West 1st Street at Alvarado Street on January 10, 1923. The Alvarado Heights house lots are for sale for $3000 and up by Gillette Realty Co. Gillette Manor lots are also available. Other existing homes are in the distance.  

 

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Catalina

 
(1920s)^ - William Wrigley's two-story, L-shaped home rests atop a grassy hill, overlooking Avalon and beyond. Small houses as well as various tourist-oriented businesses, office buildings and several larger apartment complexes are nestled in the hills. The first Catalina Casino, Sugarloaf Rock, and numerous small boats are visible at the edge of the bay on the right, surrounded by the sea on three sides.
 

 

Historical Notes

William Wrigley, Jr. (1861-1932), chewing gum industrialist and founder of the William Wrigley Jr. Company, played an instrumental role in the history of Catalina Island. He bought the island from Joseph and Hancock Banning in 1919, and improved it with public utilities, new steamships, a hotel, the Casino building, and extensive planting of trees, shrubs, and flowers. Wrigley was the owner of the Chicago Cubs baseball team, which held its annual spring training on the island.

In 1920, William Wrigley Jr. and David M. Renton had a small casino built to serve as an entertainment and gathering place for Catalina Island's visitors. In a short period of time though, this establishment - the Sugarloaf Casino, proved to be too small to accommodate the growing number of guests, and in February 1928 it was demolished to make room for a much larger building. The Catalina Casino Ballroom, also known as Avalon Ballroom, was built on the same spot - adjacent to Sugarloaf Rock by architects Sumner A. Spaulding and William Webber. Sugarloaf Rock was eventually blasted away in order to enhance the view from the Casino. Wrigley's budget for the design and construction of the Catalina Casino was $600,000, but when all was said and done, he ended up spending $2 million.^

 

 

 

 
(1920s)^ - View of Avalon Bay across Crescent Bay, on Santa Catalina Island as seen from a mountain top. The Catalina Casino, surrounded by the sea on three sides, is visible at the edge of the bay on the right along with several boats along with the S.S. Catalina, "The Great White Steamer".  

 

Historical Notes

The S.S. Catalina, known as "The Great White Steamer", was laid down on December 26, 1923, christened on May 3, 1924, completed in 1924, and took its maiden voyage on June 30, 1924. The 301-foot ship, originally built at a cost of $1 million dollars, was in service from 1924 and carried about 25 million passengers between Los Angeles and Avalon Harbor until she was retired on September 14, 1975.^

 

 

 
(1920s) - View of the dock, or ferry slip, which is full of passengers that appear to be unloading out of the S.S. Catalina, nicknamed "The Great White Steamer". Dozens of people wait for these travelers, making a pathway for them to walk through. The Post Office and Island Gift Shop can be seen on the left, and several small boats are visible to the right of the wharf.
 

 

Historical Notes

The S.S. Catalina has been recognized as a Historic-Cultural Monument, No. 213 (Click HERE to see the LA Historic-Cultural Monuments List) and also California State Historic Landmark No. 894 (Click HERE to see more California Historic Landmarks in LA). She was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976.

 

 

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Wrigley Field (Los Angeles)

 
(1920s)^ - Partial view of the "first" Wrigley Field - home for the Los Angeles Angels of the Pacific Coast League. The bleachers are practically bursting at the seams with eager spectators cheering on their favorite teams.
 

 

Historical Notes

Wrigley Field, built on 10 acres of land in South Los Angeles between San Pedro Street (on the west), Avalon Blvd (to the east), E. 41st Place (to the north), and E. 42 Place (to the south), served as host to minor league baseball teams in the region for over 30 years, and was the home park for the Los Angeles Angels of the Pacific Coast League. Chewing gum magnate, William Wrigley, Jr. purchased the Angels in 1921 for the (then) astronomical sum of $150,000 and then built a stadium for the team a few years later.

Construction for Wrigley Field began in 1924 and the 21,000-seat, million-dollar stadium opened on September 29, 1925. For 33 seasons (1925-1957) the park was home to the Angels, and for 11 of those seasons (1926-1935 and 1938) it had a second home team in the rival Hollywood Stars. The Stars eventually moved to their own new ballpark, Gilmore Field. Prior to 1925, the Angels played at their former home at Washington Park, and before that, at Chutes Park.^

 

 

 

Click HERE to see more in Baseball in Early Los Angeles

 

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Fairfax-Wilshire Area

 
(1922)^ - Aerial view looking northwesterly showing Crescent Ave (later Fairfax Ave) running diagonally from lower-left to center-right where it crosses Wilshire Boulevard and makes a slight bend north towards the Hollywood Hills.  San Vicente runs diagonally from lower-right to upper left and turns up toward West Hollywood.  Note the oil wells scattered across the open land.  

 

Historical Notes

The Fairfax District was little more than bean fields at the turn of the century when Arthur Fremont Gilmore set out to dig a well on his 256-acre dairy farm near West 3rd Street in Fairfax Avenue. But instead of water, Gilmore struck oil. His 1901 discovery is credited with prompting an oil exploration boom in the area- later called the Salt Lake oil fields. Gilmore helped build the Fairfax area into one of the city’s best-known commercial areas (Farmers Market). +#

 

 

 

 
(1920)^ - Aerial view of Crescent Avenue (now Fairfax) and Wilshire Boulevard in 1920 showing undeveloped land with many oil derricks. In the lower part of the photograph is Chaplin Airport. The tree-lined street is Wilshire. The diagonal line at the bottom is actually railroad tracks that would later become San Vicente Bouelvard.  

 

Historical Notes

Chaplin Airfield was located on leased property that is now bounded by Wilshire Boulevard, Fairfax Avenue, and San Vincente Boulevard. The Syd Chaplin Aircraft Corporation advertised that it “maintained a fleet of newest Curtis one and two-passenger aeroplanes, large shops with complete equipment and hangars for our own ships as well as those belonging to business firms and individuals.”

Syd Chaplin was the brother of famed actor Charlie Chaplin.

 

 

 
(1919)^* - Aerial view looking southeast showing crowds of people at Sid Chaplin's airport at the southwest corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Crescent Avenue (now Fairfax Avenue). Dozens of cars are parked in rows in the foreground, with several airplanes parked behind them in the more open field. A vendor tent is visible farther up the image, near more parked cars. A billboard to the left reads "Racine Tires".  

 

Historical Notes

The Chaplin Aircraft Company offered observation flights for $10 and round-trip flights to San Diego for $150 (at a time when the average wage was $1,200 per/year). Obviously, the cost of air travel was very steep and Chaplin’s enterprise had a brief life span. Around 1920 Chaplin sold out to Emory H. Rogers, a business partner, who renamed it Rogers Field.

Click HERE to see more in Aviation in Early L.A.

 

 

 
(1922)^^ - Aerial photograph, looking east, showing the intersection of Wilshire and San Vicente boulevards. San Vicente Boulevard is one of the few major streets in this area of Los Angeles that runs diagonally.  

 

Historical Notes

The main reason that San Vicente Boulevard runs diagonally as it does is because it was built on the Los Angeles Pacific Electric Railway Right-of-way in the early 1900s.  Named for the Rancho San Vicente y Santa Monica that had previously occupied the area, it begins at Venice Boulevard between Crenshaw Boulevard and La Brea Avenue and travels in a northwesterly direction towards Beverly Hills. The roadway splits into two streets past La Cienega Boulevard, with the western branch becoming Burton Way, which eventually becomes Santa Monica Boulevard South and connects directly to downtown Beverly Hills. San Vicente Boulevard itself continues north into West Hollywood and ends at Sunset Boulevard.

A separate stretch of road with the same name, San Vicente Boulevard, runs from Brentwood to Santa Monica. Originally, this  boulevard ran from the Soldiers' Home (Sawtelle Veterans Home) in Los Angeles to Ocean Avenue in Santa Monica. This tree-lined street was 130 feet wide, with trolley lines used by the Los Angeles Pacific Electric Railway running down its center.*^

 

 

 
(1922)^ - Aerial view of Carthay Center, looking west across field of the first Rogers Airport at Wilshire Boulevard and Fairfax Avenue (lower right of photo). Wilshire Boulevard is the tree-lined street seen in the center of the image. The diagonal line running from lower left to upper right is the San Vicente line of the Pacific Electric Railway, later to become San Vicente Boulevard.
 

 

Historical Notes

In 1922, J. Harvey McCarthy developed an upscale residential district along the San Vicente Boulevard line of the Pacific Electric Railway, bounded by Wilshire Blvd. on the north, Fairfax Avenue on the east, Olympic Blvd. on the south and Schumacher Drive on the west. McCarthy originally named the district Carthay Center (Carthay being a derivative of the developer's last name). The areas to the south of Olympic Boulevard remained undeveloped until 1933, when developer Spyros George Ponty built several hundred homes in two districts later named "South Carthay" and "Carthay Square." *^

 

 

 

 
(1922)*#*# - View looking west over Wilshire Boulevard at Crescent Avenue (later Fairfax Ave). Rogers Airfield (previously Chaplin Airfield and DeMille Airfield No.2) can be seen straddling Wilshire Blvd at center of photo. Crescent Ave (later Fairfax Ave) runs horizontally at bottom. The diagonal line (upper-left) are railroad tracks (today, San Vicente Boulevard).  

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1920)^#^# - Parking lot is full as crowds attend air show at DeMille Field No. 2. The sign on top of the structure with the large American Flag reads: DeMille Field No. 2. View is looking northeast near the NW corner of Wilshire and Fairfax.  

 

Historical Notes

Cecil B. DeMille founded the Mercury Aviation Company ( aka Mercury Air Lines ) in 1919. Mercury was the first American airlines to carry air freight and passengers commercially on regularly scheduled runs. It scheduled service to Santa Catalina Island and San Diego, later San Francisco, with Junker-Larsen JL-6 monoplanes. Inaugurated five months before KLM began operations in Europe.^^^

Click HERE to see more in Aviation in Early L.A.

 

 

 
(ca. 1922)^^#^ - Ground view of Rogers Airfield (previously DeMille Field No. 2) on the northwest corner of Fairfax and Wilshire. The Mercury Aviation Company sign can be seen on a hangar in the upper left of photo. The oil derricks seen in the background are part of the Salt Lake Oil Field.  

 

Historical Notes

In the 1890s, dairy farmer Arthur F. Gilmore found oil on his land, probably in the vicinity of the La Brea Tar Pits. The field was named after the Salt Lake Oil Company, the first firm to arrive to drill in the area. The discovery well was spudded (started) in 1902.

Development of the field was fast, as oil wells spread across the landscape, with drillers hoping to match the production boom taking place a few miles to the east at the Los Angeles City field. Peak production was in 1908.  By 1912, there were 326 wells, 47 of which had already been abandoned, and by 1917 more than 450, which had by then produced more than 50 million barrels of oil.  After this peak, production declined rapidly. Land values rose, corresponding to the fast growth of the adjacent city of Los Angeles, and the field was mostly idled in favor of housing and commercial development. The early wells were abandoned; many of their exact locations are not known, and are now covered with buildings and roads.*^

 

 

 
(ca. 1922)^##* - View looking north over the wing of a plane showing the intersection of Crescent Ave (Fairfax) and Wilshire Blvd. A crowded airfield is seen below. In the distance oil derricks straddle Fairfax where 6th Street is located today. In the far background at the foothills can be seen a built-up Hollywood.  

 

 

Click HERE to see more in Aviation in Early L.A.

 

 

 

 

 
(1920)+^^ – View looking east on a two-lane Wilshire Boulevard from near La Brea Avenue.  Signboards, open fields, and oil derricks are about all you can see.  

 

 

 

 
(1922)^ - Aerial view looking north of Wilshire at La Brea. Oil wells may be seen in the area and residential homes in the distance.  

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1922)^##* - View looking north shows numerous cars parked on a lot (center of photo) near the airfield as well as along Wilshire Blvd. and Crescent Ave (Fairfax). Large sign on building in the lower-right center at the intersection of Fairfax and the San Vicente line of the Pacific Electric Railway reads: Albers Oats.  

 

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West Hollywood

 
(1922)^^ - Aerial view of Santa Monica Boulevard looking northeast from Sherman (now, West Hollywood). The buildings in the bottom-left stand at the present-day site of the Pacific Design Center. Santa Monica Boulevard runs left-right, intersecting with Holloway Drive at roughly the center of the photograph. Hollywood is visible in the top-right.  

 

Historical Notes

During the final decade years of the nineteenth century, the first large land development in what would later become West Hollywood—the town of "Sherman"—was established by Moses Sherman and his partners of the Los Angeles and Pacific Railway, an interurban railroad line which later became part of the Pacific Electric Railway system. Sherman became the location of the railroad's main shops, railroad yards, and "car barns". Many working-class employees of the railroad settled in this town. It was during this time that the city began to earn its reputation as a loosely regulated, liquor-friendly (during Prohibition) place for eccentric people wary of government interference. Despite several annexation attempts, the town elected not to become part of the City of Los Angeles.  In a controversial decision, in 1925 Sherman adopted "West Hollywood", "...a moniker pioneered earlier in the decade by the West Hollywood Realty Board" as its informal name. though it remained under the governance of Los Angeles County.*^

 

 

 
(n.d.)* - Residential neighborhood near Santa Monica Blvd. and Gardner Ave. A house with greenery on each side is in the foreground and the background shows additional houses, trees and open spaces.
 

 

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Westwood

 
(1922)^ - Aerial view overlooking Westwood. Photo dated: 1922.
 

 

Historical Notes

Westwood and UCLA were developed on the lands of the historic 'Wolfskill Ranch', a 3,000-acre parcel that was purchased by Arthur Letts, the successful founder of the Broadway, and Bullock's department stores, in 1919. Upon Arthur Lett's death, his son-in-law, Harold Janss, vice president of Janss Investment Company, inherited the land and started to develop the area in 1922.*^

Click HERE to see more of Westwood and UCLA in Early Views of UCLA.

 

 

 
(ca. 1925)^ - View of part of the old Wolfskill Ranch, also known as the Rancho San Jose de Buenos Aires. The house, shown here on the extreme left, occupied the present corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Beverly Glen, and UCLA occupies part of the rancho.  

 

Historical Notes

Rancho San Jose de Buenos Ayres remained intact until John Wolfskill's death in 1913, the last of the ranchos to do so. In 1919 the Wolfskill heirs sold much of the rancho to Englishman Arthur Letts, of The Broadway and Bullock's fame. A huge $2 million investment. He planned to subdivide and develop the northern portion into estates, but died without being able to realize his vision.^#^

 

 

 
(1922)^ - Aerial view of the Westwood area looking north from Pico Boulevard.  

 

Historical Notes

The view above, from about the time of the Letts purchase, shows the land with the Wolfskill ranch house center left, facing the P.E. tracks which run parallel with the site of the as-yet to be built Santa Monica Blvd. Several springs form streams which gather and pass under a bridge over Pico Blvd. at lower left. The line of trees running diagonally toward the hills is Brown's Canyon Road (now Beverly Glen).^#^

Pico Boulevard was named in 1855 for the 14th and last governor of California under Mexican rule, Don Pio Pico, whose grandfather and father had come to the area with a 1776 expedition. Pio Pico, who was born in 1801 at Mission San Gabriel, built the Pico House hotel, the first three-story building in Los Angeles, which still stands.^*^

 

 

 
(1922)^ - Three men with plans in hand examine the area to become Santa Monica Boulevard. Taken in 1922, the photo also shows a billboard announcing Westwood, now open, by Janss Investment Co., in addition to the sign reading, "New 50 Foot Boulevard Starts Here."  

 

Historical Notes

Harold Janss of Janss Investment Company, Arthur Letts son-in-law, was more interested in middle-class homes, as opposed to estates. He started with the southern part of the parcel, diverted the springs into underground pipes, filled in the streams and platted 1,000 home and business lots in a development he named Westwood Hills. "Janss Investment Company" was stamped repeatedly in the wet concrete of the sidewalks. It was known as a "country district". Many families bought three house lots, particularly south of the P.E. tracks, where they were cheaper, using the extra space to grow vegetables and raise chickens and rabbits. Some wealthier homeowners added a tennis court to one extra lot and a swimming pool to the other. Homes had fireplaces for heat and backyard incinerators for trash. With rising land prices after WWII, most of these extra lots were sold off for new houses. One can still notice the pattern in the ages of the homes.

Model homes were built, the usual CC&R's were added, including, as well as the racial ones, the restriction of architecture styles to English, Spanish or Mediterranean, and lots offered for sale as early as 1922. Westwood Village, very large home lots and UCLA will be developed in 1928-29 north of Wilshire.^#^

 

 

 
(1924)^ - View of the new development reaching from Wilshire on the north to Pico on the south and from Westwood Blvd on the west to Fox Hills Drive on the east, with a further small section running SW from Patricia and Pico.
 

 

Historical Notes

The large empty parcel, upper left, within the platted area is the Wolfskill ranch house, on the P.E. route, at the T-junction with Overland Ave, standing alone on twenty-five plus acres. The Harold Lloyd Motion Picture Company's Westwood studio ranch occupied this site a bit after this photo was taken. The northern portion was sold off to build the Saint Paul the Apostle RC church and school circa 1930. Lloyd's declining fortunes caused him to sell the rest to the LDS church in 1937. The church finally built the LDS temple there in 1956.

The area immediately to the east of Fox Hills Drive, once Tom Mix' ranch, will become the present home of 20th Century Fox Studios, stretching from Pico on the south, where it forms a T-junction with Motor Ave. to Santa Monica Blvd on the north. The northern half of the studio will become Century City in the early 1960s. The Los Angeles Country Club, at its third home since 1911, is above the future home of Fox Studios and slightly to the east. Rancho Country Club, taking up the lower quarter of the photo will become Rancho Park Recreation Center and Cheviot Hills Park, to the west of Motor Ave, and Hillcrest Country Club to the east. Beverly Hills and the Beverly Hills Oil Field are on the right margin.^#^

 

 

Click HERE to see more in Early Views of UCLA

 

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Bel-Air

 
(1922)^ - Aerial view looking northeast showing a very undeveloped area of land which would become Bel-Air, with the Santa Monica Mountains in the background.  Spence Airplane Photos  

 

Historical Notes

The community of Bel-Air was founded in 1923 by Alphonzo Bell. Bell owned farm property in Santa Fe Springs, California, where oil was discovered. He bought a large ranch with a home on what is now Bel Air Road and then subdivided and developed the property with large residential lots. He also built the Bel-Air Bay Club in Pacific Palisades and the Bel-Air Country Club. His wife chose Italian names for the streets. She also founded the Bel-Air Garden Club in 1931.

Bell was a native and lifelong resident of Los Angeles whose family had deep financial and historical ties to the area, and played a key role in the history and development of Southern California. He was the son of James George Bell, who established Bell Station Ranch (now the site of the City of Bell), in the Santa Fe Springs area in 1875, and of Susan Albiah Hollenbeck. His uncle, Ed Hollenbeck, who arrived in California in the 1850s, founded the First National Bank, created Los Angeles's public transportation trolley system, and developed eastern portions of Los Angeles County.*^

 

 

 
(1921)^ - An aerial view of the Bel Air district of Los Angeles. Shown are the Danziger, Bell and Chester Kent estates.  

 

Historical Notes

On the undeveloped hillsides of original Bel Air in 1922, Alphonzo Bell built water and sewage pipes, installed underground electric and telephone lines, and planted thousands of trees along winding streets traversing the hilly terrain. *^

 

 

 

 
(1927)^^ – A rural view from the home of Arthur S. Brent in Bel Air.  A break in the stone fences in the foreground reveals the view of the thin, dirt road below. Small trees line the road while much larger trees stand in the open grass fields which blanket the rolling countryside as it extends into the distance.  

 

Historical Notes

Alphonzo Bell refused to sell the original Bel Air allotments to anyone in the film business, though changed his mind with the arrival of the Great Depression. A design committee existed (and still exists to the present day) to preserve the “architectural harmony” of the community, with restrictions including low masses, horizontal lines, pitched roofs, and unobtrusive and harmonious colors, and deed restrictions required land purchasers to spend a minimum of $20,000 on home construction. *^

 

 

 
(1929)^ – View looking southeast as seen from the hills of of Bel-Air.  Oil derricks can be seen in the distance, near where Centruy City is today.  

 

 

 

 
(1929^ - View looking southwest as seen from the hills of Bel Air with the new UCLA campus seen in the background.  To the left of the campus can be seen trees being cultivated on UCLA property, later used for its own landscapping  

 

Historical Notes

Bel-Air is situated about 12 miles west of Downtown Los Angeles and includes some of the foothills of the Santa Monica Mountains. It lies across Sunset Boulevard from the northern edge of the main campus of the University of California, Los Angeles. At the heart of the community sits the Bel-Air Country Club and the Hotel Bel-Air. *^

 

 

 
(1930)* - A panoramic view of the UCLA Westwood campus, shortly after it opened in 1929. View is looking from the golf course of the Bel-Air Country Club. The body of water shown is the Sawtelle Reservoir. The twin towers of Royce Hall are seen in the middle of this photo.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1931)*^#^ – Right panel of a panoramic photo of Bel-Air. View is looking south showing the UCLA campus and Westwood in center-right. The large body of water is the Sawtelle Reservoir and the long two-story building behind it is Marymount College.  

 

 

 

Bel-Air Country Club

 
(1931)*^#^ – Left panel of a panoramic photo of Bel-Air. View is looking northeast showing the Bel-Air Country Club on the left.  

 

Historical Notes

The Bel-Air Country Club was started by Alonzo Bell as a social club. It inlcuded tennis courts and an 18-hole golf course designed by famed golf architect, George C. Thomasand (also designed the Riviera Country Club in 1927) .

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1930)^^ - Photograph of a panoramic view of a golf course at the Bel-Air Country Club.  A caddie can be seen holding up a flag to the left of the center; the flag is labelled with a number "10". A man is observable to the right of the center, dressed in traditional golf clothes. A group of men is visible in the right side, either sitting on a hillside or appearing to be walking towards the sitting men; they are located just behind the first man. Further back to the left, a bridge can be seen that leads to the patio of a large house which is visible in the background. Additional large houses can be seen farther in the back sitting on a series of hills and surrounded by vegetation.  

 

Historical Notes

Alonzo Bell incorporated the Bel-Air Country Club on May 8, 1925. The construction of the clubhouse and golf course was completed in late 1926.  The now famous "Swinging Bridge" walkway over the ravine at hole no. 10 quickly became the Club's architectural landmark. *^

 

 

 

 
(1926)^^ – Close-up view of the Bel-Air Country Club showing a bridge ("The Swinging Bridge") leading to the club house.  

 

Historical Notes

Bell continued to own (and subsidize) the Bel-Air Country Club until 1940 when he transferred to the members of the club legal title to the property and improvements. He died in 1947, at age 72. *^

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1937)^ - Decorative signs point the way to Bel-Air Country Club, Bel-Air Administration Building, and Bel-Air Stables.  

 

 

 

 
(1932)**++ - Map showing Bel-Air, Bel-Air Country Club (center of photo) and adjacent communities.  

 

Historical Notes

Together with Beverly Hills and Holmby Hills, Bel-Air forms the Platinum Triangle of Los Angeles neighborhoods.

 

 

Bel-Air Sunset Gate Entrance

 
(1932)^^ – View showing the newly contsructed Sunset Gate (aka West Gate) entrance to Bel-Air, 10951 Sunset Boulevard. Click HERE to see contemporary view.  

 

Historical Notes

Of several entrances, there are two main ones: (1) the East Gate at Beverly Glen and Sunset Boulevards and (2) the West Gate at Bellagio Drive of UCLA and Sunset Boulevard (seen here), opposite an entrance to UCLA. Bel Air is generally subdivided into three distinct neighborhoods: East Gate Old Bel Air, West Gate Bel Air, and Upper Bel Air.*^

 

 

 

 
(1932)^^ – Profile close-up view showing the Sunset Gate (aka West Gate) at Bellagio Drive and Sunset Boulevard.  

 

 

 

Bel-Air East Gate Entrance

 
(2016)*^ – View showing the East Gate entrance to Bel-Air at Beverly Glen and Susnet Boulevards. Photo by Socccal  

 

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Lincoln Park (Eastlake Park)

 
(Early 1920s)^ - A couple can be seen relaxing and enjoying a nice sunny day as their canopied boat floats across Lincoln Park (Eastlake Park) lake, its surface giving a lovely reflection of the trees in the surrounding area. Several people can be seen on shore at the other end of the lake.  

 

Historical Notes

Lincoln Park was originally created by the City of Los Angeles in 1881, from land donated by John Strother Griffin. It was one of Los Angeles' first parks. It was originally called East Los Angeles Park. By 1901 it had become a major amusement center for the people of Los Angeles, and it was at this time that the name was changed to Eastlake Park. On May 19, 1917, the park was renamed Lincoln Park after Lincoln High School.^

 

 

 

 
(1924)^ - Aerial view of the Selig Zoo. The zoo's entrance is marked by the two arches (right of center), where N. Mission Road (running from upper left to lower center) meets Selig Place (running right center to lower center). This was originally opened as a private zoo in 1885 in downtown Los Angeles.  

 

Historical Notes

In 1911 William Selig opened a zoo on the northern edge of Eastlake Park, and this became one of the main attractions; in 1914 a carousel was added, which drew 150,000 riders a year; and a short while later, an arboretum was erected on the premises that housed a large greenhouse (hothouse) with rare and exotic plants.

On May 19, 1917, the City Council responded to a petition from nearby residents and renamed it Lincoln Park, named after Lincoln High School.^

On April 21, 1976 the carousel was designated Historic Cultural Monument No. 153 by the City of Los Angeles, but was destroyed just a few months later. Click HERE to see the LA Historic Cultural Monuments List.

 

 

Click HERE to see more in Early Southern California Amusement Parks

 

 

 

East Los Angeles

 
(1921)^ - Left panel of a panoramic photo of East Los Angeles, revealing the large agricultural fields that once existed throughout the community. The view is looking north from Whittier Blvd near Atlantic Blvd. A partial view of a billboard for Silverwood’s is seen to the right of this panel; the other half of the billboard can be seen on panel 2.  

 

Historical Notes

East Los Angeles (also called East L.A.) is an unincorporated area in Los Angeles County, forming part of the East Los Angeles Region. It is located immediately east of the Boyle Heights district of Los Angeles, south of the El Sereno district of Los Angeles, north of the city of Commerce, and west of the cities of Monterey Park and Montebello.*^

 

 

 
(1921)^ – Center panel of a panoramic photo looking north from Whittier Blvd near Atlantic Blvd showing agricultural fields in East Los Angeles, with a small cluster of homes scattered in the background. A partial view of a billboard is seen to the left of this panel; the other half of the billboard can be seen in the previous photo.  

 

Historical Notes

At the beginning of the twentieth century, East Los Angeles became a popular immigrant destination. In the early 1900s, Russians, Jews, Japanese, and Mexicans all had a significant presence in the area. Living east of the LA River and working in nearby factories, or traveling by electric rail into downtown Los Angeles, immigrants and their children helped fuel the prosperity of the growing metropolis. By the onset of World War II, East Los Angeles was a nearly exclusively Latino community, soon reinforced by Mexican workers who arrived to man the machines in the area's burgeoning war industries. Although the face of the city of Los Angeles and its surrounding communities has changed considerably, East Los Angeles has maintained this basic character throughout the last sixty years. ++^

 

 

 
(1921)^ - Right panel looking north from Whittier Blvd near Atlantic Blvd showing a wide open area of agricultural fields.  

 

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Hollywood

 
(1922)^ - Passengers getting on streetcar at Santa Monica Boulevard and Gower Street.  

 

 

 

 
(1922)^ - View of two streetcars running down the center of Santa Monica Boulevard near Western Avenue.
 

 

 

 

 
(1920s)^ - View of Western Avenue looking north at its intersection with Santa Monica Boulevard. The Security Trust & Savings Bank Building is on the left hand side; billboards and businesses are across the street. Mt. Lee, tallest peak in the Hollywood Hills, can be seen in the distance.  

 

 

 

 
(1923)^ - View of the intersection of Western Avenue and Santa Monica Boulevard. Pedestrians are seen crossing the street despite the heavy traffic. Note the sporty roadster convertible heading north on Western Ave.  

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1924)^^ - View of Santa Monica Boulevard looking east toward Western Avenue, Hollywood. At left, the Security Trust & Savings Bank Building can be seen on the northwest corner of Western and Santa Monica. On the right, southwest corner, is the Taft Public Market.  

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1924)^^ – View looking north on Western Avenue toward Sunset Boulevard.  The front entrance to William Fox Studio is seen on the left.  

 

Historical Notes

Between 1917 and 1924, William Fox Studio was firmly established at the expanded Dixon Studios in East Hollywood, at the junction of Sunset and Western.

The site still houses an important part of the film-making process, being the home of Color by Deluxe - film processing and post-production company with strong ties to 20th Century Fox. Deluxe was first on the site in 1917.^*#^

 

 

 
(ca. 1923)^ - Bird's eye view looking west on Hollywood Boulevard at Cahuenga. The Hollywood Public Market can be seen in the top center of photo at the corner of Wilcox. In the distance can be seen the three-towered Christie Hotel.  

 

Historical Notes

The eight-story Christie Hotel was considered Hollywood's first skyscraper when it opened in 1922.

 

 

 
(ca. 1923)^^ - View looking west on Hollywood Boulevard at Vine Street. Two-story buildings can be seen on both sides of Hollywood Boulevard, and the very tall, rectangular Guaranty Building can be seen at right at the northeast corner of Hollywood and Ivar.  

 

Historical Notes

The 12-story Guaranty Building is a Beaux Arts office building built in 1923. It's currently owned by the Church of Scientology.*^

 

 

 
(1923)^ - View of Hollywood Boulevard at Cahuenga with traffic and pedestrians waiting to cross. The Security Trust & Savings Bank Building is on the left side of the photograph. In the distance is the Guaranty Building flying an American Flag.  

 

 

 

 
(1922)^ - An aerial view of Hollywood High School from the southwest. There is practice of some kind on the athletic field. Palm trees line the campus on Sunset and Highland. The original 1905 building is on the bottom right. The Household & Fine Arts building is in the middle of the quadrangle and the gymnasium is to its left when facing Highland.  

 

Historical Notes

The school with a student body of 2500 was three blocks from Charlie Chaplin's studio and six blocks from Mary Pickford's and Douglas Fairbanks' studios. The homes bordering the upper side of the campus were just condemned by the city to make room for additional buildings. The original 1905 building is on the bottom right, the Household & Fine Arts building is in the middle of the quadrangle, and the gymnasium is top, center.*

 

 

 
(ca. 1922)^ - Looking west from Sunset Boulevard where it meets Highland Avenue. Hollywood High School can be seen on the northwest corner to the right. It was only six blocks from Mary Pickford's and Douglas Fairbanks' studios.  

 

 

 

 
(1923)+^^ -  Aerial view of the Pickford-Fairbanks Studios located at the corner Santa Monica Boulevard and Formosa Avenue, showing the amazing set for Douglas Fairbanks’ “Thief of Bagdad”.  Note all the open land surrounding the studio.  

 

Historical Notes

This is the lot where Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks established the Pickford-Fairbanks Studios in 1922, later to be renamed United Artists. It is still a studio lot, creatively entitled “The Lot.” +^^

Click HERE to see more early views of the Pickford-Fairbanks Studios.

 

 

(1925)^^ -  View of Hollywood looking north from Rossmore and Rosewood avenues showing Vine Street from Rossmore's north turn near Melrose Avenue. In the distance is the “Hollywoodland” sign.  At top center-left can be seen the Mulholland Dam shortly after it was completed (Dec. 1924).

 

Historical Notes

Rossmore turns into Vine Street north of Melrose Ave in Hollywood.

Vine Street is so named because it went through the vineyard of 1880s US Senator Cornelius Cole. Rossmore was named after Miracle Mile's developer, A.W. Ross. ##*#

 

 

 
(ca. 1925)^^ - View of Vine Street looking north from Barton Avenue towards the Hollywood sign.  

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1925)^^ - Panoramic view of Hollywood looking north on Vine Street from Clinton Street. Residential blocks full of one-story houses fill the foreground, turning into high rise hotel buildings as Vine Street approaches the mountains.  A single “H” as well as the “Hollywoodland” sign are visible. A small section of the Mulholland Dam is visible at left.  

 

Historical Notes

The Mulholland Dam, built in 1924, can be seen at left-center. The dam still exists today but can no longer be seen from this view or from just about anywhere in Hollywood. Click HERE to see more in Mulholland Dam and Hollywood Reservoir.

 

 

 
(ca. 1920s)**^** - Aerial view of the Hollywoodland Sign showing the newly developed land in the foreground. Beyond the Hollywood Hills can be seen the vast amount of open space and farmland of the San Fernando Valley. The HOLLYWOODLAND sign sits below Mt. Lee. Another sign ( just the letter 'H') is seen to the left on top of Mt. Cahuenga.  

 

 

Click HERE to see more in Early Views of Hollywood (1920 +)

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1924)^* - Aerial view overlooking the Hollywood Hills and HOLLYWOODLAND sign into Burbank in the east San Fernando Valley. Farmland and open fields can be seen throughout.  

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1924)^#^ - Panoramic look over the “Hollywoodland” Sign and over the ridge of the Hollywood Hills showing a detailed view of Burbank with streets annotated. Note the vast amount of farmland and open fields.  

 

 

Click HERE to see more in Early Views of the San Fernando Valley

 

 

 

 

 
(1920s)* - Aerial view of Muir Junior High School taken from the east.
 

 

Historical Notes

John Muir Junior High School, located at 5929 S. Vermont Avenue and 62nd Street, was built in 1922 and named for American conservationist John Muir. It served as a junior high school for approximately 72 years, from 1922 to 1994. In September 1994, the school was reconfigured to serve grades 6-8 and renamed John Muir Middle School.*

 

 

 
(1920s)* - Front view of John Muir Junior High School. The sprawling school shows numerous windows, partly opened, and a nicely manicured lawn with young trees planted along the front sidewalk. Three people can be seen walking along the side of the building, probably 62nd Street, and three antique cars are parked on the street.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1923)^^ - Motorcycle stuck in mud at intersection of West Adams Boulevard and Caldwell Avenue (now Ridgley Drive).  Real estate sign behind them reads: WALLECKS WEST ADAMS TRACT - LOTS $850 - EASY TERMS.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1923)^ - View of the intersection of 4th and Main streets. Passengers are making their way onto a streetcar on Main Street (lower left) while pedestrians are seen crossing 4th Street. The ornate Classical Revival style Farmers and Merchants Bank of Los Angeles stands on the southwest corner.  

 

Historical Notes

The Farmers and Merchants Bank was the first incorporated bank in Los Angeles, founded in 1871 by 23 prominent Los Angeles businessmen.  The three largest subscribers were Isaias W. Hellman, former California Governor John G. Downey, and Ozro W. Childs who in later years became the founders of the University of Southern California. Other investors included Charles Ducommun, I.M. Hellman and Jose Mascarel. Downey was named the first president. Isaias later served as president of the bank till his death in 1920.*^

 

 

Adams and Figueroa

 
(1923)^^ - View looking northeast from the balcony of the Dining Room at the Automobile Club Building, showing congestion at the intersection of Adams and Figueroa. The empty lot on the northwest corner is where the St. Vincent Church would be built the next year.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1923)^ - View looking South on Figueroa Street near Adams Blvd. There is heavy traffic in both direction. The Automobile Club of Southern California is seen on the southwest corner. Across the street (n/w corner) is the construction site for the new St. Vincent Church.  

 

Historical Notes

With nearly 70,000 cars passing through each day, the intersection of Adams and Figueroa was the busiest in the United States in the early 1920s .*+*

 

 

 
(1923)+^^ – View looking north on Figueroa Street at Adams Boulevard.  At the N/W corner can be seen part of the construction site for the St. Vincent Catholic Church. At the center of the intersection is an odd looking device.  It was an experimental traffic signal called “American Bobby”.  

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1924)^ - A construction fence and temporary buildings surround the St. Vincent Catholic Church, 621 W. Adams Blvd., as it is being built. Scaffolding is on the dome and sides. Limestone blocks for the facade lie on the ground in front of the entrance. The surrounding neighborhood has stately homes with extensive grounds.  

 

Historical Notes

The St. Vincent Catholic Church was built in the 1920s and designed by architect Albert C. Martin, Sr. Dedicated in 1925, it was located in what was then one of the wealthiest sections of the city, on land adjacent to the Edward Doheny Mansion and Stimson House. It was the second Roman Catholic church in Los Angeles to be consecrated.*^

 

 

 
(ca. 1925)^ - View of a newly completed St. Vincent Catholic Church located at the northwest corner of Adams and Figueroa St.  

 

Historical Notes

St. Vincent de Paul Roman Catholic Church was a gift from oil magnate and benefactor Edward Laurence Doheny I, who drilled Los Angeles' first oil well in 1892.^

In 1971, Saint Vincent de Paul Church was dedicated Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument No. 90 (Click HERE for complete listing).

Click HERE to see more Early Views of the St. Vincent Catholic Church.

 

 

 
(1926)^ - Figueroa Street looking northwest toward West Adams Boulevard. On the left is the Automobile Club of Southern California and St. Vincent Catholic Church.  

 

Historical Notes

The building pictured here originally served as the Auto Club's main office. It was built between 1922-1923 by architects, Sumner P. Hunt, Silas R. Burns, and Roland E. Coate in the Spanish Colonial Revival style. Today, this building serves as the Los Angeles district office, but the administrative offices are now located in Costa Mesa.^

 

 

 
(1920s)^ - Exterior view of the Automobile Club of Southern California, located at 2601 S. Figueroa St. on the southwest corner of Adams and Figueroa. Three cars can be seen waiting for the unuusal looking traffic signal (located in the center of the intersection) to change.
 

 

Historical Notes

The Automobile Club of Southern California was once responsible for producing state road maps, as well as posting thousands of porcelain-to-steel traffic signs throughout the state to create a uniform signing system - which it continued to do until the task was taken over by the State of California in the mid-1950s.^

The Automobile Club Building was designated LA Historic-Cultural Monument No. 72 (Click HERE to see complete listing).

 

 

 

 
(1920s)*+* – View showing a man on a ladder making adjustments to an experimental traffic signal situated in the middle of the intersection of Adams and Figueroa, near the Automobile Club (out of view). Photo Courtesy of the Automobile Club.  

 

Historical Notes

Los Angeles experimented by placing signals in the middle of a few of its busiest intersections. Nicknamed the “American Bobby” since it stood in the same place as a London traffic control officer, the new signal stood high atop a tall stanchion. Its location in the center of the intersection may have presented a traffic hazard, but the red and green lights, which replaced the unreliable semaphore arms, were easily visible to motorists in all four directions. In May 1924, the Automobile Club of Southern California installed one of the first American Bobby signals—pictured above in a photo from the Auto Club Archives—outside the club headquarters at Adams and Figueroa.*+*

 

 

* * * * *

 

 

Downtown

 
(1924)^ - View looking west toward the intersection of Sunset Boulevard and Figueroa Street. A Gilmore service station can be seen on the southwest corner. The Orsini Apartment Complex is now situated at this site.  

 

Historical Notes

The portion of Sunset Boulevard east of Figueroa Street was renamed Cesar Chavez Avenue in 1994 along with Macy Street and Brooklyn Avenue in honor of the late Mexican-American union leader and civil rights activist.*^

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1924)^^ – View looking north on Broadway from 3rd Street. On the northeast corner is United Cigars, a store with a sign advertising Tareyton Cigarettes, 20 for 25¢.  

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1924)^^ - View of a busy Main Street looking north from 4th Street. Notice the decorative 5-bulb lamp posts running along both sides of the street. Click HERE to see more in Early Los Angeles Street Lights.  

 

Historical Notes

The four prominent buildings seen above at the intersection of 4th and Main are the:  Van Nuys Hotel (N/W), Westminster Hotel (N/E), Farmers and Merchants Bank Building (S/W), and San Fernando Building (S/E). The bank building features Greek-like architecture while the other buildings along the street are more contemporary.

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1924)^^ – View looking north on Spring Street from 4th Street.  The street is busy with pedestrian, automobile and trolley car traffic. Prominent buildings are the Angelus Hotel (at left), Hogan Building (at left), and California Bank Building (at right).  

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1924)^^ - View of Spring Street from below 6th Street. The street is busy with pedestrian, automobile and street car traffic.  

 

Historical Notes

The Mad-House Lunch room (ground floor of the Bixby Building) on the extreme right next door (going north or to the left) to the Seaboard National Bank Building with the lovely arched portico, the Western Union Office and the Grosse Building on the corner. Across the street we've got the very dark (appearing) Hotel Hayward on the SW corner of Spring and 4th Streets and across 4th Street the bright, white collumned Trust &Savings Building with the short, formal Desmond's Building next door and up the block, in the shadows, the Arcade Building at 541 S. Spring Street.#^

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1924)^^ - View of the 700 block of Spring Street looking north from 8th Street. The street is busy with pedestrian, automobile and railway car traffic.  

 

Historical Notes

Legible signs include: "W.A. Douglass, merchant tailor", "auto park", "Chas H. Clark Co., Jewelers", on a railway car "Moneta Ave. via [...] to 116th St.", "I.N. Van Nuys building", "United Cigar Stores", "State Mutual Building and Loan Association", "Republic Life", and "Blue Prints".^^

 

 

 

 
(1923)^^ – View looking east on 8th Street at Hill Street.  The May Company Building (previously Hamburger’s Department Store) is seen on the southeast corner.  

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1923)^  -  View looking north on Broadway at 8th Street showing a streetcar sharing the road with early model cars, most of them with their tops down.  Barker Bros. is seen in the foreground on the right.  In the distance, on the northwest corner of Broadway and 7th Street, stands the Bullock's Department Store with large flag above its roof.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1920s)^#*^ – Postcard view of a “Busy Broadway” looking south from Sixth Street. On the right can be seen Bullock’s Department Store and Kress Shoes.  On the left stands the Orpheum Theatre.  

 

Historical Notes

The Orpheum (at 630 S. Broadway) became the Palace when the Orpheum circuit moved into their extravagant new home at 842 S. Broadway in 1926.^#*^

Note the ornate 2-lamp streetlights running up and down Broadway.  Click HERE to see more in Early Los Angeles Streetlights.

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1924)^^ – View looking north on Broadway at Seventh Street. The Bullocks Department Store stands at the northwest corner. The sidewalks are crowded with pedestrians, while streetcars and automobiles can be seen in the road.  

 

 

 

 
(1925)^^ – View looking north on Broadway toward 7th Street.  American flags hang on wires that cross the street in preparation for the Shriner’s parade. The streetlight posts have been decorated to look like palm trees. The sidewalks that border the street are packed with pedestrians.  

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1920s)^ - Exterior view of Yit Sing, a Chinese merchant at 757-1/2 North Alameda Street.  

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1924)^ - Aerial view of the Los Angeles Plaza and surrounding buildings. The streets from top to bottom are: Alameda Street running diagonlly at the upper left, Los Angeles Street, and Main Street. Nearly half the buildings to the right of the Plaza (south of the Plaza) were demolished in the 1950s to make way for the Hollywood Freeway.  

 

Historical Notes

The sole occupant of the entire city block bounded by Los Angeles, Marchessault, and Alameda streets (upper left corner of the photo) was a sturdy, square, two-story brick structure. Built originally for a furniture factory, it was later remodeled to serve as a headquarters of  the Los Angeles Water Department’s predecessor, the Los Angeles City Water Company.

Click HERE to see more in Water Department's Original Office Building.

 

 

 
(ca. 1925)^ - The Plaza Church on Main Street across from the Plaza and Olvera Street. Behind the streetcar is the Hotel Pacific, the office of Philip Morici and Co., "Agencia Italiana," and the grocery store of Giovanni Piuma, who also made wine (Piuma Road in Malibu was named for him). The area north of the Plaza was at this time an Italian neighborhood.  

 

 

Click HERE to see more in Early Views of the Los Angeles Plaza

 

 

 

 

 
(1924)^ - Aerial view of Downtown Los Angeles as seen from 6th Street and Grand Avenue. Pershing Square can be seen in the center of the photo. Some identifiable buildings include: The Brack Shops on the lower right, the Bible Institute and Hotel Savoy on the lower left, the Detwiler Building center right, and Biltmore Hotel center left.
 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1924)^ - Aerial view looking northwest of Pershing Square, the Biltmore Hotel, and preparation of the State Normal School site for the construction of Los Angeles Central Library (upper-left corner).  

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1924)^ - This is the site of the former Los Angeles State Normal School, and future site of Central Library of the Los Angeles Public Library. The area has been dug out for the foundation and work is well under way. The dark building on the left is the Biltmore Hotel, the large white building in the background is the Pacific Mutual Building, and the building on the extreme right is Hotel Savoy.
 

 

 

 

 
(1925)^ - Photograph shows construction of the Los Angeles Central Library, located at 630 W. Fifth Street; view is looking north on Hope Street. The structure, which is almost complete, shows scaffolding along the entire south side as well as surrounding the tower at the top. A sign posted above the tunnel entrance, at the end of this street reads: "Weymouth Crowell Co. - General Contractors". The Wayland Apts. offering "low rates" is visible on the left corner next to Savoy Auto Park, whose rates are .25 cents all day, or $5.00 per month. The large white building on the right is the Bible Institute, later to become Church of the Open Door/Biola Institute, located at 555 S. Hope Street. Numerous automobiles are parked on both sides of the street.  

 

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Westlake Park (Later MacArthur Park)

 
(1920s)^ - A man enjoying the afternoon in a canoe at Westlake Park (later MacArthur Park).  

 

Historical Notes

Westlake was one of the first areas of Los Angeles west of Figueroa Street to see residential development. By the 1920s Westlake resembled the Upper East Side of Manhattan (complete with a large Jewish population). Wealthy businessmen commuted to downtown, Wilshire Center (now Koreatown), Hollywood, and the Miracle Mile from the district's Spanish Revival and Art Deco mansions. The district's less affluent northeastern blocks also became the home of Los Angeles' Filipino population, much of which remains in Westlake and nearby neighborhoods to this day.**

Westlake Park was renamed MacArthur Park on May 7, 1942.*^

 

 

 
(ca. 1923)^ - Aerial view of Westlake Park looking east. 6th Street runs from bottom to top at the left of photo. 7th Street runs from lower-right to right-center. Wilshire dead-ends at the lake between 6th and 7th at center bottom-right. Orange Street picks-up on the other side of the lake, opposite the Wilshire dead-end, and extends to downtown Los Angeles.  

 

Historical Notes

Some have called Wilshire Boulevard “The backbone of Los Angeles.” The city used to pretty much end at MacArthur Park, which at the time was called Westlake Park. Then they built a causeway over the lake and extended Wilshire to meet the former Orange Street, which was re-named, and now reaches the ocean. It’s probably the busiest street in Los Angeles.*^

 

 

 
(1924)^ - Aerial view of the northwest corner of Westlake Park showing the new Elks Club Building (built in 1923-24) and surrounding area. At lower-left can be seen Wilshire Boulevard which dead-ends at the lake. 6th Street runs diagonally from lower-right to upper-left.  

 

Historical Notes

The Elks Club Building was originally designed for the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks (B.P.O.E). by renowned Art Deco architect Claud Beelman, during the time he was a Senior Partner at the prestigious firm he co-owned in the 1920s, Curlett and Beelman.*^

 

 

 
(ca. 1925)^ - Aerial view of Westlake Park looking east toward downtown Los Angeles from a higher elevation. 6th Street runs from bottom to top on the left of photo. Wilshire Boulevard ends at the west side of the lake (lower center). 7th Street is on the south (right).  

 

Historical Notes

Wilshire Boulevard formerly ended at the lake on its west side, but in the early 1930s a berm was proposed to be built to cross and link up with the existing Orange Street (which ran from Alvarado to Figueroa) into downtown Los Angeles. Orange Street was later renamed Wilshire and extended east of Figueroa to Grand Ave. This divided the lake into two halves; the northern one was subsequently drained.*^

 

 

 
(1931)^ - Drawing of the proposed bridge to carry Wilshire Boulevard across Westlake Park. The plan was also to widen Orange Street between Alvarado and Figueroa and then rename it Wilshire Boulevard.  

 

Historical Notes

Photo Caption reads, "This plan for a bridge to carry Wilshire Boulevard across Westlake Park was under consideration by the city park board today. The drawing shows how the structure, with a 70-foot boulevard-width roadway and 6-foot sidewalks, would curve across the park and an arm of the lake. The plan, developed by Lincoln Rogers, former New York park board architect, and submitted by the Wilshire Boulevard Association, would cost approximately $250,000. Its advocates say that the cost would be less than a suspension bridge, straightaway bridge or tunnel". ^

The plan: widen and rename Orange Street, bridge the lake to link the two sections of Wilshire, and then extend the boulevard through several dense city blocks into the heart of downtown.

Local residents protested, and the dispute made its way to the state supreme court, which eventually allowed the construction to proceed.**#

 

 

 
(1931)^^ –  View of Orange Street (later Wilshire Boulevard) looking west from Bonnie Brae Street before widening, March 2, 1931. Orange Street is at center and is a narrow paved street with early automobiles parked on both sides. The eight-story Wilshire Medical Building can be seen at right, while another tall building can be seen at left. Tall trees can be seen in the distance at center which are on Alvarado Street fronting Westlake Park.  

 

Historical Notes

Despite enormous costs, the city completed the downtown portion first. Beginning in late 1930, workers demolished buildings, took up foundations, and filled in basements to extend Wilshire Boulevard three blocks between Figueroa and Grand. By the time it opened in September 1931, the 971-foot extension had cost $3.2 million -- all but $67,000 spent on demolishing the buildings that stood in the way and compensating their owners.**#

After widening, Orange Street was renamed Whilshire Boulevard between Alvarado and Figueroa streets.

 

 

 
(1937)^^ - View of Wilshire Boulevard (previously Orange Street) at Bonnie Brae Street looking west toward Westlake Park after street widening and building renovation. The eight-story Wilshire Medical Building can still be seen on the north side of Wilshire (right). The south side of Wilshire looks completely new.  

 

Historical Notes

The widening of what had been Orange Street (between Figueroa and Westlake Park) left wounds. Workers either tore down structures fronting the street, or, in the case of the Rex Arms apartment building, cleaved off the fronts of the buildings to accommodate the wider road.**#

 

 

 
(1934)^^ - View looking east. Completed in 1934, a causeway connected Wilshire Boulevard with Orange Street, linking the grand boulevard with downtown Los Angeles. Orange was renamed Wilshire.  

 

Historical Notes

On December 7, 1934, city officials celebrated the opening of the Wilshire causeway through Westlake Park. Millions of dollars had been expended, residents and businesses had been displaced, and one of the city's preeminent public spaces had been sacrificed, but Wilshire Boulevard finally linked downtown to the sea.**#

 

 

 
(1934)^ - Panoramic view of Westlake Park looking west on Wilshire from Alvarado shortly after the bridge over the lake was constructed.  

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1934)^#^ – Street view looking northwest showing "Wilshire Blvd. thru West Lake Park". Note the beautiful streetlights lining both sides of the boulevard. Click HERE to see more in Early Views of Los Angeles Streetlights.  

 

Historical Notes

On May 7, 1942, the Los Angeles Park Commission renamed Westlake Park in honor of Gen. Douglas MacArthur. The decision to rename the park, which had been known as Westlake Park for more than 50 years, was made in preparation for an observance of MacArthur Day on June 13th.*^

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1940s)^ - Aerial view of the Westlake and Wilshire District, looking west. MacArthur Park with its large lake is visible in the foreground and a smaller lake, also part of MacArthur Park, is on the right. Wilshire Blvd., which is the curved street (lower middle), has separated the park and lake. Wilshire now runs 15.8 miles from Grand Avenue in Downtown Los Angeles to Ocean Avenue in the City of Santa Monica. Click HERE to see more in Early Views of Santa Monica.  

 

Historical Notes

MacArthur Park was designated city of Los Angeles Historic Cultural Monument #100. Click HERE to see the LA Historic-Cultural Monuments List.

 

Click HERE to see more Views of Westlake Park as it appeared in the 1880s.

 

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Western Avenue

 
(1895)^^ - View showing the Los Angeles Times Bicycle Club on Western Avenue north of Pico.  

 

Historical Notes

Western Avenue, apart from Sepulveda Boulevard, is one of the longest north–south streets in Los Angeles. The name of the street is derived from its history as the westernmost border of Los Angeles before annexations in the early 20th century expanded the city.

Western Avenue eventually ends north of Franklin Avenue in the Hollywood Hills. It swerves to become an east/west street, Los Feliz Boulevard.*^

 

 

 

 
(1920s)^ - View of Western Avenue, looking north from Beverly Blvd. toward the Hollywood Hills. Several businesses and automobiles can be seen along Western with residential homes riddling the rest of the view.
 

 

 

 

 

 
(1924)^^ - View looking north on Western Avenue at Beverly Blvd. This intersection looks like its in need of a traffic signal. Note the unusual triangular sign attached to a power pole on the upper right. It reads: CAR STOP.  

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1924)^^ - View of Western Avenue looking north from 1st Street toward the Hollywood Hills.  

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1924)^^ - View looking north on Western Avenue at 6th Street.  

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1924)^^ - View of Western Avenue looking north from 7th Street. Automobiles and a horse-drawn carriage make their way towards the viewer at left, while other traffic, a small bus amidst it, moves down the paved road to the right.  

 

Historical Notes

Horses continued to march down (and foul up) Los Angeles streets well into the 1920s. Not until 1924 had the balance of power tilted to motorists such that city leaders felt comfortable banning horse-drawn vehicles from downtown during rush-hour -- a traffic-relief measure that remains on the books to this day.**#

 

 

 
(ca. 1924)^^ – View showing the intersection of Western and Vernon avenues. One automobile crosses the width of the image on Vernon, while the majority of the other autos, including a bus and a lightly-colored car, make their way up and down Western. On the corner to the left, the two-story brick building of the Bernard Drug Company can be seen, just in front of the Benson Market building, where pedestrians can be seen making their way along the sidewalk. More pedestrians can be seen crossing the intersection at the extreme right of the photo.  Gas at the Gas Station on the right is going for 17 cents/gallon.  Click HERE to see more early LA Gas Stations.  

 

 

Wilshire and Western

 
(ca. 1924)^^ - Street view looking north on Western Avenue at Wilshire Boulevard. Note the traffic signal in the middle of the intersection.  

 

Historical Notes

Los Angeles experimented by placing signals in the middle of a few of its busiest intersections. Nicknamed the “American Bobby” since it stood in the same place as a London traffic control officer, the new signal stood high atop a tall stanchion. Its location in the center of the intersection may have presented a traffic hazard, but the red and green lights, which replaced the unreliable semaphore arms, were easily visible to motorists in all four directions..*+*

 

 

 
(1924)^ - Aerial view of the intersection of Wilshire Boulevard (running bottom left to upper right) and Western Avenue with traffic signal in the middle of intersection. Both corners on the right side of the picture are so far undeveloped, although there is a real estate office on one corner.  

 

Historical Notes

The Pellissier Building and Wiltern Theatre would be built in 1931 on the southeast corner of Wilshire and Western (upper-right), where the real estate office is locted.

 

 

 
(1926)^ – Rooftop view looking east on Wilshire Boulevard showing stopped cars while cross traffic on Western Avenue passes.  Across the street on the S/E Corner (upper-right) stands a real estate office building. This will be the location of the Pellissier Building and Wiltern Theatre.  

 

 

 
(1926)^ - Street view looking east on Wilshire Boulevard from Western Avenue showing newly installed traffic signal.  

 

 

 

 
(1926)^ - View looking west on Wilshire Boulevard at Western Avenue. Traffic is stopped whiule a pedestrian crosses Wilshire.   

 

Historical Notes

By the 1930s and 1940s, Wilshire and Western would become the nation's busiest intersection, and the Miracle Mile would emerge as an important retail center.**#

Click HERE to see more Early Views of the Wilshire and Western intersection (1929 - 1931).

 

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(ca. 1924)^ - View showing the intersection of 3rd and Rampart with a billboard in the background advertising for Desmond’s Clothing Store.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1924)^^ - View of a man standing in the doorway of Burrows & Johnson Hardware Store, at 3755 S. Vermont Ave.  Another man is leaning on a truck parked diagonally against the curb.  

 

Historical Notes

The Burrows & Johnson Store on the corner of 37th St. and Vermont Ave. was one of many businesses lining Vermont near the University of Southern California (USC).  A tailor’s shop is seen next door.  This building and the house behind it are now a gravel empty lot.^*#*

 

 

 
(1925)^*#* - View from the USC Student Union building, looking north at Bovard and University Avenue (now Trousdale).  

 

Historical Notes

Behind the line of graduates can be seen some of University Avenue before USC took over.  There is a row of stores along the street, and the roof of the Shrine Auditorium is visible in the background.  The two story commercial building on the corner is now where Von Kleinsmid Center is located.^*#*

 

 

 
(1926)^^ -- View of the USC Academic Serpentine of '26 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The President, deans and faculties advance through the rows of graduates who are about to receive their diplomas in the stadium, June 5th, 1926  

 

 

Click HERE to see more in Early Views of USC

 

 

 

Rancho La Cienega O' Paso de la Tijera

 
(1924)^ - Panoramic view of Rancho Cienega O' Paso de la Tijera located on the 2400 block of S. Crenshaw Boulevard in the Baldwin Hills area, looking east. It shows an adobe, as well as several small buildings and a few trees, clustered inside a fenced-in area.  

 

Historical Notes

Rancho La Cienega O' Paso de la Tijera was a series of adjoining adobe structures located on the eastern side of the Baldwin Hills in an area determined to be approximately 4,481 acres.

The unusual title of the Rancho is actually two names combined: "La Cienega" ("The Swamp"), refers to the marshes in the area between Baldwin Hills and Beverly Hills; the latter half of the name "Paso de la Tijera" ("Pass of the Scissors"), was a name used by the early Spanish to describe the pass through the nearby hills that resembled an open pair of scissors.^

 

 

 

 
(1924)^ - View of Rancho Cienega O' Paso de la Tijera shows two adobes, a single-story on the left, and a two-story on the right; another smaller building is visible in the background between the adobes.  

 

Historical Notes

The Rancho La Cienega O' Paso de la Tijera area remained unclaimed for many years following the first Spanish settlements in California. Squatters from the pueblo considering these lands public and built the La Tijera adobe as early as 1790 or 1795 for the purpose of raising cattle on surrounding land. In 1843, Manuel Michaeltorrena (then Mexican Governor of Alta California) formally granted Rancho La Cienega O' Paso de la Tijera to Vicente Sánchez.

In more recent years, a portion of Rancho La Cienega O' Paso de la Tijera became the center of Sunset Fields public golf links located at 3725 Don Felipe Drive, off Crenshaw Boulevard. In 1959, Bernadette Fathers sold the property to Park View Women's Club.^

Rancho La Cienega O' Paso de la Tijera was declared Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument No. 487 on May 1, 1990 (Click HERE to see complete listing).

 

 

Click HERE to see more Early Views of Rancho La Cienega O' Paso de la Tijera

 

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Olympic and La Cienega

 
(1924)^ - Aerial view looking east from Western, towards Olympic Boulevard, La Cienega and Carthay Circle.
 

 

 

 

 
(1924)^ - Another aerial view looking east from Western, towards Olympic Boulevard, La Cienega and Carthay Circle.
 

 

 

Beverly Hills

 
(ca. 1924)^ - A panoramic view of Beverly Hills and neighboring cities, seen from an airplane. Especially noticeable is an area where 6 roads all meet. To the left of that intersection the Beverly Hills Hotel can be seen.  

 

Historical Notes

Two years before Beverly Hills became an incorporated city, the Beverly Hills Hotel opened on May 12, 1912; the hotel initially included the main building and twenty-three separate bungalows in the Mediterranean Revival style, designed by Elmer Grey. In the 1940s, a new wing was added to the east side of the main building. Eighty years after it opened, the hotel closed for two and a half years for a complete restoration. The hotel was named the first historic landmark in Beverly Hills on September 12, 2012.^

 

 

 
(ca. 1924)^ - Aerial view of Beverly Hills, with the Beverly Hills Hotel in the foreground, located on Sunset Blvd. A number of homes have been built in the development. Elmer Grey was the architect of the hotel, built in Mission Revival style in 1911-1912.  

 

 

Click HERE to see more Early Views of Beverly Hills.

 

 

 

San Pedro Harbor

 
(ca. 1924)^ - Aerial view of Point Fermin, Palos Verdes and hills, government breakwaters and the outer harbor. Ships can be seen in the harbor.  

 

Historical Notes

After the Panama Canal opened in 1914, the Port of Los Angeles became the natural port-of-call for most transpacific and coastal users.^^##

 

 

Click HERE to see more in Early Views of San Pedro and Wilmington

 

 

 

 

 
(1923)*#^ – Birdseye view of the Southland showing the beachfront communities between Santa Monica and Long Beach.  Note the undeveloped land between Los Angeles and the ocean.  At left can be seen the proposed site of a new Universtiy in Palos Verdes.  Turns out this was one of the sites proposed for the UCLA campus.  

 

Historical Notes

UCLA as well as Cal State Dominquez were both almost located in Rancho Palos Verdes: A section of 1,000 acres was originally set aside by the planners of the Palos Verdes Project for a University campus, In November 1921, a proposal was made for the relocation of the southern branch of the University of California , which later became UCLA. This land was in the center of the Palos Verdes Peninsula where Peninsula High School, the Peninsula Shopping Center, and the Avenue of the Peninsula Shopping Center is located.*#^

 

 

Palos Verdes Peninsula

 
(1924)^ - Aerial view of the Palos Verdes Peninsula, looking southeast towards Point Fermin.  San Pedro Harbor can be seen in the background.  

 

 

 

 
(1923)^ - Panoramic view from Palos Verdes Drive North looking southwestwardly toward the early construction of Malaga Cove Plaza.  

 

Historical Notes

The plaza, library, and original homes were built starting in the late 1920s. At the center of the historic plaza is the King Neptune Fountain which is a copy of a famous statue in Bologna, Italy that was presented as a gift to the City of Palos Verdes Estates.^***

At the time of the city's incorporation in 1939, the business and shop area around Malaga Cove had most of the Peninsula's earlier buildings. The Malaga Cove Plaza building of the Palos Verdes Public Library, designed by Pasadena architect Myron Hunt, was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1995.*^

 

 

 
(ca. 1937)^ - The 19th century white marble fountain in the center of the Malaga Cove Plaza is decorated with dolphins, sea shells and a mermaid, and topped by the heroic figure of Neptune, the god of the sea who looks out at the ocean.  

 

Historical Notes

This 19th century white marble fountain in the center of the Malaga Cove Plaza in Palos Verdes Estates, is a replica of the famous bronze Neptune fountain in Bologna, Italy, and was part of an old villa in Venice for more than a century before it was donated to the city in 1930. It was restored in 1997.^

 

 

 
(1925)^ - Aerial view of Palos Verdes.  Most of the land on the peninsula and beyond is yet to be developed.  

 

 

 

 
(1926)^ - A scenic point of the Palos Verdes Peninsula, showing La Venta Inn in Palos Verdes Estates and the coastline from Redondo Beach on.  

 

Historical Notes

Built in 1923, La Venta Inn was the first structure on the peninsula. Architects Walter and Pierpont Davis designed the building and the famous landscape architects, the Olmstead brothers.^

 

 

 
(1930)^^ - Exterior view of the La Venta Inn at night, Palos Verdes, April 1930.  

 

Historical Notes

In the 1920's, the La Venta Inn became a famous black-tie restaurant and in the 1930's, a weekend tourist retreat for such notable people as Charles Lindberg, Tyrone Power, Cary Grant and Gloria Swanson. During World War II, La Venta's tower was utilized as a 24 hour lookout point for the US Coast Guard.**##

 

* * * * *

 

 

Playa Del Rey

 
(ca. 1924)^ - Aerial view of Playa Del Rey showing the area called "Surfridge".  

 

Historical Notes

A small airfield opened to the east of Surfridge in 1928. It became a popular location for residents to see air shows.

The growing number of commercial flights into Los Angeles following World War II meant a higher number of planes flying low over Surfridge. Many residents learned to co-exist with the noise from propeller planes, but jet engines were impossible to ignore.

In the 1960s and 1970s, the Sufridge area was condemned and acquired by the City of Los Angeles in a series of eminent domain purchases to facilitate airport expansion (LAX) and to address concerns about noise from jet airplanes. Home owners were forced to sell their property to the City. Several homeowners sued the City and remained in their houses for several years after the majority of houses were vacated. Eventually all the houses were either moved or demolished.*^

 

 

Venice Canals

 
(1924)^ - Looking straight ahead at the houses you see a complex of rental bungalows known as United States Island. It was accessible only by the foot bridges seen on either side of it. In this view, looking north, Altair Canal is on the left and Cabrillo Canal on the right.  

 

 

Santa Monica Pier

 
(1924)^ - View shows an amusement park, complete with wooden roller coaster, on the Santa Monica pier.  

 

Historical Notes

The Santa Monica Municipal Pier opened in 1909 and was the first pier on the west coast to use reinforced concrete pilings. It was thirty-six feet wide and stretched 1200 feet into the Pacific Ocean. In 1916, Charles I.D. Looff constructed a Moorish-Byzantine hippodrome, which housed a merry-go-round with 44 hand-crafted horses, a billiards and bowling hall, a two-track Blue Streak Racer wooden roller coaster along with The Whip and the Aeroscope thrill rides, a "What Is It?" maze, and several smaller rides. Looff's opening day, July 4, 1917, drew over 100,000 people; the biggest crowd in the city's history.^

In 1987, the Santa Monica Looff Hippodrome was added to the National Registry of Historic Places.

 

 

Venice Pier

 
(ca. 1925)^ - Aerial view of Venice, its beach and pier. The canals are visible at the extreme right.  

 

 

Click HERE to see more in Early Views of Southern California Amusement Parks

 

 

 

Southland Beaches

 
(1925)^ - The ocean water is filled with people swimming or playing, and the beach is likewise filled with people and umbrellas (to keep off the sun). The view is looking north towards Ocean Park where some buildings and part of Lick Pier are visible.  

 

 

Click HERE to see more early views of Southland Beaches in Early Views of Santa Monica

 

 

 

San Fernando Valley

 
(1924)^ - Aerial view of Woodland Hills (Girard) in 1924.  

 

Historical Notes

Victor Girard Kleinberger was a land huckster with big dreams. Born in Kentucky, he began his sales career peddling Persian rugs -- fakes, of course -- door to door. Girard's modus operandi was to shove the rolled-up rug into the door frame (thus preventing the door from being slammed shut on him) and begin coughing profusely -- all the while mumbling about tuberculosis and priceless rugs.

It was a ruse that apparently worked, and by 1899, with his fortune already made, the 18-year-old Girard (he had dropped his last name) headed west to Los Angeles, where he branched out into other enterprises, including real estate.*##

In 1922, Girard Kleinberger bought 2,886 acres in the west San Fernando Valley and founded the town of Girard. He sought to attract residents and businesses by developing an infrastructure, advertising in newspapers, and planting 120,000 trees.  His 300 pepper trees forming an arch over Canoga Ave. between Ventura Boulevard and Saltillo St. are Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument #93 in 1972 (Click HERE to see the LA Historic-Cultural Monuments List***).

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1924)^ - This is the intersection of today's Ventura Boulevard (foreground) and Topanga Canyon Boulevard, in the real estate development of Girard.  

 

Historical Notes

Although Girard Kleinberger's early efforts were criticized as providing only a dubious facade of economic activity (local lore has it that in order to attract development he erected false store fronts on Ventura Boulevard, for which he spent time in jail), the Girard Golf Course completed in 1925 continues to operate today as the Woodland Hills Country Club, and his scheme was ultimately successful in attracting interest in the community.

In 1941 the community was renamed Woodland Hills. Harry Warner, of the Warner Bros. Studio, bought 1,100 acres in the area in the 1940s for a horse ranch, named Warner Ranch. The modern Warner Center commercial zone is named for Harry and features high-rise buildings, hotels, and shopping centers.*^

 

 

Click HERE to see more in Early Views of the San Fernando Valley

 

 

Mulholland Highway

 
(1920s)*^#^ - William Mulholland (far left), Moses Sherman (2nd from left), Harry Chandler (center) and a group of men posing next to a "Mulholland Highway" sign while out examining the Mulholland Dam site.  

 

Historical Notes

Mulholland Highway (later Mulholland Drive) has its origins in 1921 as a scenic drive, with the “working name” of Skyline Drive, engineered by DeWitt Reaburn.  The scenic drive was engineered in small sections, with work actually beginning at several points along the route simultaneously.  The road was originally planned to encompass a right of way of 200 feet and intended to be 20 miles long, taking a mere two years to complete. 

For reasons, some to honor Mulholland, but mostly to use his stature and accomplishments to silence opposition, the most traveled scenic highway conceived as Skyline Drive became Mulholland Highway. ##**

 

 

 

 
(1924)^^ - View of over a dozen early model cars clustered at the opening of the Mulholland Highway. Three rows of early automobiles make their way up the hill and through the mountains on the Mulholland Highway. Rocks and scrub vegetation cover the slopes to either side, a parked car and a wooden platform visible to the right, just off the road. At the peak of the hill, a banner is hung between two trees.  

 

Historical Notes

This winding ridgeline road in the Santa Monica Mountains was dedicated in honor of William Mulholland, the water engineer who designed the Los Angeles Aqueduct, on Dec. 27, 1924. Originally dirt and called Mulholland Highway, the name was changed to Mulholland Drive in 1939. Portions of the original road remain unpaved.^*

 

 

 

 
(1924)^#*^ – Closer view showing dignitaries assembling near a banner which reads:  Welcome Mulholland Highway - December 27, 1924 – 55 Miles of Scenic Splendor – The Gift of Los Angeles to her 1,250,000 Inhabitants  

 

Historical Notes

The eastern terminus of Mulholland Drive is at its intersection with Cahuenga Boulevard at the Cahuenga Pass over the Santa Monica Mountains (at this point Cahuenga Boulevard runs parallel to Highway 101/The Hollywood Freeway). The road continues to the west, offering vistas of the Hollywood Sign, downtown Los Angeles, and then Burbank, Universal City, and the rest of the San Fernando Valley with the San Gabriel, Verdugo, and Santa Susana Mountains.*^

 

 

 
(1925)^ - View of Mulholland Highway under construction near Beachwood Canyon.  

 

Historical Notes

Mulholland Highway curves around the western edge of Beachwood Canyon like a massive snake.  A man-made thoroughfare buttressed by granite retaining walls, the Highway was built, like all the roads in Hollywoodland, in the mid-1920s. It contains both a split-level section (under construction in the photo above) and a cliff-side stretch locals call the blind curves.

 

 

 
(ca. 1925)^*## – Postcard view showing two early model cars near the intersection of Mulholland Highway (later Drive) and Franklin Canyon.  

 

Historical Notes

Curving ingeniously through the eastern Santa Monicas, the Mulholland Drive motorway once brought a heavy slew of Angelenos into the Valley. In the early 1970s, however, 5,000 local activists successfully prevented the cement paving of most of that stretch. To this day, that section is known as 'Dirt Mulholland', and is only open to cyclists and pedestrians. From the famous Mulholland Bridge east, Mulholland Drive completes its creator's vision, and winds through the affluent Hollywood Hills to Mulholland Drive's easternmost terminus at Cahuenga Boulevard, near Universal Studios, until again becoming an unpaved footpath to Griffith Park.

The paved road begins again east of Topanga Canyon Boulevard at Santa Maria Road. Shortly thereafter, the thoroughfare splits into Mulholland Drive and Mulholland Highway. Mulholland Drive terminates at U.S. Highway 101 (the Ventura Freeway), where it becomes Valley Circle Boulevard. Mulholland Highway continues to the southwest until it terminates at State Route 1 (PCH) in Leo Carrillo State Park at the Pacific Ocean coast and the border of Los Angeles and Ventura counties.*^

 

 

 
(ca. 2011)+^+ – Time-lapse image showing Mulholland Drive at night.  

 

Historical Notes

The road offers spectacular views of the Los Angeles Basin, the San Fernando Valley, and the Hollywood Sign.

Mulholland Drive is home to some of the most exclusive and most expensive homes in the world. Many of these homes are set back from the road and offer outstanding views of downtown Los Angeles. Celebrities such as Jack Nicholson, Sylvester Stallone, Justin Timberlake, Eric Stoltz, Jessica Biel, Paris Hilton and Reese Witherspoon all live nearby.*^

 

Click HERE to see more in Mulholland Monuments

 

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Family Camps and Parks

 
(1920s)^ - Five adults and a child stand at the entrance to a camping area in Elysian Park. Next to them is a wooden building with the sign "Office" on the end. The gates on the other side of them announce they open at 6 and close at 11.  

 

Historical Notes

From humble beginnings, City Council created the Department of Parks in 1889. At that time the city owned several pieces of land that were believed suitable for park purposes. They turned over these properties to the newly-organized Department of Parks.

In a generous mood during Christmas of 1896, Colonel Griffith J. Griffith offered to donate five square miles of the Los Feliz Rancho to the City as a park. He said, "it must be made a place of recreation and rest for the masses, a resort for the rank and file, for the plain people..." What followed was the development of several more parks including the original pueblo lands of the old plaza, Elysian Park, Pershing Square, and later Lincoln Park, MacArthur Park, Echo Lake Park, and Hollenbeck Park.++*

 

 

 
(1920s)^ - A view from the entrance gate down two rows of campsites at Elysian Park. A few tents and a few cars are already in place. At the entrance a sign notifies all that "Campers will see attendant for space".  

 

Historical Notes

Children's camps and family camp as a municipal recreation service began in 1913. Although no longer open, the first camp was established in Redondo Beach. In 1914 Camp Seely in the San Bernardino Mountains in Crestline was the first family camp built, and in 1919 Camp Radford opened in Big Bear in the San Bernardino National Forest. Camp High Sierra in the Mammoth region opened to families in 1924 and has proved popular to this day with generations of the same family members attending the camp. Then came the local camps; Griffith Park Boys Camp opened in 1925 and a year later Hollywoodland Girls Camp opened. The last two camps to be added were Decker Canyon Camp in Malibu and Camp Valcrest in Angeles National Forest. The Department's camping program was so innovative that Oakland, Berkeley, Sacramento, Stockton, Long Beach, and San Diego followed suit.++*

 

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Downtown Los Angeles

 
(1924)#^ - Open Fruit Stand, 812 E. 5th Street, Los Angeles. Sign reads: 'Rainbow Tacoma Brew - 5 Cents'  

 

 

 

 

 
(1922)^^ – View looking east on 5th Street at Hill Street. Streetcars, autos, and pedestrians share the streets.  Boos Bros. Cafeteria can be seen behind the streetcar.  The building on the right is the Willoughby Hotel (S/E corner of 5th and Hill) which was built in 1898 and demolished in 1982. Pershing Square is across the street from the Willoughby out of view (to the right).  

 

Historical Notes

In 1906, Horace Boos and three siblings opened one of Los Angeles' first cafeterias. Their idea of a fast food, self-service restaurant consisted of unheard-of impositions for that time: patrons would wait on themselves and return their trays and dishes to the kitchen. The brothers' downtown cafeteria was the first link, in a chain of seven that ultimately stretched from Los Angeles to San Francisco. They opened four more in the downtown area one in Santa Catalina Island, and two in San Francisco.

By the 1920s, the chain of cafeterias had become widely known. When Horace Boos died in 1926, the surviving brothers sold the seven cafeterias for a record $7 million to the Childs Corp. In turn, Childs sold two of the cafeterias to Clifford E. Clinton, who launched the Clifton's Cafeteria Chain. Eventually, Henry Boos bought back two, one on Hill Street and the other in Avalon on Catalina Island.

The Boos Brothers offered inexpensive fare of a "40-cent dinner", but would call it quits in the late 1940s, before cafeterias began losing popularity due to the arrival of luncheonettes, soda fountains, and fast-food restaurants.^

 

 

 

Pacific Electric Hill Street Station and Subway Tunnel

 
(ca. 1920s)^## - Pacific Electric Hill Street Station & Masonic Bldg. West side of Hill St. between 4th & 5th Streets.  

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1922)^ - The Pacific Electric Hill Street station, located at 427 South Hill Street, between 1922 and 1925.  

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1920s)^ - The Hill Street station for electric cars during 1922 to 1925, before the Subway Terminal Building was built, looking west toward Bunker Hill.  

 

Historical Notes

As street traffic increased in downtown Los Angeles, the Pacific Electric Railway undertook its most ambitious project, a dedicated right of way into downtown through a subway - the existing terminal in the Pacific Electric Building at Sixth and Main was reached by shared street running. Responding to the traffic congestion that clogged the streets, the California Railroad Commission in 1922 issued Order No. 9928, which called for the Pacific Electric to construct a subway to bypass downtown's busy streets.*^

 

 

 
(1925)^ - View of the Subway Terminal Building and the Pacific Electric Railway Passenger Station in 1925, the year they were built. View is of the Hill Street side south of 4th Street.  

 

Historical Notes

The Subway Terminal Building was built to conform to the 150 foot height limit imposed on all downtown construction. The other end of the subway line emerged at the surface at the Belmont Tunnel / Toluca Substation and Yard.*^

 

 

 
(ca. 1925)^## - View of the Subway Terminal main hall.  

 

Historical Notes

After 18 months of construction and $1.25 million in expenditures, the Subway officially opened to the public on December 1, 1925. The trains, which traveled a distance of slightly over one mile, transported passengers between the tunnel's mouth near the intersection of Beverly and Glendale Boulevards in Westlake, and the Subway Terminal Building.*^

 

 

 
(ca. 1925)^ - Interior view of the Subway Terminal Building in downtown Los Angeles, showing Pacific Electric car tracks running in various directions in the subway.  

 

 

 

 
(n.d.)^## - View of the symmetry in the tracks within the Pacific Electric Subway Building. The subway was in operation from 1925 to 1955.  

 

 

 

Pacific Electric Subway Tunnel (aka Hollywood Tunnel)

 
(1924)^^ - Construction of the western portal of the Pacific Electric subway tunnel at 1st and Glendale.  

 

Historical Notes

Plans for the "Hollywood Subway," as the project came to be known, were drafted as early as February 1924, and ground was broken in May of the same year.*^

 

 

 
(1925)^ - Ceremonies commemorating the opening of the Pacific Electric tunnel under Bunker Hill, from Beverly Boulevard to 5th and Hill Street. The "Hollywood Subway" officially opened to the public on December 1, 1925.  

 

 

 

 
(1927)^## - View of Glendale bound No. 583 exiting from the Pacific Electric Subway Portal.  

 

Historical Notes

The Subway emerged as one of Los Angeles's most popular modes of public transit throughout the 1920s and 1930s. Ridership hit an all-time high during the World War II-era; in 1944 – considered to have been the Subway's peak – trains carried an estimated 65,000 passengers through the tunnel each day.*^

 

 

 
(1936)^^ - Aerial view of the intersection-First St, Second St, Beverly & Glendale Boulevards with the Pacific Electric Taylor Yard in lower left. The Pacific Electric Subway Tunnel (aka Hollywood Tunnel) is also at lower-left but out of view.  

 

Historical Notes

The view above is looking northwest at the confluence of 1st Street (lower right corner), 2nd Street (bottom/center), Beverly Boulevard (upper left corner/extension of 1st Street beyond intersection), and Glendale Boulevard (upper/center, extension of 2nd Street beyond intersection). P&E Toluca Yard at lower left.

 

 

 
(1950s)++++ - Pacific Electric cars zip past rows of sisters at Toluca Yard, seen from LA's First Street Bridge.  

 

 

 

 

 
(n.d.)^ - Two Pacific Electric Railway cars leaving the Subway Tunnel (aka Hollywood Tunnel) at Beverly Boulevard, from downtown Los Angeles. One car is bound for Burchett Street in Glendale; the other for Hollywood Boulevard.   Photo by Tom LaBonge  

 

 

 

Silver Lake

 
(ca. 1924)^ - View of the Silver Lake Reservoir and surrounding area, with streets readied for houses. View is looking north.  

 

Historical Notes

In 1896 Herman Silver was elected to the Los Angeles City Council and was soon voted its President – acting often as the Mayor pro tem of the city.

In 1902, he City Council created a the 1st Water Commision and named Herman Silver as its Chairman. Silver was instrumental in planning a reservoir Northeast of Downtown that would combine stored water with a development of nice homes and parks.

The next Mayor came into office and failed to re-appoint Silver to the Water Board – for political reasons. The City Council reacted – praising Herman Silver by naming the new water project after him. The area has been known, ever since, by the name – Silverlake.^**#

 

 

 
(1930)* - Silver Lake Reservoir - Silver Lake Reservoir was named for Herman Silver, first president of the Board of Commissioners, Domestic Water Works System. He served from 1902-1903. The reservoir is a earth fill dam, asphalt concrete, with paved slopes. It was put into service in May 1908.  

 

Historical Notes

In 1989, the Silver Lake Reservoir was designated LA Historic-Cultural Monument No. 422 (Click HERE to see complete listing).

 

 

Click HERE to see more in Early LA Water Reservoirs

 

 

 

Los Feliz

 
(1922)^^+ – Aerial view looking east on Los Feliz Boulevard from above where Western Avenue makes a sharp turn into Los Feliz. Franklin Avenue runs away from the camera on the right.  

 

Historical Notes

The west-east thoroughfare runs through Los Angeles and Glendale. It starts off at its east most point at Glendale Avenue as Los Feliz Road. After passing the railroad tracks in Glendale west most section, it enters Los Angeles and changes to Los Feliz Boulevard.

Los Feliz passes through Atwater Village and Griffith Park. After Griffith Park, it swerves to a north-south street and ends. It then merges and becomes Western Avenue which in turns runs all the way down to the San Pedro area.

Los Feliz Boulevard was named for Rancho Los Feliz, one of the first land grants made in California.  Corporal Feliz, a veteran of the Anza Expedition of 1776, was a guard at the Pueblo of Los Angeles.  In 1787 Governor Fages appointed Feliz as Comisionado of the Los Angeles Pueblo, giving him the powers of Mayor and Judge. For his service, Feliz was granted Rancho Los Feliz.*^

 

 

 
(1920)^ – View showing two houses in a new tract south of Los Feliz Boulevard and east of Vermont Avenue which sold out in one day in 1920. It took two months to put in the streets.  

 

Historical Notes

The Los Feliz neighborhood has been home to movie stars, musicians, and the Hollywood elite. It boasts some of the best-known residential architecture in the city, including two homes designed by Frank Lloyd Wright—the Ennis House and the Hollyhock House—and Richard Neutra's Lovell House.

Mickey Mouse was "born" in Los Feliz: Walt Disney drew his first image of the now-legendary character in the garage of his uncle's house, on Kingswell Avenue between Vermont Avenue and Rodney Drive. Disney's first animation studio was also on Kingswell Avenue, just down the street from his uncle's house and east of Vermont Avenue. Disney's second, larger studio (now a Gelson's supermarket) was at the corner of Griffith Park Boulevard and Hyperion Avenue, on the Silver Lake side of the Los Feliz – Silver Lake boundary.*^

 

 

 
(ca. 1924)^ – Aerial view looking northwest from above Los Feliz Boulevard in Atwater Village. The Theodore Payne Nursery is seen, as well as part of Tam O'Shanter Restaurant (lower middle). Franciscan Pottery Manufacturing is at upper-right.  

 

Historical Notes

Theodore Payne was an English horticulturist, gardener, landscape designer, and botanist.  He is known for urging the use of California native plants and lecturing across the state on preserving the wild flowers and landscapes native to California.

The 10-acre Payne Nursery opened in 1922 and was located at 1969-99 Los Feliz Boulevard in Atwater Village, across the street from the Tam O’Shanter Restaurant and adjacent to property owned by Gladding McBean, manufacturers of Franciscan Pottery. Payne obtained an architectural rendering from Myron Hunt for the nursery building and developed a full-service horticultural operation. He propagated and sold plants in the nursery, and had enough acreage to grow row crops of wild flower and collection of seed that he would then sell to the public.*^

 

 

 
(2015)##^* – Google Earth view looking northwest from above the Tam O'Shanter Restaurant .  The Franciscan Metro Shopping Center is now where the old Theodore Payne Nursery and Franciscan Tile Company used to be.  

 

 

Early Gas Stations

 
(ca. 1920s)* - Service station on north Vermont Avenue shows three automobiles parked next to the gas pumps as two attendants fill them up with "filtered gasoline". Other services such as polishing and simonizing are offered at this station, possibly named "Ventura Gasoline".  

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1925)^^ - Exterior view of a Richfield Service Station. Four gasoline pumps stand below a large covering which reads "Richfield Service Station, Richfield Oil Company". Between the gasoline pumps a man in a lightly-colored uniform can be seen in the doorway of the shop which stands behind the station with the label "Open day and night". A second man in an identical uniform tends to an automobile on the right.  

 

 

Click HERE to see more Early Views of LA Gas Stations

 

 

 

 

 
(1925)^^ - View showing a Yellow Cab with taxi driver inside, in front of a building at 427 South Normandie.  

 

 

 

 
(1925)^ - A wet policeman directs traffic in a flooded intersection at Main and 10th Streets in 1925. He is dressed in rain gear. The Hotel Apex is on the corner, as well as W. P. Fuller & Co., paints and glass.  

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1925)^ – View looking south on Olive Street between 7th and 8th streets.  The rear of the Stillwell Hotel shows at right, located at 838 So. Grand Ave. Another hotel is at left, and various small businesses and cars line the street. A pile of debris is in the street at left, and men are working. Note the ornate tower/steeple of the building on the southwest corner of Olive and 8th streets.  

 

 

 

 
(1927)^ - View showing the southwest corner of 8th and Olive streets. The building shown has several signs advertising: "Lail's Auto Livery" on the steeple as well as on either ends of the building; "Ward Hotel rooms" below two windows, also on both sides of the building; "London Luggage Shoppe" with an entrance on the left side; and "D and S Buffet Eastside" prominently in the middle, offering hot and cold sandwiches. The Stillwell Hotel as well as a church tower can be seen in the background  

 

 

 

 
(1927)^– View looking at the northeast corner of Grand Avenue and 9th Street, where one end of the Stillwell Hotel can be seen on the left.  "FIREPROOF HOTEL" is painted high on the wall, in large capital letters.  Mid-photo in the background, a cupola peeks from behind another building, the sign on it reads: "Hill Street Theatre". This refers to the RKO Hill Street Theater, which occupied the northwest corner of 8th and Hill Street.  On the corner stands Red Crown Gasoline station, offering Zerolene and Mobiloil. It’s owned and operated by Ed. Willumsen, a "correct lubrication specialist"; he possibly also owns Ed's Auto Livery, which is adjacent to the gasoline station.  Several cars can be seen waiting for the light to change along 9th Street.  

 

Historical Notes

The 250-room Stillwell Hotel was built in 1906 and is located at 838 S. Grand, between 8th and 9th.

The RKO Hill Street Theater, occupied the northwest corner of 8th and Hill Street. It had a seating capacity of 2,219 and ran for 46 years, from 1922 to 1968, when it was demolished.*

 

 

 

 
(1920s)++++ - View looking south on Broadway from 10th Street (later Olympic) showing two streetcars of the LA Railway's "M Line" with the Examiner Building in the background on the S/W corner of Broadway and 11th Street.  The Los Angeles Investment Co. and Western Auto Supply are at left, followed by the Paul G Hoffman Studebaker sales office.  

 

Historical Notes

10th Street was renamed Olympic Boulevard for the 1932 Summer Olympics, as that was the occasion of the tenth modern event. *^

 

* * * * *

 

Legion Ascot Speedway

 
(1925)^ - Aerial view of the Legion Ascot Speedway located along Soto Street from Valley Blvd. to Multnomah St. The speedway operated between 1924 and 1936 in the Lincoln Heights area.  

 

Historical Notes

The five-eighths mile Ascot Speedway began life as the New Ascot Speedway on January 20, 1924. The banked oval that was originally dirt but constant applications of road oil soon produced a surface that was similar to pavement. The cars that raced at Ascot throughout the years were the ancestors of what we today call "sprint cars".

The hill in the center of photo, with the dirt loop going around it, would become the future site El Sereno's Wilson High School. This same hill was the location for the never completed El Sereno Country Club, which began construction in 1926. Legendary golfer Harry Cooper was the clubs lead golfer and even opened a golf store near the premise.  However, by 1928 the Country Club was mired in lawsuits as business partners sued each other for various differences.  To this day many former residents remember the catacombs, swimming pool, and foundation of the El Sereno Country Club. *^#

 

 

 

 
(1927)^- Crowds look on as drivers prepare to begin the 100 mile race at the Legion Ascot Speedway, located on Soto Street in Los Angeles.  

 

Historical Notes

In 1928 the Glendale American Legion Post took over the promotion and brought in the cars and drivers of the American Automobile Association (AAA). The AAA was the leading racing organization in the country and controlled all the major speedways including Indianapolis.

From 1924 to 1936, a multitude of crashes resulted in loss of life.  Some two dozen drivers lost their lives at Ascot. The death toll was one reason the Glendale American Legion bowed out of race promotion in early 1935---the other reason was the diminishment of crowds due to the emergence of midget auto racing at the time.  Eleven years after it opened, the Ascot Legion Racetrack was shut down. Eight months later the grandstands of the abandoned speedway burned to the ground. The land was soon subdivided and sold off.

Today, Multnomah Elementary School and a housing tract sit on the old Ascot Speedway site.*^#

Auto racing (also motorcycle racing) was increasing popular in the 1920s and 30s. Two speedways would also be built on the West Side of Los Angeles: Beverly Hills Speedway and Culver City Speedway.

 

* * * * *

 

Goldwyn Studios (later Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer)

 
(1918)^^ - Aerial view of the Goldwyn Studios in Culver City looking south. At the bottom of the photo is the front entrance of the studio known as the Colonnade Building. The Colonnade runs parallel to Washington Boulevard. To the right of the studio buildings is what was known as Lot #2 where sets were constructed for the many films produced at Goldwyn Studios. The Main Gate (circled) and part of the Colonnade still stand today, most everything else has been replaced.  

 

Historical Notes

Samuel Goldwyn purchased the studio from Triangle Studios, the first motion picture studio in Culver City, which was founded by Thomas Ince in 1915.^^

Behind the studios are empty fields which became home the the Culver City Speedway in 1924.

 

 

 

 
(1938)+^^ - Metro-Goldwyn Mayer Studios main gate entrance viewed from the left side showing of colonnade.  

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1920)^ - Close-up view of the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer front entrance and main gate.  

 

 

 

 
(1920s)^ - Aerial view of Ince Studios or the Pathe Exchange Studios (also known as Culver Studios) located on 9336 Washington Blvd. in Culver City. An elegant convertible is parked in front of the Colonial style building. Less elegant cars are in the street. Formal gardens front the Colonial Revival building that houses the offices, behind which are the actual studios. Culver City is still rural at this time; an orchard faces the studio on the left.  

 

Historical Notes

Name changes: 1919-1924, The Ince Studios; 1925-1928, Pathé Exchange Studios; 1928-1935, RKO Studios; 1935-1948, Selznick International Pictures; 1948-1955, Howard Hughes Studio; 1955-1957, General Tire and Rubber Company; 1957-1968, Desilu Studios; 1968-1969, Perfect Film and Chemical; 1969-1977, Culver City Studios; 1977-1986, Laird International Studios; 1986-1991, The Culver Studios; 1986-, Sony Corporation.^

 

 

 
(1935)^ - Exterior view of Selznick International Pictures offices, located on Washington Boulevard in Culver City.  

 

Historical Notes

The Colonial style building has a long history: it was part of the Thomas Ince Studio, which Ince actually used as a movie set, was then converted into an office building by Cecil B. DeMille during his independent years and in 1935, it became the Selznick International Studio. In the 1950s, the lot was sold to Desilu productions.

The studio was planned by Meyer and Holler of the Milwaukee Building Company and completed ca. 1918.^

 

 

 
(ca. 1930s)^#^ - Close-up view of the Colonial style Ince Studio (later Selznick International Studios) offices.  

 

 

 

 

Before and After

 
(1918)^^ - Aerial view of the Goldwyn Studios in Culver City looking south. At the bottom of the photo is the front entrance of the studio known as the Colonnade Building. The Colonnade runs parallel to Washington Boulevard. To the right of the studio buildings is what was known as Lot #2 where sets were constructed for the many films produced at Goldwyn Studios. The Main Gate (circled) and part of the Colonnade still stand today, most everything else has been replaced.   (1960)* - Aerial view of the Metro Goldwyn Mayer Studio lot, located at 10202 Washington Boulevard in Culver City; view is looking southeast. Venice Boulevard is horizontally at foreground; Washington Boulevard is horizontally at center; Culver Boulevard is horizontally behind the studios; Overland Avenue is vertically along the right, followed by (r to l): Keystone Avenue, Mentone Avenue, Le Bourget Avenue, Motor Avenue, Vinton Avenue and Jasmine Avenue; Ballona Creek flows horizontally in the distance.

 

Historical Notes

The top two photos show how the Culver City landscape was transformed over the years. However, there was one intermediary development that occurred between the time that these to images were taken. It was called the Culver City Speedway.

 

Culver City Speedway

 
(1924)^ - Aerial view of the Culver City Speedway (aka Los Angeles Speedway) looking southeast. The racetrack was located at the intersection of Culver Blvd and Overland Blvd, right across the street from MGM Studios. It operated from 1924 to 1927.  

 

Historical Notes

Jack Prince and Art Pillsbury original built the Beverly Hills Speedway near the intersection of Wilshire and Santa Monica boulevards. It was funded by a group of actors and others in the industry known as the Beverly Hills Speedway Association. The track was inaugurated on February 28, 1920, but after only four years the 70,000-seat stadium was disassembled to make room for other improvements in the newly incorporated city of Beverly Hills.

The same developers moved the racetrack to Culver City, and it was located at the intersection of Culver Blvd and Overland Blvd, right across the street from MGM Studios. It was at this "new" location and "new" track where Red Cariens was involved in a fatal crash on November 29, 1925. It was also at this location where Mickey Rooney's classic racing movie "The Big Wheel" (1949) was shot.^

 

 

 
(1924)^ - Aerial view of the Culver City Speedway looking north toward Beverly HIlls. The large, gray, slanted structure on the right of the racetrack is the grandstand, and another one appears to be directly across on the other side. Hundreds of homes are visible past the racetrack, scattered throughout the city.  

 

Historical Notes

The site of the Culver City Speedway initially had a horse racing track in 1923, but that only lasted about a year. On December 14, 1924, it re-opened as a board racing track called the "Speedway." It was very well known, but much of the written information on it refers to it as the Los Angeles Speedway.*^

 

 

 
(1924)^ - Aerial view of the Culver City Speedway showing a cluster of cars neatly aligned behind a white "hash mark" that is most likely the finish line. The large structure with multi-color tile is the grand stand and the smaller building to the right of it might be a clubhouse or restaurant under construction.  

 

Historical Notes

The Culver City Speedway was built at a time when car races were popular, so popular in fact, that there were radio broadcasts from the speedways. California had approximately six wooden track speedways, also known as "toothpick track" speedways. Culver City Speedway operated from December 14, 1924 to March 6, 1927.^

 

 

 

 
(1924)*^#^ - View of the short-lived Culver City Speedway showing the banked board track near the corner of what are now Culver Boulevard and Overland Avenue. The adjacent parking lot is full of cars.  

 

Historical Notes

After its closing in 1927, the Culver City Speedway was eventually removed to make way for movie studios, housing and a public park. 

The city council approved the founding of the first park in Culver City on this land. The park was originally named Victory Park by the mayor's wife because "it was a victory to get a park", but later renamed Carlson Park. Dr. Paul Carlson, a Culver City native, was a medical missionary martyred in the former Belgian Congo.*^

 

 

 

 
(1927)^ - Partial view of the Culver City Speedway (also called Los Angeles Speedway), which was in existence as an auto racing venue from December 14, 1924, until March 6, 1927. This photograph shows car number 1 pursuing car number 2 on a steep bank of the track.  

 

 

 

 
(1927)^ - Photo taken of a driver sitting in his race car, on the Los Angeles Speedway in Culver City.  

 

 

 

 

 

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References and Credits

* DWP - LA Public Library Image Archive

^ LA Public Library Image Archive

**LADWP Historic Archive

^^USC Digital Library

^*The Valley Observed: Street Name Origins; Timeline of Valley History

*# blogdowntown: Third Street Tunnel

+#Fairfax High School Home Page

#* About.Com: History of Electric Vehicles

#**U.S. Geological Survey Photographic Library

*##LA Times: Dig Into History You'll Find Snake Oil..Victor Girard Kleinberger

^##Metropolitan Transportation Library and Archive

*#*Historical Los Angeles Theatres: The Philharmonic Auditorium; Downtown Theatres

^#^Noirish Los Angeles - forum.skyscraperpage.com; Ince Studios; Aerial of Burbank and Hollywoodland Sign

*^#LincolnHeightsLA.com: Legion Ascot Speedway

**#KCET - Lost Tunnels of Downtown LA; Urban Surgery: Wilshire Extension; When L.A. Was a Horse-Powered Town

*#^Maureen Megowan: History of Hermosa Beach; Secrets about the Palos Verdes Peninsula

^#*City of Redondo Beach HIstory

^^#L.A. as Subject

^^*Early Downtown Los Angeles - Cory Stargel, Sarah Stargel

^^+Silverlake.org: Historic Photos

++*Los Angeles Parks: laparks.corg

*+*Los Angeles Magazine: Early Traffic Signals in Los Angeles

++^LA County Public Library: East Los Angeles

+^+LASeoulguy.com: Mulholland Drive

***Los Angeles Historic - Cultural Monuments Listing

**^Historicechopark.org: Echo Park Lake

^**FarmersMarketla.com

*^*California Historical Landmarks Listing (Los Angeles)

*^^Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles: losangelespast.com

+^^Facebook: Garden of Allah Novels

^*^LA Street Names - LA Times

^*#California State Library Image Archive

^^^Aerofiles - US Aviation Firsts

*#*#Abandoned & Little-Known Airfields – Paul Freeman

*##*Chatsworth Historical Society

**^#Historical LA Theatres: Loew's State Theatre

**++Big Map Blog

^***Malaga Cove Plaza

*^#^Huntington Digital Library Archive

**##La Venta Inn History

##**Canyon News: Mulholland HIghway

##*#LAist.com: Why Vine Becomes Rossmore

++++Facebook.com – Los Angeles Heritage Railroad Museum

^**#Jewish Museum of the American West: Herman Silver

^*#*Before USC

^*#^Studiotour.com: William Fox Studio

^*##Calisphere: University of California Image Archive

^^##SanPedro.com: Fishing Industry

^^^#Los Angeles Fire Department Historical Archive

^^#^Facebook.com - Great Photos from Los Angeles' Past: Western Ave; Rogers Airfield

^#*^Facebook.com - Bizarre Los Angeles

^##*Pinterest: Bygone Los Angeles

***^Oviatt Library Digital Archives

**^**Retronaut - Hollywoodland Sign

*^ Wikipedia: H.J. Whitley; Occidental College; Beverly Hills; Beverly Hills Hotel; Los Angeles Railway; Pershing Square; Broadway Tunnel: Isaac Van Nuys; Sawtelle; Port of Los Angeles; Tournament of Roses Parade; Angels Flight; Occidental College; Mt. Washington, LA; Broadway, LA; Hancock Park; La Brea Tar Pits; Los Angeles City Oil Field; Deadman's Island (San Pedro); Moses Sherman; Rose Bowl Game; Hollywood Hotel; Hollywood HIgh School; California Club; San Pedro; Salt Lake Oil Field - Gilmore Oil Field; Westwood; 2nd Street Tunnel; Hermosa Beach; Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum; Redondo Beach Pier; Redondo Beach; West Hollywood; Pacific Palisades; 1910 L.A. International Air Meet at Dominguez Hills; Hancock Park; Marlborough School; Subway Terminal Building; Hollywood Bowl; Carthay Circle; Sunset Boulevard; Farmers and Merchants Bank of Los Angeles; History of Los Angeles Population Growth; Palos Verdes Estates; Palisades del Rey; Carlson Park, Culver City; St. Vincent Church; San Vicente Boulevard; Salt Lake Oil Field; Mulholland Drive/Highway

 

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