Early Los Angeles Street Lights

Historical Street Lights of Los Angeles

(1928)*^ - Aerial view of a well lit Wilshire Boulevard at night. The original Brown Derby restaurant is visible on the right. Note the numerous signboards on both sides of Wilshire Blvd. The "Wilshire Special" streetlights do a good job lighting up the Boulevard.  


Historical Notes

Wilshire Boulevard was designated by The Octagon Museum of the American Architectural Foundation as one of the 'Grand American Avenues' and was decorated with this Wilshire Special pole and lantern for nearly six miles of its length.

The idea of a specialized electrolier for a business district was particularly popular in the late 1920s.  The best known was the Wilshire Special, installed in 1928 along Wilshire Boulevard from Park View to Fairfax.  Other upscale commercial districts, such as Westwood Village, followed suit with their own special types.




(1928)^ - Streetlight electroliers (Wilshire Specials) near the intersection of Wilshire Boulevard and La Brea Avenue. View is looking east on Wilshire.  





(ca. 1928)*# - Close-up of one of the many "Wilshire Special" streetlights that were prevalent along Wilshire Boulevard during the late 1920s and 1930s. The lamp post sits in front of the Van-Shire Florist open-air shop. To the left of the entrance, a young girl and woman look at the arrangements. Bilboards on either side of the shop advertise Union 76 gasoline and Southern Pacific railroad. The sign reads "Ride cool trains! $6 to San Francisco. $17 to Portland".  





(1930s)^ - View of Wilshire Boulevard looking northwest across Masselin Avenue with "Wilshire Specials" lining both sides of the street..  A sign just barely in the picture on the right advertises for businesses to locate in the "Miracle Mile" on Wilshire Blvd. The La Brea Tar Pits can be seen in the distance.  





(1931)^*# - View is looking west on Wilshire in the Miracle Mile showing Wilshire Special streetlights lining both sides of the Boulevard. On the left is the Dominguez- Wilshire Building (aka Myer Siegel Building) with the Wilshire Tower Building seen in the distance.  





(1931)*^ – "Wilshire Specials" light up the street during rush hour traffic. The view is looking west on Wilshire Boulevard with double-decker bus seen heading towards the camera.  The Pellissier Building and Warner Theatre (now Wiltern Theatre) are seen lit up on the left. The Wilshire Professional Building is on the right and further back.  


Historical Notes

As of 2008, approximately 100 "Wilshire Specials" still remain over the distance of about one-and-a-half miles along Wilshire Boulevard. The original lanterns are solid bronze and stand 7½ feet tall from the base of the lantern to the top of the finial.^^


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(1928)^ - View of the ornate two-lamp electroliers on the arch bridge located at Fourth and Lorena Streets in Boyle Heights, not long after in was built in 1928. The bridge, a declared city of Los Angeles historic monument, No. 265 (Click HERE to see the LA Historic-Cultural Monuments List), is located in a residential neighborhood, as indicated by the various homes present in the background. The electroliers shown here are the same design as those used on the 1st Street Birdge seen in previous photo.  


Historical Notes

Special ornamentation was common on bridges constructed between 1900 - 1925.  These poles serve two purposes:   1) to hold the decorative streetlight lantern and  2) to support the overhead wire for the Los Angeles Railway (LARy) streetcars that used this viaduct.^^





(2001)#* - View looking north/northeast showing the ornamental lamp detail on the Fourth and Lorena Street Bridge.








(ca. 1928)*^ – View looking south on Spring Street from Sunset Boulevard.  Two-lamp streetlights hanging almost at mid-post extend down both sides of Spring Street.  The posts are also used to support the streetcar wire.  A man is seen climbing a pole without streetlights that supports streetcar cables.  





(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.  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)*^ – 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.





(ca. 1929)^ - Double-lamp electroliers stand on the corner of West 6th Street and Alexandria Avenue.  Chapman Park Public Market can be seen across the street.  




(ca. 1929)*^ - View of the ornate two-lamp electrolier in front of the Mandarin Market located on the northeast corner of La Mirada Avenue and Vine Street.  


Historical Notes

In the late 1920s and 1930s, many of this type of streetlight were installed in various parts of the City, but none more than in the Hollywood area.



(1930)* - A two-lamp streetlight in front of th Hollywood-Vine service station and parking garage,  




(ca. 1930s)^ - View from across the street on Bunker Hill of two Victorian style hotels on the 100 block of S. Grand Ave., the Richelieu (at 142) on the right and the Hotel Melrose (at 130) on the left. Dual-lamp electroliers stand in front of the buildings.  


Historical Notes

If still standing today, the view from the porch of these buildings would be that of Disney Hall, located directly across the street, on the other side of Grand Ave. Click HERE to see more in Early LA Historic Buildings (1800s).



(1930)*^^ - A 5-lamp ornate electolier helps light up the northeast corner of Broadway and 9th Street with the Hamilton Diamond Company store in the background.  




(ca. 1931)^ - Close-up view of an early 5-globe street light on the corner of Second and Hill streets  




(1931)^ - Street lights at the corner of Grand Avenue and 9th Street.  




(1931)^^* - Looking south on Main Street at least seven 5-bulb decorative lamps can be seen in front of the old Federal Building/Post Office adjacent to City Hall.  





(1920s)^ - An ornate dual-lamp streetlamp stands tall on the SE corner of Los Feliz Boulevard and San Fernando Road.  





(1927)^^* - View looking southeast at the intersection of Melrose and Bronson avenues showing two ornate dual-lamp electroliers.  Today, Raleigh Studios is located at this corner.  


Historical Notes

The twin street lights along Melrose were the Marbelite 1900 model, distinguished by its squarish base. The Melrose lights were removed around 1950, but there are a few survivors fairly close by.  Wilshire Boulevard on the west side also had similar streetlights in the 1930s.




(ca. 1930)*** - View looking east showing dual-lamp electroliers on Wilshire Boulevard with the new Westwood Village development seen in the background on the left.  





(ca. 1931)^ - Early dual-lamp streetlights running along Wilshire Boulevard. Note the dirt road.  





(1931)*^ – Close-up view showing an ornate dual-lamp streetlight near the NW corner of Fairfax and Drexel avenues with two women followed by two girls walking on the sidewalk nearby. The Richfield Gas Station on the corner is selling regular gas for 8½ cents/gal, with Ethyl going for 11½ cents.  Note the beautiful two-lamp streetlight on the corner.  





(1937)^x^ – Dual-lamp electrolier tries to compete with a spotlight during a premiere at the Carthay Circle Theatre, 6316 San Vicente Boulevard.  





(ca. 1930s)* - Ornate dual-lamp street lights in a residential neighborhood.*  




(ca. 1938)* - The same type of dual-lamp streetlight as previious photo but in a commercial area. This view looking west on Whittier and Vancouver in East Los Angeles includes from right to left: a Safeway market (5128 Whittier Boulevard), the United Artists Theater, and the Vega Building shops.  




(1933)^*# - A dual-lamp electrolier stands across the street from the Leimert Theater at 3341 W. 43rd Pl. in Los Angeles.  The theater still stands today in Leimert Park as the Vision Theater.  




(1933)* - Standing on the street beside the bridge, you can see across part of the roadway of the 6th St. Bridge. The bridge lighting, with its unique design, is placed every few feet.  




(ca. 1933)^*# - View near the center of the Sixth Street Bridge.  




(1933)*^ - Photograph of a view of the Sixth Street Bridge. Ornate lamp posts are evenly interspersed on both sides down the length of the bridge.  




(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.  




(n.d.)^x^ - Looking up at a streetlight that resembles a light house in front of the Art Deco style Los Angeles County General Hosiptial, built 1930 to 1933.  


Historical Notes

The site of numerous significant events in the history of public health, the Los Angeles County + USC Medical Center contains one of the city's most recognizable Art Deco buildings. The facility is located in Los Angeles' Lincoln Heights neighborhood and has previously been known as County/USC and Los Angeles County General Hospital.

Click HERE to see more Early Views of the LA County General Hospital.



(n.d.)^x^ – Ornate street lamps in front of L.A. General Hospital Hospital. Note the high relief scultpures on the front face of the building.  




(1934)*^ - Photograph of a view of the intersection of Wilshire Boulevard and Crenshaw Boulevard, 1934. At center, a wide, two lane boulevard can be seen extending into the distance where highrise buildings can be seen while at center, a narrower road intersects the wide boulevard. To the left of the center foreground, a street lamp can be seen, beginning a procession that extends down the right side of the road.  





(ca. 1934)^^* – Street view looking northwest showing "Wilshire Blvd. thru West Lake Park" (later MacArthur Park) with the "Wilshire Special" streetlights on both sides of the street..  


Historical Notes

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




(1934)* - Caption reads: Close-up of new standard in Olympic Boulevard ornamental lighting system, serviced by the Power Bureau – with officials representing State, County and City governments in attendance, the Olympic Boulevard street lighting system was placed in service May 16, 1934, adding another brilliantly lighted thoroughfare to the many already served by the Bureau of Power and Light.  




(1935)^ - An ornamental two-lamp electrolier standing in front of Van de Kamp's Bakery on Beverly Boulevard and Westmoreland Street, looking west.  




(ca. 1935)^ - View looking west at the bridge which connects Hilgard Avenue to the main campus quadrangle at the U.C.L.A. Westwood campus. Decorative two-lamp streetlights can be seen along the center median. Click HERE to see more in Early Views of UCLA.  




(ca. 1936)^ - Single-post street lamp in Toluca Lake. This type of lamp was commonly installed in residential areas throughout the 1930s and 1940s.  




(1936)^ - View looking west down Hollywood Boulevard from the intersection with Argyle Avenue. Note the decorative electroliers on the left side of the photo. These type of lamps were found throughout Hollywood as early as the late 1920s.  





(1930s)^v^ - Close-up view showing a Hollywood-style two lamp electrolier at the northwest corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Argyle Avenue with the Pantages Theatre seen in the background.  





(1936)^** - View of patrons at the Cafe Trocadero on the Sunset Strip in what is now West Hollywood. Note how the the awnings drape around the ornate dual-lamp streetlight.  





(1935)*^^- View of an illuminated two-lamp electrolier in front of the Vogue Theater located at 6675 Hollywood Boulevard. Click HERE to see more in Early Views of Hollywood.  





(1935)^ - View of a singular 5-bulb streetlight standing guard in front of the U.S. Hotel on the corner of Market and North Main Street.  The hotel was built in 1862 and demolished in 1939.  





(1937)^ - View of busy Broadway and 7th Street. Two different styles of streetlights are seen merging at this intersection. The two-lamp electroliers run up and down Broadway while the 5-lamp electrolier reside on 7th Street.  





(ca. 1937)* - Ornate five-lamp electrolier stands between a traffic signal and a switchman’s tower used to control the flow and path of streetcars through the intersection. This is a view of Main looking north from Ninth St. to where Spring and Main streets converge.  





(1935)* – Greatly facilitating the maintenance work on street light standards, a new five-ton tower truck was placed in service June 6th by the Power Bureau’s Street Lighting section. The first painting job assigned to the truck’s crew was two-light standards on Broadway between California and Pico Streets.  


Historical Notes

The ornate streetlight seen above is often 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. 




(1934)^^^ – View looking northeast toward City Hall showing two-lamp combination streetlight trolley poles at the intersection of Spring and 1st Street.  


Historical Notes

Southern California was once home to the world's largest interurban electric railway system, the Pacific Electric Railway. Los Angeles also boasted the Nation's fifth largest urban trolley system, the Los Angeles Railway. This combination streetlight trolley pole on North Main Street is representative of many different styles of steel and concrete decorative poles used to support the 600-volt DC wires which supplied power to the streetcars and interurbans of the two companies.^^




(ca. 1937)*^ - Photograph showing a two-lamp combination streetlight trolley pole opposite the U.S. Hotel at 170 North Main Street.  




(ca. 1938)*^ - View looking west on 7th Street at Hill. Two-lamp electroliers run up and down both 7th and Hill. The Warner Bros. Downtown Building is seen on the northwest corner. The Los Angeles Athletic Club sits just to the west of Warner Bros. on 7th Street.  




(1937)^ - This early type of streetlight was predominantly seen on Wilshire Boulevared between the late 1920s thru the 1940s. The above photo shows a double-decker bus; the upper deck filled with passengers. This is the Route 82 motor coach that travels from Wilshire to 5th and Hill. A very large marquee atop a building behind the coach reads: "It's in the Examiner", possibly making reference to the Herald Examiner newspaper. Photo taken at Wilshire and Western.  



Westwood Specials

(ca. 1937)^ - View of Westwood Boulevard in 1937. The ornate streetlights stand in front of a multitude of gas stations and retail stores. These streetlight electroliers are similar to those seen on Wilshire Blvd. except for the base of the posts, which have a different design. These lamps were called 'Westwood Specials'.  


Historical Notes

Westwood Village adjacent to the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) was decorated in the early part of the century with the Westwood Special, notable for the blue and gold ceramic tile around its base. These were replaced with modern lights in the early 1960's when Westwood Village determined to become the brightest lighted commercial area in the world using 1,000-watt mercury vapor lamps.^^



(ca. 1930)^ - A view of Westwood Boulevard's Bank of America building, P. J. Walker Company and Phelps Terkel. This northwest corner of Westwood Boulevard and Broxton Avenue is called "The Dome," and it served as offices for the Janss Investment Company when built. The 'Westwood Special' streetlights can be seen on both sides of the street.  




(1932)*** – View looking northeast at the intersection of Westwood Boulevard and Kinross Avenue where a “Westwood Special” streetlamp stands on the S/E corner.   




(ca. 1937)* - A "Westwood Special" stands in front of two shops in Westwood Village: LeRoy Gordon and Chas. Ona, with cars parked diagonally in front.  




(1938)^^^ – View showing an art deco style building located on Weyburn Avenue in Westwood Village.  On the left is a lamp shop with plates and lamps in the display window. Next door, on the right, is the Westwood Bookstore which is still open late at night. A "Westwood Special" streetlight illuminates the building.  





(1938)^ - Close-up view of a portion of the western side of Bullock's Wilshire. An ornate “Wilshire Special” streetlight stands in front of the art deco building located at 3050 Wilshire Blvd.  





(1931)*^ - Close-up view of another "Wilshire Special" on the corner of Wilshire and Shatto.  





(ca. 1933)^^^ - View looking north of 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.  





(ca. 1937)^ - Dual-lamp electrolier in front of the Hollywood'Cat and Dog Hospital located at 1151 North Highland Avenue. This building is still standing.





(1937)^*# - Looking north on Highland Avenue from Sunset Boulevard showing dual-lamp streetlights sharing space with power lines running down both sides of the street. Hollywood High School can be seen at far left. In the center distance are the Hollywood United Methodist Church and the Hollywood First National Bank Building. To the right, on the NE corner, is Currie's Ice Cream parlor.  


Historical Notes

The dual-lamp electroliers shown above were utilized in a most unique way. Cross-arms were installed on top of the electrolier post and power lines layed upon the arm. Also, streetcar wire ran across the street and was attached at both ends to the electroliers.




(ca. 1936)#**# – Closer view showing the combination streetlight-power poles runing north and south on Highland Avenue. This view is looking north on Highland Avenue toward Sunset Boulevard with Currie’s Ice Cream parlor seen on the northeast corner.  




(ca. 1930s)*## – View showing combination streetlight-power poles near the entrance to the Hollywood Bowl located at 2301 N. Highland Avenue.  




(1931)^ – View looking north from 5th Street on Occidental Boulevard in the Westlake area. A row of  2-lamp UM-1906 streetlights stand in the center median in line with another row of palm trees.  




(1937)* - Electrically operated Los Angeles traffic signal, with City street light in background.  




(1937)* - View of dual-lamp style electroliers at the corner of Avalon Boulevard and West I Street in Wilmington. One side of the electrolier is capped off either for energy conservation or for keeping illumination levels to a minimum.  




(ca. 1942)#*^ - View looking east from 6th and Beacon streets in San Pedro, with the Municipal Ferry building in the background.  Note the ornate streetlights on both sides of the street.  




(1938)#^ - Single-lamp electroliers stand on Reseda Boulevard between Parthenia Street and Roscoe Boulevard. Several men are seen planting trees. Carl S. Dentzel, a community leader, is visible at the center, wearing a suit. The other people in the photograph are from the Parks Department and Department of Forestry, City of Los Angeles.  





(1930s)*^# – Postcard view showing a two-lamp electrolier (UM-1906) standing across the street from the Bullock’s Department Store at 650 S. Hill Street.  





(1937)^x^ – View looking north on Flower at 7th Street with the Richfield Oil Company Building (555 S. Flower St.) standing tall in the background.  A dual-lamp streetlight (UM-1906) stands behind an old-style traffic signal (semaphore).  


Historical Notes

Los Angeles installed its first automated traffic signals in October 1920 at five locations on Broadway. These early signals, manufactured by the Acme Traffic Signal Co., paired "Stop" and "Go" semaphore arms with small red and green lights. Bells played the role of today's amber or yellow lights, ringing when the flags changed—a process that took five seconds. By 1923 the city had installed 31 Acme traffic control devices. ^*




(n.d.)^^* – View looking up at the Richfield Oil Company Building tower from 6th Street showing a close-up of the two-lamp ornate streetlight (UM 1906).  





(1937)^ - Detailed view of a two-lamp ornate streetlight (UM 1906) on the Southwest corner of Ninth Street and Broadway.  In the background is the sunlit Eastern Columbia Building (849 South Broadway) and further down the block the May Company (800 South Hill Street). Note the different design on this streetlight compared to the one in previous photo.  





(ca. 1938)*^ - Nightime view of Ninth Street and Broadway showing Cristmas decorations hanging from the dual-lamp UM 1906 streetlights.  





(1935)*^ - View looking south on La Cienega at Pico Boulevard showing a string of dual-lamp electroliers on both sides of the street.  





  (ca. 1937)* - View of the intersection of Sunset Blvd. and Van Ness Avenue showing the dual-lamp electrolier that was common in the Hollywood area since the 1930s. The traffic signal in front of the lamp post reads: "GO"





(1938)^ - Traffic signal at Hollywood and Vine, looking northeast, with the California Bank building in the background.  




(ca. 1939)* - View of the main facade of the "Old Plaza Church" as it is now called. An ornate 5-bulb streetlight can be seen in front of the entryway to the church and acroos the street from the L.A. Plaza. Click HERE to see more in Early Views of the L.A. Plaza.  




(ca. 1937)^ - A man is crossing Main Street toward a 5-bulb streetlight in front of the Old Plaza Church. Signage on a water tower (upper left) promotes the nearby "Brunswig Drug Co."  Photo by Herman J. Schultheis  




(1940)^^ - Dual-lamp electroliers situated in the center median of Trousdale Parkway on the USC campus in 1940, when it was still a public street. The view looks northeast up Trousdale (then named University Avenue) from Exposition Boulevard. Click HERE to see more in Early Views of USC.  




(1940)* - Ornamental streetlight electroliers (Wilshire Special) on Wilshire Boulevard west of Rossmore.  





(2013)^^* – View showing two maintenance workers replacing a broken glass panel on a 'Wilshire Special', located in front of the Wilshire Grand Hotel.  Photo by Gary Leonard  





(ca. 1940)* - Early DWP Streetlight Maintenance worker repairs an electrolier.  




(ca. 1940s)* - Early streetlight adjacent to the Municipal Water and Power office building in downtown Los Angeles.*  




(ca. 1940)^ - View of dual-lamp electroliers standing in front of the newly constructed Federal Courthouse.  City Hall can be seen in the background.  




(ca. 1940)^ - A dual-lamp electrolier is being utilized as a streetlight and a utility pole on the corner of Temple and Hill streets.  In the background stands City Hall. Photo by Ansel Adams  





(ca. 1940)**# - A single-arm streetlight post sits in front of the Nordvord Building located at 6420 Van Nuys Blvd., just north of Victory Blvd. This is the same type electrolier as seen in previous photo but with only a one arm extension.  





(1955)^#^ - View of another dual-lamp electrolier that is being utilized both as a streetlight and a utility pole.  It is located on the southeast corner of Market and Main streets across from City Hall.  Today, Market Street no longer exists and City Hall East stands at this location.  





(1942)^ - A dual-lamp electrolier (UM 1906) towers above the sidewalk as two men walk by near the corner of 1st and San Pedro streets on June 17, 1942. The streets look deserted.  



WWII Modified Streeltights

(1943)*# - Two-lamp ornate electroliers in front of the Biltmore Hotel as seen from the corner of Olive and 5th Streets. Notice that the top of the streetlights are blacked-out (during WWII).  


Historical Notes

During the War many streetlights throughout the City were blacked-out on top as a preventative measure.




(1944)^ - View of the War Loan Drive Parade at the busy intersection of Seventh and Broadway. In the lower right stands a 5-lamp electrolier with 4 of the 5 bulbs blacked-out on top.  






(ca. 1943)* - Close-up view of a five-globe Llewellyn streetlight located on the corner of Main and 33rd streets with all five bulbs blacked-out on top (during WWII).

Note the old trapezoidal street sign imbedded just below the topmost globe.^^#








(ca. 1945)^.^ – Ornate two-lamp electroliers with tops blacked-out (WWII), located at the intersection of Lankershim and Magnolia in North Hollywood.  





(ca. 1946)* - View looking south on Lankershim Boulevard at Chandler Boulevard.  Ornate two-lamp electroliers (without the black-out tops) line both sides of Lankershim.  



* * * * *




(ca. 1945)^ - Another example of a decorative combination streetlight trolley pole is the above dual-pendent style electrolier still operating in front of Union Station in Downtown Los Angeles. The United States Post Office Terminal Annex is seen from Union Station across Cesar Chavez (formerly Macy Street).  




(1945)* - Dual-lamp streetlights at Broadway and Temple in downtwon L.A.  





(1940s)+## – Panoramic view looking east on Wilshire Boulevard through the Fairfax Avenue intersection.  One arm streetlights line both sides of Wilshire. They appear to be spaced closer than they really are due to the telophoto shot. We can see the May Company department store (now part of LACMA and future home of the Hollywood museum of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences), Prudential Building, Coulters department store, and the Arthur Murray dance studio. This “Miracle Mile” stretch of Wilshire Blvd is busy now but back then it looks positively jam-packed!  





(1948)*^ - View of the Miracle Mile and the May Company Building, looking east down Wilshire Boulevard at Fairfax Ave. Note how the design of the electroliers change from the east side of Fairfax to the west side.  




(1947)^** - View toward the northwest corner of Hollywood and Vine, looking over an ornate two-lamp streetlight. The traffic signal at lower right shows "GO" even though the intersection is full of cross-traffic.  





(1949)^ - Curved one-arm electroliers on the corner of Hollywood and Vine in 1949. The view is north on Vine Street. Note that the streetlights have been changed to one-arm electroliers from two-lamp posts since the time of the previous photo.  





(ca. 1950s)*^ - Looking north on Vine Street toward Sunset and Vine, curved one-arm electroliers light the intersection.




(ca. 1950s)^ - View at dusk on Vine Street from Selma Ave. Two-lamp ornate streetlights illuminate Vine St. along with the neon signs atop the buildings.  




(1950s)^^# - View of Vine Street looking north, ilumminated by both streetlights and neon signs.  




(ca. 1950s)*^ - View looking north on Broadway toward 11th Street. A dual-lamp streetlight stands on the corner next to the Hearald Examiner building. The Case Hotel is seen on the southeast corner of Broadway and 11th.  




(1951)*^ - View of the Newsreel Theater (aka The Tower Theater) on the corner of Broadway and 8th Street. Here we see the confluence of two types of streetlights: the ornate five-bulb lamps runing east-west on 8th Street and the newer dual-lamp streetlights runing along Broadway.  




(1950s)^ - View showing one of downtown's busiest intersections, Broadway and 7th Street, during mid-day. The State Theatre on the corner is showing "The Brothers Karamazov." Again, here we have the confluence of two different types of streetlights, one running up and down Broadway and the other down 7th Street.  




(1952)*^ – Sometimes even streetlights get in the way. View shows Officer H.L. Chapman holding a license plate at the scene of a traffic accident (corner of 8th and Bonnie Brae streets) with a downed electrolier lying on the ground.  





(ca. 1953)^ - View is looking southeast toward the corner of First and Spring streets.  The Nibblers Restaurant stands at that corner. Note how two different styles of streetlights come together at this intersection.  





(1952)* - Street lighting maintenance unit on the Hollywood Freeway. Caption reads: Modern-day lamplighter seen against Los Angeles' downtown skyline is James Salazar of the Street Light Maintenance section. These lights on the Hollywood Freeway don't have to be lit by hand, of course, but they do require washing and globe replacement. On ground is Joe J. Restivo. Truck with electrically operated ladder is one of four used by the Street Light section.




(1955)*^ - A singular electrolier stands tall on top of College St. Bridge over the Arroyo Seco Parkway.  The view is looking north. In the distance can be seen the San Gabriel Mountains partly covered with snow.  




(1956)*^ - View of a dual-lamp electrolier recently installed on Wilshire Boulevard at Commonwealth Avenue. The old “Wilshire Special” streetlights are seen in the background.  




(1959)*^ - A five-globe lamp post with City Hall in the background. Today, the last remaining of these ornate street lights can still be found in the gardens and malls adjacent to City Hall.  




(1964)^^^– Close-up detailed view of a dual-lamp (UM 1906) electrolier in downtown Los Angeles.  




(1965)^ - View of a single-post arm electrolier in front of the Hall of Records with City Hall in the background.  




(1962)^ - Nighttime view of Los Angeles and City Hall, looking southwest from the San Bernardino Freeway. A billboard for the French restaurant "Taix" and "The TIMES" up in lights on the top of a building appear in the background. A variety of streetlight designs are seen throughout.  




(1962)#^* – View showing a two lamp electrolier standing near the northwest corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Argyle Avenue. The Pantages Theatre is to the left and in the foreground stands a small hamburger stand. The Capitol Records Building, with Christmas Tree on top, is seen in the background.  





(1960s)#** – An incandescent electrolier with dual-lamps, curved cross-arms, and extended post stands on the east side of Highland Avenue just north of Hollywood Boulevard. The Hollywood United Methodist Church can be seen in the background on the corner of Highland and Franklin.  





(1968)#+ – View looking east toward the west end of 2nd Street Tunnel as seen from the southwest corner of 2nd and Figueroa where a mercury vapor eletrolier stands. Bunker HIll Tower (completed in 1968) is seen in the background.  


Historical Notes

Mercury vapor lamps are more energy efficient than incandescent and most fluorescent lights, with luminous efficacies of 35 to 65 lumens/watt.  Their other advantages are a long bulb lifetime in the range of 24,000 hours and a high intensity, clear white light output.  For these reasons, they are used for large area overhead lighting, such as in factories, warehouses, and sports arenas as well as for streetlights.^




(1963)* - View showing dual-lamp mercury vapor electroliers on Sherman Way between Lankershim Blvd. and Laurel Canyon Blvd.  View is looking east on Sherman Way as seen from top of RR crossing.  





(1970s)#^ – View looking southwest on Van Nuys Boulevard. Visible at center is 6211 Van Nuys Boulevard, known at that time as the Van Nuys Hotel. Note the forked three-arm streetlights running up and down Van Nuys Boulevard.  Click HERE to see contemporary view.  





  (1970s)^^ - These forked three-arm streetlights were chosen in the early 1970's by representatives of the Van Nuys business community to light Van Nuys Boulevard and Magnolia Boulevard. Originally, 1,000 watt mercury vapor lamps were used to provide on average five foot-candles. This turned out to be too bright and too costly from an energy level.  Today, these three-pronged electroliers can still can be seen on and around Van Nuys Boulevard.  However, the luminaires today are 250 watt high-pressure sodium.






(1976)^#^ -  A row of streetlights are seen in front of a jet at LAX. View is looking north on Sepulveda Boulevard using a long telephoto lens showing an American Airlines jet crossing over the Sepulveda Tunnel - making for a good optical illusion.  Photo by Rick Meyer  





(1976)^^^ - View of a 3-lamp streetlight in front of the Garden Court Apartments (Hotel) on Hollywood Blvd. This unique electrolier remains the predominant streetlight along Hollywood Boulevard today.  





(2005)^ - Close-up view of a Hollywood Special streetlight embellished with five stars along the side of its lamp housing. The building behind the streetlight is the Hudson Apartments (formerly The Historic Hillview Hollywood), a 54-unit apartment complex located at 6533 Hollywood Blvd.  





(2005)^^*- Close-up view showing a Hollywood Special 3-lamp streetlight head being replaced in front of the Roosevelt Hotel.  





(2007)^* - An electrolier stands near the front of the Avalon (formerly the Hollywood Playhouse) at 1735 N. Vine Street near Hollywood and Vine. The streetlight consists of three lamps. At the top, a dual-arm configuration has two lamps hanging over the street area. At the post's mid-span, another lamp extends out over the sidewalk.  





(ca. 2003)### – Streetlight on the Mulholland Bridge over the Hollywood Freeway in Cahuenga Pass.  





(2008)*#*- View of the ornate dual-lamp streetlight on the 4th Street Viaduct near downtown Los Angeles.









(2008)*#* - Detailed view of one of the beautiful sets of dual-lamp fixtures on the 1931 built 4th Street Viaduct (Bridge).  





(2005)^*  - View showing a dual-lamp electrolier on 1st Street near Spring Street, in front of the LA Times Building. Photo by Jim Winstead   


Historical Notes

This is the Los Angeles Times's fourth building since it started publishing in 1881. Click HERE to see views of the earlier LA Times buildings.




(2016)### - View showing a twin Cobra electrolier, sometimes referred to as Olympic Special, located on Olympic Boulevard in downtown Los Angeles.  





(2015)### - View showing the only extant twin Olympic Special with the original GE Form 81-D (Ornate) teardrops.  Located at the Vermonica Exhibit, Vermont Avenue and Santa Monica Boulevard in Eastern Hollywood.  


Historical Notes

The Vermonica Exhibit is a display of over nearly 30 vintage streetlights of Los Angeles that was erected in 1992 as an artwork sponsored by the Department of Cultural Affairs and voluntary labor contributed significantly by staff of the Field Operations Division of the Bureau of Street Lighting. The artist was Sheila Kline and the artwork was named 'Vermonica' for its location adjacent to the intersection of Vermont Avenue and Santa Monica Boulevard.



(2017)^^* – Close-up view of an ornate dual-lamp streetlight located on the west side of Los Angeles Street, adjacent to City Hall East. The formerly clear globes have recently been replaced with opaque balls, lamped with LED.  




More Early Los Angeles Streetlights


(n.d.)* - View of a 7-bulb electrolier lamp in an early Los Angeles City park.






(n.d.)^^ - This pole was installed exclusively in the Holmby Hills area of Los Angeles which is now the location of the homes of many Hollywood movie stars and the Playboy Mansion.







(n.d.)^^ - This "Windsor Square Special" originally installed as part of land development in 1914 in the Windsor Square area of Hancock Park was recently refurbished, including the use of incandescent lamps under a special policy adopted by the City Council.





(n.d.)^^ - No longer in service, this Victoria Park special was affectionately called a 'plumber's nightmare' by maintenance forces. It graced an area of upscale Victorian-style homes from shortly after the turn-of-the-century until nearly 1960.






Early Ornamental Streetlight Standards










Now and Then - We've Come Full Circle!

(ca. 2000)^^ - The City now operates three systems utilizing 100 foot tall poles.   (ca. 1882)* - One of the first of seven electric street lights installed in the City of Los Angeles. It stood 150 feet tall.






The Modern Look


(ca. 1960s)^^ - Century City was developed as a major business center in the early 1960's principally sponsored by the Aluminum Corporation of America (ALCOA), hence the use of these aluminum davit poles throughout the streets within Century City.
















(1976)^ - View of a combination streetlight-traffic signal on Olympic Boulevard in Century City, showing a partial exterior view of the triangular shaped Century Plaza Towers, located at 2029 and 2049 Century Park East.






(ca. 1980)^x^ - Modern-style streetlights stand in the courtyard in front of the Westin Bonaventure Hotel in downtown Los Angeles.  





(1961)*^# - New streetlights being assembled in the foreground as construction of LAX's Theme Building proceeds in the distance.  


Historical Notes

Los Angeles International Airport installed eight M-1000 mercury-vapor luminaires mounted atop 57' Pacific Union metal poles, 60 poles spaced 160' apart, six FTC.  M-400 mercury vapor used on perimeter roadway and approaches.




(1961)*^ - A tall post with eight street lamp heads on it is situated adjacent to the Theme Building at the Los Angeles International Airport. Another lamp can be seen in the far background.  





(1960s)^ - Theme Building at the Los Angeles International Airport illuminated at night. Multiple lights can be seen around the building and in the parking area.  





(1960s)*^# - Night view of LAX showing a line of taxis waiting in front of a terminal with the Theme Building and a well lit parking lot in the background. Click HERE to see more in Aviation in Early L.A.  





(ca. 1964)#^* - An early morning sunrise at LAX Airport during the Atomic Age.  





(2018)^v^ - Two men wait by the crosswalk in front of the Theme Building.  





(1961)^v^ – View showing the control tower administration building at LAX.  Also seen is a 57’ tall, 8-lamp, mercury-vapor streetlight in the parking lot.  





(ca. 1974)*^ – A line of tall eight-headed lamps stand in the foreground, above row upon row of automobiles in a series of parking lots outside the airport.  




Downtown Civic Center

(1972)*^ – A 5-lamp decorative streetlight stands in front of th Old Hall of Records building and the newer Criminal Courts building as seen from across Broadway at the County Mall.  




Los Angeles Plaza

(1970s)*#^ - 5-bulb ornate streetlight in located in the historic Los Angeles Plaza across the street from the Pico House.  




(1977)^ - View of the Pico House from the L.A. Plaza with City Hall in the background. Ornate 5-lamp streetlight sits in the foreground. Click HERE to see more in Early Views of the L.A. Plaza.  





Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)

(2011)**^ - Chris Burden's "Urban Light" in front of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA).  


Historical Notes

Chris Burden's "Urban Light" installed on the sidewalk in front of LACMA has been one of LA's favorite and most photographed landmarks since its unveiling in February 2008. The piece incorporates 202 antique street lights from cities and neighborhoods in and around Los Angeles.*^




(2011)*^* - Urban Light sculpture by Chris Burden at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). Location: 5905 Wilshire Boulevard.  





(2010)^*^ - Nature as art: An 'Urban Light' sculpture showing a collection of street lights from many eras is reflected in the Los Angeles rain.  




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References and Credits

* DWP - LA Public Library Image Archive

^ LA Public Library Image Archive

*^USC Digital Library

**LADWP Historic Archive

^^Bureau of Street Lighting Image Archive

#*Library of Congress: 4th and Lorena Street Bridge Light

#^San Fernando Valley History Digital Library - CSUN Oviatt

#+Facebook.com: Classic Hollywood/Los Angeles/SFV

***Huntington Digital Library Archive

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

^^*Noirish Los Angeles - forum.skyscraperpage.com; Windsor-Wilshire

^^^California State Library Image Archive

^**Vintage Los Angeles: Trocadero Nightclub ; Hollywood and Vine

*^*Photo Ramblings - Garth Buckles

^*^Mail Online - Daily Mail Reporter

**^Flicker: Tripod2011

^#^LA Times: Amestory Building

*#*Flicker: smgerdes - 4th Street Bridge Lights

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

^#*Facebook.com - Los Angeles Theatres: Warner Bros. Downtown

**#San Fernando Valley Relics - Facebook.com: Van Nuys Blvd., Ca. 1940

^^#Flickr.com: Michael Ryerson

*^#Facebook.com - Bizarre Los Angeles

^*#California State Library Image Archive

*##Facebook.com:  Garden of Allah Novels – Martin Turnbull

^##Boyle Heights History Blog: Introduction of Electric Light to Boyle Heights

+##MartinTurnbull.com: Fairfax and Wilshire

###Facebook: Glen Norman

#**Facebook.com - Vintage LA

#*^Facebook.com - San Pedro's Original Website, San Pedro.com

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

^* Wikipedia: Los Angeles Country Art Museum; Hollywood Playhouse (Avalon Hollywood); MacArthur Park



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