West Side Lighting Company

(ca. 1887)*– View showing the West Side Lighting Steam Plant, established in 1896 on Vermont Avenue near 22nd Street (West Side's first power plant).  


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.^^



(ca. 1887)^*- Another view showing West Side Lighting Company's first power plant at Vermont and 22nd Street. West Side was the predecessor of Southern California Edison Company.  




(1910)^* - The old arc machine (power generator) which was originally at the West Side Lighting Steam Plant on Vermont and 22nd Street, but the picture was probably taken in Los Angeles #1 Steam Plant.  




(1896)^* – View showing the Los Angeles #1, Boylston Steam Plant of Westside Lighting Company, located on the northwest corner of 2nd and Boylston streets.  


Historical Notes

In 1896, West Side Lighting Company built their first large scale steam power plant near downtown Los Angeles. It was built near the northwest corner of 2nd and Boylsten street (seen above).^^

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 that 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.



(ca. 1905)^* - Second Street Railroad Power Station looking west from the corner of 2nd and Boylston streets. The two-story brick utility building stands next to a cleared lot in front of an unpaved road in which streetcar rails can be seen, surrounded by utility poles. Houses in the residential area of the city can be seen to the left and on the hills in the background. A horse-drawn cargo wagon makes its way down the street at left. Note this is the same structure as in previous photo but modified with the addition of a brick building.  


Historical Notes

Between 1897 and 1906 the above power house on Boylston Street was in use as Edison Electric Company Steam Plant Number One. It was then converted into a Distributing Station and has played a vital role in providing electrical power to the city of Los Angeles

Click HERE to see more Early Views of Boylston Street Yard.



(ca. 1897)^* – View looking northwest on Winston Street toward where it intersects with Main Street in downtown Los Angeles. An Edison Electric crew is 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.  


Historical Notes

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




References anc Credits

* DWP - LA Public Library Image Archive

^*Huntington Digital Library Archive

^^LADWP Historic Archive


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