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ethereal_reality Jun 10, 2009 8:28 PM

noirish Los Angeles
I lived in L.A. for 8 years and still hold it in high esteem.
I recently spent several months going through some 50,000+ photos from the USC Digital Archives* and the Los Angeles Public Library.

Many of the photographs have a romantic quality to them.
I always felt this was a 'noir' city, especially in the winter when the warm Santa Ana winds swept through the basin.

I lived on Hancock between Santa Monica Blvd. and Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood.
Amazingly, the small bungalow where I lived is still there.

Enough said:
Here are the photographs of Los Angeles.
I will continue posting them over the next several months.

Please feel free to add any old L.A. photos you might have.



"The University of Southern California owns copyright to many of the images posted in this forum. The original images and descriptive metadata
can be found in the USC Digital Library <>, along with rights and licensing information."

Photobucket content was removed from NLA on July/26/2017

but the thread is still going strong & the majority of photographs remain. :)

below: Los Angeles, New Year's Eve. December 31, 1951

from City Hall 1952.

lost image. : -(

above: downtown L.A. looking northeast, around 1965

above: This is one of my favorites! The rotating beacon is visible atop City Hall,
and a portion of Bunker Hill can be seen on the lower left. The year is 1951.

The Richfield tower can be seen in the distance.

The Richfield Building with it's 146-foot tower in 1955

Downtown from the south in the 1930s.
Note the Richfield Building in the far distance.

BrandonJXN Jun 10, 2009 10:19 PM

Amazing..simply amazing.

LosAngelesSportsFan Jun 10, 2009 10:26 PM

^ exactly right! awesome stuff. thank you

SLO Jun 10, 2009 10:54 PM

Such a fascinating era for the city. I got to tour around DTLA, Pasadena, and out to the beach cities with my inlaws who grew up in LA and Pasadena at that time. I really would have liked to see the city at that time, they talked about riding the streetcars, going through orange groves, and how far Long Beach and the other beach cities seemed at that time. Please post more if you have them...

ethereal_reality Jun 10, 2009 11:16 PM

Downtown from the south 1929. Looks like street widening.

Downtown 1930s.
In the distance, the Hall of Records on the left, City Hall on the right. 15 cent movies, hear every word.

Downtown Los Angeles 1948
There are two buildings with domes in the foreground. Can anyone tell me what they are?


sopas ej Jun 11, 2009 1:29 AM


Originally Posted by ethereal_reality (Post 4299196)
There are two buildings with domes in the foreground. Can anyone tell me what they are?

I believe the one on the lower left is the Embassy Hotel and Auditorium on south Grand Avenue. I don't know what the other one is.

ethereal_reality Jun 11, 2009 3:36 AM

...well, thanks. wrong pic though. (see my post #5)

sopas ej Jun 11, 2009 3:42 AM


Originally Posted by ethereal_reality (Post 4299671)
...well, thanks. wrong pic though. (see my post #5)

Oops I meant to post the other one, lemme correct it.


ethereal_reality Jun 11, 2009 3:51 AM

Ok, now I understand. Thanks for the information sopas_ej.

One of my favorite buildings, the Hall of Records. The photo is from 1950s.

The Hall of Records west from City Hall, with remnants of Bunker Hill (or is it Court Hill/Ft. Moore hill?) in the background 1956.
Anyone know what the solitary building on the left is?

Hall of Records, with Rainier Pale Beer sign....very cool.


sopas ej Jun 11, 2009 4:34 AM

The old Hall of Records was indeed a nice building. Too bad it had to be demolished.

Here it is in its last days, with the Criminal Courts Bldg. being constructed right up against it in 1970:


Being demolished later in 1973:

Of course the building is at an odd angle on the block because it followed the old street pattern before they were widened and realigned:

All pics from

sopas ej Jun 11, 2009 4:55 AM


Originally Posted by ethereal_reality (Post 4299693)
The Hall of Records west from City Hall, with remnants of Bunker hill in the background 1956.
Anyone know what the solitary building on the left is?

I don't know what that building on the left is, but it can clearly be seen in this shot of that area a few years later in the early 1960s; you can see that the hill has mostly been smoothed down with the Civic Center Mall under construction and some government buildings occupying the area, and in the distance you can see the beginnings of the Music Center, with the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion still under construction and the Mark Taper Forum and Ahmanson not built at this point; the DWP building is visible:

Here's an earlier shot of the area before the DWP Bldg. and Music Center were even built:

The same area in the early 1970s, before the old Hall of Records was demolished:
All photos from the lapl website

Sorry to veer away from the "noir" theme but I just wanted to show the evolution of the LA Civic Center.

dktshb Jun 11, 2009 5:36 AM

Thanks so much for posting these pictures. I very much appreciate it but it makes me almost ache to see so many of those buildings gone now.

BrandonJXN Jun 11, 2009 5:09 PM

Here is what found.

Downtown from the late 1970's

Eastern Columbia Building

Downtown circa 1930

6th Street circa 1913

Broadway circa 1940

3rd St circa 1973

Grand Ave circa 1982

Broadway circa 1931

Miracle Mile (Wilshire Blvd) circa 1965

Los Angeles circa 1964

Venice Beach circa 1920

Bunker Hill circa 1969

Glendale circa 1900

ethereal_reality Jun 11, 2009 5:29 PM

So many great photos.

Concerning the 1st pic (color from the 1970s) that ThreeHundred posted:
Is this the area they want to turn into a park?

LAsam Jun 11, 2009 10:48 PM

That photo of Broadway is unreal. I like how the city used to look with City Hall as its tallest building. It looks quite majestic.

sopas ej Jun 12, 2009 1:08 AM

Here's another old photo from the LAPL website.

Again, not film noirish; this time more like end of the silent-movie era/dawn of the talkies. It shows the plan to widen Spring Street near that now-demolished Hall of Records and old County Courthouse building.

Here's the caption that goes with the photo: The gnarled hand of Time rips out a strip from the heart of old Los Angeles today, to make way for modern progress. Spring Street is to be cut through from Temple Street to Sunset Boulevard to create a new traffic artery, dooming the historic buildings crossed by the dotted lines marking the path of the extension and eliminating Justicia Street that goes up the hill at left. This street of memories, which was Buena Vista, "Good View," street in the past, and its hill that was the "Nob hill" of Los Angeles will be eliminated. The building first struck by the dotted lines is the old county jail. That just back of it is the old Hall of Justice. Photo dated: April 3, 1930.

Tanster Jun 12, 2009 1:20 AM

WOW this threads amazing !!!

sopas ej Jun 12, 2009 1:28 AM

Ah, could this be the building you were asking about before, ethereal?

The LAPL website doesn't say what it is, except that this photo dates from 1951. Maybe it was filled with law offices?

Broadway and Temple, 1945

Broadway and Temple, 1930

Broadway and Temple, 1940

What a difference 10 years makes in scenery and fashions in clothes and cars!

And see that Old County Courthouse that dates from the late 1800s in the 1930 photo? It was demolished and then temporary bungalows were built on the site to house the various courts; looking at other photos, it became a parking lot, and then eventually the site of the current Criminal Courts Building, or the Clara Shortridge Foltz Courts Building or whatever it's called now.

Demolition of courthouse, 1936

1948, temporary bungalows housing courts:

All photos from

ethereal_reality Jun 12, 2009 1:29 AM

^^^WOW sopas_ej.....that's an amazing find.

I've always wonders what the bungalows were doing in this area.
So they were temporary courts. I would have never figured that out on my own.


sopas ej Jun 12, 2009 1:33 AM

Some color photos, showing the LARY streetcar (NOT the Pacific Electric, which always gets all the hype).

1963, crossing the 1st Street Bridge; rail cars once again will be crossing this bridge regularly with the Gold Line Eastside extension! Woo hoo!

1963, headed down 1st Street; that block of course is now the site of the new LAPD headquarters.

Photos from

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