Los Angeles Almanac Logo

More Los Angeles Story in Pictures

Click on image for an enlarged image.

Dia de los Muertos Celebrant at Olvera Street, 2018

2018. A painted young woman poses during Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) festivities at Olvera Street in Los Angeles. The holiday, originating from Mexican indigenous observances believed to date back perhaps two to three thousand years, celebrates and honors departed loved ones. It is observed over several days around the same time as Halloween. Although the holiday is now widely celebrated in Los Angeles and throughout the United States, its observance in the Los Angeles Mexican American community had almost disappeared until a cultural reawakening in the 1970s.

Los Angeles Almanac photo, 2018.

Halloween Party for Kids in Hollywood, 1935

1935. Kids pose for a group portrait at a halloween party at the home of the Harrell family in Hollywood.

Photo from the Los Angeles Times Photographic Archive at UCLA Library.

San Gabriel Festival Queen and Princesses, 1935

1935. San Gabriel Fiesta Queen Gabriela Quiroz and princesses Charlene Lugo and Dorothy Martinez at the San Gabriel Mission. The three-day festival was a series of events and entertainment including parades, music and the coronation of a festival king and queen. Known today as "La Fiesta de San Gabriel," the festival has been held annually since 1903 to commemorate the founding of the San Gabriel Mission. The festival ceased holding parades in the 1970s.

Photo from the Los Angeles Times Photographic Archive at UCLA Library.

Los Angeles County Sheriff's Deputy Irma Alvarez, 1976

1976. Los Angeles County Sheriff's Deputy Irma Alvarez on patrol duty. In 1975, Alvarez became California's first female peace officer to have been intentionally shot and wounded in the line of duty. The incident occurred when Alvarez, patrolling alone, made a traffic stop in Pico Rivera, unaware that the two occupants of the car had just committed an armed robbery. Her courage and calm in the face of the violent encounter were said to have ensured a place for female law enforcement officers in patrol work. After recovery, Alvarez returned to patrol duty and her assailants were sentenced to prison. She retired from the Sheriff's Department in 2000.

Photo by Michael Mally from the Los Angeles Times Photographic Archives at UCLA Library.

Teenagers Sunbathing on Disabled Car on Santa Monica Freeway, 1980

1980. Teenagers, awaiting help, sunbath on the hood of their disabled car on the shoulder of the Santa Monica Freeway.

Photo from the Los Angeles Times Photographic Archive at UCLA Library.

Ford Assembly Line in Long Beach, California, Circa 1936

Circa 1936. Workers on the automobile assembly line in the Ford Motor Company plant in Long Beach. At its peak, the Los Angeles area was second only to Detroit for auto manufacturing.

Photo from the California Historical Society Collection at USC Library.

View of Los Angeles Plaza, Circa 1857-1861

Circa 1861. View of Los Angeles Plaza, looking southeast. This may be the earliest known photograph of Los Angeles, taken from Fort Moore Hill, overlooking town. The photographer was not identified. Los Angeles, then with a population of about 4,400 (now 4 million), actually extends further north on the left of this image and further south on the right. At the center of the plaza is a water reservoir, now the location of the Gazebo. The historic Plaza Church, still present and used today, is in the lower left corner. The structures toward the lower right would be replaced by the Pico House. Olvera Street would, much later, begin on the photo's far left center and Union Station would be located in the open field, just beyond the row of adobe structures and clump of trees in the middle of the photo. In the upper distance to the right is “El Aliso,” a giant ancient sycamore tree that died in 1892 but had long been a sacred place for local native people and a city landmark.

Photo originally collected by C.C. Pierce and now in the California Historical Society Collection at USC Library.

Fair Oaks Avenue and Colorado Boulevard, looking South, Pasadena, Circa 1903

Circa 1903. Fair Oaks Avenue and Colorado Boulevard in Pasadena, looking south. Then, the city had a population of just over 9,100 people. The Cheesecake Factory, presently located in Old Pasadena, would open 93 years later at the corner on the lower right of the photo.

Photo from article Limited Use, Discard Thereafter: Finding Pasadena’s Past in Old Receipts by Julie Stires, Sep. 28, 2014.

Contestants at a Beauty Contest, Venice Beach, 1923

1923. Contestants in a beauty contest, the Venice-Ocean Park Annual Review, in southern Santa Monica. Two years later, Fred Cole, of what would later be Cole of California in Los Angeles, began revolutionizing swimwear for women.

Photo from the California Historical Societ Collection at USC Library.

Beach at Long Beach Pier, Circa 1901

Circa 1901. Crowded beach scene at the long-gone Long Beach Pavilion and Pier. Note the beach parking lot in the foreground. At the time, Long Beach had just over 2,200 residents and there were 170,300 in all of L.A. County (less than 2 percent of today's population). As they are today, L.A. County beaches were a popular destination, especially during the summer. Yet, by horse and buggy, it would take you about 2.5 to 3 hours to travel from Downtown Los Angeles to Long Beach. A year after this photo, Henry Huntington's Pacific Electric "red car" rail line opened between Los Angeles and Long Beach and cut that travel time to approximately 40 minutes. By the afternoon of the line's first day of operations on July 4, 1902, Long Beach received 30,000 visitors.

Photo published by the L.A. Times in 1902, in the California Historical Societ Collection at USC Library.

President John F. Kennedy at Santa Monica Beach, 1962

1962. U.S. President John F. Kennedy, while visiting the Los Angeles area, decided to take a swim at the beach in Santa Monica. He was quickly surrounded by a throng of admirers, excited to see the President of the United States among them, many even joining him in the surf while still in their street clothes.

Photo by Bill Beebe from the L.A. Times Photographic Archive Collection at UCLA Library.

International Air Meet, 1910

1910. Promotional poster for America's first international "air meet" (aviation show), held at Dominguez Field in present-day Carson. The Wright brothers had made their first flight at Kitty Hawk less than seven years earlier, so aircraft were still a new and wondrous technology. The 1910 air meet was among the earliest in the world and first in the United States. It featured 43 aviators from around the country and four from France. They flew propellor-driven biplanes, monoplanes, balloons, and dirigibles. An estimated 254,000 tickets were sold for the 11-day event and each day averaged 20,000 spectators. Aviators competed for prize money as high as $10,000 (about $270,000 in 2019 dollars). The meet inspired the birth of aviation manufacturing in the Los Angeles area, including Allen and Malcolm Loughead in 1912 (Lockheed Corporation), Glenn L. Martin in 1913 (Martin Marietta Corporation, later merged with Lockheed), and Donald Douglas in 1920 (Douglas Aircraft, later McDonnell Douglas). It also inspired young spectators such as John Northrop and James Doolittle who, later themselves, became aviation legends.

Poster image from the 1910 Los Angeles International Aviation Meet Research Collection at California State University Dominguez Hills.

Cole of California Fashion Show in Avalon Bay, 1963

1963. Models showing off Cole of California leisure wear as they sail into Avalon Bay aboard the "Great White Steamship" (the S.S. Catalina, the primary ferry between the mainland and Santa Catalina Island from 1924 through 1975). Cole of California appealed to a popular desire for the "California lifestyle" in their swim and leisure wear.

Photo by R.L. Oliver, from the Los Angeles Times Photographic Archive at UCLA Digital Library.

July 4th Celebrants at Alhambra City Hall, 1908

1908. July 4th celebrants gather in front of Alhambra City Hall. That year, Alhambra had only been an incorporated city for five years, with a little less than 5,000 residents (as compared to more than 300,000 residents in neighboring Los Angeles and almost half a million in all Los Angeles County). Within the following decade, Alhambra's citizens, along with the rest of the country, would be enmeshed in a bloodly world war (World War I).

From the California Historical Collection at USC Library

On the beach, Avalon Bay, Catalina Island, Circa 1909

Ca. 1909. Stereoscopic views of a woman photographer on the beach at Avalon Bay on Santa Catalina Island. The pinnacle rock in the distance, farthest on the right, was the now long-gone Sugar Loaf Rock. The top of the rock could be accessed by a steep wooden stairway so that visitors could take in panoramic views. The rock was dynamited in 1917-1918, at the direction of William Wrigley, Jr., to make way for construction of the first Sugar Loaf Casino. As the number of visitors to Avalon grew, the original casino was replaced in 1929 by the larger Catalina Casino that stands there today.

Stereoscopic images, published by H.C. White Co., in the Robert N. Dennis collection at the New York Public Library

Father Leading His Child From Water on Los Angeles Beach, 1945

1945. Father leading his child from the water on a Los Angeles beach. From 1941 through 1945, an estimated quarter million men and women from Los Angeles County left to fight in World War II, but, by the end of 1945 and the war ended, many were back home with family.

Photo from the Los Angeles Times Photographic Archive at UCLA Digital Library.

Family and Friends March in Gay Pride Parade, West Hollywood, 1983

1983. Family and friends march with LGBTQ loved ones in the Gay Pride Parade (now L.A. Pride Parade) in West Hollywood. Story of the first L.A. Pride Parade, 1970.

Photo from the Los Angeles Times Photographic Archive at UCLA Digital Library.

UCLA graduates at commencement protest the Vietnam War, 1970

1970. UCLA graduates at commencement protest the Vietnam War with peace signs and "Peace Now" armbands. UCLA's tradition of political activism dates back to 1934 when Provost Ernest Moore declared the campus "one of the worst hotbeds of communism in the U.S." Students were quick to protest actions taken by administrators against politically outspoken professors. UCLA students were relatively quiet through World War II and the 1950s, however, in 1967, that changed when students protested Dow Chemical's recruitment of graduates on campus due to its manufacture of napalm for the Vietnam War. Anti-war protests escalated from then on, quieting only after U.S. involvement in Vietnam came to an end. Later, UCLA students rose to protest apartheid in South Africa, lack of a Chicano studies program at the university, Proposition 187, rights for student instructors, ROTC discrimination against LGBTQ students, college fee hikes, and affirmative action rollbacks.

Photo by Cal Montnay, from the Los Angeles Times Photographic Archive at UCLA Digital Library.

Vietnam Dead Return to Los Angeles, 1968

1968. Military escorts salute caskets of servicemen who died in the Vietnam war as they are unloaded from a train at Los Angeles Union Station. From 1965 through 1975, 1,878 servicemembers from Los Angeles County died in the Vietnam War.

Photo by R.L. Oliver, from the Los Angeles Times Photographic Archive at UCLA Digital Library.

Earliest Aerial Photograph of Los Angeles, 1887

June 27, 1887. This image was taken by photographer Edwin H. Hushe from a hot air balloon at about 9,000 feet above Los Angeles. It looks eastward and is believed to be the earliest known aerial image of Los Angeles. The unchannelled Los Angeles River is prominently featured. Then, the city barely had a population of 50,000 (now about 4 million). Note the small, circular, wheel-like feature, center left in the image. That is the Los Angeles Plaza, now part of El Pueblo de Los Ángeles Historical Monument (including Olvera Street). Also note the farmland closely surrounding the city.

Photo by Dave Gatley, from the Security National Bank Collection at Los Angeles Public Library.

Samoan Football Players, Carson High School, 1978

1978. 18 of 20 Samoan players (nine were starters) on Carson High School's football team. The “Great Migration” of American Samoans came in 1951 when the U.S. Navy closed its long-time naval station in Pago Pago, American Samoa, inviting about 1,000 Samoan employees to work at naval installations in the United States. Many of them settled in Long Beach and nearby San Pedro, Wilmington, Carson, Lakewood and Torrance. Here, football became popular among Samoan American high school boys, offering what had long been difficult-to-obtain scholarship opportunities. Samoan boys found success in football, especially with the help of supportive coaches such as Carson High’s famed Gene Vollnogle. Soon, other families in American Samoa, seeing limited economic opportunities there, sought to join Samoan communities in Southern California so that their sons could also play high school football here and compete for scholarships and potential careers in the NFL.

Photo by Dave Gatley, from the Los Angeles Times Photographic Archive at UCLA Library.

Chinese Kindergarten Class in Los Angeles, Circa 1910

Circa 1910. A Chinese kindergarten class in Los Angeles. Among the children is future actress Anna May Wong (then Wong Liu Tsong), whose film career, from the 1920s through the 1950s, made her the first Chinese American movie star.

From the Title Insurance and Trust, & C.C. Pierce Photography Collection, California Historical Society, at USC Library.

Portrait of Indian Women, Mission San Fernando, Circa 1890

Circa 1890. Portrait of two local Native American women at the Mission San Fernando. The woman on the right was reported to be 130 years old and the the woman on the left was said to be her daughter and 100 years old. If that were true, the older woman would have been a young girl when the Spanish first established a mission (Mission San Gabriel) in the Los Angeles area in 1771.

From the Title Insurance and Trust, and C.C. Pierce Photography Collection, California Historical Society, at USC Library.

Striking GM Workers, Van Nuys, 1964

1964. Auto workers strike at General Motor's plant in Van Nuys as part of a month-long national strike and the last major strike by the United Auto Workers (UAW). At the peak of Los Angeles County's auto manufacturing era, there were more than 15,000 auto workers assembling half a million vehicles per year, almost rivaling Detroit. That streak, however, was not to last. In 1992, the Van Nuys plant was the last of L.A.'s 11 auto plants to close, putting putting 2,600 people out of work and ending L.A.s' 81-year auto manufacturing era. See L.A.'s Auto Manufacturing Past.

From the LA Times Photographic Archive at UCLA Library.

First Hollywood Bowl Easter Service, 1921

1921. About 2,000 people attend the first sunrise service held March 27 at the Hollywood Bowl. Two years earlier, the first Los Angeles outdoor sunrise service was held at Whitley Heights and, in the following year, the second service was held at what was then known as Olive Hill (present-day Barnsdall Park). However, for 1921, the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra service would be introduced into the service and a location was needed to accommodate a large crowd and provide excellent acoustics for the orchestra. As the organizers (then Art Alliance and Community Park and Art Association, now Hollywood Bowl Easter Sunrise Service Committee of the Hollywood Bowl Association) searched for a location, they came across a site in the Mulholland Hills then known as Daisy Dell that proved to be ideal. It was described to be like a “bowl,” thus giving the location its famous name “Hollywood Bowl.” The organizers purchased the land that year and deeded it to the county in 1924. The iconic shell was added in 1926.

From the Herald-Examiner Collection at the Los Angeles Public Library.

Preparing Petitions Against State Income Taxes, 1935

1966. Property owner groups picket outside the Hall of Administration in the Civic Center to protest rapidly rising property taxes in Los Angeles County. As California's population dramatically grew and outpaced housing supply, property values and inflation increased. Long-time homeowners began seeing double-digit percent increases in their property taxes. Taxpayer frustration would ultimately result in voters passing Proposition 13 in 1978.

From the Los Angeles Times Photographic Archives Collection at the UCLA Library. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International.

Opening Day of LA Farmers' Market at 3rd and Fairfax, 1934

1934. Opening day for the Los Angeles Farmers' Market at Third & Fairfax, then known as Gilmore Ranch. 18 farmers parked their trucks on the corner and began selling produce from tailgates and booths. The market now features more than 100 shops visited by an estimated 3 million people each year (approximately one-third of which are tourists). Vendors at the market speak about 23 different languages.

From the Los Angeles Times Photographic Archives Collection at the UCLA Library. Licensed under CC Attribution 4.0 International.

Boys Selling Maps to Homes of Stars in Los Angeles, 1973

1973. One of our "Only-in-L.A." slightly-embarrassing tourist souvenirs are "Star Maps," street maps for self-guided tours to the homes of movie stars. These have been sold from street corners and tourist shops at least as far back as the late 1930s. In 1972, responding to complaints by residents of affluent neighborhoods in Los Angeles, the city council banned all sales of items from sidewalks and driveways. The enterprising boys in this photo, however, simply moved their sales just outside L.A. city limits on Sunset Boulevard.

From the Los Angeles Times Photographic Archives Collection at the UCLA Library. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International.

Girl's Baseball Team at Polytechnic High School, Los Angeles, 1908

1908. Girl's baseball team at Polytechnic High School in Los Angeles. The girl second from the right was Mary K. Browne, who later went on to became a professional tennis player and star. She was the top-ranked U.S. player in 1914 and listed among America's top 10 players several years during the 1920s. Browne was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1957.

Photo from Security Pacific National Bank Collection at the Los Angeles Public Library.

Women at JPL, 2016

2016. In honor of the first ever United Nations International Day of Women and Girls in Science, more than 150 women scientists, technicians, engineers and mathematicians at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in La Cañada Flintridge pose in the mission control room.

Photo by NASA/JPL.

California Grizzly Bear Display, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County

The California Grizzly Bear, the bear in California’s state flag, once roamed throughout California, including Los Angeles County. This was a large and magnificent animal, believed to be as much as twice the size and weight of today’s California Black Bear. The last known California Grizzly Bear in Southern California was shot and killed in Los Angeles County in 1916.

California Grizzly Bear Display, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. Los Angeles Almanac photo.

Woman on Emergency Freeway Phone, 1970

1970. Long before cell phones, a woman on a Los Angeles freeway uses an emergency freeway call box to summon help. The first such solar-powered call boxes in California were installed in 1962 along 10 miles of Los Angeles County freeway. At their peak, there were 4,000 emergency call boxes in Los Angeles County and 15,000 throughout the entire state. During the latter half of the 1990s, however, as more people began using cell phones, use of call boxes dramatically declined. Most have since been removed. Emergency call boxes may now be found only in areas with poor cell reception.

Photo from the LA Times Photographic Archive, courtesy of the UCLA Digital Library.

Los Angeles African American Family, 1910

1910. Portrait of a Los Angeles African American family. Parents Jerry and Henrietta, children Jerry Jr., Grace, Sterling. At the time, Los Angeles County's total population was about 504,000, barely 2 percent of which was African American. Today, the county's population is estimated to be more than 10 million, about 9 percent of which is African American.

Photo from the Security National Bank Collection, courtesy of the Los Angeles Public Library.

Bethune Junior High School in Los Angeles celebrate Black History Week, 1970

1970. Students at Bethune Junior High School in Los Angeles celebrate Black History Week with ethnic African garb. Principal Norman Mathers on the left joins them in African garb.

Photo from LA Times Photographic Archive, courtesy UCLA Digital Library.

Washington High School Students in War Effort, 1942

May 1942. Students from Washington High School in Los Angeles learn skills useful to the war effort during World War II.

Photo by Alfred T. Palmer of the U.S. Office of War Information, courtesy of the Library of Congress.

Long Beach Pike Amusement Park, Circa 1890

Ca. 1890. View of the Long Beach Pike amusement park looking west from the Pine Avenue Pier. In the foreground is a car on a tall spiral wooden ride and, beyond that, crowds and bathers along the edge of the extended Pine Avenue Pier. Beyond that is a roller coaster over the water and the famous Hotel Virginia.

From the California Historical Society collection at the USC Digital Library

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at Nickerson Gardens, Los Angeles, 1964

1964. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., chats with a little girl during a visit to Nickerson Gardens housing project in Los Angeles. Dr. King visited and spoke all over the Los Angeles area many times, from 1956 until just three weeks before his assassination in 1968.

Photo from the LA Times Photographic Archive, courtesy of UCLA Digital Library

Strike by Los Angeles Teachers, 2019

January 14, 2019. The third strike organized by Los Angeles teachers launched on a rainy Monday. Teachers and supporters converged for a rally in front of Los Angeles City Hall, then marched to school district headquarters. The very first strike by L.A. teachers occurred in 1970 and lasted nearly five weeks. In 1989, L.A. teachers again went on strike. That lasted for nine days.

Los Angeles Almanac photo.

Snowstorm in  Valencia, 1974

1974. Although snow hasn't fallen in Downtown LA since 1949, snow has fallen elsewhere in Los Angeles County (besides the mountains) since. Pictured above are people pushing a stalled truck off Magic Mountain Parkway during a snow storm in Valencia in 1974.

Photo by John Malmin from the LA Times Photographic Collection, courtesy of UCLA Digital Library.

US forces engage Mexican defenders at Plains of La Mesa, 1847

January 9, 1847. U.S. forces, led by U.S. Navy Commodore Robert Stockton, fight off Mexican horsemen, led by Commander José María Flores, at the plain of La Mesa (present-day Vernon). After failing to halt the American assault at the San Gabriel River in a larger battle the day before, this was the Mexicans' final desperate, but futile effort to prevent their last stronghold in California, Los Angeles, from falling to the Americans. The scene was sketched by witness William H. Meyers, a navy gunner from one of the ships under Stockton's command.

Image of Sketch from the Franklin D. Roosevelt Collection, courtesy of Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library.

Spectators Along Tournament of Roses Parade Route, 1932

January 1, 1932. Spectators along the Tournament of Roses parade route in Pasadena in front of the Goodhue Flagpole (corner of Orange Grove and Colorado Boulevards). That year would see the summer Games of the X Olympiad in Los Angeles.

Photo from LA Times Photographic Collection, courtesy of UCLA Digital Library.

Pacoima Junior High School Students, International Christmas Program, 1963

1963. Students from Pacoima Junior High School (now Pacoima Middle School) pose in ethnic costume as part of the school's "Musical Holidays" program. Music legend Ritchie Valens (Richard Valenzuela) was a student at the school during the 1950s.

Photo from LA Times Photographic Collection, courtesy of UCLA Digital Library.

Las Posadas Procession on Olvera Street, 1949

1949. The Las Posadas Procession in Olvera Street in Downtown Los Angeles, has been held every year since 1930 in the days leading up to Christmas. It is said to be the oldest, continuously-celebrated Christmas event in Los Angeles.

Photo from LA Times Photographic Collection, courtesy of UCLA Digital Library.

Holiday Shoppers in Downtown LA, 1935

1935. Photo is taken at 7th and Broadway in Downtown Los Angeles as crowds do their holiday shopping on December 21. A week earlier, the legendary Douglas Aircraft DC-3 took off from Santa Monica for its maiden flight. The iconic Christmas Tree Lane in Altadena was also reported to have drawn 20,000 visitors in a single night that month.

Photo from LA Times Photographic Collection, courtesy of UCLA Digital Library.

Combined Christmas-Hanukkah School Program, 1948

1948. A school girl reads the Christmas story at a combined Christmas-Hannukah program at Evergreen Avenue School. In that year, Boyle Heights, where Evergreen Avenue Elementary School remains to this day, had become, over three decades, the largest Jewish community in Los Angeles and the largest west of Chicago. That same year, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down as unconstitutional "restrictive covenants" that barred Jewish and non-white families from buying homes outside designated neighborhoods (80% of Los Angeles had been under restrictive convenants). With that discriminatory obstacle removed, Jewish families began relocating from Boyle Heights to other parts of Los Angeles (particularly the more affluent westside) and Los Angeles County.

Photo from LA Times Photographic Collection, courtesy of UCLA Digital Library.

Last Remaining Victorian Houses on Bunker Hill, 1966

1966. Victorian houses on Bunker Hill with the steel frame of the 40-story Union Bank building rising behind them in Downtown Los Angeles. Two years earlier, the City of Los Angeles declared the house to the right ("Donovan's Castle") a Historical-Cultural Monument. It was one of the two last houses on Bunker Hill. They were moved to Heritage Square in 1969 (see following feature, "Did You Know?"), but shortly thereafter destroyed by a fire.

Photo from LA Times Photographic Collection, courtesy of UCLA Digital Library.

Socialist Women in Los Angeles Jail, 1908

1908. Pictured are socialist activists in Los Angeles city jail: (order in photo undetermined) Mrs. Dorothea Johns of Los Angeles (a former Polish countess and friend, with her husband, of novelist Jack London), Mrs. Alice V. Holloway of Pasadena, Mrs. Berta M. Dailey of Los Angeles, and Mrs. Helen A. Collins of Los Angeles. That year, members of the Socialist Party in Los Angeles challenged city ordinances barring public meetings and speakers without a permit issued by the ardently anti-union, anti-socialist police commission. Salvation Army preachers were granted permits to speak in public, but unionists and socialists were not. So, on July 1, 1908, thousands of socialists gathered at 7th and Grand to demonstrate. The local party leader was promptly arrested. Demonstrations persisted, including a march down Broadway to city hall, resulting in more arrests (including the women pictured here). Although the Democratic Party did not politically align with socialists, they joined the demonstrations, seeing the issues at stake being free speech and assembly. In the month that followed, jail and court calendars had become so clogged that the city council was forced to repeal the permit ordinance, winning for socialists of that period new political respectability as defenders of constitutional rights.

From the George Grantham Bain Collection at the Library of Congress.

Hollywood Neon Sign, 1942

1942. Beginning in the early 1930s, Harry Carpenter and his brother Charles operated up to seven 24-hour drive-in restaurants in Los Angeles, the first being most famous due to its location in Hollywood on Sunset Boulevard, just east of Sunset and Vine Street. In 1938, the Hollywood location was demolished to make way for the new NBC Radio City. The restaurant (in the photo above) reopened shortly thereafter just across the street on the southeast corner of Sunset and Vine. In 1951, the Hollywood restaurant became a Stan’s Drive-In but was demolished ten years later. It was replaced by the Sunset Vine Tower.

Photo by Russell Lee, Office of War Information photograph collection. Courtesy of the Library of Congress.

Los Angeles Lights From Mt Wilson, 1908 and 1988

Night photographs of the Los Angeles basin from Mount Wilson in 1908 and 2012 from about the same location. Los Angeles County's population in 1908 was close to 500,000. Today's population is more than 10 million.

Photos courtesy of City of Los Angeles Bureau of Street Lighting.

People Fishing Off the Pier in Redondo Beach, 1905

1905. People fishing at one of the early piers at Redondo Beach that had been popular for fishing and sightseeing as early as 1895. Two years after this photo was taken, the Redondo Beach waterfront came to be where surfing was first introduced to Southern California.

Photo from the California Historical Society collection at USC Digital Library.

Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1965

1965. Having moved from its original location in Exposition Park (at what is now the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County), the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) opened that year at its new Wilshire Boulevard location. Pictured is the Ahmanson Building and the Bing Center. The new museum was designed by William L. Pereira (who also collaborated on the design of the LAX Theme Building) and was initially fronted by reflecting pools and fountains. Within a year after opening, however, tar and gases from the nearby La Brea Tar Pits began seeping into the water. Pereira acknowledged the tar pits as a special factor in his planning, but, he did not foresee the extent they would impact the water elements in his design. By 1975, the museum had replaced the water elements with a sculpture garden. The museum has since added the Art of the Americas Building, the Pavilion for Japanese Art, the adjacent former May Company department store building, the Broad Contemporary Art Building, and the Resnick Pavilion.

Photo by George Louis at English Wikipedia, via Wikimedia Commons.

Los Angeles NAACP Board, 1923

1923. The Los Angeles branch of the NAACP, the first such branch in California, had been founded only nine years earlier by Drs. John and Vada Somerville, both graduates of USC’s School of Dentistry. The branch quickly went to the forefront fighting discrimination and poor treatment of African Americans in the Los Angeles area. During World War I, the branch achieved national prominence by successfully compelling the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors to reverse a policy barring “colored students” from nurse training at the Los Angeles County Hospital. The branch appealed not only to the immorality of racial discrimination, but also to America’s shortage of nurses in the war and the consequent loss of American lives for not allowing additional Black nurses to add their services to the front.

Photo from the Security National Bank Collection, via Los Angeles Public Library.

Worker at Vega Aircraft Plant in Burbank, 1942

1942. After America's entry into World War II, the aviation industry in the Los Angeles region exploded with new jobs. With many men already enlisting or drafted for military service, numberous industrial jobs opened for women --- the iconic "Rosie the Riveter." Although precise numbers are difficult to find, we estimate that about 200,000 people were employed in L.A.'s wartime aviation industry, about 73,000 being women. Here, a worker at the Lockheed-Vega Aircraft Plant in Burbank (builder of B-17 Flying Fortress bombers) checks aircraft electrical assemblies. The B17 bomber, of which 2,750 were built in Burbank during the war, required the assembly of 25,000 separate parts.

Photo by David Bransby, Office of War Information, via Library of Congress.

Leather-Jacket Spanish Colonial Soldier, Circa 1771

Today, more than 25,000 local and state police officers patrol Los Angeles County. In its early days, however, from the founding of San Gabriel Mission in 1771 through the end of the Mexican Period in 1846, only a tiny contigent of soldiers (about a dozen) kept the peace among the two local missions and the Pueblo de Los Angeles. These soldiers, known as soldados de cuera (leather-jacket soldiers), were equipped with a thick leather jacket for body armor, a lance, a broadsword, an ammo belt, a small shield, and a short flintlock musket. Most of them married local women, raised families and eventually were granted large land tracts as reward for their service. Some of their last names are familiar today to Angelenos such as Dominguez, Nieto, Verdugo and Sepulveda.

Work by Cowboyboibot shared via Wikimedia Commons.

Inmates Outside old Los Angeles County Jail, 1926

1926. Inmates outside the old Los Angeles County Jail across Spring Street from the then newly-opened (and present-day) Hall of Justice. The Hall of Justice (including its new jail) opened that same year. Perhaps the scene is of inmates moving from the old to the new jail.

Photo courtesy of LASD History Since 1850.

Ramirez Family at Los Nietos, Circa 1880

Circa 1880. Portrait of 19 members of the Ramirez family at "Los Nietos" (presumably Rancho Los Nietos in southeast Los Angeles County).

Photo courtesy of the California Historical Society Collection at USC Library.

Cheremoya School Children Pledge Allegiance, 1942

May 1942. Fifth-graders from Cheremoya Avenue Elementary School in Hollywood say the pledge of allegiance during a War Production presentation. Prior to World War 2, American children commonly saluted with their hands and arms raised upwards (known as the "Belemy salute"). By the 1930s, however, this salute came to be commonly associated with German Nazis and Italian Fascists. With Germany and Italy's declaration of war on America in December 1941, the Belemy salute quickly became unpopular and other salute styles used, such as that in the photo. The "hand-over-heart" salute was adopted as the nation's civilian salute when Congress amended the Flag Code on December 22, 1942.

Photo by David Bransby of the U.S. Office of War Information, courtesy of the Library of Congress.

First Bathhouse, Santa Monica, Circa 1887

Circa 1887. Photo of Pascual Marquez's bath house in Santa Monica Canyon (between present-day Santa Monica and Pacific Palisades), the first bath house located there. The area then was experiencing a land boom, attracting buyers seeking recreation and a getaway close to the beach. In front of the bath house stands a stagecoach – the Santa Monica Canyon State.

Photo from the California Historical Society Collection, courtesy of USC Library.

Los Angeles Fire Engine, Circa 1900

Circa 1900. Horses pull a Los Angeles city fire engine up a hill on First Street. Los Angeles did not see its first motorized fire engine until 12 years later.

Photo from the California Historical Society Collection, courtesy of USC Digital Library.

Abbye Stockton Lifting Barbell, 1947

1947. The late bodybuilder Abbye "Pudgy" Stockton at Muscle Beach in Santa Monica lifting a barbell as crowd looks on. At 5-foot-2 and 115 pounds, Stockton, born in Santa Monica, is credited with taking “the image of muscular women out of the sideshow and into the local gym,” according to Jesse Rhodes in Smithsonian magazine. Introduced to weightlifting by husband Les, Stockton became a regular at Muscle Beach and soon a media darling. In 1944, she began writing a column called “Barbelles” for Strength and Health magazine, promoting weightlifting for women for figure toning and improved athletic prowess. She helped to organize the first sanctioned weightlifting contests for women and is considered forerunner of modern women bodybuilders. In 1948, she opened the women-only gym Salon of Figure Development. She carried the nickname “Pudgy” since high school when she had been heavier. She has been titled “Queen (or Venus) of Muscle Beach” and “First Lady of Iron.”

Photo from Los Angeles Daily News, via UCLA Library.

Earliest Known Los Angeles Police Uniforms, Circa 1870

Circa 1870. Reported to be earliest known Los Angeles Police uniforms. Officer William "Billy" Sands, one of the first seven officers hired by the LAPD, is on the right. The photo was taken prior to 1876, when formal uniforms (dark blue surplus U.S. Army Civil War uniforms, thus, the origin of "LAPD blue") were adopted by the LAPD.

Photo from Guardians of Angels - A History of the Los Angeles Police Department by James Bultema.

First School in Long Beach, Circa 1882-1884

Circa 1884. Teacher Grace Bush (later Eads) and pupils in front of the first school in Long Beach. Miss Bush was only 16 years old when hired to be the town’s first school teacher. Her salary was $25 per month (worth $618 in 2018) to teach ten children. Pupils supplied their own chairs and equipment. Although class started in an unoccupied structure at Pine Avenue and Second Street (now Broadway), they lost use of the building two weeks later and had to move into a tent erected at the northwest corner of First Street and Pine. When cold weather came, Bush had the children do calisthenics to keep warm.

Photo from the California Historical Society Collection, courtesy of the USC Digital Library.

Mexican Ice Cream and Tamale Vendor, Los Angeles, 1890

1890. Ice Cream and tamale vendor Nicolas Martinez serves two boys near present-day Olvera Street in Los Angeles.

Photo from the California Historical Society Collection, courtesy of the Los Angeles Public Library.

Crowds at Santa Monica Beach, Circa 1920

Circa 1920. Beachgoers crowds at Santa Monica Beach. Some are dressed up even in the sand.

From the Security National Bank Collection, courtesy of the Los Angeles Public Library.

Atomic Test Seen From Mt Wilson, 1951

In 1951, Caltech students Stan Wilks and Dave Twining watch the glow of an early morning atomic bomb test at the Nevada Test Site, seen from Mount Wilson, about 300 miles away. During the 1950s, 120 Nevada atomic bomb tests were conducted, about half of them in the dark early morning hours, giving Los Angeles, even though 300 miles away, more than 50 early morning "atomic sunrises."

Photo by Los Angeles Mirror, courtesy of the Dept. of Energy and National Archives.

Health Camp for Los Angeles Girls in the Mountains, 1920

A 1920 Los Angeles Tuberculosis Association health camp for Los Angeles girls in San Gabriel Canyon, north of Azusa. Much of the camp funding came from the Junior Red Cross. Notice the diversity.

Photo by American Red Cross, courtesy of the Library of Congress.

P-38 Lightning Fighter at Lockheed Burbank Plant, 1942

In World War II, the Germans were said to call it der gabelschwanz-teufel (the fork-tailed devil) and the Japanese ni hikōki, ippairotto (two planes, one pilot). It had long range and fearsome firepower and, under best conditions, was one of the fastest fighter aircraft in the world. Here, in 1942, a P-38 Lightning pursuit plane is prepared for delivery to the U.S. Army Air Corps in the test hangar of Burbank's Lockheed aircraft plant. More than 10,000 of these were built in Burbank by the end of the war.

Photo by David Bransby, courtesy of the Library of Congress.

Shoeshine Boys in Old Plaza Los Angeles, Circa 1930

Circa 1930. Shoeshine boys working in the Old Plaza in Los Angeles (now El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument).

Photo from the Los Angeles Times Photographs Archive at the UCLA Digital Library.

Automobile crossing water in Lincoln Park, Circa 1907-1914

Circa 1907-1914. Postcard promoting Southern California's beautiful winter weather and scenery in what would later be known as Lincoln Park in Los Angeles. This image is from our collection of more than 600 vintage postcards about Los Angeles County (1906-1960) that we will soon bring online in a permanent digital exhibit. More information here.

Image of a postcard, published by Newman Postcard Co. of Los Angeles, in the Los Angeles Almanac Collection.

Two Women Meet on Hollywood Street, 1942

1942. Two women meet on a Hollywood street. Their skirts were a bit shorter than pre-war styles in order to preserve more fabric for the war effort (and cuffs disappeared from men's trousers). Angelenos in 1942 were facing two and a half years of uncertainty and hardships from rationing as America entered World War II. The Los Angeles metropolitan area, however, would become the fastest growing in the United States. Its giant aircraft industry was now flush with government contracts. Women and African Americans were finding industrial jobs in large numbers. Military personnel began streaming into Los Angeles and Long Beach ports. Yet, new tensions also flared with the Latino community, stoked by visiting servicemen. Whole neighborhoods disappeared as 80,000 Angelenos of Japanese ancestry were ordered to internment camps by the government (two thirds of all interned Japanese Americans were from the Los Angeles area). More than 5,000 Angelenos would ultimately lose their lives in the war. 1942 Los Angeles was a new boom town, but not without new shame and pain.

Photo by Russell Lee, courtesy of the Library of Congress.

Venice Pier, 1908

1908. At this time, Venice, California, was an independent city (annexed by the City of Los Angeles in 1926). The Abbot Kinney Pier or Venice Pier pictured here opened in 1906 at the foot of Windward Avenue, featuring a dance hall (seen at upper left). By 1910, the pier was an amusement destination with a minature railway, aquarium, game booths, rides and sideshows (such as the "Hugo the Monster" attraction). A ferris wheel and roller coaster were later added. Unfortunately, just days before Christmas 1920, a gas heater in the dance hall exploded, igniting a fire that ultimately destroyed the pier.

Venice Pier, 1908. Photo from Los Angeles Examiner Collection, courtesy of the USC Digital Library.

Santa Monica Beach Visitors, 1890

1890. Santa Monica Monica Beach visitors. It wasn't until the 1930s that beach swimwear began fully exposing arms, legs, necklines and some portion of the back. Even men did not go shirtless in the water until then.

Photo courtesy of the Security National Bank Collection at the Los Angeles Public Library.

USAF Women Enlistees in Los Angeles, 1968

1968. Group portrait of seventeen U.S. Air Force women enlistees and recruiters in Los Angeles.

Photo courtesy of the Los Angeles Times Photographic Archive at the Department of Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, UCLA.

Chinese Laborers in Eagle Rock, Los Angeles, Circa 1905

Circa 1905. A portrait of Chinese laborers in Eagle Rock, Los Angeles. At the time, persons of Chinese descent numbered about 4,000 in Los Angeles. About five years earlier, the Boxer Rebellion, a violent anti-foreign, anti-colonial and anti-Christian revolt in China, was renounced by Chinese in Los Angeles. Also in 1905, Sun Yat-Sen, a physician educated in the U.S. and leader in the campaign to establish a republic in China, visits Los Angeles.

Photo Photo from the Security National Bank Collection, courtesy of Los Angeles Public Library.

Boyle Heights Stars, 1925

1925. Introduced professionally into Southern California in the early 1890s, baseball went on to be widely played throughout Southern California in the early 20th Century by neighborhood teams such as the Boyle Heights Stars.

From the Herald-Examiner Collection, courtesy of the Los Angeles Public Library.

Chicano Anti-War Demonstrators Outside Military Recruiting Office in Los Angeles, 1969

1969. Chicano Moratorium Committee demonstrators outside a military recruiting office on Broadway in Los Angeles. Protestors charged that young Latinos were disproportionately dying in the Vietnam War even as grievances of injustice and discrimination continued back home.

Photo Courtesy of the Los Angeles Times Photographic Collection & the UCLA Digital Library. Creative Common License.

First All Woman Jury in Los Angeles, 1911

1911. California's first all-woman jury in Los Angeles County hears charges against a newspaper editor for printing indecent language.

Photo Courtesy of the George Grantham Bain Collection & the Library of Congress.

African American Family in Los Angeles, Circa 1918

Circa 1918. Portrait of an unidentified African American family, taken on the steps of their Los Angeles home. African Americans in Los Angeles County, like African Americans everywhere else in the country, faced no small amount of racism, but overt discrimination was generally not as bad in Los Angeles as in most other places in the country. In fact, the first African American elected to a state legislature in the Western U.S., Frederick M. Roberts, was elected from Los Angeles to the California Assembly in 1918 – and not solely by African American voters.

Photo from the Security National Bank Collection, courtesy of the Los Angeles Public Library.

Rail Passengers at Union Station, Circa 1944

Circa 1944. Rail passengers stream into Union Station in Los Angeles (then known as Los Angeles Union Passenger Terminal). Opened in 1939, the station was the latest but last built of America’s great train stations and, not long thereafter, experienced a massive surge in rail passengers during the war years (1941-1945). There were not only large numbers of military personnel transiting through Los Angeles but also new arrivals seeking work in Southern California's bustling war industries.

Photo courtesy Library of Congress.

Stage Coach Outside Pico House, Circa 1884

Circa 1884. An open stage coach parked outside the Pico House in Los Angeles. At the time, Pico House was the most elegant hotel in Southern California. Pico House remains a part of El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument in Downtown Los Angeles.

Photo courtesy USC Library.

Long Beach Douglas Aircraft Plant Workers, 1942

1942. Two "Rosie the Riveters" lunch together at the Douglas Aircraft Plant in Long Beach. Nacelle parts for heavy bombers are in the background. Among the types of aircraft built by these women were the B-17F ("Flying Fortress") heavy bomber, the A-20 ("Havoc") assault bomber and the C-47 heavy transport plane.

Photo by Alfred T. Palmer, for U.S. War Information Office, 1942, courtesy Library of Congress.

Class of 1895, Los Angeles High School

Class of 1895, Los Angeles High School. The high school, founded in 1873, is Los Angeles County's oldest public high school. One young women in the photo, then Alice G. Hall (later Alice G. Harrison), 63 years later left her entire estate to her beloved school. Her legacy trust today continues to support the school and its students.

From the Security National Bank Collection at the Los Angeles Public Library.

Newly Arrived Young Woman Waiting for Bus in Hollywood, 1942

1942. Newly arrived young woman in Hollywood, possibly aspiring for movie stardom, waiting on the street for a bus.

Photo by Russell Lee, courtesy of Library of Congress.

Standing in front of Pine Avenue Pier in Long Beach, circa 1895

Circa 1895. Standing in front of Pine Avenue Pier in Long Beach.

From the California Historical Society Collection, courtesy of USC Digital Library.

Los Angeles Fireman of Hose Company 4, 1914

1914. African American Los Angeles firemen of Hose Company Number 4 pose in front of their station at 129 S. Loma Drive (Westlake).

From the Dunbar Economic Development Corp. Collection, courtesy of USC Digital Library.

Don Antonio Coronel and Dona Mariana Coronel, Circa 1886

Circa 1886. Don Antonio Coronel (Los Angeles mayor, 1853-1854) playing guitar to his wife, Dona Mariana Coronel.

From the California Historical Society Collection, courtesy of USC Digital Library.

Governor Reagan and President Ford meet in Los Angeles, 1979

1979. Then former California Governor Ronald Reagan and President Gerald Ford meet in the President’s Suite at the Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles.

Photo from the White House Archives, courtesy of the National Archives.

Pedestrials Walking Along Spring Street in Los Angeles, Near Main, circa 1905

Circa 1905. Pedestrians walking along Spring Street in Downtown Los Angeles, near Main.

Security National Bank Collection, courtesy of the Los Angeles Public Library.

American Airline Passengers, bound from Washington, D.C., to Los Angeles, 1941

1941. Passengers aboard an American Airlines airliner bound from Washington, D.C., to Los Angeles.

Photo by John Collier, Jr., courtesy of the Library of Congress.

School children at Mission San Fernando Private School, Circa 1884

Circa 1884. A group of children pose outside an early private school at the Mission San Fernando near Los Angeles.

Photo by Charles C. Pierce, courtesy of the California Historical Society Collection and USC Digital Library.

Spring Street Traffic Looking North From 4th Street, Circa 1905

Circa 1905. Downtown Los Angeles traffic. The view is on Spring Street, looking north from 4th Street.

Photo from Security Pacific National Bank Collection at the Los Angeles Public Library.

Charros at the Round-Up by James Walker, 1877

From the early mission period through the 1860s, Mestizo and Native American vaqueros managed huge herds of cattle and horses across the ranchos of Los Angeles County. The scene portrayed above is believed by some to depict ranchero Ignacio del Valle at a cattle round-up at his Rancho Camulos that covered what is now Newhall.

"Charros at the Round-Up" by James Walker, 1877. Private Collection.

Youngsters create Christmas tree at Marina del Rey Beach, 1973

1973. Youngsters relaxing at a Marina del Rey beach create a Christmas tree from a discarded tree and litter.

Photo from Los Angeles Times Photographic Archive, courtesy of Special Collections, UCLA Library.

Newspapers about Pearl Harbor attack sold in Little Tokyo in Los Angeles, December 7, 1941

1941. Newspapers about Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor sold in Little Tokyo in Los Angeles on December 7. Less than three months later, persons of Japanese ancestry were ordered "evacuated" to "relocation" camps.

Photo from Los Angeles Daily News negatives, courtesy of Special Collections, UCLA Library.

Woman Aircraft Workers, Long Beach, 1942

Circa 1942. Dora Miles and Dorothy Johnson assembling World War II bombers and transports in Long Beach for Douglas Aircraft Company.

Photo from the U.S. Office of War Information, courtesy of Library of Congress.

Young Newsboys on Street in Los Angeles, 1915

1915. Newsboys seven-year-old "Red" (left) and nine-year-old brother on street in Los Angeles near Southern Pacific Depot. The older brother was said to be the "boss fighter of 5th Street.".

Photo by Lewis Wickes Hine. Courtesy of the Library of Congress.

Gertrude Ross and Anna Ruzena Sprotte Perform in Future Hollywood Bowl, 1920

Circa 1922. Three people in an alley of Chinatown in Los Angeles.

Photo by Paul Grenbeaux. Courtesy of the Library of Congress.

Gertrude Ross and Anna Ruzena Sprotte Perform in Future Hollywood Bowl, 1920

1920. Pianist Gertrude Ross and singer Anna Ruzena Sprotte conducted the first music performance at the site that would become the Hollywood Bowl. They arranged for the piano and platform to be trucked into the bowl-shaped canyon that was then called Daisy Dell.

The first music performance at the future Hollywood Bowl site. Courtesy of California Historical Society & USC Digital Library.

First African American Los Angeles Sheriff Deputy Julius Loving

Circa 1930s. First African American Los Angeles County Deputy, Julius Loving, flanked by two other African American deputies (R.C. Robinson and the other unidentified). Appointed in 1899, Julius Loving (center) became the first African American Los Angeles County Sheriff's Deputy. He also became a jail innovator with a jail store and training and arts programs for inmates.

Photo courtesy of UCLA Special Collections, Charles E Young Research Facility.

Also see Julius Loving: 1st African American LASD Deputy & Pioneer of Jail Penology: History & Photos (1863-1938).

Los Angeles Grand Central Market Circa 1920

Circa 1920s. Grand Central Market in Downtown Los Angeles celebrated its 100th Birthday, October 2017.

Grand Central Market fruit vendor, 1920s. Photo courtesy of Grand Central Market

Pacific Electric Railcar in Long Beach, July 4, 1902

July 4, 1902. Passengers boarding an electric railcar in Long Beach on opening day for the Pacific Electric Railway.

Photo courtesy of the California Historical Society Collection & USC Library

Japanese American Family Waiting for Train to Manzanar

1942. Because of Executive Order 9066, a Japanese American family waits for a train in Los Angeles to take them to the Manzanar Relocation Center in the Owens Valley.

Photo by Russell Lee, 1942, Farm Security Administration - Office of War Information Photograph Collection, Library of Congress

Entire Los Angeles Police Department in 1904

1904. The entire Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) posing in front of the Old County Courthouse.
Note Lucy Gray in front (dark dress) with daughter Aletha Gilbert. Matron Gray was the first female LAPD employee who primarily handled female prisoners.

Photo from blog Guardian of Angels-A History of the Los Angeles Police Department by James A. Bultema.

Venice Beach Lifeguards, Circa 1915-1920

Circa 1915-1920. Venice Beach lifeguards and beach-goers.

Photo from George Grantham Bain Collection, courtesy of the Library of Congress.

1935 Dustbowl Oklahomans Reach San Fernando, California

1935 Dustbowl Oklahomans reach San Fernando, California.

Photo by Dorothea Lange, courtesy of the Library of Congress.

Long Beach State Students in Guerilla Street Theatre, 1970

1970. Long Beach State students, as part of the growing Chicano movement or El Movimiento, perform anti-war guerilla street theatre.

Photo by Manuel G. Barrera Jr. of La Raza and El Teatro Popular de la Vida y Muerte.

One of Los Angeles Sheriff's Night Squads, 1925

1925. One of the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department "Night Squads.” These detective units responded to early morning major crimes during the 1920s. Old County Courthouse in background.

Photo from Shotgun World.

Los Angeles High School Camera Club, Circa 1900

Circa 1900. Los Angeles High School Camera Club.

Photo courtesy of the Security National Bank Collection at the Los Angeles Public Library.

Young Hikers in Los Angeles Area, Circa 1915

Circa 1915. Young hikers (possibly Camp Fire Girls) in Los Angeles area.

Photo courtesy of George Grantham Bain Collection & the Library of Congress.

Visit our Historical Timeline of Los Angeles County for more historical images.