Early Los Angeles City Views (1800s)

Historical Photos of Early Los Angeles

(ca. 1890)^ - View looking east down an unpaved 4th Street from Hill Street. An awning covers Meuschke's Grocery located on the ground level of the Brighton Hotel building on the N/E corner (left). The Grant Hotel can be seen in the background. Deliveries are being made by horse-drawn wagons to the various stores.  


Historical Notes

Between 1880 and 1890, the City of Los Angeles saw one of its fastest growing periods (percentage wise). Population increased from 11,200 to 50,400 (350%).*




(ca. 1890)^ - View is looking east on 4th Street at Hill Street with the three-story bay-windowed and turreted Brighton Hotel seen on the northeast corner, and horse-drawn wagons seen throughouht. (AI image enhancement and colorization by Richard Holoff)  





30 Years Later

(ca. 1920)^ - A view looking east down busy 4th Street and its intersection at Hill in downtown Los Angeles. A crowd of pedestrians and autos wait to cross Hill. United Cigars, left, is below the fanciful Brighton Hotel. Center is the Grant Building with the Broadway Department Store opposite. The Teague Drug Co., opposite United Cigars, is below the Hotel Sherman. Other businesses include clothing stores, cafeterias, and dentists. Click HERE to see contemporary view.  


Historical Notes

Between 1890 and 1920, the City of Los Angeles saw its population increase from 50,400 to 576,700. That's an 1,044% increase in 30 years.*




Then and Now

(1920 vs. 2022)* – Looking east on 4th Street at Hill Street.  



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Spring and 1st Street

(ca. 1888)^ - Postcard view looking north on Spring Street from 1st Street. Los Angeles National Bank Building is on the northeast corner on the right. Down the block (center-left) is the 1887-built French Renaissance-style Phillips Block who's main tenant was the Hamburger & Son's People's Store.  In the far distance can be seen the main cupola of Baker Block located on Main Street. Note the Horse-Drawn Streetcars (in operation from 1874 to 1888).  


Historical Notes

With a thriving population of 50,395 (1890), 1st and Spring Streets, where present-day City Hall now stands, was the heart of the city. At that time the downtown section extended north of 1st Street, while the residential section started about 4th Street to the south.




(ca. 1890s)^^ - View is looking north on a very busy Spring Street from 1st Street. A portion of the Nadeau Hotel (1882), LA's first 4-story building, is seen at far left (SW corner of Spring and 1st). Across the street (NW corner) stands the Larronde Block. A very large sign for Hamburger's Department Store can be seen on top of the 4-story Phillips Block (1887) at center of photo. To the right (NE corner) is the Los Angeles National Bank (also built in 1887). This is where City Hall stands today. Note that electric streetcars have now taken over for the Horse-Drawn Streetcars seen in previous photo.  


Historical Notes

A. Hamburger and Sons was one of the first department stores to operate in Los Angeles.  Originally known as A. Hamburger & Son's People's Store, the name later changed to Hamburger's Store.   In 1908 the company relocated their store from Spring Street to a newer building located at Broadway and Eighth Street.  May Department Stores acquired Hamburger's in 1923 and renamed it the May Company. Much later in the century, the May Company and Robinsons chains of department stores would affiliate under the name Robinsons-May; and this entity would be bought out by Macy's in 2005.

Note the elevated kiosk on the northwest corner of the intersection. Elevated booths like these were used by the Los Angeles Railway and the Yellow Cars as a switchman’s tower to control the flow and path of streetcars through the intersection.  Many of these were still standing well into the 1920s.




(1897)^ - The Nadeau Hotel, showing the entire SW corner at 1st and Spring Streets, the present site of the LA Times iconic building. The hotel was built in 1882 as the first 4-story building in L.A. A paved street now visible. Horses, carriages, cars and trolleys, along with people are now visible. A sign giving the name of the hotel sets on the corner of the roof. The hotel advertises that it is heated by F.E. Brown's hot air furnace, and testimonials are available. Architects, Morgan & Walls.


Historical Notes

Remi Nadeau was a French Canadian pioneer who arrived in Los Angeles in 1861 driving a team of oxen. During the silver-mining excitement in the Cerro Gordo region of Inyo County his teamster operation brought tons of silver to Southern California and hauled back food and supplies to the miners. By 1873 he operated 80 such teams. He also built the Nadeau Hotel, Los Angeles's first four-story structure and the first building with an elevator.*



Spring and Temple

(1896)^ - Spring Street looking south from Temple. Horse-drawn vehicles are seen mainly parked along the curbs while pedestrians cross the cable car tracks. The two largest building seen in the distance are the Nadeau Hotel (SW corner of Spring and 1st) and the more ornate Phillips Block (25-37 N. Spring Street). The tower seen behind the Nadeau Hotel is the 1888-built City Hall located on Broadway. Photo by C.C. Pierce  



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Broadway and Temple

(ca. 1890s)^^ - View from top of the LA County Courthouse looking northwest. The original Los Angeles High School, which was moved in 1887, can be seen at center of photo. The New Los Angeles High School (built in 1891) is at right-center. In the foreground can be seen the Temperance Temple (WCTU), located on the northwest corner of Temple Street and Broadway.  





(ca. 1890)^ - View looking south on Broadway toward Temple Street. The Temperance Temple stands on the N/W corner (center), surrounded mostly by boarding houses.  





(1890)^ - Exterior of the Temperance Temple of the Women's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU), located at 301 N. Broadway at Temple Street. A horse-drawn carriage passes a Temple Street Cable Railway 2-car trolley in the busy intersection.  


Historical Notes

The Women's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) stands for the complete abstinence from alcohol, tobacco, and all harmful drugs and protection of the home. As the membership of the WCTU grew throughout the U.S, a call went out from May Gould, a resident of Los Angeles, to Frances Willard (president of the national organization) to organize a local group in Southern California. On September 20 and 21, 1883, the first State Convention was called and the WCTU of Southern California was organized at the First Presbyterian Church, 2nd and Fort (now Broadway) Streets, Los Angeles. This temple was dedicated in 1889 after money had been donated for its construction in 1886. The Frances E. Willard Home For Girls was housed on the 4th floor from its inception in 1919 until 1933, when the Long Beach Earthquake severely damaged the building.^




(ca. 1891)^## - View of the Los Angeles County Courthouse shortly after it was built. A 2-car trolley of the Temple Street Cable Railway can be seen on Temple Street heading west toward Broadway. New High (later Spring Street) is on the left.  


Historical Notes

In 1891, the LA County Courthouse moved into it's new home, a beautiful new building constructed at the old site of Los Angeles High School.. Prior to its move, the courthouse was located in a large building on Temple Block sharing space with a theatre and marketplace (1861-1891).*




(1890s)^ - View looking southeast at the corner of Temple Street (left) and Broadway showing the LA County Courthouse. Note the manicured lawn and the newly planted palm trees. This is actually the 6th location of the LA County Courthouse (see below).  


Historical Notes

Through more than 150 years the county has used at least eight buildings as its county courthouse. All have been situated within a mile of each other in downtown Los Angeles south of the original plaza in what has for the past 80 years been called the Civic Center.

◆ The first county courthouse was in the adobe Bella Union Hotel, where court was held in rented rooms from 1850 to 1852.
◆ From January 1852 until November 1853, the county rented the home of county attorney (and later judge) Benjamin Hayes on Main Street.
◆ The Roche (or Rocha) House, an adobe on the corner of Spring and Court Streets, which the county and city jointly purchased from Jonathan “Don Juan” Temple, was used from November 1853 to March 1860.
◆ From 1860 to 1861 the county rented a building, probably a two-story brick house on Main Street, from John Nichols, former mayor of Los Angeles.
◆ The Temple Market Block — where City Hall now stands — was rented by the county in May 1861, purchased in 1867 and used until 1891. This was the Clocktower Courthouse, known for its rectangular tower with a clock on all four sides.
◆ The Red Sandstone Courthouse on Poundcake Hill, completed in 1891, was damaged beyond repair by the Long Beach earthquake of 1933 and demolished in 1936. It is now the site of the Foltz Criminal Justice Center, constructed in 1972.
◆ The Hall of Records, built next door to the Red Sandstone Courthouse in 1911, was used along with other buildings as the courthouse from 1934 until 1959, when the current courthouse was occupied. It was demolished in 1973.
◆ The current courthouse, the Stanley Mosk County Courthouse, is located at 111 N. Hill Street.  Dedicated in 1959, it was the largest courthouse in the United States. *




(ca. 1900)#^* – View showing the San Francisco Fire Department brigade and band, in front of the Los Angeles County Courthouse (S/E corner of Temple Street and Broadway) with the Temperance Temple Building across the street. The tower of Los Angeles High School can be seen in the distance (top center-right). On the left is a clear shot of the Clifton (rooming) House (231-233 N Broadway) and the Rivers Bros. Grocery on the corner of Broadway and Temple Street (300 W Temple). The little house immediately above the Rivers Bros. sign is actually on N. Hill Street.  


Historical Notes

In 1947, the County of Los Angeles took the site where the Temperance Temple once stood by eminent domain and constructed a power plant. The Temperance Temple was completely razed in 1950.^




(1900)^ - Close-up view of the LA County Courthouse located on the S/E corner of Temple Street and Broadway as seen from over the Rivers Bros. Grocery (S/W corner).  


Historical Notes

The Red Sandstone Courthouse on Poundcake Hill, completed in 1891, was damaged beyond repair by the Long Beach earthquake of 1933 and demolished in 1936. It is now the site of the Foltz Criminal Justice Center,


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Main and Winston Streets

(ca. 1897)#^ – View looking northwest on Winston Street toward where it intersects with Main Street showing an Edison Electric crew laying conduit for one of LA’s earliest underground electric distribution systems. The building on the right with the two arched windows and a restaurant is the Main Street Savings Bank Building on the N/E corner of Main and Winston streets. Click HERE to see contemporary view.  


Historical Notes

In 1896, West Side Lighting Company was organized by private investors to provide another source of electricity for the city of Los Angeles and fringe areas.

In 1897, West Side Lighting merged with the newly established private company, Los Angeles Edison Electric, which owned the rights to the Edison name and patents, especially the underground DC-power rights. The merged company took on the Edison name. An underground system and technology was crucial at this time, since the city voted in a resolution limiting the installation of new overhead utility poles due to excessive overhead wire congestion. Los Angeles Edison Electric installed the first major DC-power underground conduits system in the Southwest.

Until the 1930's, three separate electric utilities served Los Angeles. Click HERE to see more in First Electricity in Los Angeles.



(ca. 1880s)^ – View looking toward the northeast corner of Main and Winston streets showing the Main Street Savings Bank Building at 426 S. Main Street.  





(1890s)^ - View looking north on Main Street showing horse-drawn carriages, streetcar, and pedestrians all sharing the street.  The large building with the awnings on the right is the Government Building, located on the southeast corner of Winston and Main Streets. Further north (N/E corner of Winston and Main) is the Main Street Savings Bank Building. Further in the distance is the Westminster Hotel with tower.  





(1893)^ - United States Government Building, southeast corner of Main Street and Winston Street.  


Historical Notes

In June of 1893 the Los Angeles Post Office moved into this building from its location on Broadway near Sixth Street.


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Main and 5th Street

(ca. 1895)^^ - View of Main Street looking north from 5th Street. The Westminster Hotel can be seen in the distance. The U.S. Government Building which housed the Los Angeles Post Office is the building on the right with the awnings.  





(ca. 1890s)^*# - Close-up view looking north on Main Street from 5th Street. The Westminster Hotel is at center-left (sign on roof line). To its right is the Main Street Savings Bank Building. On far right is the U.S. Government Building  



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Main and 4th Street

(ca. 1890)^ - 4th and Main looking north. The I. W. Hellman Mansion is on the left and on the right is the Westminster Hotel, designed by Robert B. Young, before it was enlarged.  





(ca. 1898)^*# - View looking north on Main Street at 4th Street. On the N/E corner stands the Westminster Hotel. On the N/W corner is the Van Nuys Hotel (Built in 1895).  





Then and Now

(1890 vs. 2021)* – Looking north on Main Street toward 4th Street.   


Historical Notes

The property on the left (SW corner) in early photo was the site of the Isaias Hellman Mansion. In 1871, Hellman and John G. Downey, a former governor of California, formed the Farmers and Merchants Bank of Los Angeles, which became Los Angeles' first successful bank. Their main branch, built in 1905, is seen in lower-left.  On the NE corner can be seen the a large Victorian brick building with a six-story tower. That was the Westminster Hotel which was designed in 1887 by Robert B. Young and was considered once of the city’s grandest hotel at the time.  It was razed in 1960.  The Van Nuys Hotel would be built on the NW corner in 1895 and today is the Hotel Barclay.





(ca. 1890)^ - A horse and buggy and a few people stand on the corner on 4th and Main Streets in front of the Westminster Hotel, architect, Robert B. Young. Down the street to the left is the N.P. Bailey Furniture store.  


Historical Notes

The Westminster Hotel was a large Victorian brick building with a six-story tower. It was designed in 1887 by Robert B. Young and was considered the grandest hotel in the city. In about 1870, this area was the site of a Chinese market. By the mid-1930s the hotel was in decline. It, however, continued to operate until 1960 when the building was razed to make room for new development.^^




(1890)^ - View looking north on Main Street at 4th Street as seen from the Westminster Hotel. The City Hall Tower (226 S. Broadway) can be seen on the far left and St. Vibiana's Cathedral (Main and 2nd, SE Corner) is on the right.  





(1887)^ - Panoramic view of the Isaias W. Hellman residence in foreground, southwest corner of Main and 4th streets. This would be the future site of the Farmers and Merchants Bank of Los Angeles.  


Historical Notes

Isaias W. Hellman became Los Angeles' first banker almost by accident. As a courtesy, he stored his customers' gold and valuables in a safe. One day, Hellman got into an altercation with a customer who had been coming in and out of the store gloriously drunk, withdrawing gold each time from a pouch stored in the safe. When the man sobered up, he was angry to discover he had spent most of his funds, and he lunged at Hellman. That interaction prompted Hellman to stop his informal banking operations. He got slips printed up that said I.W. Hellman, Banker, and started buying people's funds and issuing deposit books.

On September 1, 1868, Hellman and Temple founded Hellman, Temple and Co., the fledgling city’s second official bank. In 1871, Hellman and John G. Downey, a former governor of California, formed the Farmers and Merchants Bank of Los Angeles, which became Los Angeles' first successful bank. Hellman lent the money that allowed Harrison Gray Otis to buy the Los Angeles Times and Edward Doheny and Charles A. Canfield to drill for oil.*




(1895)^ - View of the spot where the Isaac & Herman Hellman residence once stood on the corner of 4th and Main Streets. For the move, the house was cut into four sections, with the last section to be moved visible in the center of the image on the left. The house was moved to make way for his family's bank building - Farmers and Merchants Bank of Los Angeles. Dan W. Graybill, standing in the foreground on the right, donated this photograph. A couple street cars are seen traveling on the right (4th Street) in front of the Van Nuys Hotel (under construction).  


Historical Notes

At his death in 1920, Hellman was considered the leading financier of the Pacific Coast. His son and grandson, Isaias Warren Hellman, later became presidents of Wells Fargo Bank. The Union Trust Company was merged with Wells Fargo after his death and the original Farmers and Merchants Bank later merged with Security First National Bank.*




(ca. 1905)^ – View showing the Farmers and Merchants Bank located on the southwest corner of Main and 4th streets. Built in 1905 on the site of the Hellman Residence, the bank was designed by the firm of Morgan and Walls.  


Historical Notes

The Farmer's and Merchants Bank was founded by 23 prominent Los Angeles businessmen, with an initial capital of $500,000. The three largest subscribers were Isaias W. Hellman ($100,000), former California Governor John G. Downey ($100,000), and Ozro W. Childs ($50,000) who in later years became the founders of the University of Southern California. Other investors included Charles Ducommun ($25,000), I.M. Hellman ($20,000) and Jose Mascarel ($10,000.) The Farmers and Merchants Bank was the first incorporated bank in Los Angeles, founded in 1871 by John G Downey, the seventh governor of California and Isaias W. Hellman, a successful merchant, real estate speculator and banker, and brother of Hermann W. Hellman. Downey was named the first president. Isaias later served as president of the bank till his death in 1920.*^




(1906)^*# - View looking west on 4th Street at the intersection with Main Street. Two men are seen in an open-air car as it travels north on Main Street through the intersection. The Neo-Classic Greek Farmers and Merchants Bank can be seen on the left (S/W Corner) with the Van Nuys Hotel on the right (N/W corner).  





Then and Now

(1906 vs. 2021) – Looking west on 4th Street at Main Street. The Classic Revival style Farmers and Merchants Bank is on the left (S/W Corner) with the Beaux-Arts style Van Nuys Hotel (today Hotel Barclay) across the street on the right.  



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City Hall View

(1890)^^ - Panoramic view of downtown Los Angeles as seen from the City Hall Tower (226 S. Broadway) looking east.  St. Vibiana's Cathedral is seen at right.  



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Spring and 2nd Street

(ca. 1890)^ - Spring Street looking north from the roof of the Stowell Building at 2nd Street, circa 1890. The Hollenbeck Block/Hotel is the first building on the left, next the Bryson-Bonebrake Block (n/w corner of 2nd and Spring) center the County Courthouse, roof of Phillips Block, Temple Market Block and Baker Block.





(ca. 1895)^ - 2nd Street looking west toward Spring Street. The building at close left is the Wilcox Building, at the far left the Hollenbeck Hotel. At far right is the Bryson-Bonebrake Block. Horse-drawn vehicles and streetcars are seen. There is a telegraph office on the left.  





(ca. 1890)^ - The Hollenbeck Hotel sits on the southwest corner of Spring and Second behind trolley lines extending up and down the streets on both sides. On the street are people, a trolley, horses and buggies. Architect, Robert B. Young.  


Historical Notes

John Edward Hollenbeck (June 5, 1829 - September 2, 1885) was an American businessman and investor who was involved in the 19th century development of Nicaragua and the city of Los Angeles, California.

Arriving in Los Angeles a wealthy man from his investments in Nicaragua in 1876, Hollenbeck purchased land on the east side of the Los Angeles River, and built a large residence with broad verandas and a tower on extensive grounds on Boyle Avenue. He made twenty-seven acquisitions of property by 1880. In 1884 he purchased and developed an urban business district, known as the Hollenbeck Block, within Los Angeles.

In 1878 Hollenbeck became a stockholder in the Commercial Bank of Los Angeles, and was elected its president. In 1881, he and other investors organized and established the First National Bank. In 1880, Hollenbeck, with former California Governor John G. Downey, horticulturalist Ozro W. Childs and other associates, persuaded the State of California to purchase 160 acres in Los Angeles to foster agriculture in the southland. The property, then known as Agriculture Park, is now known as Exposition Park, home to the Los Angeles Coliseum and the Los Angeles County Museums.*^




(ca. 1888)^##* - View of the Bryson-Bonebrake Block located on the northwest corner of Spring and Second streets. Coulters Dry Goods is to the left, on the southwest corner.  


Historical Notes

Two highly influential figures in 1880s Los Angeles, John Bryson, Sr., the 19th mayor, of LA and Major George H. Bonebrake, President of the Los Angeles National Bank and the State Loan and Trust Company, commissioned John Cather Newsom to erect this 126-room bank and office building. It's cost was projected to be $224,000, a staggering sum at the time. Bonebrake was one of the richest men in the city at the time, and he could afford making such an investment. He located the main headquarters of his bank in the Bryson-Bonebrake Block.^##*




(1890)^## - View of Spring at 2nd Street looking north. The Hollenbeck Hotel is seen on the left and the Bryson-Bonebrake Building is on the right. Horse-drawn carriages are parked in front of the hotel.  





(ca. 1895)^^ - View of Spring Street looking north from 2nd Street where both the Hollenbeck Building and Bryson-Bonebrake Block are seen on the left. The County Courthouse (built in 1891) can be seen at upper-center and the Nadeau Hotel in center of photo. At center-right is the Phillips Block.  


Historical Notes

The Nadeau Hotel stood on the southwest corner of 1st and Spring Streets until 1932, when it was demolished to make room for the current Los Angeles Times Building.*




(ca. 1898)^ - View of Spring Street looking south at 2nd Street, one of the busiest blocks in the city at the time. The Los Angeles Theatre (turreted building) can be seen at center-left. The Hollenbeck Building has been raised to four stories. The five-story block at the next corner is the Douglas Block.  


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Spring Street and 3rd Street

(ca. 1888)^ – View looking north on Spring Street from near 3rd Street. Horse-drawn carriages are parked on both sides of the street while a streetcar can be seen in the distance. Both the Hollenbeck Building and Bryson-Bonebrake Block can be seen in the distance at Spring and 2nd streets. On the left is the recently built Los Angeles Theatre. Note the turret on its round tower has not been built yet..  





(1896)^ – Sketch showing the west side of Spring Street from the Los Angeles Theatre (right) to 3rd Street (left).  





(1895)^ - View of Spring Street looking northwest. The Los Angeles Theatre, located at 227 S. Spring Street, is on the right. The music hall, on the left, was the former home of Turnverein. Horse-drawn carriages are shown parked in front.  


Historical Notes

The Los Angeles Theatre opened in 1888. It was built by William Hayes Perry and the building containing it was known as the Perry Building. 




(ca. 1897)^## – View looking north on Spring Street showing the Los Angeles Theatre (turreted building). The theatre would later be called Orpheum and Lyceum Theatre). The building on the left was later known as Lyceum Hall. In the distance can be seen both the Hollenbeck Building and Bryson-Bonebrake Block at Spring and 2nd streets.  


Historical Notes

In 1903 this interesting Richardsonian Romanesque building became the Orpheum - the second home of Orpheum Circuit vaudeville in Los Angeles. Previously they'd been at the Grand Opera House.

There were four Orpheum theatres in downtown Los Angeles:

◆ 110 S. Main St. -- Grand Opera House was the home of Orpheum vaudeville from 1894 to 1903.

◆ 227 S. Spring St. -- The Los Angeles Theatre, later called The Lyceum, was known as the Orpheum from 1903 to 1911.

◆ 630 S. Broadway -- Now the Palace Theatre -- this was the Orpheum between 1911 and 1926.

◆ 842 S. Broadway -- Orpheum Theatre from 1926 to Today




(1896)^ - An architectural drawing of the west side of Spring St. looking south from the corner of 3rd St.  





(ca. 1898)^^ - View of Spring Street looking south from the Stimpson Building on the NE corner at Third Street, shortly after it was built. Awnings cover most store fronts looking down Spring Street.  



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Broadway and 4th Street

(1890s)* - Looking west on 4th Street toward Fort Street (later Broadway) and Bunker Hill. The large building in the upper-left is the State Normal School located at Grand and 5th Street.  





(1890s)* - Looking west on Fourth Street toward Bunker Hill. The circle is the intersection of Fourth & Fort Street (now Broadway).  





(1890)^ - Fort Street (now South Broadway), showing the Fort Street Methodist Episcopal Church, replaced by the Homer Laughlin Building in 1916. Also includes the "Peerless" restaurant, featuring a sign that reads "Best 15 cent meal in the City"!  





(ca. 1890)^^ - Panoramic view of downtown Los Angeles looking west from Spring Street and Fourth Street toward Bunker Hill across Broadway between Third Street and Fourth Street. Fort Street Methodist Episcopal Church (later purchased by Homer Laughlin for $63,000 in 1899) stands in the center of the photograph which includes principally dwellings. The Crocker Mansion can be seen in the upper right. The tall pole at the top of Bunker Hill seen in the upper-left is one of Los Angeles’ earliest electric stretlights, standing 150-ft tall. Click HERE to see more in Early L.A. Streetlights.  





(ca. 1890)^^ - View showing the Hunter Residence located on Fort Street (later Broadway) near Third Street.  The single-story brick house has a small fence surrounding its perimeters. It features a covered porch, large rectangular windows and a symmetric, inclined roof. Above the covered porch is "furnished rooms" sign. The Fort Street Methodist Episcopal Church is to the left of the small house.  



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Bunker Hill

(ca. 1890)^ - Bunker Hill neighborhood, as seen from east of Hill Street (foreground). 3rd Street (lower center) is to the left of the First Congregational Church (lower right), which later became the Central Baptist Church then lastly the Unitarian Church. The Crocker Mansion is seen in the upper right and the Leonard John Rose (with cupola) residence at Fourth Street and Grand Avenue is present in the upper left.  


Historical Notes

In 1867, an enterprising French Canadian immigrant named Prudent Beaudry bought the land atop Bunker Hill -- at the reported cost of $51. Beaudry constructed a system of pipes and steam-powered pumps to deliver water to the hilltop from a reservoir below. He also built roads to connect the hill to the developed flatlands below and laid out streets atop the hill. One of them, which Beaudry named Bunker Hill Avenue in honor of the 100th anniversary of the Revolutionary War battle fought in Boston, eventually lent its name to the entire hilltop community.*

In 1868, Prudent Beaudry and his two partners, John Griffen and Solomon Lazard, formed the private Los Angeles Water Company. They would go on and sign a 30 year lease franchise agreement with the City to run its water system (1868 - 1898).

Prudent Beaudry also served as the 13th Mayor of Los Angeles from 1874 to 1876.

Click HERE to read more in Water in Early Los Angeles.




(1898)^^ - View of Bunker Hill looking west from Spring Street near 3rd Street. First Congregational Church with its tall spire can be seen at center-right and the Crocker Mansion is at upper center-left.  





(1894)^^ - Panoramic view of downtown Los Angeles, looking east, as seen from the rear deck of the Crocker Mansion .  The view is looking toward the intersection of Broadway and Third Street where the Bradbury Building stands on the southeast corner. The streets are busy with horse-drawn vehicles and pedestrians. A pile of construction supplies and debris is visible near the intersection. City Hall is at left on Broadway and the First Congregational Church at lower-left (NE corner of 3rd and Hill).  


Historical Notes

Built in 1893, the Bradbury Building was commissioned by LA mining millionaire Lewis L. Bradbury and designed by local draftsman George Wyman. It still stands today and is the oldest building in Downtown LA.

Click HERE to see more Early Views of the Bradbury Building.





(1895)#^* – View looking west at 3rd and Hill Streets with the Crocker Mansion seen at the top of Bunker Hill.  The southwest corner of 3rd and Hill (lower-right) would become the lower station terminal of Angels Flight.  


Historical Notes

At the turn of the 20th Century, no building dominated Bunker Hill like the Crocker Mansion. Perched high at the corner of Third and Olive, the imposing 3-story Victorian structure overlooked the emerging metropolis for more than 22 years.*





(1898)^^ - Panorama view from 3rd and Spring streets showing the Crocker Mansion and neighbors on Bunker Hill.  


Historical Notes

Construction on the Third Street Tunnel began in 1900, and Mrs. Crocker filed a petition claiming that the mansion was endangered by the street tunnel which was “unsafe, improperly constructed and a veritable death trap.” According to the Los Angeles Times, “the walls of her house are settling, the foundations giving way and the plaster is falling off…Unless something is done, the building is liable to topple into a hole.” The house never did topple and was alive and well in 1902 when Angels Flight began operating and dropping riders off practically on the Crocker doorstep.*





(1901)^*# - Photo of Angels Flight at the grand opening of the railway, December 31st, 1901. An observation tower was also constructed on top of the hill adjacent to the Crocker Mansion.  


Historical Notes

Built in 1901 with financing from Colonel J.W. Eddy, as the Los Angeles Incline Railway, Angels Flight began at the west corner of Hill Street at Third and ran for two blocks uphill (northwestward) to its Olive Street terminus.*^

Click HERE to see more Early Views of Angels Flight.



(1890s)^ - Rear view of the Crocker Mansion showing the full extent of its wide balconies where you could get a great view of the emerging metropolis of Los Angeles.  





(ca. 1890)^^ - Panoramic view of downtown Los Angeles looking southeast on First Street and Hill Street toward Broadway.  City Hall, which is the tall tower with a flagpole, is at center-right. The First Presbyterian Church can be seen at center-left with a spire.  





(ca. 1891)^^ - Panoramic view of Los Angeles from 1st Street and Hill Street looking southeast.  The 3-story Highland Villa (n/w corner of 1st and Hill) is on the far left.  Also on the left, in the distance, stands Los Angeles County Courthouse with it’s distinctive clock tower.  The LA Times Building, located on the northeast corner of 1st Street and Broadway, is seen at center-right between the palms. The large 4-story building at center with the cupola is the Phillips Block, located at 25-37 N. Spring Street.  





(ca. 1890)^^ - Panoramic view of Los Angeles looking east as seen from the top of the Court House tower, showing the orphanage building in the distance.  The area in the foreground is densely packed with commercial buildings and many of which boasts Greek or Italian-style architecture. Aliso Street can be seen at left running into the left background. The historic intersection of Main, Temple, and Spring Streets can be seen at lower-center. Trees are sparsely scattered throughout the city, and what appears to be the Los Angeles River can be seen across the background.  


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Hill and 5th Streets

(ca. 1890)^^ - View showing the first building erected on the corner of Fifth Street and Hill Street in Los Angeles. The small, two-story clapboard house is at center. It has a small balcony with an open doorway at center, as well as a covered porch on the first floor. Large vines have grown up the side of the porch, hiding much of the front of the house from view. Four people are on the sidewalk in the foreground, including two young children at left and a girl and a woman walking at center.  


Historical Notes

The building, the home of Mary E. Taft, was moved to face Fifth Street. Later this block would become part of the center of Los Angeles' financial district.^^*



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Grand and 2nd Street (S/W Corner)

(1890)^ - Photo taken from the southwest corner of 2nd Street and Grand Avenue, looking north on Grand. It shows a modest one-story home. A woman stands on the steps that lead to the entrance of the house and three other people are standing in the garden, all looking toward the photographer. Visible behind tall trees, a larger, more elaborate Victorian home can be seen.  



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Flower and 8th (S/E Corner)

(1890)^- View showing the First English Lutheran Church, located at the southeast corner of Flower and 8th Streets in Los Angeles, shown soon after its construction in 1890 before the streets were paved. The Abbotsford Inn is visible behind the church on the left side and a few residences are seen in the background on the right.  


Historical Notes

Abbotsford Inn was converted into a hotel by Abbot Kinney, best known as the developer of Venice. The building, designed by Robert B. Young, was erected in 1887 by D. W. Hanna as Los Angeles College or Hanna College. After the college failed, Kinney took it over.^


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Broadway and 10th Street (now Olympic Blvd)

(1890)^^ – View looking north on Broadway from 10th Street (Olympic Blvd. today).  At least two craftsman-style buildings with chimneys are visible in the background left of the street, partially obscured by trees and other vegetation. The street is unpaved and what appear to be several horse-drawn carriages and/or trolleys are moving along it too quickly to be photographed with clarity. A telephone pole is visible to the right, and what appears to be a pile of cut tree branches is in the lot next to the buildings. Note the tall pole in the center of the photo.  It is 150-ft tall and is one of Los Angeles' First Electric Streetlights.  


Historical Notes

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

Click HERE to see the same view in 1926.

Click HERE to see the same view in 2015.


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Broadway and 8th Street (N/E Corner)

(ca. 1897)+** – View showing the northeast corner of 8th Street and Broadway. A woman and young girl are seen standing in front of the Victorian house. Another woman is seated in a horse-drawn carriage. Click HERE to see contemporary view.  





(ca. 1890)^ - Postcard view showing Pasadena and Mount Lowe in the San Gabriel Mounains as seen from the Hotel Raymond.  





(ca. 1890)*#* - View of Colorado Boulevard, then named Colorado Street, looking east to Marengo Avenue. Horse-drawn wagons with displaying america flags appear to be in a parade (possibly 4th of July).  





(1890)^ - View showing the Raymond Station in South Pasadena. A locomotive with cars, stand ready, outside the station. A horse-drawn vehicle, parked alongside of the station, would shuttle guests to the Raymond Hotel.  


Historical Notes

The Raymond Hotel guests invariably arrived by train, the mainline Santa Fe which stopped at Raymond Station at the bottom of the hill. Many had private cars that would park on the side spur near the station. All guests were ferried by a horse-drawn bus to the hotel at the top of the hill.

Later, much to the dismay of many guests, the old station closed down in deference to a newer station built up the tracks closer to downtown Pasadena. Guests were then forced to take an auto bus the extra distance to the hotel.


Click HERE to see more in Early Views of Pasadena.


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(ca. 1890)^ - Photograph of Alhambra, Garfield and Main Street ca. 1890. A horse drawn street car is in front of the elaborate Alhambra Hotrel. The building on the opposite corner is named the Jones Building and was erected in 1887.  


Historical Notes

Alhambra was founded as a suburb of Los Angeles in 1903. It existed as an unincorporated area during the mid-19th century. The first school in Alhambra was Ramona Convent Secondary School built on hillside property donated by the prominent James de Barth Shorb family. Thirteen years before the city was incorporated, several prominent San Gabriel Valley families interested in the Catholic education of their daughters established the school in 1890. The city's first public high school, Alhambra High School, was established in 1898, five years before the city's incorporation. The Alhambra Fire Department was established in 1906. On July 11, 1903, the City of Alhambra was incorporated.

Alhambra is named after Washington Irving's book Tales of the Alhambra, not after the Alhambra palace itself.*^




(1898)^- This was one of the big hotels in Alhambra in 1898. Early settlers made their homes in Alhambra, gateway to the San Gabriel Valley, because of the water works.  


Historical Notes

The elegant Alhambra Hotel stood at the northwest corner of Garfield and Main. This ornate structure was one of the earliest commercial buildings having been built in 1888 and which featured a billiards hall, barbershop, and restaurant. Unfortunately, the building burned down in 1908.*##*



(1887)^ - Alhambra's first restaurant was named "Tilley's" and was located in this two story wood frame building with a sidewalk and unpaved street.  


Historical Notes

Tilley's Restaurant opened in 1885.  It was built by H. W. Stanton at the corner of Main and Garfield, the building was first used as a post office and grocery. The upstairs hall was used as a church, school, community meetings, and entertainment gathering place. H. W. Stanton was the first storekeeper, postmaster, teacher, telephone agent, land subdivider and promoter. After subdividing several ranches he became wealthy and retired. He took a trip around the world, but upon his return to Alhambra found that the boom had gone bust, and he too was broke.^#*#



(1898)^ - An unidentified man (possibly one of the owners) stands at the front door of the Crow & Drake Groceries, two-story building located on So. Garfield Ave. It was the first general merchandise store in Alhambra in 1898.    





(1890)^ - Two men and a horse stand outside a building in Alhambra with a sign on the roof identifying the owner as Charles Winter, horseshoer and blacksmith. The shop opened in 1885 and was located at 4 W. Main Street.  



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Wolfskill Ranch - Arcade Station - Arcade Palm

(ca. 1880)^ - Full frame lithograph photo of the orange and lemon groves on the Wolfskill Ranch, residence of  William Wolfskill. The Los Angeles and Independence Railroad Station can be seen in the background. The Southern Pacific Arcade Station would later be built on the Wolfskill Ranch.  


Historical Notes

William Wolfskill, a native of Kentucky, came to California in 1831 and settled in Los Angeles in 1836.  In March 1838, Wolfskill purchased a 100-acre lot bounded by 3rd to 9th streets and San Pedro to Alameda streets, which he named Wolfskill Ranch, and built a large adobe (known as "Wolfskill Adobe") located at 239 Alameda, between 3rd and 4th streets.

In 1839 Wolfskill became a major grape producer when he planted the first vineyard of table grapes in California. Two years later, in 1841, he planted his first 2-acre plot of citrus behind his adobe, between 4th and 6th streets east of Alameda. In a short period of time, Wolfskill's farm had increased to 28-acres of planted citrus with over 2,500 orange trees. By 1862 he owned 3/4 of all the orange trees in California and was the biggest orange grower in the United States - for which he is considered the father of early California citrus industry.^




(1889)^^  - View of a palm tree being moved to the front of the Arcade Depot on Fifth Street and Central Avenue on land that was once occupied by the Wolfskill Adobe.  


Historical Notes

In 1888, the Southern Pacific Railroad built the Arcade Depot in competition with the Santa Fe Railroad. Santa Fe R.R. would open the La Grande Station at 2nd Street and Santa Fe Avenue just five years later, in 1893.

The Arcade Depot replaced the adobe house of William Wolfskill and its surrounding orange grove, the largest in Southern California.^




(ca. 1890s)^ - View looking east along a street leading to the Southern Pacific Railroad Arcade Station in the background. This turn-of-the-century view shows street railway cars, horse-drawn vehicles, and what appears to be an early automobile behind the pole in the center foreground.  


Historical Notes

The first automobile in Southern California appeared in 1897. It was built in a shop on Fifth Street in Los Angeles by S.D. Sturgis for J. Philip Erie. Erie became the first to drive an automobile on Los Angeles roads. By 1904, 1,600 cars were cruising the streets of Los Angeles. The maximum speed limit was 8 mph in residential areas and 6 mph in business districts.^#*




(1897)^ - A river of water on Alameda Street looking south from 4th Street in December, 1897, when rain measured 6.53 inches. Seen is the Southern Pacific Railroad Arcade Station.  





(1891)^ - Southern Pacific steam engine no. 1364 heads the train at the Arcade Station at Alameda between 4th and 5th St.  


Historical Notes

The Arcade Station was the second station built by Southern Pacific in Los Angeles (and first one built primarily for passenger service). Built in 1889 and used until 1914 when it was replaced by larger SP Central Station. It was demolished shortly thereafter.




(n.d.)^ - Interior view of an empty Arcade Depot. The trains appear to be sitting outside the building.  





(ca. 1890)^## - View showing over a dozen horse-drawn wagons waiting for the next train to arrive at the Southern Pacific Arcade Depot.  





(1896)^## – Close-up view of the large palm tree standing in front of the Arcade Depot.  Horse-drawn wagons are parked in front of the station.  





(1908)^^ - Close-up view of the Arcade Depot with it's now-famous palm tree standing tall in front of the main entrance. Horse-drawn carriages can be seen waiting for the arrival of passengers.  


Historical Notes

In 1914, the Southern Pacific Railroad replaced the Arcade Station with the Central Station, a larger and more modern railroad passenger depot. The Union Pacific Railroad moved its Downtown Los Angeles passenger terminal to Central Station in 1924 after its original passenger depot just south of First Street on the east side of the Los Angeles River was destroyed by fire.*^




(1914)^ - Horse and buggies are parked outside the Arcade Station in its last year of operations at Alameda between 4th and 5th St. The singular Arcade palm tree can be seen in front of the station, the same tree seen being planted in the earlier 1889 photo.  


Historical Notes

Amazingly, the original Arcade Depot palm is still alive. It was replanted at a location in front of the Los Angeles Coliseum where it stands today. It along with the Longstreet Palms are considered to be the oldest trees in the City of Los Angeles.^*#




(n.d.)#*#* - Plaque commemorating the Arcade Depot Palm as the "Mute witness to the growth of Los Angeles". Both plaque and Arcade Palm are situated in front of the LA Memorial Coliseum.  


Historical Notes

The plaque sits in front of the Exposition Park entrance leading to the coliseum. It reads:

“This historic palm tree stood for more than twenty-five years at the entrance of the Southern Pacific Station.  At this railroad portal of the City it became a familiar landmark to many thousands of Los Angeles and Southern California citizens and visitors from elsewhere, and was a mute witness to the growth of Los Angeles from a community of Pueblo days to a great world metropolis of today.  When construction of a new Southern Pacific Station necessitated removal, under the auspices of the Los Angeles Examiner it was presented to te City of Los Angeles by the Southern Pacific Company.  On September 5, 1914, it was placed here, where it and its sentimental associations will be prmanently preserved.”


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La Grande Santa Fe Station

(1893)^ - View looking eastward from Santa Fe Avenue at 2nd Street. La Grande Santa Fe Depot is at right, located on the corner of 2nd and Santa Fe.  


Historical Notes

Santa Fe opened La Grande Station on July 29, 1893 and it was unique for Southern California in its Moorish-inspired architecture. The station was located at 2nd Street and Santa Fe Ave, just south of the First Street viaduct built in 1929 and on the west bank of the LA River.*^



(1890s)^^ - External view of the La Grande Santa Fe Station. Horse-drawn carriages are parked at the curb waiting for passengers.  


Historical Notes

The Moorish-inspired La Grande railroad station was used as a passenger terminal for Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway.^




(ca. 1894)^## - View of the front entrance to the La GrandeSanta Fe Depot showig the detail of its Moorish-style domes.  


Historical Notes

Many Hollywood movies were filmed at the stylish station. Laurel and Hardy's film Berth Marks (1929) was one of the first sound movies shot on location. Other movies that used Santa Fe's La Grande Station included Choo Choo 1931 (Our Gang - Little Rascals), Lady Killer, 1933 with James Cagney, Swing Time 1936 (Fred Astaire) and Something to Sing About 1937 (James Cagney).*^




(1890s)*^ - A passenger train is stopped at the La Grande Station as two men are seen posing for the camera.  





(1893)^*^# – View showing passengers lining up to board the Overland Train at Los Angeles' La Grande Station.  





(1899)^*^# – Panoramic view showing a train leaving the La Grande Station.  Note the tall poll in the background (center-left).  It was one of Los Angeles’ first streetlights and was 150 ft. tall.  Click HERE to see more in Early LA Streetlights.  



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Spring Street

(1880s)^*# - View looking south on a congested Spring Street towards 1st Street with the Nadeau Hotel standing on theSW corner. Horse-drawn wagons and trolleys share the road. Pedestrians are seen walking on sidewalks along numerous telegraph poles. To the left is a large sign that reads: CROCER, COFFEES AND TEAS. To the lower right a smaller sign reads: CENTRAL MARKET.  


Historical Notes

The Central Market was a retail meat makret located at 149-51 Spring Street. It was owned by Simon Maier, brother of Joseph Maier of the Maier and Zobelin Brewery.

Interesting Fact: The Central Market was located next door to the undertakers (per the 1894 Sanborn Map).^*#




(ca. 1890s)^ - North Spring Street looking south from Temple in the 1890s approximately 10 years after the previous photo was taken. Horse-drawn vehicles are seen mainly parked along the curbs while pedestrians cross the cable car tracks. The two largest building seen in the distance are the Nadeau Hotel (SW corner of Spring and 1st) and the more ornate Phillips Block (25-37 N. Spring Street).  





(ca. 1891)^^ - View looking north on Spring Street from Third Street showing The Fourth Street & Broadway streetcar standing idle with its driver looking on at center as two other streetcars pass by. The Bryson Block with its multiple spires can be seen in the distance on the NW corner of Second and Spring streets. Businesses seen include the Wonder (219 South Spring Street), Burdick & Company, and the Parisian Cloak and Suit Company at  221 South Spring.  



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Spring and 8th Street

(1899)^ - A view of bicycle riders on Spring Street riding north near 8th St. On the right side (east side of Spring) a sign for the Corum Paper Box Factory is visible on the side of a building.  


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San Fernando Valley

(ca. 1891)^ - This was the intersection of Lankershim and Chandler as it appeared in the late 19th Century. Click HERE to see more in Early Views of the San Fernando Valley.  

Historical Notes

Lankershim Boulevard was named for the town of Lankershim (first called Toluca, now North Hollywood) and its founding family, the Lankershims. Isaac B. Lankershim grew wheat on a wide swath of the Valley floor on his Lankershim Ranch. North Hollywood was established by the Lankershim Ranch Land and Water Company in 1887. It was first named Toluca before being renamed Lankershim in 1896 and finally North Hollywood in 1927.

Chandler Boulevard was originally a leg of Sherman Way, it was renamed for land developer and Los Angeles Times publisher Harry Chandler.^*





(ca. 1890s)^^ - Photograph of Chatsworth Park and its live oak trees, San Fernando Valley. Beyond a lone oak tree in the foreground, piles of wood are stacked between two pairs of railroad tracks. Four buildings are visible in the center of the field. Grids of newly planted and some mature oak trees border the buildings. Mountains are visible beyond the distant rocky hills.  


Historical Notes

In the late 1800s the San Fernando Valley was divided into thirteen ranches, seven of which were located in the southern half of the valley and six in the northern half.  The Granger Ranch, owned by Benjamin F. Porter, became Chatsworth Park.^#


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


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National Soldiers' Home (aka Sawtelle Veterans Home, later VA Medical Center)

(ca. 1892)* - View showing the old National Soldiers' Home (now Veterans Administration Hospital) in the city of Sawtelle (now Los Angeles), and nearby grounds. The Chapel is seen to the left.  


Historical Notes

The Old Soldiers Home was built on land donated to the U.S. Government by landholder Arcadia Bandini de Baker in 1887, who specified that it should be used to house wounded veterans. The following year, the site grew by an additional 200 acres; in 1890, 20 acres more were appended for use as a veterans' cemetery. With more than 1,000 veterans in residence, a new hospital was erected in 1900. This hospital was replaced in 1927 by the Wadsworth Hospital.*^




(ca. 1900)* - Postcard view showing the Chapel at the Old National Soldiers' Home.  


Historical Notes

The chapel seen above was used for religious services, weddings, substance abuse counseling and funeral rites by both veterans and members of the local community until the 1971 earthquake made the building unsafe for use.  It is currently deteriorating, although the VA hopes to save it.




(1892)^ - Veterans are seen walking single file in two lines down a pathway next to a flagpole at the Old National Soldiers' Home.  


Historical Notes

The National Asylum for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers was established on March 3, 1865, in the United States by Congress to provide care for volunteer soldiers who had been disabled through loss of limb, wounds, disease, or injury during service in the Union forces in the Civil War. Initially, the Asylum, later called the Home, was planned to have three branches: in the northeast, in the central area north of the Ohio River and in what was then still considered the northwest, the present upper Midwest. The Board of Managers, charged with governance of the Home, added seven more branches between 1870 and 1907 as broader eligibility requirements allowed more veterans to apply for admission.*^




(1892)^ - A large crowd gathers to welcome a person or group (?) to the National Soldiers' Home (now Veterans Administration Hospital).  





(ca. 1890s)^ - View of a street on the grounds of the National Soldiers' Home in Sawtelle (later Los Angeles). In the background can be seen wide open, and still undeveloped land as far as the eye can see.  





(1901)* - President William McKinley can be seen near the entrance of the National Soldiers' Home (now Veterans Administration Hospital) in Sawtelle (Los Angeles). This event marks the Dedication by President McKinley on May 9, 1901.  





(1905)* - Memorial Day Review, Soldiers' Home, Sawtelle. All of them look like veterans of the Civil War.  


Historical Notes

The National Home and the Veterans Bureau, were combined into the United States Veterans Administration by President Hoover in 1930. Planning began for a major building campaign, including Mission/Spanish Colonial style hospital buildings and a group of Romanesque-inspired research buildings. The present Wadsworth hospital was constructed in the late 1930s. A new theater replaced the former Ward Theater in 1940. Most of the 1890s era buildings were demolished in the 1960s. The Veterans Affairs (VA) hospital building (VA Wadsworth Medical Center) was opened in 1977.


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Downtown Los Angeles

(1891)^^ – View looking west on Fifth Street from Towne Avenue with several large American flags hanging from wires strung across the street.  




Spring and 5th Street

(1886)^ - An early picture of the southeast corner of Spring and 5th St. when the building was occupied by Central Saloon. It later became the location of the Security Building.  





(1892)^ - Several mules or horses pull a flatbed past the crowds watching at the southeast corner of Spring and 5th Street.  





Then and Now

(1886 vs 2023)* – Looking at the SE corner of Spring and 5th streets in DTLA showing the Central Saloon, today the site of a mixed-use commerical/residential building.  



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Broadway and 5th Street

(ca. 1880s)^ - A sketch of the west side of Broadway, at 5th Street. Building signs read "Hawley King & Co.", "L.A. Lighting", and "Perry Electrical Works."  





(1891)* - View looking west on 5th Street at Broadway. In the distance can be seen the State Normal School located at 5th and Grand.  





Then and Now

(1891 vs 2021)* - Looking west on 5th Street at Broadway.  





Grand and 5th Street

(1890)^ - View is seen from the east side of the Normal School. 5th Street is on the left; Grand Avenue is in the foreground. St. Paul's Pro-Cathedra (Episcopal) is on the right-center. Hazard's Pavilion is on the left-center. 6th Street park (later Pershing Square) is in the center.  





(ca. 1893)^ - Southwest corner view of the State Normal School, located at Grand and 5th Street. A long and winding driveway is located on the left side of the entrance, and a long flight of stairs (barely visible) is on the right; the school sits impressively on the last knoll of Bunker Hill, aptly dubbed "Normal Hill".  


Historical Notes

In 1880, with a population of 11,000, Los Angeles was a gas-lit pueblo trying to convince the state to establish in Southern California a second State Normal School, like the one already existing in San Jose, some 300 miles to the north. In March of the following year, the State Assembly approved the establishment of such a school. A group of enthusiastic citizens, over 200 of whom contributed between $2 and $500, purchased a site less than a mile from the business section. Soon the towering Victorian form of the school rose from an orange grove that, today, is the site of the Central Los Angeles Public Library.^

UCLA's roots are intertwined with that of the State Normal School. Click HERE to see the connection in Early Views of UCLA.




(ca. 1913)^ - Aerial view of the State Normal School, located at Grand Avenue and 5th Street. Because the school sat impressively on the last knoll of Bunker Hill, aptly dubbed "Normal Hill", there were two ways to get to the main entrance: either taking the long and winding driveway located on the left side, or a long flight of stairs on the right (partially covered by the trees), which was parallel to 5th Street. The large white building on the middle left is the Bible Institute, later to become the Church of the Open Door/Biola Institute, that was located on Hope Street; the Key West Rooms and Apartments is visible on the lower left.  


Historical Notes

After the demolition of this structure (1924), 5th Street was straightened and the remainder of the site was eventually occupied by the L.A. Public Library. Click HERE to see Construction of the Central Libary.


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Hill and 2nd Street

(ca. 1892)^ - View showing 2nd and Hill Streets (at lower-left) looking east from near Olive Street. Mostly a residential area, there are a few commercial buildings, including one housing O.C. Sens, merchant tailors, entrance on Broadway. The 1888 City Hall at 226 So. Broadway is seen at center. The First Presbyterian Church with its impressively tall spire stands at left on the southeast corner of 2nd Street and Broadway.  





(1894)^ - View showing an unpaved 2nd Street looking east from Hill Street. Utility poles and streetcar tracks face a mix of residential and commercial buildings. People relax on wide verandas in the Queen Anne Revival building on the northeast corner across from B. Sens & Son, merchant tailors, who advertise their "Entrance on Broadway." Pedestrians, deliveries and horse and buggy traffic make for a busy street. The First Presbyterian Church with its tall spire can be seen in the distance on the SE corner of Broadway and 2nd Street.





Then and Now

(1894 vs 2021)* - Looking east on 2nd Street toward Hill Street.  





Then and Now

(1950s vs 2022)* - Looking west on 2nd Street from Hill Street towards the Second Street Tunnel and Bunker Hill.  



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(ca. 1893)^^ – View looking south on Broadway showing the First Presbyterian Church on the southeast corner of Second Street and Broadway (left) with City Hall several lots behind it. The California Bank Building stands on the southwest corner on the right.  





(ca. 1889)^ - Exterior view of the Old City Hall, located at 226 Broadway. This was Los Angeles' third City Hall.  


Historical Notes

Los Angeles’ third City Hall was erected in 1888 at 226-238 South Broadway.  This grand Romanesque edifice of marble and red sandstone building stood for 40 years until 1928 when the present day City Hall was completed.^




(ca. 1889)* - Los Angeles City Hall from 1888 until 1928, located at 226 Broadway. AI image enhancement and colorization by Richard Holoff  





(1895)^ - Exterior view of the third City Hall, built in 1888, adorned with banners. Horse-drawn wagons are parked in front.  


Historical Notes

The following historical timeline lists the buildings used by City Council, also known as City Hall, since 1850, when Los Angeles was incorporated as a municipality:

◆ 1850 - 1853 - used rented hotel and other buildings for City meetings

◆ 1853 - rented adobe house (aka Rocha Adobe) on Spring Street - across from current City Hall (now parking lot for Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center). The buliding was shared with the County who used it as a Court House.

◆ 1861 - moved into John Temple's Clocktower Market Building, but only stayed for less than a year before the County Court House moved-in

◆ 1861 - 1884 - relocated back to the Rocha Adobe and stayed for over 20 years

◆ 1884 - 1888 - moved to new City Hall Building at South Spring Street and West 2nd Street (site of current Los Angeles Times Building)

◆ 1888 - 1928 - moved to new Romanesque Revival Building on 226-238 South Broadway between 2nd Street and 3rd Street; demolished in 1928 and now site of parking lot between LA Times Parking structure and 240 Broadway.

◆ 1928 - moved to current City Hall Building *^




(1895)^ - The view looking south on Broadway from 2nd Street. City Hall tower can be seen on the left. The California Bank Building is at right on the SW corner.  





(ca. 1895)^## - View of Broadway looking north from Third Street.  


Historical Notes

City Hall (1888-1928) dominates the right of the picture. Several other landmarks of the day can also be seen here. The tower of Los Angeles High School is partially visible to the left of the power poles. The clock tower in the distance is that of the Los Angeles County Court House. The tall spire next to that belongs to the First Presbyterian Church at the SE corner of Broadway and Second Street. And, the gothic structure just barely visible between City Hall and the Crocker Building (with the two bay windows) is Los Angeles' first Jewish synagogue (B'nai B'rith Temple).*^^*




(1898)* - View of Broadway looking north from mid-block between 3rd and 4th Streets Street. A man in a hat stands to the left of a stopped streetcar at center which advertised "West Lake Park" on its marquee. Horse-drawn carriages are parked along the sidewalk to the left. To the right, commercial buildings line the street displaying signs, while the tower of the old City Hall can be seen farther down, an American flag extending from its front.  


Historical Notes

This photo was taken mid-block, between 3rd and 4th Streets, approximately where the present-day Grand Central Market is located (in the 1896 Homer Laughlin Building). The large building in the upper middle-right is the Bradbury Building. The multi-story structure in the upper left (north-west corner Broadway and 3rd Street) is the 1895-built Byrne Building, the second oldest building in downtown Los Angeles, right behind the Bradbury Building (1893).




(ca. 1900)^ - A view of Broadway looking north toward 3rd Street. Trolleys as well as horses and carriages are seen on the street. City Hall can be seen down the street on the right (tall tower and flag). The Bradbury Building is the large building on the right located on the NE corner of 3rd and Broadway.  





(ca. 1900)^.^ - View looking north on Broadway toward the 1888-built City Hall showing numerous horse-drawn wagons parked along both side of the street.  Streetcar tracks run down the center of Broadway. The Bradbury Building is on the right (NE corner of 3rd and Broadway).  





Broadway Panoramic as seen from LA County Courthouse

(ca. 1900)^^ - Panoramic view looking south on Broadway from the LA County Courthouse.  City Hall is the tallest structure in the distance.  





(ca. 1900)^^ - Panoramic view looking south on Broadway from top of LA County Courthouse with City Hall seen as the tallest structure in the distance. AI enhancement and colorization by Richard Holoffn by Richard Holoff  




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Westlake Park

(1880s)^ - View looking southwest showing 6th Street (dirt road) as it heads west towards Westlake Park (now MacArthur Park). As seen, this was the edge of the City at the time, around where Alvarado Street is today.  





(ca. 1880s)^ - Panoramic view looking northwest showing Westlake Park (now MacArthur Park) at the intersection of 7th and Alvarado streets. Alvarado runs diagonally from lower-left to center-right. The surrounding hills are devoid of homes and trees. The building on the far left is the boathouse.  


Historical Notes

The park, originally named Westlake Park, was built in the 1880s, along with a similar Eastlake Park, whose lake is artificial. Westlake Park was renamed MacArthur Park on May 7, 1942; Eastlake Park was renamed Lincoln Park.

Both Westlake Park and Eastlake Park (as well as Echo Park) were built as drinking water reservoirs connected to the city's systems of zanjas (small conveyance channels/trenches). When the city abandoned the non-pressurized zanja system for a pressurized pipe system, these smaller, shallow reservoirs located at low points no longer provided much benefit. They were then converted into parks.*^



(1880s)^ - View looking northwest of Westlake Park and its boathouse. The Hollywood Hills stand in the background (top-right).  





(ca. 1880s)^ - Cable cars parked in front of Westlake Park with two conductors posing for the camera. This was the last stop on the cable railway route that started in downtown Los Angeles.  


Historical Notes

In the late 1880s, the Los Angeles Cable Railway ran a line from downton Los Angeles along 7th Street to Westlake Park. The lake was becoming a popular destination for a quick get-away vacation.




(ca. 1890)^ - View of Westlake Park looking north with the Holywood HIlls in the background. A lone sailboat is in the center of the lake. The City's new park's landscape is begining to take form. On the right can be seen a tropical tree and a palm.  





(ca. 1892)^^ - View of Westlake Park circa 1892. Two very large homes can now be seen on top of the hill in the background.  


Historical Notes

In the mid-19th century the area was a swampland; by the 1890s, it was a vacation destination, surrounded by luxury hotels.*^




(1890s)^ - A sailboat and several row boats are seen on the lake at Westlake Park. The hillside is beginning to be filled with new homes. The very tall pole in the background is one of the city’s new streetlights (150-ft tall). Click HERE to see more in Early Los Angeles Street Lights.  





(1890s)^ - View of Westlake Park (later MacArthur Park). In this scene we see, on the left, a small group in a row boat, while on shore a man lounges on the rustic foot bridge nearby.  





(ca. 1890s)^ - Early view of Westlake Park showing horse and carriages and bicycles on the dirt road that surrounded the lake. A 150-foot tall streetlight can be seen in te upper right of photo.  





(1890s)^ - View of three people on a foot bridge at Westlake Park. The woman at center is holding a parasol.  





(ca. 1895)^ - View of Westlake Park (now MacArthur Park) circa 1895. Transportation was still mostly by horse and carriage (lower left of picture) and ladies carried parasols to shade themselves from the sun. Multi-story homes fill the hill on the other side of the lake. A 150-foot tall streetlight stands in front of the row of homes.  


Historical Notes

Wilshire Boulevard formerly ended at the lake on its west side, but in 1934 a berm was built for it to cross and link up with the existing Orange Street (which ran from Alvarado to Figueroa) into downtown Los Angeles. Orange Street was renamed Wilshire and extended east of Figueroa to Grand Ave. This divided the lake into two halves; the northern one was subsequently drained.*^




(1907)^ - View looking northeast of Westlake Park (later McArthur Park) from 7th Street.  A tree-lined walkway with benches is seen on the edge of the park.  Trolley tracks run down an unpaved 7th Street. Oil derricks+ are seen in the hills across the lake.  In the far background stand the Hollywood Hills.  


Historical Notes

+ In 1890, Edward Doheny struck oil south of Angelino Heights and Echo Park, triggering the city’s first oil boom. Soon, hundreds of wells were pumping away in a wide belt stretching roughly south of Temple Street. For decades the wells would change the landscape of the City.****

Click HERE to see more in 1890s Oil Boom.




(1908)^*# - Postcard view showing a tour bus filled with people including young children on the bank of Westlake Park. Writing at bottom reads: "Seeing Los Angeles" - Feb. 24th - "Lakeview" above (referring to the Lake View Hotel, seen in upper-right).  


Historical Notes

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


Click HERE to see more Views of Westlake Park (MacArthur Park) in the 1920s +






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More Historical Early Views



Newest Additions



Early LA Buildings and City Views



History of Water and Electricity in Los Angeles



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References and Credits

* DWP - LA Public Library Image Archive

^ LA Public Library Image Archive

**LADWP Historic Archive

^^USC Digital Library

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

^# Chatsworth Historical Society

#^ Huntington Digital Library Archive

*# Publications of the Historical Society of Southern California, Volume 9: Eternity Street

***Los Angeles Historic - Cultural Monuments Listing

+**Facebook.com: Old Photos of Los Angeles

*^*California Historical Landmarks Listing (Los Angeles)

*#*KCET: When L.A.'s Most Famous Streets Were Dirt Roads

*^#Public Art in LA: Campo Santo

^*^LA Street Names - LA Times

*#^Los Angeles Athletic Club

*##Metro.net - Los Angeles Transit History

^##California State Library Image Archive

**#The Cable-Car-Guy.com: The Los Angeles Railway; Temple Street Cable Railway

^^#CSULB - A Visit to Old LA: Hamburger Dept. Store; Overhead Line Congestion on Spring

^*#Noirish Los Angeles - forum.skyscraperpage.com; Arcade Palm Tree; Spring St. Central Market; Adams and Figueroa; Westminster Hotel; Angels Flight; Robinson Manison and Teed Street; Main and 4th; Hollenbeck Park

#^*Flickr.com: Michael Ryerson

^#*LA Almanac: First Automobile in Southern California

^#^Historic Hotels of Los Angeles and Hollywood (USC - California Historic Society: Van Nuys Hotel

**^History Matters: Calle de los Negros, 1880s

^^*LA Fire Department Historical Archive

^^^LA Times: The Gush of Oil Was Music to 'Queen's' Ears; Gas-powered carriage didn't have much speed to burn

****Theeastsiderla.com: Angelino Heights Oil Boom

***^TheZephyr.com: O.T. Johnson

***#Historicechopark.org: Echo Park Lake

#***Photos of Vintage Los Angeles: Facebook.com

++^^Boyle Heights History Blog: Hollenbeck Park

*^^*Los Angeles Past: City Hall (ca. 1895)

^*^*KCET - El Aliso: Ancient Sycamore Was Silent Witness to Four Centuries of L.A. History

^*^#Facebook.com - Bizarre Los Angeles

*^#*Automobile Club of Southern California

*#*^Pinterest.com: LA History

*#**Mojave Desert.net: Remi Nadeau

*#^*USC Facebook.com

*##*Historic Alhambra

*###Nuestra Señora Reina de los Angeles Asistencia Gallery

^#*#Electronic Scrapbook of Alhambra History

*##^The Street Railway History of Los Angeles - erha.org

^##*Pacific Coast Architecture Database (PCAD): Bryson-Bonebrake Block

^###Exposition Park History - Expositionpark.org

^^##UC Irvine - The White City by Miles Clement

^**^Wikipedia Images: Early L.A. Oil Wells

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

#^*^Calisphere: University of California Image Archive

#*#*Walk N Ride LA: Exposition Park

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

#*^^The Department Store Museum: J. W. Robinson's

#**#On Bunker HIll: Larronde Block and Residence; Crocker Mansion

#*^#Google Maps

*#*#*Flickr.com: Views of Los Angeles

*^ Wikipedia: Arcadia Bandini de Stearns Baker; Bunker Hill; Prudent Beaudry; Jonathan Temple; Los Angeles High School; Joseph Widney; Pershing Square; Port of Los Angeles; Belmont High School; Hollenbeck Park; Ducommun; Isaias W. Hellman; Abel Stearns; Sawtelle Veterans Home; Arcade Station; Alhambra; Fort Moore; History of Santa Monica; History of Los Angeles; Burbank; Mt. Lowe Railway; Los Angeles City Oil Field; La Grande Station; MacArthur Park; Los Angeles Athletic Club; Western Avenue; History of Los Angeles Population Growth; Garvanza, Los Angeles; Highland Park; Cawston Ostrich Farm; Arroyo Seco; History of Santa Monica; Los Angeles and Independence Railroad; Pío Pico; John Edward Hollenbeck; Alvarado Terrace Historic District; Sawtelle, Los Angeles; Angelino Heights; Angels Flight


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