Gasometers of Early Los Angeles

(ca. 1900)^ - View looking northeast along Aliso Street from San Pedro Street. A large gas storage tank (aka gasometer) is seen in the distance. Aliso Street is where the 101 Freeway (Hollywood Freeway) is located today.  


Historical Notes

The huge tank seen above was known as "gas holder" (aka gasometers), and helped supply natural gas to the city. They were installed by Los Angeles Gas and Electric Co. which was one of several utilities operating in the City of Los Angeles at the turn of the century. The tanks rose or sank in height depending on the amount of gas being stored.




(ca. 1939)* - Aerial view looking southeast across Fort Moore Hill. The recently completed (1938) Union Station is in view at left-center of photo. Just to the southeast of Union Station, across Aliso Street, can be seen two very large natural gas tanks known as "gas holders" (aka gasometers).  


Historical Notes

The gas holders were in fact laughably large and towered over their surroundings. When one gas holder was built in 1906 its 210 foot height was 35 feet greater than the tallest building in Los Angeles. *





(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.





(ca. 1930s)^.^ - Mission Road looking across the L.A. River from Boyle Heights toward two very large “Gasometers” built in 1912 by the LA Gas and Electric Corp. A man is seen leaning over in front of a wagon (lower-left) and City Hall can also be seen (upper-left).  


Historical Notes

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.

In 1937, the Gas component of Los Angeles Gas and Electric was sold to what is now Southern California Gas Company.*^




(1940)* – View along Center Street near Jackson Street showing gas tanks lining the road.  





(ca. 1950)*# - View looking west on Aliso Street toward the Civic Center. Three extremely large natural gas holders stand in proximity to the Friedman Bag Company and Brew 102, with City Hall in the background. This photo was taken just a couple of years prior to the construction of the 101 Freeway where Aliso Street is seen above.  


Historical Notes

If you lived in Los Angeles in the 1950s  you would be familiar with the two prominent features of the skyline (excepting the fact there was no skyline).  The City Hall of course was the tallest building and the most identifiable but the other dominant structures were the storage tanks (also called gasometers) of the Los Angeles Gas Company.  The L.A. Gas Company supplied natural gas to Southern California from a distribution center located just east of downtown. This was in an industrial area next to Union Station and became known as the gas works. *




(1951)* - Aerial view taken from City Hall looking east showing the Gasometers at upper-right. Aliso Street and Union Station are seen on the left.  


Historical Notes

Mainly used to store large volumes of gas these gasomweters had a secondary purpose. Until the late 60s Los Angeles' natural gas system was a low pressure distribution area. As a result of fluctuations in the temperature of the piping and/or increased usage, the pressure could drop too low, in which case these tanks would act as a pressure supply backup or relief.




(ca. 1950)* – Aliso Street looking east showing Brew 102 and the large natural gas holders (Gasometers) in the distance. Union Station is on the left.  


Historical Notes

By the mid-1950s, Aliso Street, seen above, would be replaced by the Hollywood Freeway (U.S. 101) .




(1954)^.^ – Hollywood Freeway shorty after it was completed running where Aliso Street used to be. Brew 102 and the large natural gas holders (Gasometers) are still there.  


Historical Notes

The last section of the 101 Freeway (aka Hollywood Frwy) through Downtown Los Angeles was completed in 1954.  It ran in line with what used to be Aliso Street (seen above).  Click HERE to see Before and After images.




(ca. 1940s)^ - An early model car and truck are seen here driving across Aliso Street bridge (later the 101 Frwy) leading to downtown. To the left also are natural gas storage tanks (gasometers). City Hall can be seen in the distance, and a company making burlap and cotton bags is located to the left of the bridge (Friedman Bag Co.).  


Historical Notes

By the early 1970s the tanks were no longer needed as new pipelines from gas fields of  West Texas could meet all demands.  The tanks were removed at great relief to fire officials who worried about the potential disaster with these tanks near downtown.*



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Other Sections of Interest


Early City Views (1800s)

Historical Bldgs (1800s)

Early Hollywood (1850 - 1920)

Early San Fernando Mission

Early Los Angeles Plaza

Water in Early Los Angeles

Early So Calif Amusement Parks

Baseball in Early Los Angeles

Aviation in Early Los Angeles

Early San Pedro and Wilmington

Mystery History: Q & A

Early City Views (1900 - 1925)

Historical Bldgs (1900 - 1925)

Early Views of Hollywood (1920 +)

Early Views of the San Fernando Valley

California Historical Landmarks in LA

Electricity in Early Los Angeles

Historical Timeline of Los Angeles

Los Angeles River - The Unpredictable

Early Views of Mt. Lowe Railway

Early Views of Santa Catalina Island

Early Views of the Miracle Mile

Early City Views (1925 +)

Historical Bldgs (1925 +)

Early Views of Hollywood Bowl

Early Views of Pasadena

Early Views of Santa Monica

Early Views of Glendale

Early Views of UCLA / Westwood

Early Views of USC

Early Views of Historic Main Street

Early Los Angeles Streetlights

'Miracle Mile' (1920s & 1930s)




Water and Power in Early LA






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