Early Los Angeles City Views (1925 +)

Historical Photos of Early Los Angeles

 
(1926)****^ – View looking south on Reseda Boulevard toward the intersection with Sherman Way.  The road appears to be in the process of being widened and paved.  The Reseda State Bank building can be seen on the southwest corner of Sherman Way and Reseda.  

 

Historical Notes

Reseda originated as a farm town named "Marian" (or "Rancho Marian") that appeared in 1912. Its namesake, Marian Otis Chandler, was the daughter of Los Angeles Times publisher Harrison Gray Otis, a director of the Los Angeles Suburban Homes Company. H J Whitley was the manager of the Los Angeles Suburban Home Company.

The Western Division of the Pacific Electric Railway 'Red Cars Line' expedited development after the Los Angeles Aqueduct brought water to the City of Los Angeles in 1913. Soon, thereafter, Marion would be annexed by the City.^*

 

 

 

 
(1928)^ - View of the Reseda State Bank building on the corner of Reseda Blvd. and Sherman Way.  

 

Historical Notes

In 1920, Reseda was named after a fragrant North African yellow-dye plant, Reseda odorata, whose English name is mignonette and which grows in hot, dry climates—replaced Marian as a designation for a stop on the Pacific Electric interurban railway running along Sherman Way. The name "Reseda" was given first to a siding on a branch of the Southern Pacific Railroad in the south San Fernando Valley.^*

 

 

 

 

 
(2014)##^ - Google street view looking at the southwest corner of Reseda Blvd and Sherman Way.  

 

 

 

Before and After

 
(1928)^ - Southwest corner of Sherman Way and Reseda.   (2014)##^ - Southwest corner of Sherman Way and Reseda.

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1928)#** - View of the residential area of Tujunga, looking west toward the San Fernando Valley, ca.1928. Many small houses are scattered sparsely throughout an expanse of land that sits at the foot of a mountain. The majority of the houses are frame houses, though one in the right centerground is made of stone. Orchards are visible on the distant foothills to the left of the image. Several mountains sit in the background.  

 

Historical Notes

Sunland and Tujunga were originally home to the Tongva people. In 1840 the area was part of the Rancho Tujunga Mexican land grant, but later developers marked off a plot of land known as the Tejunga Park, or the Tujunga Park, Tract. The name Tujunga is assumed to have meant "old woman's place" in the extinct Tongva language, where Tuhu "old woman" is a term for Mother Earth in Tongva mythology.

Tujunga's 1,500-foot elevation and geographic isolation from the San Fernando Valley and the Los Angeles Basin freed it from some of the air pollution that was a problem in many other parts of Greater Los Angeles. Because of this, it attracted many asthmatics early on. Coronet magazine once called Tujunga "the most healthy place in the world." In 1929, the Tujunga City Council set policy to establish zones where "sanitariums and other institutions for the care of tubercular patients" could be established.

Tujunga was consolidated by the city of Los Angeles on March 8, 1932, but only after the third election.^*

 

 

 
(ca. 1920s)*^ - Car and trailer filled with camping gear and boys from the YMCA at Camp Miller in Tujunga.  

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1930)*# - Birdseye view over an orchard on the Mission San Fernando, looking east from the Santa Susana Mountains towards the Cahuenga Pass. A wide swath of treetops can be seen spanning the width of the image, while other planted rows stand behind them. Still farther out, residential buildings are spaced out disparately over a large plot of flat ground. In the foreground, a cleared and unplanted patch of soil can be seen.  

 

 

 

 
(1930s)^*## - Map of the San Fernando Valley in the early 1930's. Several of the communities have changed names since this map was printed including Girard, North Los Angeles, and Granada. This was a time before freeways, and the pass through the Santa Monica Mountains, Sepulveda Pass, was still a dirt road.  

 

Historical Notes

The community of Girard is identified in the center-left of photo near the intersection of the State Highway and Topanga Canyon. In 1945 it became known as Woodland Hills.^*

Originally called Zelzah, the town that we call Northridge today was renamed North Los Angeles on July 1, 1929. In 1938, this area of the San Fernando Valley was renamed Northridge Village. Few evidences of the "village" remain.#^^#

The community of Granada was founded in 1926.  The “Hills” was added 15 years later in 1941.^*

The Ventura Freeway would not be completed across the San Fernando Valley until 1960.^

 

 

 
(1930)^^ - View of a procession of cars, horses and wagons moving south through the new Sepulveda Boulevard tunnel following opening ceremonies. After eight years of road construction, the new tunnel connected the San Fernando Valley with West Los Angeles.  

 

Historical Notes

The Sepulveda Tunnel opened on September 27, 1930.  Until then, the Sepulveda Pass consisted of just a dirt road and some trails.  Most of the traffic between the Valley and the city moved over Cahuenga Pass and narrow passages like Laurel Canyon and Beverly Glen.^^#*

 

 

 
(1935)^ - View of cars about to enter the Sepulveda Tunnel through the Santa Monica Mountains shortly after the dirt road was paved for the first time.  This is part of the Sepulveda Highway connecting Ventura Blvd. to Sunset.  

 

Historical Notes

Sepulveda Pass was paved and became a state highway route in 1935.^^#*

 

 

 

 
(1939)*# – View of Sepulveda Boulevard looking south from Magnolia Boulevard before improvement. Sepulveda is at center and is a paved, two lane road with dirt shoulders. Wide ditches can be seen on both sides of the road, and several automobiles are driving on its surface. A collection of small wooden buildings can be seen at left, while at right is an open field. A line of utility poles runs parallel to the road at left.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1940)*# - View of Sepulveda Boulevard looking south from Magnolia Boulevard after improvement, June 18, 1940. Sepulveda is at center and is now a six-lane road with a dirt divider in the middle. Note: The pole line has been removed.  

 

 

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

 

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(1929)^ -   Aerial view of the Wilshire, La Brea district, looking north with the Hollywood Hills in the background. The Mulholland Dam and Hollywood Reservoir can be seen in the upper center-right.  Undeveloped land, middle right side of photo is the Arroyo del Jardin de los Flores, The Stream of the Garden of Flowers.  

 

Historical Notes

The Arroyo del Jardin de los Flores was a stream that flowed from the location of today's Wilshire Country Club through Hancock Park, joining another creek that eventually drained to Ballona Creek near La Brea and St. Elmo Drive. The majority of this creek was piped and filled; a portion of it remains above ground at the Wilshire County Club, and a creek running through Brookside Estates also shares this name. Third square on right bottom (dark looking ravine), possibly the continuation of Arroyo del Jardin de los Flores.^

 

 

 
(1929)^ - Panoramic view of Hollywood and its surrounding areas. Partial view of the Hollywood Playhouse at 1735 N. Vine Street, is in the lower left corner of this photo. A tall building with several storefronts, upper right hand corner, is the Pacific States Life Building. The Mulholland Dam is in the far background (upper-right).  

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1928)^ - Looking towards the Art Deco style Pacific States Life Building (now Yucca Vine Tower), located at 6305 Yucca Street. To the left is a Piggly Wiggly market and the Mulholland Dam is visible in the upper center.  

 

 

 

 
(1929)^ - Front view of Mulholland dam in the Hollywood Hills, the most beautiful of a score of storage basins in Los Angeles' water system. The HOLLYWOODLAND sign can clearly be seen in the background.  

 

 

Click HERE to see more in Early Views of the Mulholland Dam and Hollywood Reservoir

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1929)^ - An overview of the hills with a Mulholland Dam and Hollywood Reservoir off on the right, partially hidden by the steamshovel setting at the top of the near hill.  

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1929)^ - Panoramic view of Hollywood and West Los Angeles, as seen from Mt. Lee. Lake Hollywood (Hollywood Reservoir) and “Hollywoodland” is in the foreground.  

 

 

 

 
 (1928)*# - View of Hollywood looking south from the head of Highland Avenue near Franklin Avenue. Automobiles navigate the unlined road that curves to the right through residential Hollywood. A street sign reads: "Caution Speed Limit 15 Miles".  

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1903)^ - Panoramic view of Hollywood from Whitley Heights circa 1903, looking southwest from Highland and Franklin Avenues 25 years earlier. The curved configuration of Highland between the East and West sections of Franklin Ave still exists today. The larger structure, seen on the left side of the photo, is the famous Hollywood Hotel. It is situated on the Northwest corner of Hollywood Blvd. and Highland Ave. Today, this is the site of the Hollywood and Highland Center, the current home of the Academy Awards.  

 

 

 

Before and After

 
(ca. 1903)^ - Highland at Franklin Ave looking southwest.    (1928)*# - Highland at Franlin Ave looking southwestly.

 

 

 

 

 
(1929)^ - An early picture of Hollywood looking northeast from Santa Monica Boulevard and Highland Avenue.  

 

 

 

See more in Early Views of Hollywood (1850 - 1920) and (1920 +)

 

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City Hall

 
(1928)*^#^ – Night view showing Los Angeles City Hall in downtown Los Angeles. The LA Times Building on the N/E corner of Broadway and 1st Street can be seen at left, with the lighted sign "Times."  

 

 

 

 

 
(1929)^ - View of the western facade of Los Angeles City Hall facing Spring Street, in the distance. The old Los Angeles Times newspaper building with a clock tower is located on the right, and houses are visible on the hill.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1929)*# - The tall, white City Hall building can be seen towering above every other building in downtown, at middle right. Many other buildings can be seen clustered around Los Angeles City Hall, and a view of the San Gabriel Mountains can be seen in the distance. The Broadway Tunnel and the old LA Times Building can be seen to the center-left of the photo.  

 

Historical Notes

The Broadway Tunnel was a tunnel under Fort Moore Hill, downtown, extending North Broadway (formerly Fort Street), at Sand Street (later California Street), one block north of Temple Street, northeast to the intersection of Bellevue Avenue (later Sunset Boulevard, now Cesar Chavez Avenue), to Buena Vista Street (now North Broadway).

The tunnel was closed in 1949, and was demolished for the construction of the Santa Ana Freeway. The route cut through Fort Moore Hill and made it necessary for a Broadway overpass to be built across the freeway and the old tunnel site.*^

 

 

 
(ca. 1929)^ - Aerial view of the Civic Center, looking northeast toward City Hall, across from the Hall of Records on the left, above which is the old County Courthouse and across the street the Hall of Justice.
 

 

Historical Notes

At 28 stories and 454 feet high, the Los Angeles City Hall was the tallest building in Los Angeles from its completion in 1928 to 1964.*#

 

 

 
(ca. 1929)*# - View of a Fokker F.10 buzzing over City Hall circa 1929. Click HERE to see more in Aviation in Early L.A. Note the triangular parking lot on Spring Street, to the left.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1931)^#^^ – View showing a full parking lot in front of City Hall on Spring Street.  

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1940)^ - Aerial view of Los Angeles Civic Center with City Hall, 200 N. Spring St., as the focal point. Several new buildings have been constructed since the preceding 1929 photo. To the right of City Hall is the Federal Courthouse and U.S. Post Office Building (1940). Across from (behind) City Hall is the Hall of Records. The Hall of Justice is next to a partially graded hill, which still contains houses on top.
 

 

 

Click HERE to see more photos of the construction of City Hall

 

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Temple and Broadway

 
(ca. 1930)^*^# -  View looking southeast at the corner of Temple and Broadway.  Several people are waiting to cross Broadway.  The LA County Courthouse is seen at right.  Behind it stands City Hall, and to the left in the background is the Old International Bank Building.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1932)*# – View looking at the intersection of Temple and Broadway as seen from the N/W corner, with City Hall, the LA County Courthouse, and the Hall of Records in the background.  

 

 

 

 
(1932)*# – View looking toward the southwest corner of Temple Street and Broadway from the front of the Hall of Justice.  In the foreground, a woman appears to be setting up a fruit stand (crates of fruit).  In the distance (center-left) can be seen the Hotel Broadway, which is adjacent to Court Flight.  

 

 

 

 
(1932)*# – Closer view looking south on Broadway from the N/E corner of Temple and Broadway.  From left to right can be seen the Old County Courthouse, the Hall of Records, and the Hotel Broadway.  

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1932)*# – View looking northwest from the Hall of Justice steps showing the Women's Christian Temperance Union Building (WCTU) on the northwest corner of Broadway and Temple Street. Legible signs include:  Mora's Original Grill, Inc., 233-235 N. Broadway, "Spaghetti and Ravioli Dinners a Specialty", 3 Bail Bond Agencies, and Christie's Coffee Shop, 225 N. Broadway.  

 

 

 

 
(1932)*# – View looking north on Broadway at Temple Street.  From left to right can be seen the WCTU Building, the Broadway Tunnel, and the Hall of Justice.  

 

 

 

 
(1932)*# – View looking east on Temple Street from the front of the County Courthouse.  The WCTU Building is seen across the street on the N/W corner of Temple and Broadway.  

 

 

 

1st and Spring

 
(1931)*# – View looking toward the northwest corner of 1st and Spring streets showing the new State Builiding under construction with the LA Times Building on the left and the Hall of Records Building to the right.  

 

Historical Notes

The Times building seen above is the third Times building. It was built on the same site as the second building after that was blown up in 1910. It co-existed with the State Building for several years until the Times moved into their 4th and current home, and then it was torn down about 1938.**^

 

 

 
(1931)**^* - View looking toward the northwest corner of 1st and Spring. Five of the more famous buildings in Downtown L.A. history can be seen. They are (left to right): the Old LA Times Building, the State Building (still under construction), the Hall of Records, the L.A. County Courthouse, and the Hall of Justice (the only one still standing today). The new City Hall stands to the right of photo (out of view).  

 

Historical Notes

The State Builiding was completed in 1931 at a cost of more than $2 million. It was dedicated the day before the opening of the 1932 Olympics in a ceremony that featured Amelia Earhart.*#

 

 

 
(ca. 1931)*# – View facing south showing from left to right:  State Building, County Hall of Records, Hall of Justice, and City Hall .  At left is the intersection of 1st and Spring streets.  Photo by “Dick” Whittington  

 

 

 

Temple and N. Main

 
(ca. 1930)*# - Birdseye view looking north-east showing North Main Street as seen from City Hall. The large building in the foreground is the old Federal Building and Post Office (N/W corner of N. Main and Temple streets).  The LA Plaza is seen at center of photo. Also, the historic 300 block of N. Main Street is in clear view at lower center-right.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1932)**^* - Postcard view of North Main Street as seen from the base of Los Angeles City Hall at Temple Street. The old Federal Building and Post Office stands on the northwest corner.The entire 300 block of N. Main Street, from Baker Block to the Ducommun Building, can be seen here. Further down Main Street is the Pico House, the LA Plaza and Olvera Street.  

 

 

 

Olvera Street

 
(ca. 1930)^ - Late afternoon view of Olvera Street with City Hall in the background.
 

 

Historical Notes

In 1930, through the efforts of activist Christine Sterling, the Plaza-Olvera area was revived with the opening of Paseo de Los Angeles (which later became popularly known by its official street name Olvera Street).

As a tourist attraction, Olvera Street is a living museum paying homage to a romantic vision of old Mexico. The exterior facades of the brick buildings enclosing Olvera Street and on the small vendor stands lining its center are colorful piñatas, hanging puppets in white peasant garb, Mexican pottery, serapes, mounted bull horns, oversized sombreros, and a life-size stuffed donkey. Today, Olvera Street attracts almost two million visitors per year.^*

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1930)^ - A painting by Chris Siemer of Olvera Street, with L.A. City Hall in the background. The painting was created for display for the L.A. Chamber of Commerce. The Plaza-Olvera Street site was designated as a California State Historic Landmark in 1953.
 

 

 

 

 
(1930s)*#^^ - Hino Josa leading a donkey. View toward City Hall-looking at Sepulveda House, donkey on Olvera Street. The Sepulveda House fronts both Olvera and Main streets.  

 

Historical Notes

The Sepulveda house was once the private home of one of the most powerful families in early Los Angeles. The Sepulveda House was built by Eloisa Martinez de Sepulveda in 1887, at a time when all predictions were that the population boom of the 1880s would last. However, Señora Sepulveda's hopes for Main Street were not fulfilled and by 1900 the area around her house was mostly industrial. Since the turn of the 20th century, Sepulveda House has been a bordello, a tearoom and the USO canteen during World War II.^*

 

 

Click HERE to see more in Early Los Angeles Plaza

 

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West L.A. and Beverly Hills

 
(ca. 1928)^ - Aerial view looking south from Santa Monica Blvd to Pico Blvd. Motor Ave can be seen making a T-junction with Pico at the south end of the Fox Studios. The Rancho Country Club is on either side of Motor Ave.  

 

Historical Notes

The eastern portion of Rancho Country Club became Hillcrest Country Club. The western section became Cheviot Hills Park/Rancho Park Recreation Center. Fox Hills Drive on the Janss Westwood Hills Tract runs parallel with Fox Studios to the west.

Beverly Glen is out of shot further west. To the east is the Beverly Hills oil field, which still exists as a single, multi-well drilling platform on the Beverly Hills High School campus.

 

 

 

 
(1928)^ - Aerial view, looking west, showing where Santa Monica and Wilshire boulevards intersect. Beverly Hills High School can be seen at center-left. The Good Shepherd Catholic Church is at lower center-right on Santa Monica Boulevard..  

 

 

 

 

 
(1928)^ - Aerial view showing Beverly Hills High School located at 241 Moreno Drive.  Note the oil derrick adjacent to the track field.  

 

 

Click HERE to see more Early Views of Beverly Hills.

 

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Westwood

 
(1927)^ - Aerial view of Westwood on November 1, 1927, looking north of Wilshire Boulevard between Beverly Hills and UCLA. The intersection of Wilshire Boulevard and Beverly Glen is at the lower center.  

 

 

 

 

 

 
(1929)*^#^ - A panoramic view of Westwood, in Los Angeles. The area in the foreground is mostly open fields, but beyond that Westwood Village is under construction. There are several tree-lined streets laid out, but only a few large buildings are under construction. There are numerous houses in the distance beyond that, and the beginnings of the University of California, Los Angeles, campus in the distance on the left. Writing in white in the center of the image reads "Westwood Village 1929."  

 

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 developed the area and started advertising for new homes in 1922.^*

 

 

 

 

 
(1929)^ - Aerial view of Westwood Village, showing the beginning of development but a great deal of open space still. In the upper left edge of the photo can be seen the Holmby Building which was built in the California Mediterranean style--an office and retail building by architect Gordon B. Kaufmann. It was located on Westwood Blvd. between Weyburn and Le Conte.
 

 

Historical Notes

Westwood Village was created by the Janss Investment Company, run by Harold and Edwin Janss and their father, Peter, in the late 1920s as an autonomous shopping district and headquarters of the Janss Company. Its boom was complemented by the boom of UCLA (which selected the Westwood Hills as its new home in 1926), developed as a shopping district not just for the residents of Westwood but also for the university.^*

 

 

UCLA

 
(1929)^ - Aerial view of UCLA's Westwood campus while the campus was under construction in 1929, looking from Beverly Boulevard. Large homes can be seen to the north and east of the campus.  

 

Historical Notes

In 1919 UCLA obtained university status and became the Southern Branch of the University of California, located at 855 N. Vermont Avenue. In 1927 the name was changed to the University of California at Los Angeles. On May 31, 1929 the university opened its new campus in Westwood on land sold for $1 million dollars. In 1958, the name changed slightly again when the "at" was dropped, and became simply University of California, Los Angeles or UCLA.^

Even before it was situated on the Vermont campus, UCLA was evolving from another school, California State Normal School, founded in 1881. Click HERE to see more in Early Views of UCLA.

 

 

 

 
(1929)^ - An aerial view of the new U.C.L.A. Westwood campus, looking west, as construction was completed in 1929. Buildings from left to right: Moore Hall, then called the Education Building, left; Physics Building, foreground center; Powell Library, back center; Royce Hall, back right; and Haines Hall, far right. The main campus quadrangle appears at the center. In the foreground is the bridge which connected the campus to Hilgard Avenue. The gully which the bridge crossed was filled-in after World War II.
 

 

 

 

 
(1929)^ - Opening Day on the new U.C.L.A. Westwood campus, September 20, 1929. Construction activity continued while classes began. The area shown is the original campus quadrangle. View above shows students walking along the pathway. Royce Hall, in the background, was built 1928-29 in a northern Italian Romanesque Revival style.  

 

 

 

 
(1930)^ - A panoramic view of the UCLA Westwood campus, shortly after it opened. 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 may be seen in the middle of this photo.  

 

 

 

 
(1930)^***- Aerial view of UCLA showing the full range of residential development to the southeast of campus. There is a clear view of the bridge and gully, later filled in, between the campus and the community to the east.  

 

 

 

 
(1929)^ - View looking at the bridge which connects Hilgard Avenue to the main campus quadrangle at the U.C.L.A. Westwood campus.  

 

Historical Notes

In May 1927, ground was broken at UCLA’s new Westwood campus and the first priority was to construct a bridge to cross the deep arroyo. The bridge was necessary for transporting construction supplies over the ravine that divided the east and west parts of the site.

In the summer of 1947, the gully was filled to increase the amount of useable property on the campus. Today, the bridge’s arches remain hidden underground at Dickson Plaza.^*^*^

 

 

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

 

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Santa Monica Bay

 
(Late 1920s)^ - Aerial view all along the coast of Venice and the whole Santa Monica Bay area. At least 6 or 7 piers can be seen extending out into the ocean.  

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1920s)^ - View looking north of a very crowded shoreline at Ocean Park Beach in Santa Monica.  

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1930)^ - View of the coastline along Pacific Coast Highway looking north to Santa Monica, Pacific Palisades and Malibu. This is a photograph of a Chris Siemer painting created for a display by the L.A. Chamber of Commerce.  

 

 

Click HERE to see more in Early Views of Santa Monica

 

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Malibu Pier

 
(1937)^ – View showing two people enjoying the day on Malibu Pier.  In the background can be seen the beach and the Rindge Ranch train shed south of the pier. Photo by Herman Schultheis  

 

Historical Notes

The Malibu Pier was originally built in 1905 to support the operations of Frederick Hastings Rindge's Malibu Rancho. Hides, grains, fruit, and other agricultural products were shipped from the pier either directly or by transfer to larger vessels. Building materials and other Rancho necessities arrived at the pier. The Rindge private railroad, used for freight movement within the ranch, had a terminus near the pier.

In 1934, the pier was opened to the public for pier and charter fishing. Fishermen were also shuttled back and forth from the pier and the barge Minnie A. Caine anchored a mile off shore. After the bankruptcy of Marblehead Land Co. (the Rindge's land operation) in 1936, the Malibu Pier was taken over by bondholders who had helped finance Malibu development. The pier was extended to its current 780-foot length, and the first small bait and tackle shop building was constructed at the ocean end by 1938. #++

 

 

 
(2015)##^ – Same view 78 years later showing a slightly different landscape.  

 

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OIl Fields of Marina del Rey and Playa del Rey

 
(ca. 1929)^ - Aerial view of Marina del Rey, California, circa 1929. Oil wells are prevalent throughout the area.  

 

Historical Notes

Ever since the legendary oil tycoon Edward L. Doheny and his partner, Charles A. Canfield, struck oil northwest of downtown Los Angeles in 1892, extracting petroleum from the land beneath Southern California has been a major part of the Southern California economy and its landscape. That included the beach areas as well.^^^*

 

Venice Oil Field

 
(ca. 1930s)*# - People frolic along the Playa del Rey beach, the skyline dominated by oil derricks.  

 

Historical Notes

In 1930, oil was discovered on the Venice Peninsula. Within a year, 148 oil wells were producing over 40,000 barrels of oil daily. Jobs were created, but environmental destruction was wide spread and polluting the surrounding residential area and beaches.*#*

 

 

 
(ca. 1930)^ - View of the Venice Oil Field, located south of Venice, in what is modern day Marina del Rey, sometimes called Playa del Rey.  

 

Historical Notes

Despite the pollution and problems that came with it, Venice continued to drill as the opportunity was just too good to pass up. By 1931, the Venice Oil Field was the 4th most productive field in the state with 340 wells in use.

 

 

 
(1930)^ - Oil wells line both sides of the street at Venice Beach.  

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1930)##^# – View showing oil derricks along Venice Beach.  Note the lifegaurd kiosk at right.  

 

Historical Notes

In 1932 the wells were finally tapped and production dropped drastically – it was a good run but a short one, and now there was a big mess to clean up.

 

 

 
(ca. 1950s)^ - A view of Grand Canal in Venice with its tubes and pipes, surrounded by oil derricks. A foot bridge, in poor condition, appears in the distance.  

 

Historical Notes

By the end of 1942 the Venice oil field had pumped a total of 47,488,128 barrels, but by then production was only 688 barrels per day.*#*

 

 

 
(1953)^ - View of debris in a canal and oil derricks in the background, on the Venice Peninsula.  

 

Historical Notes

The unsightly oil derricks on the Venice Peninsula were slowly removed as people began to settle the promising beach area again. In 1959 only 64 derricks remained and the last one was removed in 1962. There was still oil in the ground, and these remaining oil wells, mostly owned by Graner Oil Company of Signal Hill, still pumped like bobbing grasshoppers a few dozen barrels a week each. As property values rose in the 70's, the land was sold or developed and the last of the oil wells were capped.*#*

 

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First National Pictures (later Warner Bros.)

 
(ca. 1924)^ - Panoramic view of the First National Pictures studio and the surrounding Burbank area, as seen from Griffith Park.    

 

Historical Notes

The First National Exhibitors' Circuit was founded in 1917 by the merger of 26 of the biggest first-run cinema chains in the United States, eventually controlling over 600 cinemas, more than 200 of them so-called "first run" houses (as opposed to the "second run" neighborhood theaters to which films moved when their first-run box office receipts dwindled).

First National was the brainchild of Thomas L. Tally, who was reacting to the overwhelming influence of Paramount Pictures, which dominated the market.  Between 1917 and 1918, First National made contracts with Mary Pickford and Charlie Chaplin, the first million-dollar deals in the history of film.^*

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1928)*# - Closer panoramic view of First National Pictures the year it was bought by Warner Bros.  

 

Historical Notes

With the success of The Jazz Singer and The Singing Fool, Warner Bros. purchased a majority interest in First National in September 1928. Warner Bros. acquired access to First National's affiliated chain of theaters, while First National acquired access to Vitaphone sound equipment. But the trademarks were kept separate, and films by First National continued to be credited solely to "First National Pictures" until 1936.

Although both studios produced "A" and "B" budget pictures, generally the prestige productions, costume dramas, and musicals were made by Warner Bros., while First National specialized in modern comedies, dramas, and crime stories. Short subjects were made by yet another affiliated company, The Vitaphone Corporation (which took its name from the sound process).^*

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1929)^ - Aerial view of the studios of First National Pictures in Burbank. Warner Bros. bought First National in 1928, and the Warner Bros. sign is seen on the north stage. Note that stage 7 has not yet been built. The backlot is seen behind.  

 

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Downtown

 
(ca. 1925)*# - Birdseye view of Los Angeles looking south from Sixth Street between Figueroa Street and Olive Street.  Figueroa is pictured to the far right, angling off in the distance toward the left horizon. Progressing farther left, Flower Street is shown, the blocks between the two streets enclosing what appears to be mainly industrial warehouses or office buildings. The Hotel Ritz can also be seen on this strip, along with a parking lot near the foreground. In the blocks between Flower and the following Hope Street, the buildings for an unidentified hotel and an installation of the YMCA are visible. The next strip, held between Hope and Grand Street, the Union Oil building can be seen, along with the Hotel Trinity a little farther back. To the extreme left, between Grand Street and Olive Street, the Hotel Stillwell and the Walker building can be seen.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1930)^^ - View looking west on Pico Boulevard from Figueroa Street showing the traffic jam caused by road construction.  

 

 

 

 
(1929)^ - Intersection of Flower Street and Pico Boulevard, showing street traffic, churches, and various businesses. Notice the decorative street lighting fixtures and traffic stop.  

 

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Wilshire Boulevard

 
(ca. 1929)*# - View looking east on Wilshire Boulevard toward its intersection with Fairfax Avenue. The northeast corner with the billboard  is where the May Company Department Store would go about 10 years later.  On the opposite corner where the little white house is, was once Rogers Airport, and would later become the iconic circular Simon's Drive-in restaurant.  It is now the Johnies 50s diner.  Oil wells are spread out where Park La Brea is now.  

 

Historical Notes

In the late 1930s the 1.5-mile stretch of Wilshire Boulevard between Fairfax and Highland Avenues would be named the Miracle Mile.

 

 

 
(ca. 1929)*# – Close-up view of the northeast corner of Wilshire and Fairfax with an unusual shaped building located at the future site of the May Company Building.  Signboard in the foreground reads “Newmark’s Mountain Grown Coffee Exclusively Served by the Ambassador Hotel”.  Note all the oil derricks in the background.  

 

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.^*

 

 

 
(1930)^ - Aerial view looking west down Wilshire Boulevard from above Sycamore. The widest street visible, Wilshire, became known as the Miracle Mile, where most high rises were built through the years. The Salt Lake Oil Field is at right, La Brea Tar Pits in upper-center, and Carthay Circle Theatre in the upper left-center in the distance.  

 

 

 

 
(1930s)**^* - View looking north showing the Western Auto Supply Co building located at 5655 Wilshire Boulevard. A tall "Wilshire Special" streetlight stands on the corner (Wilshire and Hauser). In the distance also stands an oil derrick.  

 

 

 

 
(1929)^ - Ridgeley Drive and Wilshire Boulevard, showing the Wilshire Tower with Silverwoods on the ground floor.  

 

Historical Notes

Wilshire Tower was the first Art Deco landmark tower on the street. Over the years stores such as Desmond's and Silverwoods occupied the ground floor while doctors and dentists had offices in the eight-story tower. Located at 5514 Wilshire Boulevard, the Zig-Zag Moderne building was designed by architect Gilbert Stanley Underwood and built in 1928.^

Note the ornate streetlights on Wilshire Boulevard, often referred to as 'Wilshire Specials'. Click HERE to see more in Early Los Angeles Streetlights.

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1930)**^* - Close-up view of the intersection of Wilshire and Burnside looking sourtheast.  

 

Historical Notes

Silverwood's was founded in 1894 by Francis Bernard ("Daddy") Silverwood, Los Angeles clothier, merchant, and businessman, originally from Canada, near Lindsay, Ontario. The first store was located at 124 South Spring St. in Los Angeles, and soon moved to larger quarters at 221 South Spring St. The flagship store was established in 1904 at Sixth & Broadway in downtown Los Angeles.^#*^

Hartmarx, one of the nation's largest clothing manufacturers and retailers, bought Silverwood's in 1941 and kept thee name. The Silverwood's chain of clothing stores folded in the 1990s.^*

 

 

 
(ca. 1930s)**^* - Looking east at the neon signage of the Silverwoods in the Wilshire Tower building.  

 

Historical Notes

The Wishire Tower Building was declared Los Angeles Historic Cultural Monument No. 332  in 1987 (Click HERE to see complete listing).

 

 

Wilshire and La Brea

 
(ca. 1929)^*# - View looking east along the Miracle Mile.  The prominent brick structure (center-left) is the telephone switching center still is existence on La Brea Avenue just north of Wilshire.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1928)^ – View looking east on Wilshire Boulevard toward La Brea Avenue.  Note the Gilmore gas station on the northeast corner; the following year it would be demolished to make way for the E. Clem Wilson Building. The white building at upper left is the Dyas-Carleton Café, built in 1928. The Bank of Italy (sign upper right corner) would become the Bank of America.  

 

 

 

 
(1928)*# – View of the Gilmore gas station on the northeast corner of Wilshire Boulevard and La Brea Avenue. The brick building on the left is the telephone switching center. Click HERE to see more Early Views of LA Gas Stations.  

 

Historical Notes

The gas station was demolished the following year to make way for the construction of the E. Clem Wilson Building.

The brick-clad building facing La Brea Avenue in the left background housed an office and switching station for the Southern California Telephone Company, completed in 1925 to serve the city’s western neighborhoods. It was enlarged from three to five floors in 1942 and given a complementary Art Deco facade by architects John and Donald Parkinson. It continues to operate today under the ownership of AT&T. #^+

 

 

 
(1930)^ - Wilshire Boulevard looking east from Tower Building west of La Brea in 1930. Ritz Theatre is visible on the right. The new high rise E. Clem Wilson Building on the northeast corner of La Brea and Wilshire is under construction.  

 

 

 

 
(1932)*# – View looking west on Wilshire Boulevard from Detroit Street.  Ornate streetlight lanterns called “Wilshire Specials” line both sides of boulevard (See Early LA Streetlights).  The E. Clem Wilson Building is seen in the distance.   

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1930)*^^ - View of the intersection of Wilshire and La Brea. The new E. Clem Wilson Building is seen standing on the northeast corner. An Owl Drug store occupies the ground floor on the corner.  

 

Historical Notes

Built in 1929 - 1930, the E. Clem Wilson Building was designed by architects Meyer and Holler in Art Deco (Zigzag) Moderne style. It is also known as the Wilson Building. Corporate names that adorned the Wilson Building included (in chronological order): General Insurance, Mutural of Omaha (until 1990), Asashi, and Samsung.^

 

 

 
(1931)^ – View showing the intersection of Wilshire Boulevard and La Brea Avenue with the Fox Ritz Theatre on the southeast corner. Note the double-deck bus on the left.  

 

Historical Notes

The Fox Ritz Theatre at 5214 Wilshire Boulevard (S/E corner of Wilshire and La Brea) was designed by architect Lewis A. Smith.  The 1600-seat theatre opened in 1926 and was demolished in 1977.^

 

 

 
(1926)^ – View looking at the southwest corner of Wilshire and Sycamore showing the Ritz Theatre.  Opened in 1926, it joined the Fox theatre chain soon thereafter. The theatre building was on the south side of Wilshire and occupied the block between La Brea and Sycamore.  

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1929)^ - Looking west along Wilshire Boulevard at La Brea Avenue. The Ritz Theatre is on the left; on the right the Security-First National Bank Building (the first Art Deco structure on the Miracle Mile) is under construction.  

 

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Vermont near Wilshire

 
(1931)*# – View looking south on Vermont Avenue at Fourth Street.  Cars are stopped at the intersection with traffic signal indicating “STOP”.  Caliente Golf Park is seen on the west side of Vermont.  

 

 

 

 
(1931)*# – View showing the same intersection (Vermont and 4th) as in previous photo, but here a woman is seen heading toward a stopped streetcar in the middle of the street.  The traffic signal just changed to “GO”.  

 

* * * * *

 

 

Wilshire and Vermont

 
(1930)^ - View of the northeast corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Vermont Avenue (foreground) in a neighborhood of large 2-story homes, including the 23-room Italian Renaissance Revival mansion, Villa Madama, seen on the left. In the center of the image is Villa Florist, a floral shop.  

 

Historical Notes

In 1908, architect John C. W. Austin was hired by by Ida Hancock, widow of Major Henry Hancock, to create Villa Madama, which was based on Florence’s Villa Medici. In 1909, the Villa Madama was by built in a subdivision called Shatto Place.^

Hancock Park was developed in the 1920s by the Hancock family with profits earned from oil drilling in the former Rancho La Brea. The area owes its name to developer-philanthropist George Allan Hancock, who subdivided the property in the 1920s. Hancock, born and raised in a home at what is now the La Brea tar pits, inherited 4,400 acres, which his father, Major Henry Hancock had acquired from the Rancho La Brea property owned by the family of Jose Jorge Rocha.^*

 

 

 
(ca. 1936)*# – View looking east on Wilshire Boulevard from the corner of Vermont Avenue showing the bustling activity of cars and pedestrians at the intersection. Seaboard National Bank is seen on the south side of Wilshire as well as the Bullock's Wilshire two blocks further east.  

 

 

 

 
(1932)+# – View looking west on Wilshire at Vermont showing a streetcar and a little two-person jalopy shooting through the intersection.  On the N/E corner is the tiled domed Texaco roof.  The large faux Tudor house on the left is the Cole House.  In the distance can be seen the 12-story Talmadge Apartments and, behind it, the Immanuel Presbyterian Church at Berendo Street.  

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1936)++* - View looking west on Wilshire Boulevard from Vermont Avenue. The signboard on the southwest corner is an advertisement for Bullock's Wilshire. To its left (out of view) is the Roberts Bros. Drive-in. The large home at upper-center is the Cole House. In the distance can be seen the Talmadge Apartments and the Immanuel Presbyterian Church at Berendo Street.  

 

 

 

 
(1939)*# – View looking south showing the Roberts Bros. Sandwich Drive-in, located near the southwest corner of Wilshire and Vermont. Sign in front reads:  Fried Oyster Sandwich 25¢. The Cole House is out of view to the right located on the site where I. Magnin would be built the year of this photo.  

 

 

 

 
(1930s)++* – Closer view showing the Cole House located at 3240 Wilshire Boulevard standing next to Switzer's department store on the southwest corner of Wislhire and New Hampshire. The Cole House would be demolished in the late 1930s to make room for the I. Magnin store.  

 

Historical Notes

Associated with a number of successful Los Angeles businesses and very active in community affairs, Louis Maurice Cole was a member of the extended Hellman banking family, several of whom built houses within two blocks of each other on Wilshire Boulevard. Cole's wife, née Frida Hellman, was the sister of Marco of 3350 Wilshire and of Mrs. Sollie Aronson—Amy—of 3325.++*

 

 

 
(ca. 1939)* - View looking east on Wilshire towards New Hampshire showing the newly constructed I. Magnin store at the site of the old Cole House.  Switzer's department store (3250 Wilshire Boulevard, now demolished) is seen to the right.  

 

 

 

 
(1939)++* – View looking west on Wilshire Boulevard from Vermont Avenue.  On the left is the I. Magnin store which just opened that year.  It replaced the Cole House at 3240 Wilshire Boulevard. Note the service station across the street with the mosque-like tiled roof.  

 

 

 

 
(1930s)*# – View showing the Texaco Service Station located across the street from the Cole House and later the I. Magnin store, southeast corner of Wilshire and New Hampshire Avenue.  Note the Green T Café on the left  

 

 

 

 
(1940)*# - View looking west on Wilshire Boulevard from the sidewalk in front of the Texaco Service Station located across the street from I. Magnin.  

 

 

Click HERE to see more Early Views of LA Gas Stations

 

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Compton

 
(ca. 1930s)^ - An aerial view of the City of Compton, looking south to Long Beach. Long Beach Boulevard is at left, and Alameda Street is at right. Photo taken by Spence Air Photos  

 

Historical Notes

Spence Air Photos was a one-man company ~ photographer, "Robert Earl Spence". He began shooting aerials in 1918. In the 1920s he had numerous clients hiring him to shoot homes and businesses. Spence would shoot images at an angle, not straight down, showing many additional building details. Spence was not a pilot, he hired an airplane pilot to fly him overhead while he leaned out from the cockpit with a bulky camera to get angled shots of the landscape. His method captured the details of the homes and their surroundings all the way to the horizon. He continued to photograph homes for 50 years.

In 1971, Spence retired and donated his collection of 110,000 negatives to the University of California Geography Department. He passed away in 1974.****^

At UCLA, the Spence Collection is part of The Benjamin and Gladys Thomas Air Photo Archives.

Click HERE to see more Early Views of Compton.

 

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Downtown Los Angeles

 
(1930)^ - Aerial view of Downtown Los Angeles looking north on a clear day. Pershing Square is in the center of the photograph, the Los Angeles Central Library tower is visible two blocks to the left, and City Hall is visible on the upper right.  

 

Historical Notes

Although there are dozens upon dozens of buildings, for decades no building in Los Angeles was allowed to exceed the height of City Hall, until 1957. It remained the tallest building in California from 1928-1964, at 28 stories tall (450 feet).^

 

 

 
(1927)^ – View looking at the northwest corner of 5th Street and Grand Avenue showing a full parking lot. The Ayers Apartments are on the right and the Barrone (later Engstrum Hotel Apartments) in the background left.  

 

Historical Notes

The Ayers Apartments will be demolished with the construction of the Edison Building in 1930-31 and the Baronne, originally the Westonia, will change it's name one last time and become the Engstrum Hotel Apartments.^#^^

 

 

 

 

 
(1930)*# - Panoramic view of downtown showing the Los Angeles skyline as it appeared in 1930.  City Hall, built in 1928, is the tallest building in the horizon. The building under construction at center-left is the Edison Building located on the northwest corner of Grand Avenue and 5th Street.  The pyramid-shaped tower of the Central Library is in the center-foreground.  

 

Historical Notes

In 1930, Los Angeles' population was 1,238,048. This was more than double its population just 10 years earlier (576,700).^*

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1930)^ - View of the Civic Center looking northeast from 5th Street at Hope, across Central Library. A new Edison Building is under construction on 5th and Grand, next to which are the Engstrum Hotel Apartments. City Hall is in the background, to the right of Bunker Hill.  

 

Historical Notes

In 1939, Southern California Edison (SCE) and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (DWP) completed negotiations on the division of territory between the two utilities. SCE would supply the unincorporated areas within Los Angeles County and all other municipalities except for Pasadena, Glendale, and Burbank, while the DWP became the sole electrical service provider for the City of Los Angeles.

Click HERE to see more in First Electricity in Los Angeles.

 

 

 
(1930)*^#^ - View looking north of the Edison Building under construction at the corner of 5th Street and Grand Avenue.  

 

Historical Notes

The above photo was taken from the roof of the Central Library, the still under-construction Edison Building is taking shape. Next door to the left is the handsome, symmetrical Engstrom Apartment Hotel and on the corner of Hope Street is a single family residence and behind it the Pierce apartments which will soon give way to the Engsrtrum's need for on site parking. Up Hope Street the white Barbara Worth Apartments shown on the left.^#^^

 

 

 
(1930)^ - View shows the Southern California Edison Company Building in the final stages of constrution.  

 

Historical Notes

Located on the corner of Fifth Street and Grand Avenue the building opened on March 20, 1931 as the Southern California Edison Company corporate headquarters.*

The Edison Company Building was one of the first all-electrically heated and cooled buildings constructed in the western United States. Now known as One Bunker Hill, the Art Deco building located at 601 W. 5th Street was designed by James and David Allison.^

 

* * * * *

 

 

 

 
(1931)^ – View looking north from 5th Street on Occidental Boulevard in the Westlake area.  The Precious Blood Roman Catholic Church is seen on the left behind a palm tree.  

 

Historical Notes

The church building stands on a v-shaped corner of Occidental Blvd. and Hoover St.  This one of the archdiocese's architectural gems, showing a beautiful rose window above the main entrance. It was dedicated in November 1926.  The Italian Romanesque structure has three rose windows that offer a dim and religious life. Twelve large stained glass windows, six yellow windows and the Stations of the Cross Mosaics are over the nave.^*

 

* * * * *

 

 

Wilshire Boulevard

 
(1929)^ - A view looking east down Wilshire Boulevard past the painted arrow on the street telling traffic to "Slow - Crossing". On the right side is the Estrada's Spanish Kitchen Restaurant, and on the left side is the Wilshire Christian Church. On past the church is the Gaylord Apartment Building.  

 

Historical Notes

Wilshire Christian Church was the first church on Wilshire Boulevard in 1911. The church property on the northeast corner of Wilshire and Normandie was donated by the Chapman Brothers, owners of Chapman Market, whose historic building remains nearby on Sixth Street.^*

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1935)##^* –  Postacard view looking east on Wilshire Boulevard near Normandie.  The Wilshire Christian Church is to the left and in the distance can be seen the Gaylord Apartment Building.  Directly on the other side of the church stands two radio transmitting towers belonging to the KFAC Radio Station.  

 

Historical Notes

The Gaylord Apartment Hotel was named after Henry Gaylord Wilshire, who founded the famous boulevard; the 14-story building officially opened its doors in 1924. The entire area near the Gaylord became the site of New York style apartment buildings, and many film stars lived in these elegant high rises. Among them were the Ambassador, Asbury, Langham, Fox Normandie, Picadilly, and Windsor. In the mid-sixties, the Gaylord Apartment Hotel was converted into a charming apartment community.^

 

Wilshire and Western

 
(1929)**^ - View showing traffic at the intersection of Wilshire Boulevard and Western Avenue. The offices of real estate developer Henry de Roulet are seen on the southeast corner. This would become the future site of the Pellissier Building and Wiltern Theatre.  

 

Historical Notes

In the 1920s, the atmospheric rise of automobile ownership within the city, coupled with Wilshire Boulevard's emergence as a commercial corridor and the development of Western Avenue as a fashionable residential street, transformed the intersection into a recurring traffic jam. In 1928, the city traffic commission recorded nearly 75,000 automobiles and double-decker buses passing through Wilshire and Western on one particular day, making the intersection the nation's busiest, according to the commission's own reckoning.

Chronic congestion inspired traffic engineers to innovate. In 1922 they experimented with a traffic circle that, because of the intersection's small size, only bottlenecked traffic. Two years later they installed some of the city's first automated traffic signals at the crossroads. ^^^*

 

 

 
(ca. 1929)*# - View looking southeast at the interesection of Wilshire and Western, already showing signs of being one of the busiest intersections in Los Angeles.  

 

Historical Notes

Developer Henry de Roulet described the intersection as one of the busiest in the world. In 1930-31 he would build the Wiltern Theater and Pellisser Building complex at southeast corner. The buildings are now on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.**^

 

 

 
(1929)^^ - Close-up view of the southeast corner of Wilshire and Western, future home of the Pellissier Building and Wiltern Theatre.  

 

 

 

 
(1931)*# – View showing the Pellissier Building and Warner Bros. Western Theatre (now Wiltern Theatre) in the early stages of construction at the southeast corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Western Avenue. Construction began in November 1930.  

 

Historical Notes

In 1882, Germain Pellisier, a 33-year-old immigrant from the French Alps, purchased the Southern Pacific's 156-acre tract on the intersection's southeast corner for $3,200. At first Pellissier opened a sheep ranch on his new property, but he was less interested in the land for wool production than as a long-term investment; the foresighted Pellissier believed that a growing Los Angeles would soon spill over its city limits and reach his quarter-section of wilderness.

Events soon proved him right. In April 1885, the Los Angeles County board of supervisors designated one of the roads passing by his tract a county highway, bestowing on it the name Western Avenue. (The other road would later be named Sixth Street before becoming Wilshire Boulevard in 1897.) Pellissier shut down his sheep ranch, and, when Southern California's wild land boom arrived in 1887, parceled out part of his tract, which eventually became known as the Pellissier Square subdivision. By 1905, land that Pellissier had bought for $20.50 per acre was selling for $2,700. ^^^*

 

 

 
(1931)*# - The Pellissier Building’s steel framing is almost complete, SE corner of Wilshire and Western  

 

Historical Notes

Developer Henry de Roulet, who had grown up not far from the building's site on the former sheep ranch, named the building after his visionary grandfather, Germain Pellissier. ^^^*

 

 

 
(1931)*^# – View of the Pellissier Building and Warner (later Wiltern) Theatre shortly after completion.  

 

Historical Notes

Completed in 1931, the Wiltern was designed by architect Stiles O. Clements of Morgan, Walls & Clements, the city’s oldest architectural firm.

 

 

 
(ca. 1930)^ - View of Wilshire Blvd. looking east near Western Avenue circa 1930. The buildings at left in Art Deco and Spanish Colonial Revival styles hold various shops and offices. Amid the cars is a double-decker open-air bus labelled "Wilshire. Beverly Hills." In the background is the domed Wilshire Boulevard Temple at Hobart Boulevard.
 

 

 

 

 
(1931)++# - View of traffic at the intersection of Wilshire Boulevard and Western Avenue, looking east. This was then the busiest intersection in Los Angeles. Note that the Pellissier Building and Wiltern Theatre is under contruction on the southeast corner. The dome of the Wilshire Boulevard Temple can be seen in the background.  

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1930)^ - Exterior view of Wilshire Boulevard Temple, at 3663 Wilshire Boulevard at Hobart Blvd. People are seen on the steps, and cars are parked on the streets.  

 

Historical Notes

Wilshire Boulevard Temple, founded in 1862 as Congregation B'nai B'rith, is the oldest Jewish congregation in Los Angeles. One of the country’s most respected Reform congregations, Wilshire Boulevard Temple's magnificent sanctuary, with its famous dome and Warner Murals, is a City of Los Angeles Historic Cultural Monument and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.^*

 

 

 
(ca. 1939)^ - Another view of the Wilshire Boulevard Temple, at 3663 Wilshire Boulevard at Hobart Blvd. People are seen on the steps in front of the temple.  

 

 

 

 
(1930s)^ - A double deck Los Angeles Motor Coach, no. 717, passes parked cars on Wilshire near Ardmore. Note the advertisements on the building to the left--for butter and for ale. The Wilshire Boulevard Temple can be seen in the background.  

 

Historical Notes

Los Angeles Motor Bus Company was formed in 1923 as a joint venture between both the Pacific Electric Railway and Los Angeles Railway to institute a comprehensive new motor bus service for major arteries in the rapidly expanding metropolis.

The even numbered buses belonged to Los Angeles Railway and the odd numbered buses belonged to Pacific Electric Railway.#*

 

 

 
(ca. 1932)#* - Los Angeles Motor Coach double-deck bus, no. 604. The Morgan Hotel, 629 W. 8th Street, can be seen in the background.  

 

 

 

 

 

(ca. 1931)+# – View showing a double-decker, open-topped Los Angeles Motor Coach Bus heading east through the intersection of Western and Wilshire boulevards.  The tall building in the distance is the Wilshire Professional Building (3875 Wilshire Blvd).

     

Historical Notes

Wilshire has an interesting distinction, it was the only street that was banned by the City of Los Angeles from having street rail on it. The elites of early 20th century Los Angeles who built their mansions in the area were the region's first "NIMFYs" (Not in My Front Yard). The clanging bells and masses who rode streetcars were not welcomed on Wilshire, but buses were. #*

 

 

 

 
(1931)+# – View looking west on Wilshire Boulevard showing the new Pellissier Building under construction on the S/E corner of Wilshire and Western.  The Pellissier houses the magnificent Wiltern Theater which at the time it opened was designed as a vaudeville house and called the Warner Brothers Western Theater. The tall building in the distance is the Wilshire Professional Building, built in 1929.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1931)*# – View looking west on Wilshire Boulevard during evening rush hour with double-decker bus seen heading towards the camera.  The Pellissier Building and Warner Theatre (now Wiltern Theatre) are now complete. The Wilshire Professional Building is on the right and further back.  

 

 

 

 
(1931)*# - The Pellissier Building and Warner Theatre (now Wiltern Theatre). The above view shows the opening night of the Warner Brothers Western Theatre on the corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Western Avenue, Oct. 7, 1931.  

 

Historical Notes

Originally built in 1931, the Wiltern was designed by architect Stiles O. Clements of Morgan, Walls & Clements, the city’s oldest architectural firm.

The Wiltern Theatre was originally designed as a vaudeville theater and initially opened as the Warner Brothers Western Theater, the flagship for the theater chain. Quickly closing a year later, the theater reopened in the mid-1930s and was renamed the Wiltern Theatre for the major intersection which it faces (Wilshire Boulevard and Western Avenue.)^*

Both the Wiltern Theatre and the Pellissier Building have been named to the National Register of Historic Places and declared a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument by the City of Los Angeles (No. 118). Click HERE to see complete listing.

 

 

 
(1931)* - A closer view of the Pellissier Building and Warner Theatre on opening night.  

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1931)^ - Looking east down Wilshire Boulevard from Ingraham Street. Various structures, including the Wiltern and the Wilshire Boulevard Temple, as well as numerous billboards can be seen.  

 

Historical Notes

Many structures seen above, including the Churrigueresque style commercial building at 3771 Wilshire Boulevard (across from the Wiltern) have since been demolished.^

 

 

 
(1931)^ - Outside view of the Art Deco style Warner Bros. Western Theater, at the time of its 1931 opening.
 

 

Historical Notes

The Wiltern Theatre opened its doors on Oct. 7, 1931, as the Warner Theatre -- part of Warner Bros.' chain of first-run movie houses -- with a screening of Alexander Hamilton, starring George Arliss. A brass band played, as movie stars and other stylish guests walked the temporary "Bridge of Stars" across Wilshire Boulevard to the theater's front doors. The bridge was decorated with lights and flowers.*##

 

 

 
(ca. 1930s)^ - View of Wilshire Boulevard, looking east toward Western Avenue with the Wiltern Theatre (previously Warner Bros. Western Theater) on the right side. In the background is the domed Wilshire Boulevard Temple (formerly the B'nai B'rith Temple), at 3663 Wilshire Blvd and Hobart. The Art Deco and Spanish Colonial Revival style buildings visible on the left hold various shops and offices.  

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1934)*# - Panoramic view looking east on Wilshire Boulevard at Western Avenue.  The intersection is full of cars and a double-decker bus.  The Wilshire Theatre stands on the southeast corner with a large sign in front: “25 cents for Two Major Features”  

 

Historical Notes

Wilshire has an interesting distinction, it was the only street that was banned by the City of Los Angeles from having street rail on it. The elites of early 20th century Los Angeles who built their mansions in the area were the region's first "NIMFYs" (Not in My Front Yard). The clanging bells and masses who rode streetcars were not welcomed on Wilshire, but buses were. #*

 

 

 

 
(1938)^ - View of Wilshire Boulevard on October 18, 1938, looking east, toward Western Avenue; the Wiltern Theater can be seen. To the right of photo is a sign reading CARWASH 50 cents and 10 and 15 cent parking.  

 

 

 

 
(1933)*# - View looking over the intersection of Western Avenue and Wilshire Boulevard from on top of the Pellissier Building (location of the Wiltern Theatre).  

 

 

 

 
(1929)^ - Looking east down Wilshire Boulevard where it crosses Wilton. Several homes are seen on both sides of the street, and in the background on the left is the newly completed Wilshire Professional Building, designed by Arthur E. Harvey.  

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1932)^ - View of the Wilshire Professional Building, looking east on Wilshire Boulevard. On the left is a partial view of the St. James' Episcopal Church. In the background can be seen both the Wilshire Boulevard Temple and the Pellissier Building.  

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1935)^ - Exterior view of St. James' Episcopal Church, located on Wilshire Blvd. and St. Andrews Place, taken from across Wilshire Boulevard. A line of palms are seen on St. Andrews Place.  

 

Historical Notes

The Gothic revival style church was designed by Benjamin C. McGougall and is considered to be one of the finest examples of Gothic Revival architecture in Southern California.^

 

 

 
(1937)^ - View of the Wilshire Professional Building on Wilshire and St. Andrews Place and St. James' Episcopal Church on the right.  

 

Historical Notes

The Gothic revival style church was designed by Benjamin C. McGougall in the 1920s and the art deco office building at 3875 Wilshire Boulevard was designed by architect Arthur E. Harvey and built in 1929.^

 

* * * * *

 

 

 

 
(1929)^ - Aerial view of an early "mini mall" at 3649 Beverly Boulevard, consisting of Barkies Sandwich Shops, which features a puppy's head on the roof and paws by the entrance. Also shown are the Tip-Top Drive in Market and a bodyshop.  

 

Historical Notes

Barkies Sandwich Shops was a 1920s Los Angeles restaurant chain, featuring a larger than life mascot named “Ponderous Pup.” These types of shops were an early precursor to the mini-mall idea.

 

 

 

 
(1930)^ - Closer view of Barkies Sandwich Shops located on the northeast corner of Vermont and Westmoreland Ave. A larger than life image of a mascot named the 'Ponderous Pup', graces the entrance way with his head on the roof and paws on either side of the door, a huge sign hanging from his mouth which reads: "Toasted Barkies Sandwich Shops, No. 4"; and on the right of the photo, Tip-Top Drive In Market. Crates of oranges, grapefruit, lemons, and other fruit have been placed next to the sidewalk, giving cars enough space to drive between those and the market entrance.  

 

Historical Notes

In the 1920s and 30s, as the automobile was becoming the default way to get around Los Angeles, buildings and structures in the area became more unique, often resembling the merchandise or services they hawked.  These “hey-you-can’t miss-me!” buildings (referred to as Novelty or Programmatic architecture) were made to pull automobile drivers right off the road.

Click HERE to see more examples of Early Los Angeles Programmatic Architecture.

 

 

 

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Sonora Town

 
(1930)^ - View of Sonora Town as seen from Fort Moore Hill, looking north on Castelar Street (now Hill Street).  

 

Historical Notes

The part of the city called Sonora Town was an old adobe village north of the Plaza and Church of Our Lady, Queen of the Angels. It was Los Angeles' first Mexican quarters, or barrio. The area was named for the numerous miners and families who came from Sonora, Mexico, and may have still been around in the 1930s. Now it is Los Angeles' Chinatown District.^

Click HERE to see more Early Views of Sonora Town.

 

* * * * *

 

 

Pershing Square

 
(ca. 1930)*# - Panoramic composite photo looking northwest showing Pershing Square and surrounding area.  Recognizable buildings include (l to r):  the Biltmore Hotel, Philharmonic Auditorium, and the California Club, located on the N/W corner of 5th and Hill streets, on the right.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1930)^ - View looking northwest toward Pershing Square from the corner of 6th and Hill streets. The Pacific Mutual Building is seen in the distance on the left. The Biltmore Hotel is on the right.  

 

Historical Notes

In 1867, St. Vincent's College, present day Loyola Marymount University, was located across the street, and the park informally became called St. Vincent's Park. In 1870, it was officially renamed Los Angeles Park. In 1886 it was renamed 6th Street Park, and redesigned with an "official park plan" by Frederick Eaton, later the mayor. In the early 1890s it was renamed Central Park, which it was called for decades.

In November 1918, a week after Armistice Day ended World War I, the park was renamed Pershing Square, in honor of Gen. John Joseph "Black Jack" Pershing.^*

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1930)*# – Panoramic composite photo looking west over Pershing Square showing the Pacific Mutual Building (left) and the Biltmore Hotel (right) on Olive Street between 5th and 6th streets. Both buildings are still standing today.  

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1930)*# - View looking southwest toward the intersection of Olive and 6th streets with the Pacific Mutual Building stand on the N/W corner. Click HERE to see more Early Views of Pershing Square (1950 +).  

 

 

 

 
(1931)^ - Exterior view of the Pacific Mutual Building. 6th Street is on the left and Olive Street on the right.  

 

Historical Notes

The Pacific Mutual Building, located at 523 W. 6th Street, are actually three interconnected buildings built between 1908 and 1929. The original structure was designed and built between 1908-1912 by John Parkinson and Edwin Bergstrom.

The original structure has seen many changes over the years: a North Side addition was built in 1916 by William J. Dodd; a twelve-story structure was built in 1921 by William J. Dodd and his associate William Richards; the Garage Building was added in 1926 by Schultze and Weaver; and the West Side addition was erected in 1929 by Parkinson and Parkinson. The building underwent Moderne remodeling in 1936 by Parkinson and Parkinson.^

The Pacific Mutual Building is still there today, but the facade of the building on the corner has been modernized. It is listed as Historic-Cultural Monument No. 398 (Click HERE to see complete listing).

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1930)^#^^ - View looking west on 6th Street at Olive. Pedestrians are seen crossing Olive while streetcar and autos are moving along 6th Street.  The Pacific Mutual Building is seen at right on the northwest corner of the intersection.  

 

 

* * * * *

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1930)*# - View looking north on Spring Street from above 3rd Street showing downtown Los Angeles with City Hall rising tall in the background.  Legible signs in the foreground include: "Hollenbeck Hotel" and "Hear every word / 15 cents / Lyceum Theatre / Our sound is incomparable".  

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1930)^ - Looking south down Spring Street near 3rd Street (left, with cluster of cars), showing various structures, including the Douglas Building (left of center) and the ornate Lyceum Theatre (right of center).  

 

Historical Notes

Designed as an office building by James and Merritt Reid, the Douglas Building was completed in 1898.

The Lyceum Theatre, located at 227 S. Spring Street, was designed by J. Lee Burton and opened in 1888 as the Los Angeles Theater. It later became the 2nd Los Angeles Orpheum Theatre, and when it closed in 1941, it was known as the Lyceum Theatre.^

All of the structures seen from the Douglas Building to the right have been demolished.

 

 

 
(1935)^ - Side view of the Lyceum Theatre located at 227 S. Spring Street. Signboards in front of building read "Talking Pictures".  

 

Historical Notes

By the early 30s the Lyceum Theatre was exclusively a movie theatre. In 1941, the building was demolished to make way for a parking lot.^^*#

 

 

 
(ca. 1930)^ - Spring Street looking south at 4th Street. Angelus Hotel and Bank of Italy are on the southwest corner. Also shows Dan Parker, United Cigars, cars and pedestrians.  

 

Historical Notes

The Angelus Hotel was built in 1901 by G.S. Holmes (also the proprietor of The Knutsford Hotel in Salt Lake City, Utah). Advertised then as the tallest building in Los Angeles, the hotel consisted of two, seven-story buildings joined by a central structure with a lobby, dining rooms, meeting rooms and other shared facilities, including a central court yard on top.^^*^

The Bank of Italy was founded in San Francisco, in 1904 by Amadeo Giannini. It grew by a branch banking strategy to become the Bank of America, the world's largest commercial bank with 493 branches in California and assets of $5 billion in 1945.^*

 

 

 
(ca. 1930)^ - View looking south on Spring from 4th Street, with the Bank of Italy and the Angelus Hotel at right. They were demolished in 1956 for a parking lot. Next to them is the Title Insurance Co. building. Pedestrians, automobiles and trolleys are seen. What stands out are the exterior fire escapes on the Angelus Hotel.  

 

Historical Notes

Fire Escapes date back to the turn of the 20th century, when fire safety became a major concern and building owners were required by law to provide fire escape routes in their new property. The fire escape invention seemed to be a simple and cost-efficient way to address this requirement.

As far as a patented fire escape, the first credited person for such an invention was Anna Connelly in 1887. She invented the exterior staircase, used specifically for a fire escape. Many companies saw advantages to using this system and decided to incorporate that patent into their own buildings. These exterior staircases were cheap to build and could be added to the existing construction very easily, without the need to restructure the walls.*^#*

 

 

 
(ca. 1930)*# - Birdseye view of Hill Street, looking south from Seventh Street. A large group of pedestrians are seen crossing Hill Street.  

 

Historical Notes

Hill Street is at left and is crowded with both vehicle and pedestrian trafic. At center and right are several large buildings, including the Garfield Building and the RKO Theatre, which was formerly the Hill Street Theatre and part of the Orpheum Circuit. A very tall skyscraper is in the foreground at right and legible signs include, "Scott Bros", "Furs", "Foreman & Clark", "Upstairs from coast to coast", "Cost to coast Foreman & Clark World's Largest Makers and Retailers of Men's Clothes", "Gifts for Mother", "Mothers Day May 11th".

 

 

 
(ca. 1930)*# - Close-up view of Hill Street, just south of Seventh Street. Hill Street is crowded with an assortment of automobiles, buses, streetcars, and also pedestrians on the sidewalks.  

 

Historical Notes

Several large buildings can be seen, including the Garfield Building and the RKO Theatre, which was formerly the Hill Street Theatre and part of the Orpheum Circuit. Legible signs include, from left to right, "Professional Courses in [...] Secretarial Training", "Belasco Theatre", "Hotel", "RKO Theatre", "Herbists Café", "Garfield Building", "Birch Smith Furniture Co.", "Alhambra Bill Haines Marie Dressler", "Hardman Piano", and "Coffee Dan's".

 

 

Broadway

 
(1930)#* – View showing a very busy Broadway with a LARy streetcar in the middle of the street. Banners and flages are seen suspended from overhead wires in the background.  

 

 

 

 
(1931)*# – View showing a crowd at the opening of the F. & W. Grand-Silver Stores located at 537 South Broadway. Note the American Flag draped around the streetlight at right.  

 

Historical Notes

The 1931-built Art-Deco building seen above was designed by architects Percy A. Eisen and Albert R. Walker, whose Downtown Los Angeles credits include the Fine Arts Building and the James Oviatt Building. It originally housed an outpost of the household goods business F&W Grand Silver Stores. In the middle of the century it held a Hartfield’s Department Store. More recently, the structure served as an office building.

Click HERE for contemporary view.

 

 

 
(1931)^#^^ – Street view looing south on Broadway from 4th Street.  Banners are seen suspended from wires between the buildings in celebration of Fiesta Week.  

 

 

 

 
(1931)*# – View looking south on Broadway from 7th Street showing the elaborate decorations for Fiesta Week (November 1931).  Overhead, flags and bells are suspended from wires between the buildings with four American flags hanging from the streetlight posts at each corner of the intersection. Loew's State Theatre is at the S/W corner.  

 

 

 

 
(1930)^ - The streets are very crowded with people, cars and trolleys at the intersection of 7th and Broadway where the traffic sign says "GO". The view is looking norh on Broadway. On the right is the sign for Boos Bros. Cafeteria. On the left is the Bullock's department store and further up the street is Kress dime store.  Note the ornate lamp poles with traffic information signs on each corner.  

 

 

 

 
(1930)^#^^ - View showing throngs of people at the intersection of Broadway and 7th Street with the Loew's Theatre at left. Note the tall ornate two-lamp streetlight on the corner.  

 

Historical Notes

The ornate streetlight seen above is also referred to as the 'Broadway Rose'. It was so named for the distinctive climbing rose design on the post. The Broadway Rose only appeared on Broadway. 

 

 

 

 
(1930)*# – View looking north on Broadway at 7th Street showing the beautiful 2-lamp Streetlamps running up and down Broadway. Click HERE to see more Early Views of Los Angeles Streetlights  

 

 

 

 

 
(1930)*# -  View of the intersection of Broadway and 7th Street, crowded with pedestrians and Los Angeles Railway cars.  

 

Historical Notes

Seventh Street and Broadway was a busy junction for the Pacific Electric Railway, with southbound cars leaving on the San Diego Coast Route, stopping at Whittier, Santa Ana, Oceanside, and La Jolla. Westbound trains along Wilshire Boulevard head towards the Santa Monica Bay District and Beach Road North.*#

 

Click HERE to see more Early Views of Broadway and 7th Street (once LA's Busiest Intersection).

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1931)^ - View looking south on Broadway from 8th Street, showing (left to right):  The Tower Theatre, Southern California Music Company, Wurlitzer Building, Rialto Theater, Platt Music Company, and the Orpheum Theatre.  A very large and prominent Baldwin Pianos sign sits on top of the Southern California Music Co. Building.  

 

 

 

 
(1928)*# – Street view looking south on Broadway at 8th Street showing the Tower Theatre at the end of the street to the left (S/E corner), its clock tower reading approximately thirty-nine minutes after two o'clock, behind which the Southern California Music Company building, Wurlitzer building, Platt Music Company building and the New Orpheum can be seen, respectively. Automobiles, pedestrians and a cable-car navigate the street to the right.  

 

 

 

 
(1931)*# - View looking toward the Tower Theatre at 8th and Broadway. Traffic is stopped as people cross the intersection in all directions. The new Orpheum Theatre can be seen in the distance. Photo by Dick Whittington  

 

 

 

 
(1933)^ – View looking north on the 600 block of Broadway with the 3rd Orpheum Theatre at center. To its left is Schaber's Cafeteria, Desmond's Building, and the Walter P. Story Building (home to the Mullen and Bluett Store), located on the SE corner of Broadway and 6th Street.  

 

 

 

 
(1930)^ – View looking north on Broadway toward 8th Street, showing the Orpheum Theatre on the right, and the May Co. on the left. Pedestrians fill the sidewalks and cars fill the streets.  

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1930)*# – View looking north on Broadway from just north of 10th Street (later Olympic Boulevard*).  The United Artists Theater Building is at left along with the Texaco Building.  On the right is the L.L. Burns Building and Radio Supply Co. The streets are aligned with dual-lamp streetlights and Christmas trees.  

 

Historical Notes

*In 1932, the entire length of the 10th Street, from East L.A. to Santa Monica, was renamed Olympic Boulevard for the Summer Olympics being held in Los Angeles that year.^*

 

 

 

 
(1930)*# – Night view looking north on Broadway from 10th Street (now, Olympic Boulevard).  The street is illuminated by streetlights, electric signs, and lights on the Christmas trees.
 

 

 

 

 

 
(1930)*^^ - A 5-lamp ornate streetlight and the Hamilton Diamond Co. store lighting help illuminate the northeast corner of Broadway and 9th Street.  

 

 

Click HERE to see more Early LA Streetlights

 

 

 

 

 
(1929)**^** – View looking at the east side of Main Street showing the Liberty Theatre bookended by the Harris Hardware Company and the Gray Hotel.  

 

Historical Notes

The Liberty Theatre was described at length in a Moving Picture World article:

The 'Liberty' is one of the city's eight first-class moving picture theaters. The selection of the theater site was chosen with exceptionally good judgment. The theater is located in the heart of the business district at 266-68 South Main Street, near the intersection of Third and Main Streets.^^*#

 

 

 
(1930)^ - View of looking west on 5th Street at Main Street showing the Rosslyn Hotel and Annex on the west side of Main. Various buildings and storefronts such as the Rosslyn Drug store and the United Cigar Store can also be seen. Two men are standing near a traffic signal which reads: STOP.  

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1930)*# - Panoramic view looking east from the City Hall tower. What stands out is the enormously large gas tank owned by the LA Gas and Electric Corporation. The street on the left running diagonally is Aliso, where the 101 Freeway (Hollywood Freeway) is located today.  

 

Historical Notes

The above 300-foot tall gas holder or silo (aka gasometer) was located at the corner of Ducommon and Center, east of the Civic Center. It was built in 1912 by the LA Gas and Electric Corp. and it's not clear when it was torn down. Shots of Downtown up through 1960 seem to show these structures in the background.#^^*

In 1936 Los Angeles city voters approved a charter amendment authorizing the Bureau of Power and Light to issue revenue bonds in the amount of $46 million and purchase the electric system of Los Angeles Gas and Electric Corporation, the last remaining privately-owned system in LA. Click HERE to see more in Los Angeles Gas and Electric Corporation.

 

 

 

 
(1931)^ - View of Los Angeles Street, looking north from 1st Street. Many automobiles are travelling on this busy road and also parked along the curbs.  The traffic signal on the corner reads:  “GO”  

 

 

 

 

 
(1931)^#^^ – View showing a Sparkletts delivery truck in the 200 block of S. Los Angeles Street.  Sign on truck reads:  “Sparkletts for the Discriminating”. Click HERE to see more on the Sparkletts Water Bottle Corp.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1931)*# - Transferring mail from an ocean liner to the Goodyear Blimp in the Los Angeles Harbor. Click HERE to see more in Early Views of San Pedro and Wilmington.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1932)**^ - Aerial view looking north up Broadway. The Goodyear blimp is hovering over downtown Los Angeles and City Hall is seen in the distance. Click HERE to see more in Aviation in Early Los Angeles.  

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1932)^#^^ – Composite panoramic view looking north on Wall Street from 9th Street.  City Hall can be seen in the distance.  

 

 

 

 

Coliseum and USC

 
(1930s)* - Air view of the University of Southern California with the Coliseum in the background.  

 

Historical Notes

The University of Southern California (USC) was founded in 1880, making it California's oldest private research university. USC's development has closely paralleled the growth of Los Angeles, and the university historically has educated a large number of the city's business leaders and professionals.^*

 

 

 

 
(1930s)^*## - Postcard view of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum filled to capacity, 105,000 people.  

 

Historical Notes

For many years the Coliseum was capable of seating over 100,000 spectators. In 1964 the stadium underwent its first major renovation in over three decades. Most of the original pale green wood-and-metal bench seating was replaced by individual theater-type chairs of dark red, beige, and yellow; these seats remain in place today, though the yellow color was eliminated in the 1970s. The seating capacity was reduced to approximately 93,000.^*

 

 

 

 
(1931)*# - USC graduation ceremony at the Coliseum, June 6, 1931. Note that the torch at the end of the Coliseum has not been installed yet.  

 

Historical Notes

The now-signature torch was added during the renovations for the 1932 Olympics. It is still being lit during the fourth quarters of USC football games.^*

 

 

 
(1932)* - View of the colonnade and newly installed torch at the front end of the Coliseum.  

 

Historical Notes

The colonnade on the east end of the Coliseum is composed of a triumphal arch, flanked by 14 smaller arches and a central torch, rising 107 feet above street level. The torch, which was built for the tenth Olympiad, is constructed of concrete and capped with a bronze fixture that was kept illuminated throughout the games.^

 

 

 
(ca. 1936)*# - Fireworks light the night sky over the Coliseum. Photo by Dick Whittington.  

 

 

 

 
(1932)^ - Aerial view looking northeast toward Los Angeles. The Coliseum is in the foreground with the USC campus just behind it. The LA downtown skyline can be seen in the background in the upper right of the photo.  

 

 

Click HERE to see more in Early Views of U.S.C.

 

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Palm Drive

 
(ca. 1930)^ - A view of Palm Drive north from Adams Boulevard, with two-story houses on either side and cars parked on the street. The building at the end of the street is the Los Angeles Orthopaedic Hospital located on the site of Charles Longstreet's former home.  

 

Historical Notes

Many of the palm trees seen above still exist and our now situated within the grounds of the Los Angeles Orhopaedic Hospital (Flower St. and Adams Blvd). These are considered to be the oldest trees in Los Angeles. The trees date back to the 1870s.

The Los Angeles Orthopaedic Hospital (LAOH) was founded in 1911 by Charles LeRoy Lowman, as a clinic for children with crippling disorders. The first LAOH building was constructed in 1922 at the above site. It was replaced in 1959 by a second hospital, and today a third hospital nears completion on the Westside of Los Angeles.^^^

 

 

Click HERE to see more of L.A.'s Oldest Trees

 

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Figueroa St and Washington Blvd (Then and Now)

 
(ca. 1927)*# - View looking north on Figueroa from just south of Washington Boulevard.  A paperboy dressed in light-colored clothing stands at the center of the street to the right hawking papers while cars pass him on either side.  The large building in the background is the Patriotic Hall.  Note the beautiful two-lamp streetlight on the left.  

 

Historical Notes

Patriotic Hall was built in 1925 and the building opened its doors in 1926 to serve the public. When it was built, the 85,000-square-foot building was the tallest building in the city. Patriotic Hall was rededicated to honor of Bob Hope and renamed "Bob Hope Patriotic Hall" in 2004.^*

 

 

 
(2015)##^ – Google street view looking north on Figueroa St. from s/o Washington Boulevard, showing theBob Hope Patriotic Hall.  In the distance is the Santa Monica Freeway.  

 

 

 

 
(1931)*^^ - The See’s Candies delivery motorcycle and van outside the store at 519 W. Washington in Los Angeles, near the corner of Figueroa St. The large building in the background is Patriotic Hall. Alleyway to the right is S. Lebanon Ave.  

 

Historical Notes

Charles Alexander See II (1882–1949) arrived in the United States from Canada in 1921 with his wife Florence MacLean Wilson See (1885–1956), and his widowed mother Mary Wiseman See (1854–1939). Mary See had developed the recipes that became the foundation of the See's candy business while helping run her husband's hotel on Tremont Island in Ontario. The family opened the first See's Candies shop and kitchen at 135 North Western Avenue in Los Angeles in November 1921. They leased the shop from the French Canadian pioneer of Los Angeles Amable La Mer. They had twelve shops by the mid-1920s and thirty shops during the Great Depression. In 1936 See's opened a shop in San Francisco.

In 1972 the See family sold the company to Berkshire Hathaway Inc. In 2007, Warren Buffett called See's "the prototype of a dream business". ^*

 

 

 
(2014)##^ – Google street view showing the location where See’s Candy once stood, 519 W. Washington. It is now a Chevron gas station. The ‘Bob Hope’ Patriotic Hall is seen in the background.  

 

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Farmers Market

 
(1930)^ - Panoramic view showing several rows of cars parked on a dirt lot with some parking lines marked. A building has a sign "Supermalts 10 cents" where Farmers Market is located in a section of low buildings. In the background another sign reads "GILMORE" which is on the face of the Gilmore Stadium where early football and baseball games were played.
 

 

Historical Notes

Farmers Market started when a dozen nearby farmers would park their trucks on a field to sell their fresh produce to local residents. The cost to rent the space was fifty cents per day.

In 1870, when they moved west from Illinois, Arthur Fremont (A.F.) Gilmore and his partner bought two sizable farms, one of which was the 256-acre dairy farm at the corner of 3rd Street and Fairfax Ave. Gilmore gained control when the partnership dissolved later.

Gilmore Oil Company replaced the dairy farm when oil was discovered under the land during drilling for water in 1905. Earl Bell (E.B.) Gilmore, son of A.F. Gilmore, took over the family business. The younger Gilmore started midget car racing and brought professional football to Los Angeles. He built Gilmore Field for the Hollywood Stars baseball team, which was owned by Bing Crosby, Barbara Stanwyck, and Cecil B. DeMille.^*

 

 

 

 
(1942)##^* – Postcard view showing two women, pulling straw weaved baskets carts, shopping near the fruit stands at Farmers Market.  

 

Historical Notes

Farmers Market was created in July 1934 by Roger Dahlhjelm, a businessman, and Fred Beck, an advertising copywriter. They asked the owners of “Gilmore Island,” the former dairy farm at 3rd & Fairfax, if they could invite local farmers to park trucks on vacant Gilmore land to sell fresh produce to local shoppers.

Originally called the “Farmers Public Market,” the concept was so popular that within months, permanent stalls were erected to provide the farmers with a more convenient way to provide their produce. The “Public” was dropped from the name almost immediately. #**

 

 

 

 
(1938)*# - View looking north showing the Gilmore Stadium near the corner of Fairfax and Beverly (upper left). Farmers Market is in the foreground close to the intersection of Fairfax and 3rd Street (lower left). A new baseball field, Gilmore Field, will be built within a year of this photo in the empty lot at center-right of photo.  

 

Hsitorical Notes

Gilmore Stadium was used for American football games at both the professional and collegiate level. The stadium was the home of the Los Angeles Bulldogs, the first professional football team in Los Angeles. Gilmore Stadium was also the site of two 1940 National Football League (NFL) Pro Bowls. It was opened in May 1934 and demolished in 1952, when the land was used to build CBS Television City.^*

 

 

 

 
(1949)**^# - View looking southeast of Gilmore Stadium (center) and Gilmore Field (top). The intersection of Fairfax Avenue and Beverly Boulevard is in the lower left of the photo. Herbert's Drive-in Restaurant can be seen on the southeast corner. Farmers Market is in the upper right.  

 

Historical Notes

Gilmore Field opened on May 2, 1939 and was the home of the Hollywood Stars baseball team until September 5, 1957. The ballpark was located on the south side of Beverly Boulevard between Genesee Avenue and The Grove Drive, just east of where CBS Television City is currently located. A couple hundred yards to the west was Gilmore Stadium, an oval-shaped venue built several years earlier, which was used for football games and midget auto racing. To the east was the famous Pan-Pacific Auditorium. Click HERE to see more in Baseball in Early L.A.

Both facilities were built by Earl Gilmore, son of Arthur F. Gilmore and president of A. F. Gilmore Oil, a California-based petroleum company which was developed after Arthur struck oil on the family property. The area was rich in petroleum, which was the source of the "tar" in the nearby La Brea Tar Pits.^*

 

 

 
(ca. 1940s)*# - The windmill sign on top of Farmers Market, with the Hollywood Hills in the distance.  

 

Historical Notes

When CBS Television City opened next door in 1952, the Farmers Market provided those working or visiting that television studio a convenient place to shop or eat.

In the 1970s The Country Kitchen, a restaurant owned and operated by Jack and Eileen Smith (located next to the still-operating Du-par's), was popular with stars and their fans alike. Mickey Rooney could sometimes be found working behind the counter. Other customers included Elvis Presley, Regis Philbin, Rip Taylor, Mae West, Johnny Carson and even The Shah of Iran on his visit.^*

 

 

Click HERE to see more early views of Farmers Market.

 

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(1930)^ - Aerial view looking west down Wilshire Boulevard from above Sycamore. The widest street visible, Wilshire, became known as the Miracle Mile, where most high rises were built through the years. The Salt Lake Oil Field is at upper-right and the La Brea Tar Pits at upper-center.  

 

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.^*

 

 

 
(1931)*# - View looking north on Fairfax Avenue at Drexel Avenue.  A couple of oil derricks are seen in the distance around 3rd and Fairfax. The multi-story building on the left, now occupied by Sandy’s Camera, is still under construction.  

 

 

 

 
(1931)*# - View looking east on Drexel Avenue at Fairfax Avenue with oil derricks of the Salt Lake Oil Field in the background. Both corners on the west side of Faifax are occupied by gas stations.  

 

 

 

 

 
(2009)^* - Detail of the Salt Lake and South Salt Lake Oil Fields, showing their position within Los Angeles and surrounding cities, and also showing the locations of the active drilling islands.  

 

Historical Notes

After its first oil well in 1902, the Salt Lake Oil Field developed quickly in the following years and was once the most productive in California.  Over 50 million barrels of oil have been extracted from it, mostly in the first part of the twentieth century, although modest drilling and extraction from the field using an urban "drilling island" resumed in 1962. As of 2009, the only operator on the field was Plains Exploration & Production (PXP). The field is also notable as being the source, by long-term seepage of crude oil to the ground surface along the 6th Street Fault, of the famous La Brea Tar Pits.

The adjacent and geologically related South Salt Lake Oil Field, not discovered until 1970, is still productive from an urban drillsite it shares with the nearby Beverly Hills Oil Field, also run by Plains Exploration and Production.^*

 

 

 

Then and Now

 
 
(1931 vs. 2015)##^ - View looking east on Drexel Ave toward Fairfax Ave. Today, a Jack in the Box is at the southwest corner (right) and Park La Brea is on the other side of Fairfax.  

 

 

 

Then and Now

 
 
(1931 vs. 2015)##^ - View looking north on Fairfax Ave at Drexel Ave.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1931)*# - View of an oil well in the middle of La Cienega Blvd. near Beverly, Feb. 16, 1931.  

 

Historical Notes

One of Los Angeles' most unusual drilling was a well that stood in the middle of La Cienega Boulevard from 1930 to 1946, forcing drivers to zigzag around it.  The oil island was located between Beverly Boulevard and 3rd Street.^^

 

 

 
(ca. 1931)**^ - Oil island on La Cienega just south of Beverly Blvd. The view is looking north.  

 

Historical Notes

When the wooden derrick was constructed in 1907, it wasn't in the middle of La Cienega Boulevard. It was in the middle of a bean field. La Cienega didn't run that far north at the time but in 1930 the City extended La Cienega to Santa Monica Blvd. leaving the oil derrick in the middle of the roadway.^^

 

 

 
(1937)^ - View, looking north, of the oil well sitting in the center of the street.  It is one of the oldest wells in this vicinity of La Cienega. A large billboard stands at the front of the oil well.  

 

Historical Notes

Today, there is derrick tucked inside the Beverly Center not too far from where the above photo was taken.  It is near the parking area for Bloomingdale’s.^^

 

 

 

 

 
(1933)*^#^ - Panoramic view of the intersection of Pico and La Cienega in Los Angeles. On the far side of the street is the Pico Fairway, a driving range that has a billboard advertising a "Free Exhibition; Stan Kertes; Babe Didrickson; Wed Eve Aug 23rd". At the corner there is a tract office for the Olympic Beverly Plaza. Across the street there are a few cafes and shops. There are rows of houses at the far side of the driving range.  

 

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1936)*#- Aerial view of the intersection of Fairfax Avenue, Olympic Boulevard, and San Vicente Boulevard. The Green Spray Market can be seen in the upper left.  

 

Historical Notes

Fairfax runs from the upper left to the bottom center right of the photo. San Vicente is the wider street with the streetcar tracks. Olympic runs from the bottom left to the upper right corner of the phone. Von's Market is in the lower right corner and the Green Spray Market is at the upper left on the northeast corner of Fairfax and San Vicente. *#

Olympic Boulevard was originally named 10th Street. In 1932, the entire length of the street, from East L.A. to Santa Monica, was renamed Olympic Boulevard for the Summer Olympics being held in Los Angeles that year.^*

 

 

 
(1936)*# - Aerial view from a slightly different angle of  the intersection-San Vicente, Fairfax, and Olympic showing the Von’s Market to the right and the Green Spray Market to the left. 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.*^

 

 

 
(1932)*# - View of the northeast corner of Fairfax and San Vicente Boulevard showing the Green Spray Market.  Several cars and trucks are parked along the curb in front of the market.  

 

 

 

 
(1936)*# - Aerial view showing the intersection of San Vicente and La Brea Avenue.  San Vicente runs from lower-left to upper-right.  A viaduct over La Brea Avenue separated streetcar from automobile traffic.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1930)*# - View looking northeast showing the La Brea Avenue-Pacific Electric Railway grade separation at San Vicente Boulevard.  

 

Historical Notes

The bridge was removed after the streetcars stopped running in the 1950s.

 

 

 

 
(1930)*# – View of Barrington Avenue from a point south of Wilshire Boulevard.  

 

 

 

 
(1934)*# – View of Barrington Avenue looking north from Ohio Avenue in Westwood before improvement, April 14, 1934. Barrington is at center and is a wide dirt road that heads over a hill in the distance. A line of utility poles parallels the street at left, and several large trees are at right. A high wire fence encircles a field at left, and a truck is parked near the side of the road at left. In the background at left, the roof of a small building is visible over the crest of the hill.  

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1934)*# – View of Barrington Avenue looking north from Ohio Avenue after improvement.  

 

 

 

Metropolitan Airport (later Van Nuys Airport)

 
(1930)*^ - Aerial view in 1930 of Van Nuys Airport when it was known as Metropolitan Airport. Click HERE to see more Early Views of the San Fernando Valley.  

 

Historical Notes

Los Angeles Metropolitan Airport opened in 1928 and was spread over 80 acres amid the trees and farmland. In 1929, Hollywood discovered the airport. Howard Hughes, Hoot Gibson, Cecil B. DeMille, Gene Autry and Wallace Beery were among the growing number of stars flying at the new airport. The airport continued to expand and grow with three factories, six hangers, and a control tower on airport grounds. The airport also began hosting air races.  During one such race in 1929, Amelia Earhart set a new speed record. #*^#

 

 

Click HERE to see more in Aviation in Early Los Angeles

 

* * * * *

 

 

Taylor Yard

 
(1931)^ - Aerial view of the Southern Pacific railroad yard (Taylor Yard) by the Los Angeles River.  

 

Historical Notes

The above freight-switching facility was called Taylor Yard. It was used by the Union Pacific and later the Southern Pacific railroads from the 1920s until 1985.^*

Taylor Yard had been named after J. Hartley Taylor who was a grain merchant and owned a milling company in the area.  Throughout the 1920’s and 1930’s the property was a rail yard and an industrial site used primarily as a freight-switching facility, storage space and maintenance and repair facility for rail cars and locomotive engines.  Several utility shops were on the property, which provided electrical, plumbing and mechanical support services. #*^^

 

 

 
(1931)*# - Aerial view of Southern Pacific roundhouse and portion of vast network of transportation lines at Taylor Yard.  

 

Historical Notes

Shortly after World War I, the Southern Pacific Railroad outgrew its Midway Yard facility and moved to this yard. Operations at the railroad complex slowed in the 1960’s when rail facilities opened elsewhere.

 

 

 
(1953)^ - View of the roundhouse in operation at the Southern Pacific Taylor Yard.  

 

Historical Notes

Photograph caption dated April 18, 1953 reads, "This is the Southern Pacific's old roundhouse near the Los Angeles river. It's a far cry from Dieselville, which is a sprawling yard. In the roundhouse, locomotives are stacked in stalls like silver stallions. On the turntable is the DInky, a snubnosed beetle on an engine which pushes the 'biggies' hither and yon. 'There still is romance in steam,' said one veteran railroader." ^

 

 

 
(1955)^#^^ – View of the shop at Southern Pacific's Taylor Yard with two SP power units and a Union Pacific car on the left.  

 

 

 

 
(1936)^^ – View showing a locomotive wheel change in the shop.  LA Times Photo  

 

Historical Notes

Photograph caption dated Jan. 27, 1936 reads: “Passenger Engine No. 7856 of the Union Pacific rolled into the Los Angeles shops for a new set of tires. Workmen at the shops lifted the 200-ton locomotive from its wheels. August C. Roepke, mechanical supervisor, second from right, signals crane operator while J. H. Sinnar, foreman of the shop, extreme right, oversee operations and makes certain that workmen are careful and in the clear in case of accident.” ^^

 

 

 
(1940)^#^^ - View of Railroad Men on top of a boxcar learning hand signals at the Southern Pacific yard.  

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1950)#+++ – View of Taylor Yard showing cars speeding by as the humpmaster watches from his tower.  

 

Historical Notes

Cars flew like an endless chain down the humps night and day at the Taylor Yard.  The humpmaster assigned each car to its destination, electronically pulling a switch to the various tracks below, loading each track with cars headed for common destinations.

 

 

 
(1960s)#^*^ – View of the Southern Pacific’s Taylor yard facility. After the cars are uncoupled they roll down off the "Hump" and switched onto one of the many yard tracks seen in the distance. The switches for all these tracks are controlled from the towers seen alongside the yard.  

 

Historical Notes

In the 1960’s, the 247-acre freight switching facility called Taylor Yard began to slow down its operations during a time when Los Angeles was growing and expanding rapidly.  By 1985 it was closed and only used for maintenance and storage. #*^^

In 2007, Rio de Los Angeles State Park opened at the old Taylor Yard site. It is one of the last remaining undeveloped portions of land along the river to be used by communities as a park. The location of the park is 1900 San Fernando Road in the Cyprus Park community of Los Angeles.^*

 

* * * * *

 

 

East Los Angeles

 
(ca. 1932)#++ – Aerial view looking west toward downtown Los Angeles showing Ramona Boulevard running away from the camera.  Ramona would become the San Bernadino Freeway/I-10 (completed in 1957). LA County Hospital (1932) is seen and labeled in upper-center. The Legion Ascot Speedway (1924-1936) is at upper-right.  You can see the grandstands facing east.  

 

 

County General Hospital

 
(ca. 1930)^ - Aerial view of East Los Angeles and Boyle Heights neighborhoods revealing the construction site of the Los Angeles County General Hospital (center).  

 

Historical Notes

L.A. County Hospital and USC Medical School were first affiliated in 1885, so the hospital is commonly known as Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center, as well as County USC. It has become one of the largest and busiest public hospitals and medical training centers in the western United States.^

 

 

 
(1932)*^^^ - Opening ceremonies in front of the newly built art deco style Los Angeles County General Hospital.  

 

Historical Notes

Little known fact: Marilyn Monroe was born in the charity ward of this hospital on June 1, 1926.^*

 

 

 
(1932)^ - Aerial view of East Los Angeles and Boyle Heights neighborhoods revealing the Art Deco Los Angeles County General Hospital (center), surrounded by a multitude of residential dwellings. Photo dated: June 15, 1932.
 

 

Historical Notes

Beginning in 1975, the ABC soap opera General Hospital began using the facility for its exterior shots, appearing primarily in the show's opening sequence, where it still remains. The lower floors of the show's Los Angeles studio are modeled after the actual hospital's emergency room entrance, allowing for the show to shoot outdoor scenes in their own parking lot.^*

 

 

 
(1935)*# - View of Ramona Boulevard “Air Line,” a limited-access, grade-separated proto-freeway that followed the present-day route of Interstate 10 between downtown Los Angeles and the San Gabriel Valley. The L.A. County General Hospital can be seen in the background.  

 

* * * * *

 

Figueroa Street Tunnels

 
(ca. 1930)^ - Constructing tunnels through Elysian Park, which will become the Pasadena Freeway.  

 

Historical Notes

Work began in April of 1930. Tunnels on each end were bored, while the shorter, middle tunnel was dug out and encased in concrete, with earth then replaced on top. The extension was opened up to traffic in the last week of October, 1930.^*

 

 

 
(1930)^ – View showing a man looking down toward the construction site of the Fiegueroa Tunnels through Elysian Park.  

 

Historical Notes

Prior to the construction of the tunnels, traffic between Los Angeles and Pasadena crossed the Los Angeles River on the congested 1911-built Buena Vista-North Broadway Bridge. The Dayton Avenue Bridge provided another crossing to the north, but the hills of Elysian Park prevented it from being connected to downtown.^*

 

 

 
(1931)*^#^ – View showing the eastern portal of the first of the triple Figueroa Street Tunnels with an early model car parked in front. Construction equipment and supplies are on the left, with railroad lines visible in the background.  

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1931)**^ – Postcard view of the North Figueroa Triple Tunnels soon after they opened.  

 

Historical Notes

The north three tunnels (there are four) opened by November 1, 1931, connecting to North Broadway on the south via Solano Avenue and Riverside Drive on the north. Riverside Drive was an earlier high-speed road along the Los Angeles River to Burbank, and also intersected the Dayton Avenue Bridge, which led to Dayton Avenue (now part of Figueroa Street) towards Pasadena. From opening, the tunnels carried two lanes in each direction, with a 5-foot  sidewalk on the side.^*

 

 

 

 
(1931)^ - Tunnels on Figueroa Street in 1931. In 1940 this section became part of the Arroyo Seco Parkway, now the Pasadena Freeway.  

 

Historical Notes

The first three tunnels opened in 1931 as a bypass to a section of North Broadway. The fourth tunnel (the southernmost and longest) opened in 1935, connecting to Figueroa Street downtown. Connections were added in 1937 to the Figueroa Street Viaduct, 1940 to the Arroyo Seco Parkway (known until 2010 as the Pasadena Freeway), and 1953 to the Four Level Interchange. A new alignment for southbound traffic, passing through a cut to the west of the tunnels, opened in 1943.^*

 

 

 
(1935)^ - Tunnels on Figueroa Street in 1935. The closest tunnel is taken from Solano Avenue looking northeast at South Portal on October 15, 1935.  

 

Historical Notes

Since the tunnels' incorporation into Arroyo Seco Parkway (now SR 110), Figueroa Street has been discontinuous. It merges into SR 110 at Alpine Street in Chinatown, south of the tunnels, and splits in Highland Park, north of the Figueroa Street Viaduct over the Los Angeles River.^*

 

 

 
(ca. 1937)^ - Three people are seen on the sidewalks along Figueroa Street in between two of the tunnels, while cars pass by in either direction.  

 

 

 

 
(1938)*# - View of the Figueroa Street Tunnels in 1938 (pre-Pasadena Freeway).  

 

Historical Notes

The tunnels would not remain part of Figueroa Street for long. The 1940 opening of the Arroyo Seco Parkway to Pasadena created a chronic traffic jam at the tunnels, where several lanes merged into two. To eliminate the bottleneck, state highway engineers rushed to upgrade Figueroa Street to freeway standards. Blasting through the hills above and to the west of the tunnels, workers built a new open-cut roadway to carry four lanes of southbound traffic through Elysian Park to Castelar (now Hill) Street.^^^*

 

 

 
(1941)^ – View looking northeast showing the construction of a new alignment for southbound traffic, passing through a cut to the west of the tunnels.  

 

Historical Notes

Photo caption reads: “Rushing the work to relieve the bottleneck of the Figueroa tunnels for traffic on the Arroyo Seco freeway that runs between Los Angeles and Pasadena, crews are shown building the new parallel road through Elysian Park. In one section a whole mountain is being moved to fill in dirt for the new relief road for the heavy traffic.” Photo dated March 7, 1941.

 

 

 
(1941)^ - View showing the construction progressing on the parrallel roadway west of the tunnels.  Note the beautiful Solano Avenue Elementary School to the left of the freeway (and no Dodger Stadium yet!). In the distance can be seen the framing for the new Park Row Bridge.  

 

Historical Notes

Photo caption reads:  “Construction of the $2,437,000 Arroyo Seco freeway through Elysian Park, a section of which is shown above, today entered the national defense picture. Frank W. Clark, state director of public works, has asked federal authorities for priorities on steel and cement to complete the project on the grounds that it is of strategic value in the national defense program around this city."

 

 

 
(ca. 1949)^ - View showing the Pasadena Freeway in both directions; the inbound lanes (without tunnels) and the outbound lanes through tunnels. The view is outbound, towards Glendale/Burbank.  

 

Historical Notes

By 1943, the two-way Figueroa Street Tunnels and Viaduct were repurposed for four lanes of northbound traffic, and a higher southbound roadway was cut into the hills to the west.

 

 

 
(1958)^ - View looking southwest at the Pasadena Freeway (Arroyo Seco Parkway) as it crosses the Los Angeles River at Elysian Park. You can clearly see the new alignment for southbound traffic, completed in 1943.  

 

 

 

 
(1956)^^ – View showing northbound traffic through the Figueroa Street Tunnels. Note the change from two-way to one-way traffic through the tunnels.  

 

* * * * *

 

North Figueroa Street Bridge

 
(1931)*# - Birdseye view of the new Figueroa Street extension, showing tunnels. View is looking west from Dayton Avenue at San Fernando Road. Eventually a new bridge is to connect directly with Dayton Avenue, avoiding the V-shaped road.  

 

Historical Notes

The Bridge to the right is the Riverside-Figueroa Bridge, previous location of the Dayton Ave Bridge.

 

 

 
(1936)*# - View of the construction of the bridge extending Figueroa Street over the Southern Pacific railroad tracks, the Los Angeles River, and San Fernando Road. "Where Figueroa Street Will Extend. Will span S.P. tracks, river and San Fernando Road" -- Examiner clipping attached to verso, dated, July 9, 1936.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1937)*# - Panoramic view of the North Figueroa Street bridge under construction.  . "Panorama view of the new cantilever span, the biggest ever erected in this part of the county, which is expected to expedite traffic between downtown Los Angeles and Pasadena, Highland Park, and their adjacent residential sections. The span, which will cost $1,000,000, will be 452 feet long with a roadway of 40 feet. It is being built on the new North Figueroa Street Bridge over the Los Angeles River"  -- Examiner clipping attached to verso, dated, "February 6, 1937".  

 

 

 

 

 
(1937)^ - View showing the nearly completed Figueroa Street Viaduct spanning the Los Angeles River and providing a more direct connection between the tunnels and points northeast.  

 

Historical Notes

The Figueroa Street Viaduct opened in 1937, providing a wider and direct Los Angeles River crossing than the Dayton Avenue Bridge. After passing over the river and San Fernando Road, it tied into Dayton Avenue (Figueroa Street) south of Avenue 26.^*

 

 

 
(1938)^#^^ - View from above the last tunnel looking across the North Figueroa Street Viaduct (bridge) as it passes over the Los Angeles River.  

 

Historical Notes

The Arroyo Seco Parkway opened in late 1940 as a freeway from the Viaduct to Pasadena. However, the six-lane parkway narrowed to four lanes at the viaduct and through the tunnels, and had a number of at-grade intersections on its way downtown.^*

 

 

 
(1947)**^ – View showing the Arroyo Seco Parkway with traffic backed up on the southbound lanes heading into downtown Los Angeles.  

 

 

 

 
(1958)^ - View looking southwest at the Pasadena Freeway (Arroyo Seco Parkway) as it crosses the Los Angeles River at Elysian Park. A new alignment for southbound traffic, passing through a cut to the west of the tunnels, opened in 1943.  

 

Historical Notes

The two-way Figueroa Street Tunnels and Viaduct were repurposed for four lanes of northbound traffic, and a higher southbound roadway was built to the west. From the split with Hill Street south to near the existing College Street overpass, the four-lane surface road became a six-lane freeway. The new road split from the old at the Figueroa Street interchange, just south of Avenue 26, and crossed the Los Angeles River and the northbound access to Riverside Drive on a new three-lane bridge. Through Elysian Park, a five-lane open cut was excavated west of the existing northbound tunnel lanes, saving about $1 million. The extension, still feeding into surface streets just south of College Street, was opened to traffic on December 30, 1943.^*

 

 

 

Before and After

 
(1931)*#   (1958)*

 

* * * * *

 

 

Sixth Street Bridge

 
(1933)*# - View of several of the bridges that span the Los Angeles River. In the foreground can be seen the Sixth Street Viaduct.  

 

Historical Notes

Twenty-seven bridges currently span the LA River, from its origin in San Fernando Valley to its terminus in Long Beach. These structures constitute one of the largest concentrations of National Register-eligible bridges in the nation. In 2007, the city’s Cultural Heritage Commission declared thirteen of them, which were built between 1900 and 1938, as cultural monuments.

Several of the bridges are actually viaducts, structures with multiple spans, often connected by a tower.*^*#

 

 

 
(1933)*# - View looking west of the eastern end of 6th Street Bridge. This photo was taken before the bridge was opened to traffic.  

 

Historical Notes

Built in 1932, the Sixth Street Viaduct is a viaduct bridge that connects the downtown and Boyle Heights areas of Los Angeles.  It currently spans the Los Angeles River, the Santa Ana Freeway (US 101), and the Golden State Freeway (I-5), as well as Metrolink and Union Pacific railroad tracks and several local streets.^*

 

 

 

 
(1933)^^ – View showing the newly completed 6th Street Bridge and Viaduct, built at a cost of $2,383,271.  This photo was published in the June 13, 1933 Los Angeles Times  

 

Historical Notes

The length of the span and approaches of the 6th Street Bridge and Viaduct is 3546 feet, with a roadway fifty-six feet wide. It is the longest and largest of the bridges spanning the Los Angeles River.^^

 

 

 

 
(1933)^ - A view of Sixth Street Bridge, seen from the level of the bridge linking Boyle Heights to downtown. An automobile is visible at far left.  

 

Historical Notes

The Sixth Street viaduct is composed of three independent structures: the reinforced concrete west segment, the central steel arch segment over the river, and the reinforced concrete east segment.^*

 

 

 
(1933)^ - Photograph of a view around a curve on the Sixth Street Bridge, June 1933. The top of the bridge can be seen spanning from the right foreground towards the center background. Lamp posts are evenly interspersed on both sides down the length of the bridge, while metal overhangs connect two sets of archways at center. Click HERE to see more in Early L.A. Streetlights.  

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1933)^*#* - View of the 6th Street Bridge showing the original columns (pylons) on each side of the bridge, in-between the 2 steel arches. The columns above the bridge roadway were removed shortly after they were constructed.  

 

Historical Notes

The columns above the bridge line were removed less than a year after they were installed.  Due to widespread damage of the 1933 Long Beach earthquake, the city decided that in a future quake, the pylons might collapse onto the street in the middle of the bridge. Which means very few people have actually seen the bridge in it's entire original design as the architects envisioned it when it was completed.^*#*

 

 

 
(ca. 1950s) - View of the graceful 6th Street Bridge with its twin arches, but without the columns as originally built (sse previous photo).  

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1950)^ - Looking towards Los Angeles City Hall from across the railroad tracks by the 6th Street Bridge.  

 

 

 

 
(1955)^#^^ – Profile view of the Sixth Street Viaduct.  

 

 

 

 

 
(2008)++++ - View showing the restored Santa Fe engine no. 3751 steaming under the 6th Street Bridge on a San Diego-bound passenger special.  

 

 

 

 

 
(2012)^^^* – View of the 6th Street Bridge from Olympic Boulevard. It has the longest span of any of the bridges crossing the Los Angeles River near downtown Los Angeles.  Photo by Sterling Davis  

 

 

 

 

 
(2015)^^ – Close-up view of the old 6th Street Bridge in its last days.  It’s scheduled to be replaced by a new bridge over the next three years.  Photo by Luis Sinco  

 

Historical Notes

In November of 2011, the LA City Council voted to put the bridge down and replace the structure due to cracks in the concrete and corroding cement. Construction is scheduled to start in 2015 and take three years, with the federal government footing much of the bill.

 

* * * * *

 

 

Macy Street Bridge

 
(ca. 1933)^ - On this side view of the Macy Street Bridge (now Cesar Chavez Avenue) and overpass we can see the dry riverbed running under it, and on the lower right a train also passing under. Beyond the bridge is a manufacturing company's buildings: the Cudahy Packing Co. (ham, bacon, etc.)  

 

Historical Notes

The Macy Street Bridge designers chose its Spanish Colonial Revival style to commemorate its location along the historic mission road, El Camino Real. The bridge is dedicated to the founder of the California missions, Father Junipero Serra. Constructed during the major bridge building decade, 1923-1933, Cesar Chavez/Macy Street is one of a group of 12 river bridges significant for their role in the transportation history of Los Angeles and their association with Chief Engineer Merrill Butler, a major bridge designer of the era. The Macy Street crossing provided a high water, unimpeded crossing for access to the city from the northern and eastern sections of the rapidly developing city.^*#

On August 1, 1979, the Cesar Chavez-Macy Street Bridge was designated Los Angeles City Historic-Cultural Monument No. 224 (Click HERE to see complete listing).

 

 

 
(ca. 1933)* - One of four identical decorations on the Macy Street Viaduct, a bridge over the Los Angeles River that is now Cesar Chavez Avenue. The viaduct is in Spanish Colonial Revival style with ionic and doric columns and ornate streetlights.  

 

 

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

 

* * * * *

 

 

 

Glendale-Hyperion Bridge

 
(ca. 1930s)*# - View of the fairly new Glendale-Hyperion Bridge over the Los Angeles River.  

 

Historical Notes

The Glendale-Hyperion Bridge was constructed in 1927 by vote of the citizens that lived in Atwater Village at the time, and was completed in February 1929. The bridge spans 400 feet over the Atwater section of the Los Angeles River and has 4 car lanes. The bridge has become more widely known because of existence of a small-scale replica of it at Disney California Adventure Park in Anaheim, California.^*

 

 

 

 
(1927)^ - Artist's drawing on November 2, 1927, of the Hyperion Avenue viaduct over the Los Angeles River and proposed reinforced concrete Glendale Blvd. The length of the Hyperion branch is 2600 feet, the Glendale branch 2500 feet. Width of the main roadway is 50 feet, with the greatest overall width 150 feet. Estimated cost is one million dollars, and date of completion July 1928. Note the Pacfic Electric Line running on its own bridge adjacent to the Hyperion Bridge.  

 

Historical Notes

Before the building of the Glendale-Hyperion Bridge there was a wooden bridge occupying where it now stands. The bridge that was built around 1910 served as the main entrance to Atwater Village. After a large flood in 1927 the old wooden bridge collapsed into the water.^*

 

 

 

 
(1931)##^* – Postcard view looking east showing the Glendale-Hyperion Viaduct with Red Car seen at center-right crossing a bridge over the LA River.  

 

Historical Notes

In 1929 the Pacific Electric Railway constructed a line next to the Hyperion Bridge that would have Red Cars cross the Los Angeles River and down Glendale Boulevard. Up until 1959 the Red Cars would routinely cross the Los Angeles River next to the Hyperion Bridge. The line was shut down in 1959 in favor of Freeways. Today the concrete walls that held up the Red Car tracks still stand although the tracks have since been dismantled.^*

 

 

 

 
(1935)##^# - View looking west showing the Pacific Electric Railway line adjacent to the Glendale-Hyperion Bridge.  

 

* * * * *

 

 

Los Feliz Boulevard Bridge

 
(n.d.)+*+ - View looking north showing the Los Feliz Boulevard Bridge over the Los Angeles River near Griffith Park.  

 

Historical Notes

Originally called the "Tropico Bridge" when it opened in 1925, the Los Feliz Boulevard Bridge was damaged in the floods of 1938, and soon thereafter re-worked. Its ornamental concrete railing was replaced with the bland metal railing you see today. From the upstream deck you can see the Army Corps of Engineers 1938 plaque attached to the elongated piers below.^^^*

 

 

 

 
(1969)****^ - Los Angeles River just below the Los Feliz Boulevard Bridge, Atwater. LAT photo by Alan Hipwell on 1/25/1969.  1969 is considered a "weak" El Nino year.  

 

 

 

Vermont and 4th

 
(1931)*# - Wide-angle view looking north on Vermont Avenue from 4th Street where cars are stopped at the crosswalk. Large signboards for the Belmont Theatre and the Rainbow Gardens are seen in the background.  

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1931)*# – Panoramic view looking west on 4th Street at Vermont Avenue shwoing the large Romanesque and Moorish-style Sinai Temple, located on the southwest corner of 4th and New Hampshire streets.  

 

Historical Notes

Sinai Temple was the first conservative congregation in Southern California, established in 1906.

 

 

 

 
(1931)*# - Night view looking west toward the intersection of 4th Street and Vermont Avenue.  Sinai Temple stands in the background (S/W corner of 4th and New Hampshire) and a 'charcoal broiler' restaurant is seen on the northwest corner of 4th and Vermont.  

 

* * * * *

 

 

Wilshire Boulevard

 
(1931)*# - View of eastbound traffic congestion on Wilshire Boulevard. The tall building in the background is the Dominguez-Wilshire Building.  

 

Historical Notes

The Dominguez-Wilshire building (also called the Myer-Siegel Building) was designed in 1930 by architects Morgan Walls and Clemens.  The Art Deco building is located at 5410 Wilshire Boulevard in the Miracle Mile district.  The property was named after its developers, the Dominguez family, the heirs to the first land grant given in California by King Carlos III of Spain.^*

 

 

 
(1932)^ - An overview of Wilshire Boulevard, looking west. Visible on the left side of the picture is a high rise building labeled Myer Siegel and Company (the Dominguez Building) with C.H. Baker on the front right lower portion of the exterior. Farther back on the street is Wilshire Tower with the name Desmonds just visible on the top. On the right side near the bottom of the picture is McDonnell's Wilshire Cafe and past it a Standard Oil gas station.  

 

Historical Notes

In 1886, Myer Siegel opened his first store at Second and Main in Los Angeles. The Wilshire store located in the Dominguez-Wilshire Building in the Miracle Mile was the third store in the chain following stores in Downtown and Pasadena.  Additional stores would follow in Beverly Hills and Westwood.  These Myer Siegel stores offered better women’s apparel.  The company closed in the late 1950s.^

 

 

 
(ca. 1937)^ - Looking west down Wilshire Boulevard from La Brea Avenue in the Miracle Mile at night. The two largest signs in view are: MYER SIEGEL and McDONNELL'S WILSHIRE CAFE  

 

Historical Notes

Not to be confused with today’s McDonald’s fast food restaurants, McDonnell’s Restaurant and Drive-in sandwich stands were part of a chain of restaurants found in LA during the 1930s.

The McDonnell's restaurants throughout Los Angeles were: McDonnell's Monterey (7312 Robertson Boulevard); McDonnell's Wilshire (Wilshire Boulevard and La Brea Avenue); McDonnell's Fairfax (Fairfax Avenue and Wilshire Boulevard); McDonnell's Gates Hotel (Sixth and Figueroa streets); McDonnell's Hill Street (454 S. Hill Street); McDonnell's Figueroa (4012 S. Figueroa Street); McDonnell's Adams and Figueroa (2626 S. Figueroa Street); and McDonnell's Pico Street (Pico and Hope streets).

McDonnell's "Drive-Ins" were located at Beverly Boulevard & Western Avenue, Wilshire and Robertson Boulevards, Yucca Street and Cahuenga Boulevard, Wilshire Boulevard and Fairfax Avenue, and Sunset Boulevard and La Brea Avenue.^

 

 

 
(ca. 1938)**#* – View looking east on Wilshire Boulevard showing the Wilshire Bowl (N/E corner of Wilshire and Masselin).  In the distance can be seen the Wilshire Tower and the Dominguez Building.  

 

Historical Notes

The Wilshire Bowl was a nightclub (and not a bowling alley). It opened in 1933, by 1941 it was the Louisiana Restaurant. Slapsy Maxie's took over around 1943.

 

 

 
(ca. 1939)^#^ – View showing the Wilshire Bowl with its Art Deco tower, located at 5665 Wilshire Boulevard.  

 

Historical Notes

The Wilshire Bowl opened in 1933 and around 1942-1943 it became The Louisiana. Slapsy Maxie's existed in the space from 1943-1947 and was one of the venues that gave Danny Thomas his earliest standup performance opportunities. Eventually, Van de Kamp's Bakeries signed a $1,000,000 lease with Prudential Insurance Co. to convert the former restaurant into a modern coffee shop in 1952. It was demolished in 1982 to make way for a large commercial development.*

 

 

 
(1935) - View of the 1935 auto-show tent on Wilshire Boulevard. The lamppost on the left indicates the intersection of Wilshire and Stanley.  

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1935)#++# – View looking east on Wilshire Boulevard at Cochran Avenue.  An airplane (Fokker F-32) seems to be parked on the corner lot. Sign on the wings reads: BOB'S AIRMAIL SERVICE  

 

Historical Notes

This is Bob's airmail service gas station, which stood at 5453 Wilshire Blvd, at the corner of Cochran Ave. The plane is a 32-passenger Fokker F-32, which was a white elephant of an aircraft that never really worked right. They were probably going cheap so that when in 1934, Bob Spenser got the idea to build a Mobil gas station around one, Fokker probably said, “Here! Take it!” It sure must have been eye catching because in 1934, Bob's Air Mail Service Station sold more Mobiloil and Mobilgas products than any other dealer on the West Coast. #++#

 

 

 

 
(1936)*^^ - You could gas up your car beneath the wings of a grounded airplane at Bob’s Air Mail Service Station on the n/w corner of Wilshire Blvd. and Cochran Ave. in 1936.  

 

Historical Notes

Bob’s Air Mail Service utilized the twin-prop airplane to top its station, with the wings serving as canopies to shade its General Petroleum pumps. The plane was one of two Fokker F-32 aircraft operated by Western Air Express, circa 1930-31. The four engine F-32 was a design failure due to overheating of the two pusher engines and was only briefly in commercial service.

 

 

 

 
(1936)***^ - Another view of Bob's Airmail Service Station at 5453 Wilshire Boulevard. Click HERE to see more Early Los Angeles Gas Stations.  

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1936)**^ - Bob's Airmail Service Station on Wilshire. It almost appears as if the plane's propellers are moving. In the background can be seen the Wilshire Tower with the name Desmonds just visible on the top.  

 

 

Click HERE to see more in Aviation in Early Los Angeles

 

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Downtown Los Angeles

 
(1930)^ - View looking north on Hill Street between 5th and 6th streets showing the Boos Bros. Cafeteria and Portsmouth Hotel on the right with Pershing Square on the left.  

 

 

 

 
(1930s)^ - View showing the corner of 5th and Hill streets looking north, taken from alongside Pershing Square. The tall building visible behind the small palm trees is the Title Guarantee and Trust Company Building, located at 401 W. 5th Street. Architects John and Donald B. Parkinson designed it in Art Deco style with a Gothic Revival style tower in 1930. Across the street is the Boos Bros. Cafeteria (far right). An ad for "Roy C. Seeley Co." as well as an "Auto Park" sign is posted on the side of the Hotel Portsmouth building. The taller building behind it is the Pershing Square Building, designed by architects Curlett & Beelman; the building is a 13-story Beaux Arts Renaissance Revival style structure that was built in 1925. And farther back, the Hotel Clark can be seen peeking from behind. Built in 1912 by architect Harrison Albright, Hotel Clark boasts of "555 rooms with private baths" and with fire escapes on both ends is "Absolute Fireproof".  

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1932)^ - View looking north on Hill Street with Pershing Square in the lower left. On the northeast corner of 5th and Hill streets stands the Art Deco Title Guarantee Building. Other buildings seen are the National Bank of Commerce Building and the Subway Terminal Building. It's a busy afternoon as pedestrians, automobiles and street cars move about on the streets.  

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1932)^ - View of Spring Street looking north from between 6th and 7th Streets, full of cars, streetcars and pedestrians. At right is the Los Angeles Stock Exchange Building (later the Pacific Coast Stock Exchange), located at 618 South Spring Street and built in 1929-1930. Also visible is a Western Union office, the Grosse Bldg., the Ussner Bldg., Security-First National Bank, and the Rowan Building.  

 

Historical Notes

The Stock Exchange opened in 1931, in the midst of the Great Depression.

Designed in the Classical Moderne style to impart a sense of financial stability, the building’s imposing, fortress-like street façade rises the equivalent of five stories. A slender twelve-story office tower clad in terra cotta is set back at the rear.

The Stock Exchange became part of the Pacific Stock Exchange in 1956, and it moved out of the building in 1986. In the 1980s, the building was converted into a nightclub called the Stock Exchange. After undergoing an extensive interior renovation, the building reopened in 2010 as Exchange LA, a nightclub and event venue.*^#

 

 

 
(1930s)^ - Crowds of pedestrians are crossing the street in this picture of the intersection of 7th and Broadway. On the far (northwest) corner of Broadway is the Bullock's Dept. store. Note the long trolley cars marked Los Angeles Railway crossing the intersection.  

 

Historical Notes

The Los Angeles Railway (also known as Yellow Cars, LARy, and later Los Angeles Transit Lines) was a system of streetcars that operated in central Los Angeles and the immediate surrounding neighborhoods between 1901 and 1963. The company carried many more passengers than the Pacific Electric Railway's 'Red Cars' which served a larger area of Los Angeles.

The system was purchased by railroad and real estate tycoon Henry E. Huntington in 1898 and started operation in 1901. At its height, the system contained over 20 streetcar lines and 1,250 trolleys, most running through the core of Los Angeles and serving such nearby neighborhoods as Echo Park, Westlake, Hancock Park, Exposition Park, West Adams, the Crenshaw district, Vernon, Boyle Heights and Lincoln Heights.^*

 

 

 
(1933)*# – View looking northwest on the 1100 block S. Broadway showing the National Air Races parade.  Across the street is the Chamber of Commerce Building with the Examiner Building further north on the right (S/W corner of 11th and Broadway).  

 

Historical Notes

The National Air Races were held at Mines Field (now LAX), July 1-4, 1933. Begun in 1920, the National Air Races were an annual, week-long event including formation flying, parachute drops, aerobatic displays, and races. The event included two privately sponsored, closed-circuit speed races: the Pulitzer Trophy race held from 1920 to 1925 and the Thompson Trophy race held from 1930 to 1939. Along with other competitions, the National Air Races fostered the development of aircraft in the 1920s and 1930s but ended during World War II.

 

 

 
(1933)*# – View looking down toward the intersection of Broadway and 12th Street during the National Air Races parade, showing the newly elected Mayor of Los Angeles, Frank L. Shaw in convertible (dark suit in rear seat), being escorted by three motorcycle policemen.   

 

Historical Notes

In the foreground can be seen an ornate streetlight, often refered to as the 'Broadway Rose'. It was so named for the distinctive climbing rose design on the post. The Broadway Rose only appeared on Broadway.  Click HERE to see more in Early Los Angeles Streetlights.

 

 

 
(ca. 1932)^ - A flag flies atop the Barker Bros. furniture store at the corner of 7th St. and Figueroa in this view looking east. Wires for the electric street cars cover the intersection in a web of lines. A traffic light on the corner has stuck its "Go" sign out. On the left in the middle of the block is the Signal Oil building.  

 

Historical Notes

Barker Brothers' fine furnishings was a Los Angeles upscale furniture chain that closed in 1992 after operating for more than 110 years.^*

 

 

 
(late 1930s)*# - View of the Barker Brothers building on the southeast corner of 7th & Figueroa. Note the building on the northeast corner has been torn down and is now a parking lot (see previous photo). The M & H Cut Rate Luncheonette sits on the corner of the parking lot with a large sign on its roof that reads: “Optimo Cigars”  

 

Historical Notes

The 1925 building, designed in the Renaissance Revival style by Curlett and Beelman, was said to have been inspired by the Strozzi Palace in Florence. The symmetrically developed twelve-story structure is faced in terra cotta and brick, with a monumental three-story round arched center entry. Inside there is a forty-foot-high lobby court with beamed and vaulted ceilings.^

In 1988, the Barker Brothers Building on the southeast corner of 7th Street and Figueroa was dedicated LA Historic-Cultural Monument No. 356 (Click HERE to see complete listing).

 

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Long Beach

 
(1930)^ - A view of the beach at Long Beach looking south toward the Pike. The Villa Riviera Hotel is just visible behind the roller coaster. Umbrellas cover the beach and the surf is crowded with swimmers.  

 

Historical Notes

The Pike operated under several names. The amusement zone surrounding the Pike, "Silver Spray Pier", was included along with additional parking in the post-World War II expansion; it was all renamed Nu-Pike via a contest winner's submission in the late 1950s, then renamed Queens Park in the late 1960s in homage to the arrival of the Queen Mary ocean liner in Long Beach.^

 

 

 

 

 
(1930)^#** - A group of people look across the beach toward the Cyclone Racer at the Pike Amusement Park. A lone sailor is looking in a different direction toward perhaps some different scenery.  

 

Historical Notes

The Pike was most noted for the Cyclone Racer, a large wooden dual-track roller coaster, built out on pilings over the water. It was the largest and fastest coaster in the U.S. at the time.  They called it 'racer' because there were two trains on two separate tracks that raced one another from start to finish.^

 

Click HERE to see more Early Southern California Amusement Parks

 

 

 

 

 
(1938)^#^^ – Paddle boarders line up for the start of the National Surfing and Paddleboard Championship in Long Beach.  The Cyclone Racer is at upper-left.  

 

Historical Notes

Long Beach played host to the First National Surfing and Paddleboard Championship from November to December of 1938. The rising momentum of Long Beach surfing wouldn’t last, unfortunately. It took a major hit in 1941 with the construction of the Long Beach Breakwater.+++

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1938)+++ – Closer view showing surfers standing in front of their longboards/paddleboards with the Cyclone Racer in the background.  

 

Historical Notes

Surfing in Long Beach was short-lived. In 1940, the U.S. Navy moved into the port of Long Beach and in 1941 construction began on the 2.2-mile long Long Beach Breakwater. The breakwater was used by the U.S. Navy as protection for the U.S. Pacific Fleet during World War II. In 1997, the Navy base was closed, but the breakwater still remains to this day.+++

 

 

 
(1929)^ - View of the first Long Beach Municipal Auditorium extending onto the beach on pillars. The municipal pier is to the left.  

 

Historical Notes

The first Long Beach Municipal Auditorium was built in 1905 on the east side of the municipal pier at Seaside and Pine Ave. for a capacity crowd of 6000.^

On May 24, 1913, 10,000 people were massed on a double-deck pier in front of the City Auditorium celebrating "British Empire Day”.  A section of the upper floor gave way and 400 were plunged to the beach, forty feet below. Those on the top deck fell upon the hundreds crowded on the lower deck, and all were dashed down a chute of shattered woodwork to the tide-washed sands. Thirty-three people, mostly women, were killed. Fifty more were seriously injured. #*^*

The auditorium was replaced in 1932 by the second Long Beach Municipal Auditorium.^

 

 

 
(ca. 1932)**^* - Beachgoers swamp the coast of Long Beach. The Pike Amusement Park with its towering roller coaster is seen in the background. The large building in th center of the photo is the new Municipal Auditorium, Long Beach's second.  

 

Historical Notes

In 1932, the Long Beach Municipal Auditorium was constructed on the beach on 20 acres of landfill. In order to protect the auditorium from coastal erosion, a horseshoe-shaped breakwater with a road on top was constructed around it. Because of its shape it was named Rainbow Pier.^

 

 

 
(ca. 1932)^ - Aerial view of the Long Beach waterfront looking north, including the Municipal Auditorium, Rainbow Pier, and Breakers Hotel (directly behind the auditorium, it is the tall building with the cupola tower at one end). Behind the auditorium, every single square inch of the city is riddled with commercial and housing areas as far as the eye can see. The oil derricks visible in the extreme background (looking like tall pine trees) are the beginning of the Signal Hill oil fields.  

 

Historical Notes

Oil was discovered in 1921 on Signal Hill, which split off as a separate incorporated city shortly afterward. The discovery of the Long Beach Oil Field, brought in by the gusher at the Alamitos No. 1 well, made Long Beach a major oil producer; in the 1920s the field was the most productive in the world. In 1932, the even larger Wilmington Oil Field, fourth-largest in the United States, and which is mostly in Long Beach, was developed, contributing to the city's fame in the 1930s as an oil town.^*

 

 

 
(1935)^ - An aerial view of Long Beach looking west. Center left is the Municipal Auditorium set in the middle of a lagoon formed by the Rainbow Pier. The Pike's roller coaster is just visible to the left of the Auditorium. The Los Angeles River runs through the top of the photograph on its way to the ocean. Multi-story buildings define Long Beach's central business district.  

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1935)^ - Ocean Boulevard follows the shoreline in this aerial view of Long Beach. It passes the Municipal Auditorium that juts out into a lagoon formed by the Rainbow Pier. Empty lots, bottom, face the beach and lead to a row of hotels and apartments. Commercial buildings and various other businesses cluster around the boulevard. Part of the Pike's roller coaster is visible directly behind the auditorium.  

 

Historical Notes

The 8,000-seat Long Beach Municipal Auditorium was built starting in 1931 at the foot of Long Beach Boulevard and extends 500 feet out into the Pacific Ocean. It is surrounded on three sides by a lagoon; the half-circular Rainbow Pier, which is open to the public, arches from Pine Ave. to Linden Ave. surrounding the auditorium and lagoon.^

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1935)^ - South end of the Municipal Auditorium (right), and business buildings along the Ocean Front - Long Beach, California. A speed boat with a canvas top over the cabin passes by the auditorium in the lagoon made by the Rainbow Pier which encircles it. The tall building with a cupola to the immediate left of the auditorium is the Breakers Hotel. Beachgoers swim, boat, and lay in the sun on the beach next to the auditorium.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1938)^ - Panoramic view looking toward the Long Beach Municipal Auditorium (center) and Breakers Hotel (right). View is from the east side of the Rainbow Pier looking west.  

 

Historical Notes

Completed in 1932 from plans drawn by J. Harold McDowell, the auditorium replaced Long Beach's first Municipal Auditorium. It stood until 1975 when it was demolished to make way for the Long Beach Convention & Entertainment Center.^

 

 

 
(1946)*# - Aerial view of Rainbow Pier in Long Beach. A forest of oil derricks can be seen in the background. The LA River can also be seen in the upper left of photo.  

 

Historical Notes

The Rainbow Pier extended more than a quarter-mile into the cold Pacific before arcing back to shore. The 3,800-foot-long structure resembled a giant horseshoe, or a rainbow -- hence its name.

It was the first of its kind designed explicitly for the automobile. Built atop a granite breakwater, the pier's roadway could easily support the weight of a motorcar. And the fact that the road returned to shore eliminated the need for awkward turnarounds.^^^*

 

* * * * *

 

 

Hollywood

 
(1932)* - Hollywood Boulevard is a sea of cars as far as the eye can see. In the middle ground the marquee of the Pantages Theatre can just be identified. The view is to the east. On the light post are Christmas decorations.  

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1933)* - Exterior view of the Egyptian Theatre and the Pig 'n Whistle Cafe on Hollywood Blvd. in the 1930s. The theater is showing "Charlie Chan in Egypt," with Warner Oland, Pat Paterson and Stepin Fetchit, and Bette Davis in "The Girl from Tenth Avenue." In person: Zandra. A crowd has gathered in the street and on the sidewalk around a car with a sign, "Magical No-Jinks."  

 

Historical Notes

The Egyptian Theatre was built in 1922 by showman Sid Grauman and real estate developer Charles E. Toberman, who subsequently built the nearby El Capitan Theatre and Chinese Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard. Grauman had previously opened one of the United States' first movie palaces, the Million Dollar Theatre, on Broadway in Downtown Los Angeles in 1918. The Egyptian Theatre cost $800,000 to build and took eighteen months to construct.^*

Called the Pig 'N Whistle, the name inspired by its fanciful logo of a dancing pig playing a flute. A side entrance to the new family restaurant opened right out into the grand courtyard of the Egyptian Theatre, so movie-goers could easily move from the restaurant to the theatre and vice versa.

From July 22, 1927 to the late 1940's, the Pig 'N Whistle served a loyal Hollywood audience and became something of a Hollywood landmark, surviving both the Great Depression and World War II. By 1949, the Pig 'N Whistle was closed, it's wooden booths purchased by the nearby Miceli’s Italian Restaurant. The Pig 'N Whistle reopened in March of 2001.^*

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1935)^ - Trees and plants are in the lower left, the First National Bank Building in the upper left, and down the middle is Hollywood Blvd. with numerous cars. On the right is the El Capitan Theatre with a flag reading "The Show Off", and farther back a sign on top of a building indicates it is a hotel. The First National Bank of Los Angeles, Hollywood Branch, was designed in Art Deco/Gothic style by Meyer and Holler, architects at the Milwaukee Building Company.
 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 
(1937)^- A car (1936 Auburn Cord 812 Westchester) stops on Highland at the intersection of Sunset in front of Curries Ice Cream shop, which is located at 6775 Sunset Boulevard. A dimensional sign that looks like a soda with two straws seems to illustrate the claim that the store featured "mile high cones." The northeast corner of Sunset and Highland is now a mini mall.  

 

Historical Notes

Cord was the brand name of an American automobile company from Connersville, Indiana, manufactured by the Auburn Automobile Company from 1929 through 1932 and again in 1936 and 1937.*^

People still fondly remember the Currie’s chain and its “mile-high cone” whose replica was often displayed billboard-style on roofs. The chain was started in 1927 by three brothers named Kuhns. After WWII they sold it to the Good Humor Company who later sold it to Lipton in the 1960s. In 1964 the chain opened its 87th store, in North Hollywood. Although Currie’s anticipated launching units in every community in Southern California, only three outlets were listed in the 1967 Los Angeles phone book and the chain had disappeared by the 1980s. *##

 

 

 
(1935)**^ - View of a Vogue Tyre board with an a 1935 Auburn 851 Boattail Speedster on display.  

 

Historical Notes

AUBURN Boattail Speedsters--built in very limited numbers for just a couple of years during the height of the Great Depression--were featured prominently in many magazine ads and movies.

 

* * * * *

 

 

 
(1935)**** – Postcard view showing a Bullock’s Department Store delivery truck in front of what appears to be Westlake Park.  

 

 

Click HERE to see more in Early Views of Bullock's Department Store

 

 

 

 

 

 

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References and Credits

* DWP - LA Public Library Image Archive

^ LA Public Library Image Archive

**LADWP Historic Archive

*^Oviatt Library Digital Archives

*#USC Digital Library

^^LA Times: Photo Archive; An Oil Well on La Cienega; Sepulveda Tunnel

#*MTA Transportation and Research Library Archives

^*#Library of Congress: Panoramic View of Civic Center; Macy Street Viaduct

^**Flickr: Enock 1

*^#Los Angeles Conservancy: LA Stock Exchange Building; Wiltern Theatre and Pellissier Building

*#*Westland.net: Venice History

*##Restaurant-ing Through History: Ice Cream Parlors

**#The California History Room, California State Library: William Reagh

^^#The George A. Eslinger Street Lighting Photo Gallery

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

^^^Los Angeles Orthopaedic Hospital

***Los Angeles Historic - Cultural Monuments Listing

+++Long Beach Surf History

++*Historic Los Angeles Wilshire Boulevard when it was Residential

+*+BridgeHunter.com: Los Feliz Blvd. Bridge

++#Facebook.com: Photos of Los Angeles

#++Jalopyjournal.com: Legion Ascot Speedway

#^+Miraclemilela.com

*^*California Historical Landmarks Listing (Los Angeles)

^*^LA Street Names - LA Times

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

****Pinterest.com: Bullock's Delivery Truck

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

^***UCLA Library Digital Archive

*^^^Art Deco in Mono

^^^*KCET: How Oil Wells Once Dominated Southern California's Landscape; Rainbow Pier; 6th Street Bridge; Figeuroa St. Tunnels; Los Feliz Boulevard Bridge; KCET: From Wool Ranch to the Wiltern: A Brief History of Wilshire & Western

*#^^LAPL-El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument Photo Archive

^#*^Archive Grid: Silverwoods

^#^^Flickr.com: Michael Ryerson

^#^*Noirish Los Angeles - forum.skyscraperpage.com

^#**Facebook.com - City of Angels: Cyclone Racer

^*#*History of Los Angeles Group

*^*#The Los Angeles River: Historic Bridges

^*^#Facebook.com - Bizarre Los Angeles

^*##Flickr- Old Los Angeles Postcards: LA Coliseum

^^*^Restaurantwarecollectors.com: Angelus Hotel

^^*#Historical LA Theatres: Lyceum Theatre; Liberty Theatre

^^#*LA Observed: Dedication of theSepulveda Tunnel

^^^#Miracle Mile LA.com

***^Pomona Public Library Digital Archive: Bob's Airmail Service Station

**^#Vintage Los Angeles - Facebook.com: Gilmore Stadium and Field

*^#*Westcoastfireescapes.com: Fire Escape History

*^#^Huntington Digital Library Archive

#*^*GenDisaster.com: Long-Beach Double Pier Collapse

#++#Facebook.com: Garden of Allah Novels, Martin Turnbull

#*^#Van Nuys Airport History

#^^#The Museum of the San Fernando Valley: Northridge Train Depot

#^^*Blogdowntown.com: Gas Holders

#*^^Parks.ca.gov: Rio de Los Angeles State Park

#^*^Los Angeles River Railroads: Taylor Yard

##^*Calisphere: University of California Image Archive

##^#Facebook.com: Classic Hollywood-Los Angeles-SFV

#+++Hagley Digital Archives

**^**Los Angeles City Historical Society

****^Facebook.com: West San Fernando Valley Then And Now

^*^*^Alumni.ucla.edu: UCLA History - A Bridge to the Future

**^ Noirish Los Angeles - forum.skyscraperpage.com; La Cienega Oil Well; Bob's Airmail Service Station; 1932 Downtown Aerial; North Figueroa Tunnels; LA Times Building

^* Wikipedia: Hollywood Sign; Carthay Circle Theatre; Fairfax High School; Park La Brea; San Vicente Boulevard; Etymologies of place names in Los Angeles; Los Angeles Central Library; Broadway Tunnel; Pershing Square; Pacific Electric Railway; Gilmore Field; GilmoreStadium; Union Station; Westwood; 6th Street Viaduct Bridge; Figueroa Street Tunnels; Chavez Ravine; 2nd Street Tunnel; Hollywood Freeway; Los Angeles International Airport; Los Angeles City Hall; Wilshire Boulevard Temple; Egyptian Theatre; The Pig 'N Whistle; Sunland-Tujunga; Van de Kamp Bakery Building; Los Angeles County Art Museum; Los Angeles City Oil Field; Glendale-Hyperion Bridge; Zeppelin; Pellissier Building and Wiltern Theatre; Mt. Lee; Farmers Market; Los Angeles County General Hospital; Long Beach; Cord Automobile; LA Memorial Coliseum; University of Southern California; See's Candies; History of Los Angeles Population Growth; Olvera St.; Dominguez-Wilshire Building; Sepulveda House; Bank of Italy; Silverwoods; Woodland Hills; Northridge; Westwood; Westwood Village; UCLA; Maddux Air Lines; First National; Rio de Los Angeles State Park; San Vicente Boulevard; Precious Blood Catholic Church; Salt Lake Oil Field; Reseda; Patriotic Hall

 

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