Los Angeles County
1963 to 1979

Buildings burn on Avalon Boulevard in Watts during the riots, 1965. Courtesy of New York World-Telegram.


The first African-Americans are elected to the Los Angeles City Council. The Los Angeles Dodgers win the World Series. Leslie N. Shaw is appointed Postmaster General of Los Angeles and becomes the first African-American appointed as such to a major American city. Aerospace ranks for the first time in Los Angeles as the leading industry. The Baldwin Hills Dam disaster occurs. The Vincent Thomas Bridge opens, connecting San Pedro with Terminal Island.

Vincent Thomas Bridge. Photo courtesy of Tucker Axum III.


The Music Center for the Performing Arts opens. The Southern California Rapid Transit District (RTD) is established. Buses become the only mode of rapid transit adopted. The Bracero Program, an effort begun in 1942 to bring in laborers from Mexico, ends.

Los Angeles Performing Arts Center. Photo by Tavo Olvos & the Historic American Buildings Survey, courtesy of Library of Congress.


The Los Angeles County Museum of Art opens. An incident at a traffic stop involving a white LAPD officer and an African-American man ignites into a riot in the predominantly African-American community of Watts that lasts for six days. 34 people are killed (31 by police gunfire), 1,032 are injured, 3,952 are arrested, and 6,000 buildings are damaged or destroyed. Property damage estimates come to $40 million. The Los Angeles Dodgers win yet another World Series.

California National Guard direct traffic away from riot-affected areas of South-Central Los Angeles during Watts Riots. Courtesy of National Guard Education Foundation.


Rioting again erupts in the troubled Watts District. The Los Angeles Zoo opens. Busch Gardens opens.

Entrance to the Los Angeles Zoo. Los Angeles Almanac Photo.


The Forum is opened. The Los Angeles Kings professional hockey team is formed. The passenger liner Queen Mary docks at its new home in Long Beach. The Mark Taper Forum opens. The City of Los Angeles Department of Airports signs an agreement with the City of Ontario (California) to officially make Ontario International Airport a part of Los Angeles' regional airport system.

The Queen Mary in Long Beach, California. Los Angeles Almanac Photo.


Senator Robert Kennedy, the Democratic candidate for president, is assassinated in the Ambassador Hotel ballroom as he celebrates his victory in the California Democratic primary. Angels Flight Railway ceases operations.

Angels Flight in Los Angeles, 1960. Photo by J.W. Eddy & Historic American Buildings Survey, courtesy Library of Congress.


Floods and mudslides cause 91 deaths and $400 million in damage. The Los Angeles Times wins a Pulitzer gold medal for its investigation of city corruption. Los Angeles Mayor Sam Yorty wins re-election against opponent Tom Bradley in a racially charged campaign. The Plaza de la Raza Cultural Center is established. Actress Sharon Tate and six others are found brutally murdered. Charles Manson and six of his followers are tried for the murders a year later. Manson and three female followers are convicted and receive death sentences. Their sentences are never carried out in the wake of California’s later retreat from capital punishment.

Actress Sharon Tate from the 1967 film Valley of the Dolls. 20th Century-Fox photo via Wikimedia Commons.


The U.S. Census records 2,816,061 people in the City of Los Angeles and 7,032,075 people for all Los Angeles County. TWA begins flying the first wide-bodied jet service (Boeing 747s) out of Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) between L.A. and New York. The anti-Vietnam War Chicano Moratorium march in East Los Angeles erupts into a riot after police attempt to disperse the crowd. Three are left dead, 60 are injured, and $1 million in property damage occurs. A police tear gas projectile fired into a nearby bar during the confrontation kills television newsman Ruben Salazar. A strike by Los Angeles City schoolteachers paralyzes the school system for four and a half weeks. Superior Court Judge Albert Gietelson sets September 1971 as the deadline for Los Angeles City schools to become fully desegregated. Judge Gietelson later faces an assassination attempt and is then defeated for re-election. His court edit continued to stand.

Long Beach State students, as part of the growing Chicano movement or El Movimiento, perform anti-war guerilla street theatre, 1970. Photo by El Teatro Popular de la Vida y Muerte.


The Sylmar Earthquake hits causing 65 deaths and $500 million in damage. Yet another Great Bel Air Fire consumes 84 luxury homes. The auto plant in the City of Industry closes. The Palmdale Air Terminal is dedicated and opens air service into Palmdale.

Collapsed highway overpass following 1971 San Fernando earthquake. Photo courtesy of U.S. Geological Survey.


The Los Angeles County/Martin Luther King Jr. Medical Center opens. An archeological Indian village site is discovered on the Long Beach State University campus. The Los Angeles Lakers win their first championship.

Player Jerry West of the Los Angeles Lakers (and future coach & general manager), 1972. Photo by Malcolm W. Emmons & The Sporting News Archives via Wikimedia Commons.


Despite yet another racially charged campaign, Los Angeles City Councilman Tom Bradley defeats incumbent Sam Yorty to become the first American non-Anglo to become mayor of the City of Los Angeles. Los Angeles experiences the Simi Valley Earthquake. Loyola and Marymount Universities merge to form Loyola-Marymount University.

Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley, 1973-1993. Photo courtesy of Brody2786 via Wikimedia Commons.


Attempting to capture the kidnappers of heiress Patty Hearst, police surround and storm a Los Angeles house occupied by Symbionese Liberation Army members. After a televised, furious gunfight, the house catches fire and burns to the ground. Five bodies are found in the ashes. The Los Angeles Ballet is established. The Los Angeles City Council eliminates "sexist" titles from city jobs. The J. Paul Getty Museum moves to Malibu.

Getty Villa in Malibu. Los Angeles Almanac Photo.


The LAPD agrees to destroy secret files that were kept on 5,500 citizens. Emperor Hirohito of Japan visits Los Angeles. Tujunga experiences a major fire. The Southern California Air Quality Management District (AQMD) is formed. The Pacific Design Center (the Blue Whale) opens. The George C. Page Museum opens next to the La Brea Tar Pits. The Mediterranean Fruit Fly (Medfly), a serious agricultural pest, is first discovered in California in Los Angeles. The fly was believed to have arrived via illegally imported contaminated fruit.

Entrance to La Brea Tar Pits Museum (George C. Page Museum). Los Angeles Almanac Photo.


Los Angeles begins experimenting with freeway carpool lanes on the Santa Monica Freeway (Interstate 10). An oil tanker explodes in Los Angeles Harbor killing five people and injuring 50. Under the direction of artist Judith Baca, hundreds of teenage artists begin painting what would become the 2,435-foot-long mural "Great Wall of Los Angeles," a depiction of the history of Los Angeles painted along the concrete channel walls of the Tujunga Wash in North Hollywood. The project continues through seven more summers to 1983.

Freeway carpool lane. Photo courtesy of California Department of Transporation.


The Oakland Raiders (future Los Angeles Raiders) win the Super Bowl at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. Tommy Lasorda becomes manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Tommy Lasorda, Los Angeles Dodgers Manager, 1976-1996. Photo by Phil Konstantin, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.


Los Angeles area fires claim 40,000 acres and destroy 270 homes. Congress creates the Santa Monica Mountains Recreation Area. Pasadena hosts its first Doo-Dah Parade.

Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. Photo courtesy of National Park Service.


Los Angeles experiences severe flooding and mudslides.