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MichaelRyerson Jul 30, 2012 2:18 AM

I love this truck.
 
http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7117/7...68c24b8d_o.jpg
Plaza_1945

(ca. 1945) - Exterior view of front of the Merced Theater and businesses to the left and right down the street. Signs can be seen for a barber shop, a shoe shop, the Tom Hotel and others. Picture taken from across the street. To the left of the Merced is a portion of Pico House. The Masonic Hall is partially hidden behind the 'sign' sign. DWP - LA Public Library Image Archive

Los Angeles Past Jul 30, 2012 3:53 AM

Finally back from my high school reunion vacation in the southland. Wanted to thank Michael for this excellent post on the history of electric street lighting in L.A. Definitely one of my favorites in the thread. (Love all those ladder trucks! Yikes. I hope those guys were well paid.) Wanted to make this one correction, though (after the quote)...



Quote:

Originally Posted by MichaelRyerson (Post 5767860)
A similar kind of lighting, in an improved form, was proposed for Los Angeles by C. L. Howland, representing the California Electric Light Company. While numerous proposals had been made, on September 11, 1882 the City Council unanimously voted to enter into a contract with Howland to “illuminate the streets of the city with electric light.”

At the time, it was a revolutionary idea. The proposal called for Howland, at his own expense, to erect seven, 150-foot-high masts each carrying three electric lights or lamps of three thousand candle-power. The masts were to be located in the heart of the city and its settle suburbs “which would be thoroughly and satisfactorily illuminated.”' Historical notes, DWP - LA Public Library Image Archive

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8164/7...b4a68bd0_o.jpg
one of first seven electric street lights, los angeles

(Early 1880s) - One of the first of seven electric street lights installed in the City of Los Angeles at Main and Commercial in 1882. Each of the 150-foot-high masts carried three electric lights of three thousand candle-power. All seven lamps and a small power plant to provide the electricity were installed by C. L. Howland (One year later, Howland and others formed the Los Angeles Electric Company).

DWP - LA Public Library Image Archive

'Howland set quickly to work. He had received a deadline of December 1, 1882 to have the masts erected and electricity on. By October 25, he had purchased a lot on the corner of Alameda and Banning Streets where he proceeded to erect a brick building, 50 by 80 feet, to house the boilers, engines and the 30kw, 9.6 ampere “Brush” arc lighting equipment for supplying the electric energy. Three weeks later, by November 16, the masts were in place and soon afterwards the pole lines and wires were strung along the streets leading to the masts.

By December the only hold-up was the delayed arrival of the dynamo and lamps. In growing anticipation, the citizens anxiously awaited the moment in history when the first streetlights would illuminate the night skies of Los Angeles. That moment came on December 30, 1882 before an admiring crowd of spectators. Mayor Toberman threw a switch at twenty minutes past eight, simultaneously lighting two mast tops, one at Main and Commercial and the other at First and Hill.

An account in the Express newspaper at the time, recounted the historic event in this way: “The Main Street light burned steadily and beautifully and it cast a light similar to that of the full moon on snow. The First Street light was very unsteady, glowing at times with brilliancy and again almost fading from sight. The only complaint so far is from young couples who find no shady spots on the way home from church or theatre.”'

By the following evening, five more masts were lighted on First Street and Boyle Avenue; Avenue 22 and North Broadway; First Street and Central Avenue; Fourth Street and Grand Avenue; and Sixth and Main Streets. Historical notes DWP - LA Public Library Image Archive

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8020/7...d34bf435_o.jpg
main and commercial streets, circa 1885

Main and Commercial Streets circa 1885, looking at the Temple Block, with Adolph Portugal's store, a site later occupied by City Hall. One of the City's first 150 foot high electric light pole can be seen. On the left is the United States Hotel.

LAPL



The U.S. Hotel was located at the SE corner of Main and Market, and fronting Main, that's their famous flag pole, which, at the time of its erection in the 1860s, was the tallest man-made object in the city. (It can be seen still standing in the 1930s in the bottom photo in this post.)

-Scott

Los Angeles Past Jul 30, 2012 3:57 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MichaelRyerson (Post 5780681)
Shout out to KevinW. Your 1939 Bunker Hill panorama may be my new favorite image on the thread. Easily a top five. Wow.
you set the bar pretty high.


Source: http://losangelespast.blogspot.com/2...-then-now.html

;)

PS: That photostitch took me about a week to get right. :slob:

Los Angeles Past Jul 30, 2012 4:02 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MichaelRyerson (Post 5781786)
http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7117/7...68c24b8d_o.jpg
Plaza_1945

(ca. 1945) - Exterior view of front of the Merced Theater and businesses to the left and right down the street. Signs can be seen for a barber shop, a shoe shop, the Tom Hotel and others. Picture taken from across the street. To the left of the Merced is a portion of Pico House. The Masonic Hall is partially hidden behind the 'sign' sign. DWP - LA Public Library Image Archive


What is going on with the guy wires on those utility poles? Talk about a wonky design...

BifRayRock Jul 30, 2012 5:14 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by fhammon (Post 5781730)
I've got a book right here about Rancho la Cienega o Passo de La Tijera.
Lucky Baldwin owned it for awhile and never developed it while the rest of L.A. sprawled around it. After his death his daughter, Clara Stocker, sold it off in parcels.
A 1930 air photo in the book shows four different airfields that sprang up taking advantage of the newly open space close to downtown. They were strung along Crenshaw Blvd just south of Exposition all within a stone's throw of each other:
Lincoln Airport, Sperl Airport, Rogers Airport and American Airport. A brief history is given of each.
I wish I could post the photo. Credit is given to Spence Air Photos

Thank you fhammon for posting the names of those other "airfields" or "airports." Some of them may have been on Mesa Drive which later became Crenshaw Blvd. A fairly exhaustive list of California Civilian Airports is here: http://www.aerofiles.com/airports-CA.html and it provides the following info.

Quote:

American Los Angeles [-?-] (19??-19??) 1931 = (C) 6 mi SW of town; elev: 112. 3500'x3100' all-way sod field with three oiled rwys: two W 1000' and one N 3000'. Is American Aircraft or vice-versa?

American Aircraft Los Angeles [-?-] (c.1928-19??) 19?? = (C) 3809 Angeles Mesa Dr. @ American Aircraft Corp; American Air School. Between Sperl and Rogers.

Lincoln Airlines Los Angeles [-?-] (pre-1931-19??) = Angeles Mesa Dr. Between PAT and Sperl.

Sperl Airdrome Los Angeles [-?-] (1928-19??) = (C) Angeles Mesa Dr (now Crenshaw Blvd). Featured distinctive "Baghdad look" hangars. @ Harry Sperl Aero Corp, distributor for Lockheed airplanes. Between Lincoln and American.

There is mention of a Field on Pico and Robertson that I had never heard of.

To the right and below the Monkey: "Pacific, Lincoln, American and Rogers" Airports;)

http://imageshack.us/a/img607/9158/a...ementssspb.jpghttp://forum.skyscraperpage.com/show...postcount=8044

_______________________________________

The original name of Mesa Dr., before it was changed to Crenshaw Blvd., may explain the name for the Mesa Theater that was located near Slausen at 5807 Crenshaw Boulevard. Built in '26 and destroyed in mid '60s.

1937
http://jpg2.lapl.org/theater2/00015413.jpglapl

Viola Dana was recently mentioned in a recent post about Roger's Field and the Skywayman. Here is a 1926 advertisement for her film playing at the Mesa:http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0016989/
http://jpg3.lapl.org/pics26/00062871.jpghttp://jpg3.lapl.org/pics26/00062872.jpg

date unknown
http://jpg3.lapl.org/pics26/00062874.jpg

1926 = http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0017224/
http://jpg3.lapl.org/pics26/00062876.jpg

1927 = http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0018350/
http://jpg3.lapl.org/pics26/00062873.jpglapl

MichaelRyerson Jul 30, 2012 12:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Los Angeles Past (Post 5781850)
Finally back from my high school reunion vacation in the southland. Wanted to thank Michael for this excellent post on the history of electric street lighting in L.A. Definitely one of my favorites in the thread. (Love all those ladder trucks! Yikes. I hope those guys were well paid.) Wanted to make this one correction, though (after the quote)...


The U.S. Hotel was located at the SE corner of Main and Market, and fronting Main, that's their famous flag pole, which, at the time of its erection in the 1860s, was the tallest man-made object in the city. (It can be seen still standing in the 1930s in the bottom photo in this post.)

-Scott

Thanks Scott and welcome back. I hope the reunion wasn't too painful (lol). I'm glad you caught that error. To tell you the truth, I was uncomfortable with that second image even when I found it but as it came from the DWP collection at LAPL I went with their caption even though I knew in my belly something wasn't 'right' with it. My problem began with my inability to reconcile the intersections with the captions. Glad your eyes and instincts caught it.


Quote:

Originally Posted by Los Angeles Past (Post 5781852)
Source: http://losangelespast.blogspot.com/2...-then-now.html

;)

PS: That photostitch took me about a week to get right. :slob:

I've amended my shoutout and please accept my thanks for that 1939 image! That is a beauty! Wherever it goes it should carry with it a link to Los Angeles Past. And so it does in my FlickR account.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Los Angeles Past (Post 5781854)
What is going on with the guy wires on those utility poles? Talk about a wonky design...

Yeah, another one from DWP/LAPL. My only guess is that the utility worker who came up with those guy wires was a frustrated violin vituoso! Or he had about two hundred feet of extra cable on his truck and didn't want to take it back to the storage yard. BUT how about that truck!?

Anyway, welcome back.

MichaelRyerson Jul 30, 2012 1:27 PM

Great Mesa Theater pics, BifRayRock but 'Ankles Preferred'...?
 
[QUOTE=BifRayRock;5781911The name change from Mesa to Crenshaw Blvd. may explain the name for the Mesa Theater that was located near Slausen at 5807 Crenshaw Boulevard. It was built in '26 and destroyed in the mid '60s.[/QUOTE]

Ankles Preferred seems more than a bit on the racy side, oh you kid!

And I noticed Harrison Ford's name. What a career!

MichaelRyerson Jul 30, 2012 2:00 PM

Another of the original streetlights discovered...
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by MichaelRyerson (Post 5767860)
'At the time, it was a revolutionary idea. The proposal called for Howland, at his own expense, to erect seven, 150-foot-high masts each carrying three electric lights or lamps of three thousand candle-power. The masts were to be located in the heart of the city and its settle suburbs “which would be thoroughly and satisfactorily illuminated.”' Historical notes, DWP - LA Public Library Image Archive

By December the only hold-up was the delayed arrival of the dynamo and lamps. In growing anticipation, the citizens anxiously awaited the moment in history when the first streetlights would illuminate the night skies of Los Angeles. That moment came on December 30, 1882 before an admiring crowd of spectators. Mayor Toberman threw a switch at twenty minutes past eight, simultaneously lighting two mast tops, one at Main and Commercial and the other at First and Hill.

An account in the Express newspaper at the time, recounted the historic event in this way: “The Main Street light burned steadily and beautifully and it cast a light similar to that of the full moon on snow. The First Street light was very unsteady, glowing at times with brilliancy and again almost fading from sight. The only complaint so far is from young couples who find no shady spots on the way home from church or theatre.”'

By the following evening, five more masts were lighted on First Street and Boyle Avenue; Avenue 22 and North Broadway; First Street and Central Avenue; Fourth Street and Grand Avenue; and Sixth and Main Streets. Historical notes DWP - LA Public Library Image Archive

'Let there be light...', He said, and there was light.

We've seen this wonderful high res image from Shorpy before but look over to the left background...this mast must be the original 150 foot arc light at Fourth Street and Grand Avenue.

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7256/7...4b09c018_o.jpg
Circa 1899. General view, Los Angeles.

Circa 1899. "General view, Los Angeles." The righthand section of a three-part panoramic series. Detroit Publishing Company glass negative. Shorpy

BifRayRock Jul 30, 2012 3:49 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MichaelRyerson (Post 5782072)
Ankles Preferred seems more than a bit on the racy side, oh you kid!

And I noticed Harrison Ford's name. What a career!

With a nod toward someone named Porter, I still find a glimpse of stocking to be shocking and just thinking about an unclothed ankle makes me want to reach for the smelling salts. When you consider prohibition (i.e., no happy hour), limited air conditioning and the cultural norms of the era, a chance to see Bertha and her sewing machine and a vulcanized rubber saga seem hard to resist. ;);)

I get the "Mesa Music Masters", but any idea what is meant by "VOD BITS?"


On a more serious note, according to one source, the Mesa served as a primary LA draft board location, in the late '40s.
http://books.google.com/books?id=Fma...J2y2hMOQ&w=575http://books.google.com/books?id=Fma...J2y2hMOQ&w=575

MReyerson, it goes without saying that your recent posts are terrific. My first reaction to your latest Shorpy is to wonder who occupied the beautiful Victorian on the far right of the picture lower third.

MichaelRyerson Jul 30, 2012 4:24 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BifRayRock;5782192I get the "Mesa Music Masters", but any idea what is meant by "VOD BITS?"


On a more serious note, according to one source, the Mesa served as a primary LA draft board location, in the late '40s

My first reaction to your latest Shorpy is to wonder who occupied the beautiful Victorian on the far right of the picture lower third.[/FONT
[/SIZE][/COLOR]

My best guess on 'Vod Bits' is short music trailers taken (probably with permission) from then current releases, Vod being short for Vodafone a popular music transcribing system of the day. Yeah, nothing funny about the draft board. Seems particularly sinister to use a movie house where the very men being inducted likely spent pleasant hours being entertained and/or hustling their girlfriends. I think that is the Bradbury Mansion at Court and N. Hill Street occupied by widow Bradbury, whose husband Lewis was responsible for the iconic Bradbury Building though he didn't live to see it open. And thanks for the kind words, you're doing a pretty nice job yourself.

The Bradbury Mansion

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8027/7...3ea94c13_o.jpg
the bradbury mansion, 1890

Exterior view of the Bradbury Mansion on the corner of Hill Street and Court Street, ca.1890

Photograph of the Bradbury Mansion (Hill Street and Court Street). It was razed in 1929. This elegant victorian mansion with multiple turrets, and balconies is surrounded by a well groomed lawn elevated above the street level by a masonry retaining wall. Trees and shrubs dot the yard. A wrought iron fence surrounds the property. It was widely recognised as occupying the highest residential lot on Bunker Hill.

USCdigital archive

Danger Will Robinson! My first line above, "My best guess on 'Vod Bits' is short music trailers taken (probably with permission) from then current releases, Vod being short for Vodafone a popular music transcribing system of the day." was meant as a joke! Vodafone being short for 'voice data fone' and is a throughly modern British company with whom we (my present employer) currently do business. In my mind it was going to be hilarious, kind of like identifying a bread box in one of our period photos as being a microwave oven. sorry, my humor plays better when you can hear my tone of voice.

Chuckaluck Jul 30, 2012 5:59 PM

Lord of the Castle, Leslie Brand, of Glendale and Verdugo Hills fame, foresaw So. Cal's traffic congestion and seems to have favored the speed and exclusivity of air travel over more mundane means of transport, like trolleys. ;)

Brand Field
http://www.aerofiles.com/AP-brand.jpghttp://www.aerofiles.com/AP-brand.jpg

http://content.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/...c3/d3e9377.jpg larger version here> http://content.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/...and=calisphere

fhammon Jul 30, 2012 7:03 PM

Maybe somebody has already mentioned this but it has always been my understanding that the highest pole highest to the left of the Lugo House in this now familiar photo of Calle de los Negros was one of the first lighting masts to be erected. One of three I think.

http://www.lafire.com/stations/Plaza...iggeralley.jpg http://www.lafire.com/stations/PlazaStation/Plaza.htm
I read somewhere that they employed carbon filaments or carbon "sticks" actually, that had to be replaced daily after each nights use.

MichaelRyerson Jul 30, 2012 8:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by fhammon (Post 5782399)
Maybe somebody has already mentioned this but it has always been my understanding that the highest pole highest to the left of the Lugo House in this now familiar photo of Calle de los Negros was one of the first lighting masts to be erected. One of three I think.

http://www.lafire.com/stations/Plaza...iggeralley.jpg http://www.lafire.com/stations/PlazaStation/Plaza.htm
I read somewhere that they employed carbon filaments or carbon "sticks" actually, that had to be replaced daily after each nights use.

That may be but I can find no mention of streetlight masts which predate the original seven mentioned above. The nearest one of those that could conceivably be in this general direction was at Avenue 22 and North Broadway. Also it appears in this pic that the Plaza area and some parts of Chinatown are receiving electrical service (note the substantial utility poles) which may indicate this image is somewhat later than those first streetlight masts.

EDIT: Which now that I type that makes no sense. Avenue 22 and North Broadway? That's out beyond the river, up the Arroyo Seco. In 1882? What municipal interests were way out there that could have justified three miles of electrical lines for one light? I don't think I quite believe that. This light right here in this picture makes more sense.

fhammon Jul 30, 2012 8:45 PM

Notice how the mast in the Calle photo looks rigged for climbing and the others do not. I have a book that makes mention of the need to replace the filament rods daily. I'm not sure if this is true now. There might have been a need to adjust the gap between the two carbon rods regularly as they probably tended to burn back to something less than optimal. Doing more research I see that improvements were made to cause an auto-adjustment of the gap. It's also possible the filament gap could be adjusted at street level by some mechanism.
Here's an interesting illustration:

http://www.lafavre.us/brush/312184_1.JPG

http://www.lafavre.us/brush/lamparc.htm

Here's another one in front of the Plaza Church. I'm having this same discussion now seeking info over at the Pueblo Plaza forum and this photo was just posted.

http://jpg1.lapl.org/pics17/00008163.jpg

Courtesy of LAPL

BifRayRock Jul 30, 2012 9:04 PM

Exploring the various airfields and I turned to this wonderful '29 amusement map. (see below)** The obverse of the map contains many separate lists of various amusements. In some cases, the addresses are not listed, but directions and telephone numbers are provided. This includes the Monkey Farm - somewhere in or near Culver City ("200 Monkeys smallest and largest known[!]") There is a listing for several airports, including a few mentioned recently in other posts. Wondering about a flight at Mines field in '29? Ask the operator to ring "Ing.1800."

In addition to the above, there is also an interesting list of approx 40 movie theaters with very "quaint" descriptions. This list includes the Mesa Theater (see above) and two "Miracle Mile" theaters that don't seem to get much attention: "Chotiner's La Brea" (857 So. La Brea) and "The Ritz" (5214 Wilshire ).

The "857 La Brea" building has gone through many iterations and has been mentioned previously. This is the first time I noticed the "Chotiner" name. The Ritz is another story. Some have been posted before.

Currently a Church.
http://photos.cinematreasures.org/pr...JPG?1325564213
http://i357.photobucket.com/albums/o...psdrb8eywt.jpg

Fox's Ritz Theater 5412 LaBrea ca. '30
http://jpg1.lapl.org/pics19/00009251.jpg lapl


**In deference to those who prefer smaller images, you can view the map here:http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/show...postcount=8036

ethereal_reality Jul 30, 2012 9:21 PM

One of the most exotic places we've overlooked here on 'noirish los angeles' is El Miradero, Leslie Coombs Brand's mansion in Glendale
(once home to Brand Field as mentioned by Chuckaluck).

http://imageshack.us/a/img24/1914/br...wofelmirad.jpg
http://www.calisphere.universityofcalifornia.edu/


Constructed in 1903 the design is similar to the East Indiana Pavilion built for the 1893 World Columbian Exposition in Chicago.
The architecture is considered Saracenic, with crenellated arches, bulbous domes and minars
(characteristics of Spanish, Moorish and Indian styles).



http://imageshack.us/a/img546/665/br...wshowingwe.jpg
http://www.calisphere.universityofcalifornia.edu/

Mr. Brand died in the house in 1925. He bequeathed El Miradero to the city of Glendale,
although Mrs. Brand retained rights of residence until 1945.





below: The grand gate leading to the mansion (as seen in the distance).

http://imageshack.us/a/img600/6381/b...gateglenda.jpg
http://www.calisphere.universityofcalifornia.edu/





below: The opposite view looking toward the gate.

http://imageshack.us/a/img35/8838/br...owardgatef.jpg
http://www.calisphere.universityofcalifornia.edu/

The will provided that the property should be used exclusively for a public park and library.
Mrs. Brand died in 1945, and by 1956 the mansion had been converted into Brand Library.





below: The entrance to Brand Park today.

http://imageshack.us/a/img839/7972/b...todayccinc.jpg
http://gingersjournal.wordpress.com/







below: El Miradero as Brand Library.

http://imageshack.us/a/img515/6181/b...odayflickr.jpg
http://www.flickr.com/photos/cpmcgan...n/photostream/


__

MichaelRyerson Jul 30, 2012 9:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by fhammon (Post 5782526)
Notice how the mast in the Calle photo looks rigged for climbing and the others do not. I have a book that makes mention of the need to replace the filament rods daily. I'm not sure if this is true now. There might have been a need to adjust the gap between the two carbon rods regularly as they probably tended to burn back to something less than optimal. Doing more research I see that improvements were made to cause an auto-adjustment of the gap. It's also possible the filament gap could be adjusted at street level by some mechanism.
Here's an interesting illustration:

http://www.lafavre.us/brush/312184_1.JPG

http://www.lafavre.us/brush/lamparc.htm

Here's another one in front of the Plaza Church. I'm having this same discussion now seeking info over at the Pueblo Plaza forum and this photo was just posted.

http://jpg1.lapl.org/pics17/00008163.jpg

Courtesy of LAPL

What you've posted is a schematic of an arc light, the light being created when the electicity 'arcs' across the gap. And the last photo has a date of 1888, six years after Howland's original seven streetlight masts. It could have been a second generation light, I guess. It is another photo of the same mast we were looking at from Calle de los Negros.

fhammon Jul 30, 2012 9:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MichaelRyerson (Post 5782583)
What you've posted is a schematic of an arc light, the light being created when the electicity 'arcs' across the gap. And the last photo has a date of 1888, six years after Howland's original seven streetlight masts. It could have been a second generation light, I guess. It is another photo of the same mast we were looking at from Calle de los Negros.

The first one is planted at the end of Calle de los Negros and the 2nd one is on the opposite side of the Plaza next to the church. The dates are as confusing to me as the apparent differences in mast designs.

ethereal_reality Jul 30, 2012 9:46 PM

I finally located a photo of the inspiration for Mr. Brand's El Miradero...the Indian Pavilion at the World Columbian Exposition 1893.

http://imageshack.us/a/img41/2031/br...byeastindi.jpg
http://www.chicagohs.org/research





below: Another view of El Miradero, this time in the 1920s.

http://imageshack.us/a/img266/6135/b...thcars1920.jpg
postcard/ebay
___

MichaelRyerson Jul 30, 2012 10:20 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by fhammon (Post 5782594)
The first one is planted at the end of Calle de los Negros and the 2nd one is on the opposite side of the Plaza next to the church. The dates are as confusing to me as the apparent differences in mast designs.

My eyes are playing tricks on me again. I didn't notice the first one was on Calle de los Negros, I mistakenly thought it was in front of the Lugo adobe. But now I see the mast clearly on this side of Ferguson Alley. As for the second one, again my eyes, I mistakenly thought it was right in front of the Lugo Adobe, see the gables(?). Wrong, and wrong. But there is simply no way they put two of the first streetlights this close together. I have to believe these came somewhat later. I've gone through the DWP archive again this afternoon and can't find anything even remotely like these masts.


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