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ethereal_reality Jun 12, 2009 1:42 AM
usc digital archive

The Times Building and the Richfield tower 1957.
usc digital archive

Hollywood 1946

I love L.A.

sopas ej Jun 12, 2009 10:18 AM

The Academy Awards at the Pantages Theatre, Hollywood, 1951:

The fans across the street:

Following photos from
Hollywood and Western, early 1950s

Grauman's Chinese Theatre, 1954

Echo Park, 1950s

The PE streetcars went in between houses in Hollywood in private rights-of-way...

If you drive to Sunset and Gardner now, where the Moun of Tunis Moroccan restaurant is, you can see the old diagonal right-of-way, which is now a driveway to the parking lot of the Moun of Tunis restaurant.


Sunset and Gardner:

At Gardner St.:

Santa Monica Blvd. and Palm, West Hollywood:

Same location, but much earlier, probably early 1920s; the south side of Santa Monica Blvd. hadn't been built yet (wasn't built until 1928), so two-way traffic went on the north side of the PE tracks:

sopas ej Jun 12, 2009 10:33 AM

Western Avenue looking north towards Santa Monica Blvd., 1940s:

Pasadena Freeway tunnels, circa 1950s... back when there was no graffiti:

ethereal_reality Jun 13, 2009 5:16 PM

^^^Get a load of the colorful cars....that is too cool.
I love all the pics of the old transit system as well.

ethereal_reality Jun 13, 2009 5:55 PM

All the following photographs are from the USC Digital archives.

above: Mercantile Building, 512 South Broadway, Los Angeles
This photograph was taken in 1957

above: Sentous Building at 616 N. Main St. Los Angeles
The arrow points to a woman hanging a black wreath on the doorway in protest of it's destuction.
The photograph was taken in 1957.

above: Paramount Building on Hill Street in 1960.
I'm confused about the now leasing sign (for a 35 story building)

above: The Architect's Building at 816 W. 5th Street.
I believe this beautiful building was torn down around 1958.....but I'm not certain.
Let's hope I'm wrong.

The following are BEFORE and AFTER photographs of the same building.

above: The Connell Building, 746 S. Los Angeles St.

The Connell Building, 746 S. Los Angeles ST. after modernization in 1959.

At least the old building is still underneath.

ethereal_reality Jun 14, 2009 1:19 AM

^^^I love that SUNKIST Building.

sopas ej Jun 14, 2009 3:51 AM


Originally Posted by ethereal_reality (Post 4304775)

Oh me too. It's too bad that they felt they needed to move their headquarters into the SF Valley.

Of course now the Bunker Hill Steps and the US Bank Tower are in that area.

sopas ej Jun 14, 2009 4:12 AM

I'd like to call attention to what WAS the Southern California Edison Building, but what has now been called the One Bunker Hill building. If you notice, back in the old days, there was a street that sloped down directly in front of it, but that was obliterated later and now a small commercial building is in front of it:



sopas ej Jun 14, 2009 4:51 AM

Here's the evolution (or devolution) of the 3rd St. Tunnel area of Bunker Hill:

3rd and Hill, 1901

3rd and Hill, 1903

3rd and Hill, circa 1910

3rd and Hill, circa late 1920s

3rd and Hill, 1930s

3rd and Hill, 1950

3rd and Hill, late 1960s

3rd and Hill, 1978

3rd and Hill, 1986

All pics from

sopas ej Jun 14, 2009 5:10 AM

Bunker Hill, Hope Street looking south from 3rd, 1956

Bunker Hill, Hope Street looking south from 3rd, 1987

Notice the pyramid roof of the Central Library; it's very obvious in these shots that Bunker Hill was regraded and made lower.

I read somewhere that one plan for Bunker Hill redevelopment was to remove the hill entirely, and of course other hills in downtown LA were removed, but for some reason they went with just flattening Bunker Hill somewhat.

Here's another evolution of a downtown section:

Looking southwest from Hope and 4th, 1968

Same scene, 1969

Same scene, 1970

Same scene, 1971

Same scene, 1990

All pics from

sopas ej Jun 14, 2009 5:21 AM


Originally Posted by ethereal_reality (Post 4304249)

above: The Architect's Building at 816 W. 5th Street.
I believe this beautiful building was torn down around 1958.....but I'm not certain.
Let's hope I'm wrong.

I'm afraid it was torn down long ago...

In the pics I just posted above, it looks like it was torn down within a few years after the Art Deco Atlantic Richfield building was, to build the ARCO Towers/now City National Plaza. You can see what I think is the Architect's Building in the 1968 and 1969 photos.

You can also see the back of the Sunkist building in the 1971 shot.

ethereal_reality Jun 14, 2009 4:45 PM

^^^ Yes, you're right sopas_ej,
that is the Architect's Building in 1968 & 1969 photos.
Note in the second one they're dismantling it from the top down,
it seems the top 2 or 3 floors are already gone

above: Here's another pic of the Architect's Building.
(the top seven floors were rented to prominent architect's, hence the name)

I have to thank you for posting the Bunker Hill evolution/devolution pics.
Bunker Hill is prime 'noir' territory
(featured in such films as 'Night Has a Thousand Eyes' 1948,
'Act of Violence' 1949, 'Criss Cross' 1949, 'Kiss Me Deadly' 1955 among others )
And yet it's still a mystery to me.
They leveled and destroyed it so well that it's hard for me to place it now.
(where it was exactly, or which way it ran, how large an area, etc.)

Anyway, the pics you posted helped clarify it a bit for me.
But it's still somewhat of a mystery to me, and maybe it's better that way.

Leo the Dog Jun 14, 2009 5:02 PM

LA is just such an amazing city. The changes that have taken place in such a short period of time is just mind-boggling! It is unbelievable what will change in one's lifetime. This has got to be one of my favorite photo threads on this site. Thanks to everyone that has posted these pictures.

sopas ej Jun 16, 2009 6:01 AM

Freeways (all pics from

The oldest freeway on the west coast, the Pasadena Freeway (back then called the Arroyo Seco Parkway), 1940

Cahuenga Freeway, 1940s (now part of the Ventura Freeway through the Cahuenga Pass)

Harbor Freeway, 1950s

Hollywood Freeway, 1950

Section of Hollywood Freeway under construction, 1952, looking west from Western Avenue

Aerial view of Hollywood Freeway, 1951. From this view you can see how much was torn down and what a scar it has left.

OneMetropolis Jun 16, 2009 9:49 PM

:previous: :previous: What happened to the LA street cars from back than? L.A. really seemed to be headed in the right direction at the time with that massive transportation system. Can someone tell me I really want to know.

ethereal_reality Jun 17, 2009 4:36 PM

^^^ Off the top of my head, here is my take on it.

In the 1950s/60s the powerful automobile industry (GM especially) used their significant political clout to lobby AGAINST electrified transit....and to lobby FOR gas powered buses and cars ("a car in every garage" was a motto back then)
They lobbied for highways and expressways that slashed through the urban fabric, destroying whole neighborhoods. In turn, downtown Los Angeles became pockmarked with hundreds of hideous parking lots. We lost thousands of vintage buildings for nothing more than a place to park.

OK, I just found an essay that explains it much better.
Below is an excerpt by Harvey Wasserman

In a 1922 memo that will live in infamy, GM President Alfred P. Sloan established a unit aimed at dumping electrified mass transit in favor of gas-burning cars, trucks and buses.

Just one American family in 10 then owned an automobile. Instead, we loved our 44,000 miles of passenger rail routes managed by 1,200 companies employing 300,000 Americans who ran 15 billion annual trips generating an income of $1 billion. According to Snell, "virtually every city and town in America of more than 2,500 people had its own electric rail system."

But GM lost $65 million in 1921. So Sloan enlisted Standard Oil (now Exxon), Philips Petroleum, glass and rubber companies and an army of financiers and politicians to kill mass transit.

With a varied arsenal of political and financial subterfuges, GM helped gut the core of America's train and trolley systems. It was the murder of our rail systems that made our "love affair" with the car a tragedy of necessity.

-Harvey Wasserman

ethereal_reality Jun 17, 2009 6:51 PM

The car culture takes over.

Los Angeles 1960 LIFE magazine

Buckeye Native 001 Jun 17, 2009 10:18 PM

Absolutely love these old LA photos.

Phillip Marlowe would be proud ;)

Atlantan26 Jun 18, 2009 2:49 PM


Originally Posted by sopas ej (Post 4301926)
Western Avenue looking north towards Santa Monica Blvd., 1940s:

Pasadena Freeway tunnels, circa 1950s... back when there was no graffiti:

this doesnt even look real.
it looks like one of those model train set type things.

BrandonJXN Jun 18, 2009 9:49 PM

Here is what I found.







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