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Los Angeles, Smog, Pollution, 1960

1960. A smoggy day in Downtown Los Angeles as seen from Figueroa St., looking east on 6th St. That particular day's smog wasn't even nearly as bad as what the then Air Pollution Control District had predicted for the day. As bad as today's air pollution can be in Los Angeles, it still pales in comparison to the noxious air of L.A.'s past. "Smog attacks" began appearing in Los Angeles as early as 1943 and, from then, L.A.'s famous sunshine increasingly became blocked by thick smog. The 1940s and 1950s saw the worse smog. In 1947, the county Board of Supervisors established the Los Angeles County Air Pollution Control District, the first air quality agency in the nation. The new agency quickly set about regulating obvious polluters such as smoke-belching power plants and oil refineries. It also completely shut down backyard trash incinerators. That provided only limited relief, however, as the number of motor vehicles on L.A. roads also proliferated. In 1963, the first automobile technology dealing with emissions was mandated for new vehicles. Subsequent new technology emerged to chip away at motor vehicle emissions. In 1975, the game-changing catalytic converter was mandated for all new cars. By the end of the 1990s the annual number of unhealthy air days had dropped to less than half the days in the year. In the five-year period of 2019-2023, Los Angeles County averaged just 100 days in each year of unhealthy/hazardous air.

Photograph in L.A. Times Photographic Collection at UCLA Library.

Bombing, Terrorism, Los Angeles Times, 1910

1910, October 1. The violent incident that occurred on this day in Los Angeles shocked the nation and remains, to this day, among the ten deadliest single-day terrorist acts in U.S. history.

Photograph by C.C. Tarter, in the California Historical Society Collection at USC Library.

Palos Verdes Peninsula, Agriculture, Farmer

1951. A Mexican American farmer plows his field with a mule on his small farm on the Palos Verdes Peninsula. It may be hard to visualize today, but much of of Los Angeles County was until then agricultural land, including many of these small farms. In fact, for most of the first half of the 20th century, the county was the most productive agricultural county in the nation. That quickly began changing, however, in the 1950s, as L.A.'s manufacturing industry, ignited by industrial development during World War II, rapidly grew. This resulted in a dramatic new wave of population growth to meet burgeoning labor needs (and enjoy Southern California's weather). Developers responded by scooping up as much farmland as possible in order to build what became L.A. County's famous vast array of housing tracts and shopping centers.

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

Venice Beach Lifeguards, Circa 1915-1920

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

Photo from George Grantham Bain Collection at the Library of Congress.

Freeways, Los Angeles, I-405, Sepulveda Pass

1961. Grading work is being done on what will become the I-405 freeway in the Sepulveda Pass. The view is looking north, possibly just north of where the Getty Center is now located. Here, Sepulveda Boulevard, to the right, then the only direct route between West Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley, has been re-routed west from its original path. Construction on the I-405 began in 1957, mostly on the section from north of Los Angeles International Airport through to Brentwood. The 5.7-mile section of the freeway running through the Sepulveda Pass was opened for travel on December 21, 1962. The Sepulveda Pass section of I-405 cost about what would equal $210 million in 2024 dollars, then the most expensive freeway project ever in California. The entire length of I-405 was completed in 1969. Today, approximately 270,000 vehicles per day use the I-405 in each direction through the Sepulveda Pass.

Photo from the L.A. Times Photographic Collection at UCLA Library.

Memorial Day, Parade, Los Angeles, 1912

1912. A Memorial Day parade in Los Angeles included about 700 Civil War veterans. At the time, Memorial Day celebrations focused on veterans and those killed in the American Civil War (1861-1865) and the Spanish-American War (1898). About 11,000 Union veterans of the Civil War are presently buried at Los Angeles National Cemetery in Sawtelle (thousands of Confederate veterans are buried at other cemeteries throughout California). About 17,000 Californians were reported to have enlisted in the Union Army during that war and only a few hundred with the Confederacy.

Photo from the Los Angeles Times.

Minoru Masukane, Nisei, Military, Army, 1945

1945. Tech Sergeant Minoru Masukane becomes the first Japanese American to receive an honorable discharge from the U.S. Army at the end of World War II. He chose to settle in Los Angeles and went on to become a resident of Torrance. Masukane joined the Army just one month before Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor and there served in the Military Intelligence Service as a translator/interpreter in the Japanese language. During his three and a half years of military service, he saw combat action in New Guinea and in the Philippines, earning four bronze star medals. It is estimated that 33,000 Japanese Americans served in the U.S. military during and immediately after World War II, 6,000 of whom were in the Military Intelligence Service. Ironically, while many Japanese American servicemembers fought for their country during the war, their families were incarcerated at U.S. "relocation camps" for persons of Japanese descent.

Photo from the Los Angeles Daily News Negatives Collection at UCLA Library.

Vermont Gurdwara, Sikh, Los Angeles, Religion, 1969

1969. People remove their shoes before entering Vermont Gurdwara in Los Feliz for its dedication ceremony. The Sikh (pronounced “Seek” or “Sick”) temple was the first established in Los Angeles County. Today, there are at least eight Sikh places of worship in Los Angeles County to serve an estimated 10,000 to 15,000 practitioners. Los Angeles County Sikhs, primarily immigrants and descendants of immigrants from the Punjab region of India, are believed to have been in Southern California since at least the early 1900s.

Photo by Frank Q. Brown, from the L.A. Times Photographic Collection at UCLA Library.

Man Jen Low, Restaurant, Chinese, Los Angeles, Chinatown, 1911

1911. The scene is the north side of what was Marchessault Street, just east of Alameda Street and Olvera Street in Los Angeles. The three-story building contains Man Jen Low Cafe, the oldest Chinese restaurant in Los Angeles County known by name. The restaurant was opened in 1880 (or 1878 or 1890, depending on source) and was located in the old Chinese District or Old Chinatown, listed in city directories at least as early as 1904. In 1934, the neighborhood began being razed to make room for construction of Union Station. Man Jen Low, which by then, had become quite popular with Anglo Angelenos, became one of the last businesses in Old Chinatown to close. It reopened, however, by 1938, about a half mile north, in a new Chinese-led business community named New Chinatown. The restaurant, in this new location at 475 Gin Ling Way, was renamed General Lee in 1950 and continued serving diners (including Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Judy Garland, Liza Minelli, Gary Cooper, Spencer Tracy and L.A. Mayor Tom Bradley) until closing in 1985.

In 2015, new owners paid homage to General Lee's restaurant by opening General Lee's cocktail bar and art space in the same location in Chinatown.

Photo by Olive Percival, in the Olive Percival Papers collection at UCLA 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. The tradition of political activism by UCLA students dates back to 1934, when Provost Ernest Moore declared the campus "one of the worst hotbeds of communism in the U.S." Then, students were quick to protest actions taken by administrators against politically outspoken professors. Through World War II and the 1950s, however, UCLA students became relatively quiet. That changed in 1967, when students protested Dow Chemical's recruitment of graduates on campus. Students took acception to the company's manufacture of napalm weapons for the Vietnam War. Anti-war protests escalated from thereon, only dissipating after U.S. involvement in Vietnam came to an end. By the 1980s, UCLA students were again engaged in protest. The new issues became apartheid in South Africa, a 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. More recently, in 2024, students protested violent conflict between Israelis and Palestinians.

Photo by Cal Montnay, from the L.A. Times Photographic Collection at UCLA Digital Library.

Brooklyn Dodgers, Hot Springs, Arkansas, 1912

1912. The Brooklyn Base Ball Club (future L.A. Dodgers) pose in the bleachers at spring training in Hot Springs, Arkansas. Manager Bill Dahlen is seated in the front row, to the right of the standing boy. At the time, the team was informally nicknamed "Superbras" (named for a Vaudeville act popular at the time) and "Trolley Dodgers" (named for a common pedestrian experience on Brooklyn streets at the time). They would formally become the "Brooklyn Dodgers" in 1932 and "Los Angeles Dodgers" in 1958.

Photo from the George Grantham Bain Collection at Library of Congress.

See Los Angeles Dodgers Franchise History.

Chavez Ravine, Evictions, Mexican Americans, Los Angeles, 1959

1959. A Mexican American Family is forcibly evicted by sheriff's deputies from one of the last remaining homes in what was one of L.A.'s Chavez Ravine neighborhoods. The rural neighborhoods had once been home to more than 1,800 mostly Mexican American households, ending there largely due to housing discrimination elsewhere in the city. Initially, in 1951, the city saw the mostly poor community as blighted and offered residents new public housing as part of redevelopment. From 1951 through 1953, most residents voluntarily sold their homes to the city or were forced to do through imminent domain. Some hoped to return to the proposed new public housing development dubbed "Elysian Park Heights." A few residents, however, continued to hold out, refusing to leave. In 1953, a new mayor, Norris Poulson, entered City Hall, much less supportive of public housing. By 1957, all public housing plans for Chavez Ravine had been abandoned and the city mulled over other "public use" proposals. When Dodgers owner Walter O'Malley then expressed interest in Chavez Ravine for a baseball stadium, momentum built for just that purpose, overwhelming any opposition from those who did not equate "public use" with "baseball stadium." Meanwhile, a dwindling handful of Chavez Ravine resident holdouts continued to resist efforts to force them from their homes. On May 8, 1959, the Arechigas family, the last remaining Chavez Ravine household (family member Victoria Augustian shown in the photo above), was forcibly evicted by sheriff's deputies, as bulldozers stood nearby. The famiy eventually accepted $10,500 ($111,000 in 2024 dollars) from the city for what was once their property. O'Malley got his stadium.

Photo from the L.A. Times Photographic Collection at UCLA Library.

See The Ugly, Violent Clearing of Chavez Ravine Before It Was Home to the Dodgers
and Once Upon a Time in Chavez Ravine...

Arcade Station, Southern Pacific Railroad, Los Angeles

Circa 1900. In the late 19th and early 20th century, L.A. had three different principal inter-city passenger railroad companies feeding passengers into the city. Each company maintained seperate central passenger rail stations. This postcard featured the Arcade Station, located on Central Avenue in Downtown Los Angeles, between Fifth and Sixth Streets. It was the main passenger terminal in Los Angeles for the Southern Pacific Railroad. Note Pacific Electric Railway "Red Cars" connecting the station to the neighborhoods of greater L.A. Also note the palmtree prominently standing in front of the station. This was one of the earliest known palmtrees planted in L.A. and continues to live today, making it L.A. County's oldest living palm tree, replanted from there, more than a century ago, to its current location at the front entrance to Exposition Park.

Postcard image in collection at Metro Transportation Library & Archive.

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 L.A. Times Photographic Collection at UCLA Library.

Socialist Women in Los Angeles Jail, 1908

1908. Pictured are socialist activists in Los Angeles city jail. They are (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 that barred any public meetings and speakers who lacked a permit issued by the ardently anti-union, anti-socialist police commission. Salvation Army preachers were routinely granted permits to speak in public, but unionists and socialists were not. On July 1, 1908, thousands of socialists gathered at 7th and Grand in Downtown Los Angeles to demonstrate against the unfair treatment. Police promptly arrested the local Socialist Party leader. Demonstrations persisted, including a march down Broadway to city hall, resulting in yet more arrests (including the women pictured here). Although the Democratic Party did not politically align with the 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. This victory for socialists brought them new political respectability, at the time, as defenders of constitutional rights.

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

Filipino American Army Nurses Arrive in Los Angeles, 1945

1945. Filipina American nurses arrive in Los Angeles after their release from Japanese prisoner-of-war camps. It appears that they are at Union Station. Although no additional information about these nurses or their identities came with the photo, we know that at least 20 Filipina nurses worked among the famous "Angels of Bataam." The "angels" were U.S. Army and Navy nurses who cared for sick and wounded American combatants in World War II in the battles of Corregidor and Bataam in the Phillipines. Although a dozen or so nurses were able to escape by submarine, 78 of the nurses ended up as prisoners of the Japanese, from May 1942 until their liberation in February 1945. They were the largest group of American women prisoners-of-war in history. Despite severe hardships during their captivity, they continued working as a disciplined medical team, caring for their fellow military and civilian prisoners-of-war. Sadly, the Filipina nurses who worked as part of this group, like all other Filipino combatants who fought with American forces, received little recognition. Although we were unable to confirm, we surmise that the nurses in this photo, in U.S. Army nursing officer uniforms, were some of the "Angels of Bataam."

Photo from the L.A. Daily News Negatives Collection at UCLA Library.

U.S. Army, Nike Missiles, Los Angeles, 1966

1966. U.S. Army soldiers Specialist Willie Booker and Private First Class Keneth Warner train with a K-9 Corps dog to provide security for Nike missile installation LA55 in Rancho Palos Verdes. The military installation was one of a ring of missile sites surrounding the Los Angeles area to defend the region from nuclear-armed enemy bomber threats. See Missiles of Los Angeles.

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

Los Angeles, Utilities, DWP, Power Pole, 1916

1916. Ceremony of Los Angeles' first overhead power pole installation at Pasadena Avenue (now N. Figueroa St.) and Piedmont Ave. in Highland Park. The pole was installed in front of the Los Angeles Public Library's Arroyo Seco branch. Eight months later, the city's network of new electrical power poles was powered up for the first time. Little did the crowd at the ceremony realize that this was the start of what would become the largest city-owned municipal electric distribution system in the United States. Twenty years later, 103,000 power poles had been installed throughout the city. Today, the original pole appears to still be at the site (although a bit shortened), with modern-day utility poles now lining the other side of the street. The library branch continues to operate at the location and some of the residences across the street in the photo are still there.

Photo from DWP - LA Public Library Image Archive.

Also see: LA's First Municipal Power Pole.

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, however 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 later added the Art of the Americas Building, the Pavilion for Japanese Art, the adjacent former May Company department store building, and the Broad Contemporary Art Building, and the Resnick Exhibition Pavilion. In 2020, four of LACMA's older buildings (Ahmanson, Art of the Americas, Bing, and Hammer) were demolished and are now being replaced by the new David Geffin Galleries, projected for completion this year in 2024. The new modernist structure will actually extend over Wilshire Boulevard.

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

Golden State Insurance, Los Angeles, 1928

1928. Groundbreaking for a new two-story home office for Golden State Guarantee Fund Insurance Company at 4261 Central Avenue in Los Angeles. The company would later become, for a time, the largest black-owned business west of the Mississippi River. It was founded in 1925 by William Nickerson Jr., Norman Oliver Houston and George Allen Beavers Jr. It focused on providing the wealth-building whole life insurance policies to African Americans who were denied these policies by white insurers. At the time of this groundbreaking, the company had grown, in three years, to more than 100 employees, with branches in Oakland, Pasadena, Bakersfield, Fresno and San Diego. After World War II, renamed Golden State Mutual Life Insurance, the company boasted 115,000 policy-holders and 479 employees. It held to a strict non-discrimination policy, offering insurance to anyone, regardless of race. In 1949, the company opened an iconic new late moderne-style home office in West Adams, designed by famed black architect Paul Revere Williams. More than ten thousand people toured the new buidling, just before its dedication. By the 1980s, however, the company struggled for profitability, due to poor management and market share loss to larger insurers. The company closed in 2009.

Photo from the Security Pacific National Bank Collection at the UCLA Library

Also see: The Pride of West Adams, by Curbed Los Angeles.

African American Police Officers, Los Angeles, Circa 1910

Circa 1910. Portrait of five African American Los Angeles police officers. The first African American police officer in Los Angeles was Robert W. Stewart, appointed in 1886. In 1919, the Los Angeles Police Department was one of two departments to become the first in the U.S. to appoint an African American woman police officer. As for the officers in the photo above, only their last names are given. Standing L-R: White, Stevens, Watson. Seated L-R: McDuff and Green.

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

Campaigning for President, George H.W. Bush, Farmer's Market, Los Angeles, 1988

Mar. 27, 1988. Then Vice President George H.W. Bush, campaigning for President, makes an unscheduled handshaking stop at Farmer's Market in Los Angeles. He was greeted by about 150 people who happened to be there, however, many were German tourists, so they were unable to help him in the following primary in California. Nevertheless, Bush went on to defeat Democratic challenger Michael Dukakis in that year's general election. Castillo's Taco Bar was part of a small group of family-owned eateries that started in the 1950s. It is no longer at the market.

Photo by Marsha Traeger from the Los Angeles Times Archive at UCLA Library.

Police Shootout, Historic South-Central Los Angeles, 1938

1938. Los Angeles police officers and detectives engage in a shootout with 54-year-old wrecking yard laborer, George Farley, barricaded in his Los Angeles home in the Historic South Central neighborhood just south of Downtown Los Angeles. Farley, with his wife Cora, lost their home of 14 years over a $37.47 street assessment that they were unable to pay (valued at $763 in 2024). They faced imminently being on the street. In an attempt to serve the Farleys with eviction papers and force them out of the house, Los Angeles Deputy Marshals T. Dwight Crittenden and Leon W. Romer were shot by the enraged former homeowner. The officers' lifeless bodies remained on the lawn and street during the shootout until a safe attempt to provide aid could be made. Farley's wife had earlier fled the house. Tear gas is seen billowing from the home and LAPD Detective Lieutenant Robert Underwood is seen towards the right, crouched behind a car with a shotgun. After an hour of exchanging gunfire, police fired tear gas into the house and soon stormed in. Although Farley had himself been shot multiple times, he survived and was taken into custody. Because he was African American and the marshals were white, white workers in the surrounding industrial area demanded that he be lynched in retaliation. Farley was later convicted of two counts of manslaughter and sentenced to 10 to 20 years at San Quentin State Prison. By 1950, it appears that he had been released, because he died then in Los Angeles. The crime was horrific with the violent loss of the two officers' lives. The incident, however, highlighted the added stress on non-white (and non-Christian) homeowners to keep and and maintain homes in neighborhoods that were racially "red-lined" by discriminatory and predatory realtors and lenders.

Image from LA Times Photographic Collection at UCLA Digital Library.

Martin Luther King, Jr., Los Angeles, LAX, 1965

1965. Martin Luther King, Jr., is greeted by a crowd upon his arrival at Los Angeles International Airport. By this time, he had delivered his famous "I Have a Dream" speech (1963), been named Time Magazine's Person of the Year (1963), and been awarded the Nobel Prize (1964). His first visit to Los Angeles was in 1956 to speak at African-American churches. At the time, he was leading the 13-month-long Montgomery Bus Boycott in Alabama. He visited Los Angeles numerous times thereafter. He spoke at churches and synagogues throughout the Los Angeles area, at Wrigley Field (before 40,000 people, one of the largest American civil rights rallies until that time), L.A. Memorial Coliseum, L.A. Sports Arena, Caltech, UCLA, USC, Occidental College, Hollywood Palladium, Santa Monica, Pasadena, Altadena, among other locations. King’s last visit to Los Angeles came less than three weeks before his death on April 4, 1968. The 39-year-old minister and activist spoke at Holman United Methodist Church on West Adams Boulevard in Los Angeles. His sermon was titled “Hope.”

“Birmingham or Los Angeles, the cry is always the same: We want to be free.”
- Martin Luther King, Jr., Wrigley Field, Los Angeles, May 26, 1963

Photo from Los Angeles Times Photographic Archive at UCLA Library.

Randall Duell, Magic Mountain, Valencia, 1970

1970. Architect Randall Duell viewing construction progress of the new Magic Mountain amusement park in Valencia. Duell had become one of the nation’s lead amusement park designers, having designed, prior to Magic Mountain, the two Six Flags amusement parks in Texas and one in Georgia, the original Universal Studios Tour in Universal City, and Lion Country Safari in Irvine. The 1925 USC School of Architecture graduate had more than two decades of motion picture art design experience with Metro Goldwyn Meyers Studios, having worked on 63 films, including The Postman Rings Twice, Singing in the Rain, and The Wizard of Oz. After retiring from motion picture work in 1959, Duell decided to try something new, transitioning into amusement park design with Marco Engineering, overseer of the construction of Disneyland. A year later, Duell and his wife Rachel established their own park design firm in Santa Monica. In 1968, Sea World Inc. enlisted Duell to help build a new amusement park in Los Angeles County. Duell led them to a partnership with the Newhall Land and Farming Company in the Santa Clarita Valley to build the new amusement park in the rolling hills of Valencia. The park opened to the public in 1971. In 1979, the Six Flags Theme Parks purchased Magic Mountain, renaming it Six Flags Magic Mountain. Duell went on to design eleven more amusement parks around the world.

Image from LA Times Photographic Collection at UCLA Digital Library.

Santa Monica Pier, 1924

1924. Santa Monica Pier. In the foreground is the iconic Looff Hippodrome Carousel, opened in 1922 and still standing today as a National Historic Landmark. Barely visible in the background is the La Monica Ballroom at the end of the pier, opened earlier in 1924. With 15,000 square feet of dance floor, La Monica was the largest dance hall on the west coast, if not the world,. able to accommodate up to 5,000 dancers. It featured some of the leading bands of the 1920s and 1930s. From 1948 to 1954, country music star Spade Cooley broadcast his weekly TV program from La Monica as the first TV variety show televised live. In 1958, the venue was converted into a roller rink until finally being demolished in 1963.

Reimaged photo in the LA Times Photographic Collection at UCLA Digital Library.

Children, Rose Parade, Pasadena, 1930

1930. Children sitting on the curbside waiting for the Rose Parade in Pasadena. The parade, also known as the Tournament of Roses Parade, precedes the annual Rose Bowl college football game on or about New Year's Day. In its earliest years, the parade drew 3,000 spectators. In more recent years, it is reported to draw 700,000 spectators and is seen internationally by an estimated 70 million television viewers. The parade features more than 40 floats, at least 20 marching bands, and hundreds of horses. It has been held every year since 1890, except in 1942, 1943 and 1945 (during World War II) and in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Photo from LA Times Photographic Collection at UCLA Digital Library.

Christmas House, Boyle Heights, Los Angeles, George Skinner, 1938

1938. Volunteer decorators Ann Pelonis and Bunny Gilmore pose next to the “Christmas House” in Boyle Heights.

Long before L.A.’s now-famous holiday “Candy Cane” streets in El Segundo, Woodland Hills, Pasadena, Torrance and Long Beach, the Christmas House display in Boyle Heights was said to be America's first elaborately-decorated residential holiday display. It was built around the five-room bungalow of 23-year-old George Skinner and his father, Albert, located at 919 Mathews Street. The display offered visitors a magical scene of glistening real and artificial snow, decorated trees, thousands of lights, mirrors and tinsel, and other colorful holiday decorations. Santa, alternatively played by Skinner and his father, made nightly appearances atop the display. Skinner's vision inspired supporters, including motion picture studios, to donate funding, materials and costumes. Volunteer labor came from the American Legion Auxiliary. L.A. Department of Water and Power donated electrical power. Christmas House became a hit in Los Angeles and even drew national notice. The Boyle Heights Christmas House appeared only in 1937 and 1938, however, with the 1938 display almost canceled by an accidental fire that destroyed the Skinner home just days before the display opening on December 10. Volunteers worked around the clock to restore the display and opened it to the public within a week. An estimated 87,000 people came to see the the display in 1937. In 1938, an estimated 100,000 came by visit.

What added to the magic of “Christmas House” was that the young George Skinner not only had very little money of his own, but, only a few years earlier, had almost lost his life to polio. He ended up confined at Los Angeles General Hospital for two years of intensive treatment and was left only able to walk with leg braces and two canes. His vision for Christmas House came during his two years in the hospital. He saw it as a gift of gratitude for survival and encouragement to his community, especially as people endured the hardships of the Great Depression. After the 1938 display season ended, however, Skinner and his father had to abandon their fire-ravaged home (the original home site later became part of the Salesian High School campus). Some of the skills Skinner demonstrated with Christmas House landed him a job in the radio business. He also found love and a new home in Hollywood. He continued his famed holiday house-decorating tradition there. In 2005, daughter Georja Skinner released a book about her father and his Christmas House, The Christmas House: How One Man's Dream Changed the Way We Celebrate Christmas.

Also see: An Inspiration for Making the Season Bright, by Cecilia Rasmussen, LA Times and
CityDig: The Man Responsible for L.A.'s Over-the-Top Christmas Displays, by Glen Creason, LA Magazine.

Photo from LA Times Photographic Collection at UCLA Digital Library.

Holiday Shoppers, Christmas, Los Angeles, 1926

1926, December. Christmas shoppers crowd the streets at Sixth and Broadway in Downtown Los Angeles. As early as 1907, the Los Angeles Times described throngs of Christmas shoppers descending on L.A.'s downtown stores in what was then the city's central retail district. Here were found the big retailers such as Broadway, Bullock’s, Coulter’s, May Company, Robinson’s and Hamburger's. On just a single pre-Christmas Saturday that year, it was estimated that 100,000 shoppers passed through these department stores.

Photo from LA Times Photographic Collection at UCLA Digital Library.

Pacoima Junior High School, Holiday Musical, 1963

1963. Students from Pacoima Junior High School (now Pacoima Middle School) pose in ethnic costumes as part of the school's "Musical Holidays" show, celebrating, through music and drama, holiday customs around the world. The show ended with a Hanukkah scene that featured the Star of David. From the left are Maria Arroyo in Mexican costume; Karen Henry in American costume; Mickey Iwai in Japanese costume, and Sylvia Crosby in African costume. Incidentally, music legend Ritchie Valens (Richard Valenzuela) was also a student at the school during the late 1950s. After returning from a 1958 tour in Hawaii, Valens gave a December performance at Pacoima Junior High, just a few months before his tragic death.

Photo from LA Times Photographic Collection at UCLA Digital Library.

Chinatown, Los Angeles, Circa 1895-1905

Circa 1895 to 1905. Postcard image of a street in Old Chinatown in Los Angeles. The city has had three different Chinatowns since the 1800s. The first, pictured here, was located at the site of what is now Union Station in Downtown Los Angeles. This "Old" Chinatown thrived from about the 1880s until the neighborhood was declared "blighted" and demolished in 1933, making way for the new Union Station. As it turned out, the train station was originally meant to be built at the site of what is now Olvera Street. Preservationist Christine Sterling successful lobbied to have Olvera Street preserved and renovated and for Union Station to be built elsewhere. That spelled the end of the vulnerable and largely powerless Chinese neighborhood that lay just south of there. In 1938, two new competing versions of Chinatown – “China City” and “New Chinatown” - were built north of where the original Chinatown once lay. Both developments sought to capitalize on tourism. What we know today as Chinatown in Los Angeles began as New Chinatown, a collective development led by community activist Peter Soo Hoo, Sr. China City was developed by Christine Sterling, the renovator of Olvera Street. China City was bounded by Main, Ord, Spring and Cesar Chavez, just north of Olvera Street. Although China City also offered economic opportunities to the displaced Chinese community, it was largely derided as a Hollywood stereotype of Chinese culture. A fire destroyed a fourth of the development in 1939 and another arson fire in 1949 resulted in what was left of China City to be razed by 1955.

Postcard image from Wikimedia Commons from the collection of the Library of Congress.

First Women Enlisted in the WAAC in the Los Angeles Area, 1942

1942. At the start of America's involvement in World War II, these were the first women from the Los Angeles area accepted for officer training in the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC) . Captain Robert L. Woods administers the oath to (left to right) Madelyn Miller, Anna W. Wilson, Dorothea Wilson, Emily Davis, Kathryn Johnson and Emily Hathaway. These women served among 350,000 women in the U.S. armed forces in the war.

Photo from the L.A. Times Photographic Collection at UCLA Library.

Young Newsboys on Street in Los Angeles, 1915

1915. Newsboys seven-year-old "Red" (left) and nine-year-old brother on a street in Los Angeles near Southern Pacific Depot. The older brother was said to be the "boss fighter of 5th Street." Newsboys began appearing in the mid-1800s with mass-circulation newspapers. They were typically desperately poor and often homeless, working throughout the day and sleeping on the street at night. Unlike the singing and dancing entertainment portrayals and the mid-century image of paperboys, early 20th century newsboys were tough and street-savvy, fighting it out with one another for dominance on particular street corners.

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

Atomic Bomb Test, Los Angeles, 1955

March 1, 1955, 5:27 a.m. An early morning atomic bomb test at the Nevada Test Site, about 300 miles away, lights up the sky above Los Angeles County. During the 1950s, 120 Nevada atomic bomb tests were conducted, about half in the dark early morning hours. This gave Los Angeles County, even hundreds of miles away, more than 50 early morning "atomic sunrises."

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

Shooting the Chutes, Los Angeles, Cal.

Circa 1907-1910. "Shooting the Chutes, Los Angeles, Cal." This attraction was a flat-bottomed boat that slide down a 75-foot high flume into a man-made lagoon. It was part of Chutes Park (later renamed Luna Park), first opened in 1887 as a “trolley park” (recreation area) at the end of a streetcar line. The 35-acre park was located just south of what is today Downtown Los Angeles. It lay between today’s L.A. Trade Technical College and Main Street, south of Washington Boulevard, and north of 21st Street. Besides the chutes water slide, the park featured a roller coaster, merry-go-round, miniature railroad, seal pond, ostrich pen, “House of Trouble,” “Cave of the Winds,” theater, and even a 10,000-seat baseball park, home to the original Los Angeles Angels and Vernon Tigers. The amusement portion of the park was closed in 1912. The baseball park (named Washington Park) continued in use until the Angels moved to Wrigley Field, just two miles south, in 1925.

Image from the Los Angeles Almanac Postcard Collection.

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 last two houses remaining on Bunker Hill, once one of L.A.'s wealthiest enclaves. These last surviving structures were moved to Heritage Square in 1969, but, sadly, shortly thereafter, were destroyed by a fire.

Beginning in the late 1800s, Bunker Hill had been an exclusive enclave for L.A.'s wealthy, allowing well-to-do families to live in lavish Victorian homes with great views, overlooking the emerging city below. In 1901, Angel's Flight began operations, allowing Bunker Hill residents quick access to downtown shopping districts. By the 1920s, however, the character of Bunker Hill began changing as transportation became easier and upper-crust residents moved to newer, more fashionable enclaves such as Beverly Hills and Pasadena. The neighborhood rapidly went into decline, with a much poorer population crowding onto the hill to live in the once-stately homes sold to become cheap rooming houses. In 1955, the city finally launched a "slum-clearance" redevelopment project of Bunker Hill that continued well into the 1980s.

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

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), left her entire estate, 63 years later, to her beloved school. Her legacy trust today continues to support the school and its students.

Photo from Security National Bank Collection at the L.A. Public 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.

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 L.A. Times Photograph Collection at the UCLA Digital Library.

Gas Station Crew in Los Angeles, 1980

1980. Group portrait of the multi-cultural gasoline station night crew at Seventh and Vermont in Los Angeles.

Photo from the L.A. Times Photographic Collection at UCLA Library.

Horsemen, Vaqueros, Charros, Mexican Independence Day, Parade, East Los Angeles, 1973

1973. Mexican horsemen ride in the Mexican Independence Day parade in East Los Angeles. These horsemen represent the legacy of the Spanish/Mexican vaqueros (also called charros, buckaroos, caballeros and rancheros), who were the workforce behind early California's dominant cattle industry and the model for what would become the American cowboy. Some vaquero terminology remains in use today in American western culture such as rodeo, chaparreras (chaps), lazo (lasso), caverango (wrangler), vamonos (vamoose! or "lets go!"), espuelas (spurs), mesteno (mustang), estampida (stampede), estribo (stirrup), and even los dudos (dudes, "doubtful ones," or city slickers who fall off their horses). Vaqueros, who initially worked for the Spanish missions, and then, later, for privately-owned ranchos, were responsible for breaking-in horses, herding and branding cattle (branding originated in Mexico), and fighting off predators such as wolves and bears. They spent much of their time in the saddle, jokingly said to dismount only to dance with women. They were highly-skilled horsemen. In 18th century and early 19th century California, vaqueros were almost entirely Native American, to the point that author Arnold Rojas reported that whenever a vaquero displayed superior skill, it was said about him, "Se crió entre los indios pues" or "Well, he was brought up among Indians."

Photo by Michael Mally in the L.A. Times Photographic Collection at UCLA Library.

Mexican Horsemen, Vaqueros, California, Circa 1849

Circa 1849. Illustration depicting vaqueros roping a steer at the mission San Jose de Guadalupe.

Illustration by Capt. William Smythe, Royal Navy, in the California Historical Society Collection at USC Library.

Los Angeles Fire Engine, Circa 1900

Circa 1900. Horses pull a Los Angeles city fire engine up a hill on First Street. LAFD was inaugurated in 1886 with just 11 horses for service to 50,000 people. By 1912, the department had 163 horses for pulling fire engines, its largest number. At the same time, however, motorized engines were already replacing horse-drawn engines. In 1921, LAFD's era of the horse came to an end when the last fire horses were retired to Griffith Park. A century later, in 2022, LAFD began operating North America's first electric fire truck.

From the California Historical Society Collection at USC Library.

Homeless, Los Angeles, 1981

1981. Homeless woman with two filled shopping carts in Downtown Los Angeles. In 1984, two decades before Los Angeles County began formally counting the number of homeless, it was estimated that about 30,000 to 50,000 people were homeless in the county. In 2023, more than 75,000 homeless people were counted. From World War II through the 1970s, most homeless were older white men, but that demographic shifted dramatically in the 1980s to people of color, especially African American men. The 1980s inherited the consequences of the previous decade of “the Great U-Turn,” where America’s economy shifted from a boom economy of well-paying manufacturing jobs to service jobs with lower pay and few to no benefits. At the same time, especially in Southern California, affordable housing became increasingly harder to find, with population increases sprinting past increases in new housing. If that wasn't enough pain, the state had also fully pushed people with mental health problems from institutions out to families and communities who were poorly resourced or capable of taking them in – consequently pushing these people onto the street. 1980s Los Angeles County could then only estimate how many of its people were homeless, but it knew the number was rising, especially from those communities most economically vulnerable – communities of color.

See Homelessness in Los Angeles County, 2023.

From LA Times Photographic Collection at UCLA Library.

Striking GM Workers, Van Nuys, 1964

1964. Auto workers strike at General Motors' 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 LA Times Photographic Collection at UCLA Library.

Hot Rods, Racing, Compton, Arrests, 1954

1954. Teenagers under arrest for hot rod racing and one of their cars being towed by police in Compton. Tipped off that the drag races would be held that night along Artesia Boulevard in south Compton, as many as 60 Sheriff’s deputies and CHP officers swooped in, corralled racers, impounded dozens of cars and arrested more than a hundred young people, ranging in age from 14 to 21. The arrestees included about a dozen young females. Although this was just one of many such incidents in a cat-and-mouse game between racers and police around the Los Angeles area, this particular one ended up being reported in newspapers across the country. It did help to finally bring about legal racing venues, but it also led to injecting hot rodding into popular culture.

Having started as early as the 1920s, Southern California had become the center of the hot-rodding universe by the 1950s. Hot Rods - or stock automobiles, stripped down, modified, and muscled-up for power and speed – became a symbol of car culture and bravado. Car clubs were formed around the cars and young men sought ways to show off their automotive creations and compete for bragging rights. Yet, there were few places where hot-rodders could legally race in the early 1950s. So, they found local roads (and even the Los Angeles River wash in Downtown L.A.), kept watch for police, and raced their cars. If the police did show up, racers often had an advantage in that hot rods were typically faster than police cars at the time.

Photo from Los Angeles Daily News Collection at UCLA Library.

Labor Strike, Movie Studios, Warner Bros., Hollywood Black Friday, 1945

1945. A months-long strike by movie industry workers against the studios culminated in a violent confrontion. The events became a significant turning point in the relationship between the film industry and its labor unions.

Photo from L.A. Times Photographic Collection at UCLA 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. This might seem familiar to many travelers today, but air travel into Los Angeles at this time and in the first half of the 20th century was very different than today.
See: Evolution of Airline Service in Los Angeles.

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

Gambling Ship, Rex, 1939

1939. The gambling boat Rex tries to resist boarding by California Fish and Game Commision officers off Santa Monica. Before there were casinos in Las Vegas, from 1928 through 1939, gambling ships or barges, anchored just beyond California's three-mile offshore jurisdiction, were Southern California's prime destination for gambling and adult entertainment. See Era of the Gambling Ships & the Battle of Santa Monica Bay.

Photo from the Los Angeles Daily News Negatives Collection at UCLA Library.

Bunker Hill, Angels Flight, Third Street, Los Angeles, 1907

Circa 1907. View from Bunker Hill, along the Third Street stairs, looking east down at Third Street. The Hillcrest Hotel is behind the woman and her dog. Angel's Flight then ran at this location alongside to the right.

Photo at Los Angeles's Bunker Hill by Jim Dawson. The photographer and source is unidentified.

Also see the following image.

Bunker Hill, Angels Flight, Third Street, Los Angeles, 1910

Circa 1910. View from opposite direction, looking up towards Bunker Hill from Third. Hill Street crosses in the foreground. Angel's Flight can be clearly be seen to the left of the Third Street Tunnel. The Hillcrest Hotel, next to where the woman in the previous photo was standing, can be seen at the top of the hill on the right.

Photo from the California Historical Society Collection at USC Library.

Also see the previous image.

McDonalds, Downey, 1953

1953. This McDonald’s hamburger stand, opened that year at the southwest corner of Lakewood Boulevard and Florence Avenue in Downey, was the third to be opened by founders and brothers Richard and Maurice McDonald. The stand, designed by Los Angeles architect Stanley Clark Meston, was franchised to Roger Williams and Burdette “Bud” Landson. Its double golden arches and red and white tile style would be the iconic look for the thousand McDonald's restaurants that followed over the next 15 years. In 1969, Ray Kroc, who bought out the McDonald brothers eight years earlier and established McDonald’s Corporation, began changing the style of chain restaurants. The Downey stand kept the original style. Williams and Landson had been among about a dozen or so franchisees who signed their agreements directly with the McDonald brothers. This occurred prior to Ray Kroc's takeover of McDonald's franchising and, eventually, the company. The original franchisees could market and sell McDonald’s products, but did not have to follow directives from Ray Kroc or McDonald’s Corporation. Over time, however, original franchisees closed or sold out to the company. By 1990, when Williams and Landson finally sold out to the company, they were the last remaining original franchise. Theirs was the oldest surviving McDonald's restaurant that still retained the chain's original features. Nevertheless, McDonald’s Corporation was already operating a much newer and more modern restaurant less than a mile away. It planned to demolish and sell off the dated Downey property. Subsequent outcry from the community and preservationists compelled the company to reverse course and invest in restoring and refitting the restaurant. Its original iconic style and "Chef Speedee" sign continues to be maintained and now includes a small museum on the site. In 2017, a drive-thru was added in the back without affecting the restaurant's historic fascade.

Photo featured on Martin Turnbull's blog. Source of image is undetermined.

Also see the following image.

McDonalds, Downey, 1953

Same resturant today, now the oldest operating McDonald's restaurant in the world. Los Angeles Almanac photo.

Also see the previous image.

Newly Arrived Young Woman Waiting for Bus in Hollywood, 1942

1942. Newly arrived young woman, possibly aspiring for movie stardom, waiting for a bus in front of the Broadway-Hollywood Building (southwest corner of Hollywood and Vine). Hollywood has, for more than a hundred years, drawn millions hoping for a shot at screen fame in the film and television industry. The reality, however, is that perhaps only two percent of those seeking work as actors actually end up making a living in the profession. Even of these, most work in commercials and never achieve any kind of fame.

Photo by Russell Lee at the Library of Congress.

Dairy Valley, Cerritos

1977. A crowd estimated at 5,500 gathered outside Hollywood High School to march along Highland Avenue and Hollywood Boulevard to rally at De Longpre Park. The march protested the prospect of anti-LGBTQ legislation in California. Earlier, beauty pageant winner, singer, Florida citrus promoter and anti-gay activist Anita Bryant led a successive campaign in Florida to convince voters there to repeal a Miami-Dade County ordinance prohibiting discrimination based upon sexual orientation. She appealed to conservative Christian beliefs, suggesting that gays were trying to groom and abuse children. The success of Bryant’s campaign encouraged similar efforts in other parts of country to pushback against protections for LGBTQ rights. Knowing that there was significant support in California for Anita Bryant’s viewpoint, LGBTQ activists in Los Angeles acted pre-emptively to oppose any anti-LGBTQ legislation in California. Sure enough, within a year, Proposition 6 was brought before California voters to ban gays and lesbians from working in public schools. Unlike in Florida, however, California voters defeated the initiative. Not only did Democrats, such as President Jimmy Carter and Governor Jerry Brown, speak out against the initiative, but, interestingly, so did important Republicans, such as former President Gerald Ford and former Governor Ronald Reagan.

Photo by Boris Yaro in the L.A. Times Photographic Collection at UCLA Library.

Dairy Valley, Cerritos

1964, Mrs. Arthur Atsma in an authentic Frisian (Dutch) costume and her daughter, Alicia, in Dairy Valley (future Cerritos) on morning chores.

By the 1950s, the area now known as Cerritos was a key center of dairy production in Southern California. When the city, originally named Dairy Valley, incorporated in 1956, it counted 32,000 cows, 83,000 chickens, 9,600 turkeys and 105 acres of row crops. Many of the dairy farmers were immigrants from the Portuguese Azores and the Netherlands. Dairy Valley farmers had managed to carve themselves away from a pro-development plan for a larger Artesia. They worried that rapid development surrounding them would squeeze out their farms and industry and wipe away their way of life. Incorporating as the City of Dairy Valley allowed them to prioritize farming and agriculture. This attracted even more dairy farmers, quickly ballooning the new city's cow population to 100,000, plus 106,300 chickens.

By 1962, Dairy Valley's success at holding back Southern California's tsunami of home-building was faltering. The number of cows declined to 53,000. Dairymen were retiring or relocating to the Chino area or California's Central Valley. In 1965, Dairy Valley voters decided to de-prioritize agricultural zoning. Two years later, they changed the name of their city to Cerritos, seeking to shed their dairy farm image, adopting the name of their local community college, established 12 years earlier. This signaled the end of dairy farming in the area. Within a few years, the last cow was shipped out of Cerritos. There was no need to pity the dairy farmers, however. They made a fortune selling their land to developers.

Photo from the L.A. Times Photographic Collection at UCLA Library.

Mattachine Society, Harry Hays, Mattachine Steps, Silver Lake, Los Angeles

The Mattachine Steps on Cove Avenue in Silver Lake, Los Angeles. Near here, American LGBTQ history was made.

Photo by Glenn Francis, CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

John Aiso, Herbert Wenig, Los Angeles, 1929

1926. Hollywood High School seniors John Aiso (left) and Herbert Wenig (right) wave, as they prepare to depart Los Angeles by train for a national oratory competition in Washington, D.C. Aiso, who went on to graduate from Harvard Law School, was recruited to teach Japanese at America’s Military Intelligence Service Language School during World War II. He was later commissioned as an Army officer and rose to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, one of the highest-ranking Japanese Americans in the U.S. Armed Forces until that time. Leaving the Army, Aiso returned to Los Angeles to practice law. In 1952, he became a commissioner with the Los Angeles Superior Court and, in 1953, was appointed by Governor Earl Warren to be a judge of the Los Angeles Municipal Court. He became only the second Asian American to become a jurist in the United States and the first to appointed to a judgeship higher than Justice of the Peace. In 1957, he was elevated to the Los Angeles County Superior Court. In 1968, Governor Ronald Reagan appointed Aiso to the California Court of Appeals, again acheiving a first in becoming the first Asian American appointed to a state appeals court. In 1984, the Emperor of Japan awarded him the Order of the Rising Sun for his contributions to friendship between the U.S. and Japan. Judge John F. Aiso Street, running between Temple and First Street in Downtown Los Angeles is named in his honor.

Photo from the Los Angeles Times Photographic Collection 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 - middle row second from left), 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.

St. James Park, West Adams, Los Angeles, 1909

1909. Well-dressed children pose on a bench in St. James Park in the upscale West Adams neighborhood in Los Angeles. West Adams is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Los Angeles, annexed by the city in 1896. At the beginning of the 20th century, it had become the fashionable enclave for wealthy and influential families. At the time of this photo, St. James Park, centered in the neighborhood (just west of what is now the Mount Saint Mary’s University campus), was known as the place to find nurses strolling with baby carriages for wealthy mothers. However, the beginning of the 1910s saw West Adams’ popularity begin to slide as the go-to place for L.A.’s well-to-do. New developments in Beverly Hills, Hollywood, and the West Side began attracting affluent buyers away. The Depression of the 1930s further demished the neighborhood's status when many homeowners where forced to sell or take in tenants. The one new bright spot came in the 1940s from successful African-American entertainers. Flush with new money and eager to escape the segregated confines of Central Avenue, affluent African American families found a new open market among motivated white home sellers in the West Adams area. Today, the area is known as Historic West Adams, University Park, West Adams Heights and Sugar Hill. It boasts one of the largest numbers of notable old homes to be found in the Western United States.

Photo in the Los Angeles Herald, Sep. 12, 1909, in the collection at the Library of Congress.

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 fabric for America's war effort in World War II (and cuffs also disappeared from men's trousers). After coming through the Great Depression of the previous decade, Angelenos in 1942 again faced uncertainty and some hardship. Almost every commodity was war-rationed. Yet, the Los Angeles metro area was also quickly becoming a boom town. It became the fastest growing region in the United States. Its industries were almost overnight flush with government war contracts, bringing a deluge of new jobs. For the first time, large numbers of women and people of color were finding good jobs in the region's war industries. The period, however, didn't bring good news for all. Whole neighborhoods disappeared as the government ordered 80,000 Angelenos of Japanese ancestry into distant internment camps (two thirds of all interned Japanese Americans were from the Los Angeles area). Waves of military servicemen transiting through the L.A. area brought a horrific racial mob attack on young Latino men. The war itself would ultimately cost the lives of more than 9,000 Angelenos who entered military service. The war brought great prosperity. It also brought great pain.

Photo by Russell Lee at the Library of Congress.

Boyle Heights Stars, 1925

1925. Introduced professionally into Southern California in the early 1890s, baseball went on to be widely played throughout Southern California by the early 20th Century. Most were company teams (sponsored by local businesses) or neighborhood teams, such as the Boyle Heights Stars, shown here.

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

Edison Electric, Los Angeles, 1897

Circa 1897. L.A. Edison Electric crew laying conduit below ground on Winston Street (looking NW toward Main Street) in Downtown L.A. At the time, L.A.'s population was approaching 100,000 and electricity, as a new source of power, was in big demand. That year, L.A. City Council mandated that, due to rapidly proliferating overhead electrical, telegraph, and telephone lines across the city, new lines had to be buried underground. L.A. Edison, just one of a number of power companies in the city at the time, would eventually evolve into today's Southern California Edison (SCE), one of the largest power companies in the nation. The reason the company incorporates the name of Edison was that Thomas Edison required it of power companies using his patents.

Photo from the Water & Power Associates.

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 at the UCLA Digital Library.

Woman on the NASA/JPL Mars Curiosity Rover Project, 2014

2014. Like the featured photo below of 1953 "Rocket Women" at JPL, these were some of the women working at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), located in La Cañada Flintridge, only six decades later. This more recent group worked on building and operating the Curiosity Mars rover. According to JPL, their disciplines ranged from soil science to software engineering, from chemistry to cartography, in duties ranging from assessing rover-temperature data freshly arriving from Mars to choosing where to point the rover's cameras. The photo was taken at the "Mars Yard" at JPL, used for rover testing.

Photo courtesy of NASA/JPL.

Woman Computers of JPL, 1953

1953. Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) Computer Group. From 1943 through the 1950s, JPL, located in La Cañada Flintridge, designed rockets for the U.S. Army (the organization came under NASA in 1958). Since electronic computers would not appear until the 1960s, JPL needed human computers to calculate trajectories for rockets. A “computer” originally meant a worker who did complex mathematical calculations. Such a task was then seen as “women’s work,” so, mathematically-inclined young women were the ones hired for this job out of high school or college. By the mid 1950s, about two dozen women formed the JPL Computer Group, under the supervision of Macie Roberts, a former IRS auditor. Even as electronic computers began to appear in the early 1960s, male JPL engineers continued to think of computer work as a female task, leaving it to women computers to be the early programmers and coders. Roberts appears in the group photo, first row, eighth from left. Also pictured is Janez Lawson, sixth from left, the first African American hired by JPL into a technical position, who went on to become an IBM programmer for JPL.

Photo courtesy of NASA/JPL.

Yellow Cars, Flooding, Los Angeles, 1937

1937. Street traffic works its way along flooded Pico Boulevard (at Hill Street – looking east). On the street is one of the Yellow Cars of the Los Angeles Railway Corporation, also known as LARy. These railcars, which primarily moved passengers between Downtown L.A. and the rest of the city, were never as celebrated as the Red Cars of the Pacific Electric Railway (which served much of the rest of the Greater Los Angeles area). Yellow Cars, however, served more than twice the number of passengers as the Red Cars. Regarding the weather in the photo, the Almanac believes that, on the date of this photo, Downtown L.A. received 1.65 inches of rain – a lot for here, to be sure, but not close to the 2.29 inches that fell just last Friday, February 24.

Photo from the L.A. Daily News collection at UCLA 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

Bessie-Bruington Burke, Elementary School, Los Angeles

1918-1938. Bessie Bruington Burke as a young teacher in a class portrait, likely at Holmes Elementary School. In 1911, Burke became L.A.'s first black public school teacher when she took the teaching position at Holmes Elementary, located on the Furlong Tract, L.A.'s first black community. She had just graduated that year from Los Angeles State Normal School (now UCLA), ranking seventh in her class of 800 students. In 1918, Burke was promoted to principal at Holmes Elementary, again achieving a first as L.A.'s first black school principal. She remained in that position until 1938, after which she became principal of nearby Nevin Avenue Elementary School. That was again a first, in that Nevin was a racially-mixed school, making Burke the first black principal of a racially-mixed school in California.

Photo from the Miriam Matthews Photograph Collection at UCLA Library.

Bessie-Bruington Burke, Los Angeles, Circa 1930s

Bessie Bruington Burke, circa 1930s. Image from L.A. Sentinel.

NAACP, Youth, Los Angeles, Civil Rights, 1923

1923. Members of the Junior NAACP, Los Angeles. Identified among them is Robbie Chester (seated row 2, third from left) and Arthur Prince (standing top row). Both went on to become educators. The NAACP Los Angeles branch itself was founded in 1914 in the home of married dentists John and Vada Somerville, both USC graduates. The branch went on to become one of the most prominent civil rights organizations in the Western U.S., fighting for, among other things, the rights of people of color to attend nursing school, swim in public swimming pools, and receive equitable public education. The branch formed a “Junior” group to organize and train young people under age 25 for civil rights activism. Nationally, NAACP youth affiliates grew to form one of the largest organized non-religious groups of young people in the nation.

Photo from the Shades of L.A. Collection at L.A Public Library.

Downtown, Los Angeles, Cityscape, Skyline

1973 and 2023. Downtown Los Angeles cityscape, 1973 and 2023. Until 1928, the tallest building in Los Angeles was the Continental Building, opened in 1904. It stood 12-stories and 174 feet tall at Fourth and Spring in Downtown and remains standing today. A year later, the city restricted building heights to no more than 130-feet and, in 1911, upped that to 150 feet. This restriction was actually for aesthetic purposes rather than for earthquake safety. In 1928, L.A.’s new City Hall, which received an exception to the height restriction, opened as the city’s new tallest building. The 27-story structure towered above the city’s skyline at 454 feet. In 1956, Angelenos voted to remove building height restrictions. In 1960, the California Bank Building, located at Sixth and Spring, became the first new L.A. high-rise to exceed the old 150-foot limit, rising 18 stories and 267 feet. City Hall, however, continued to reign as L.A.’s tallest building. Finally, in 1968, 40 years after City Hall had opened, the 40-story Union Bank Plaza was completed on Figueroa Boulevard. It stood 62 feet taller that City Hall. The following year, the even taller 42-story, 620-foot, Crocker National Bank Building (now 611 Place) opened on Sixth Street. By the end of 1973, five buildings eclipsed City Hall, including the 62-story United California Bank Building (today’s Aon Center), standing 858 feet. Today, more than 30 downtown buildings stand taller than City Hall. In 2014, L.A. ended its requirement that buildings taller than 150 feet have flat roofs that offer a helicopter landing pad, freeing the hands of architectural designers. L.A.’s tallest building today is the Wilshire Grand Center, standing 73 stories and 1,100 feet (including mast) above street level.

Also see: Tallest Buildings in Los Angeles County.

Photo (left) by Larry Sharkey, L.A. Times Photographic Collection at UCLA Library. Image (right) from Google Earth.

First Electric Street Lights, Los Angeles, 1882

Circa 1882. One of the first seven electric street lights in Los Angeles, located here on the 300 block of Main Street (now at the site of Civic Center Los Angeles Mall – just south of Highway 101, across from the Old Federal Courthouse). The light post towered 150 feet above the street.

On September 11, 1882 the Los Angeles City Council unanimously voted to enter into a contract with Charles H. Howland to “illuminate the streets of the city with electric light.” The contract called for Howland, at his own expense, to install seven 150-foot light masts around the city, each carrying three electric lamps. He was also to provide distribution poles, lines, and electrical power. Howard’s installations were the beginning of what would become L.A.’s first electrical power company.

The other six street lamps installed by Howland were located in Boyle Heights; Bunker Hill; Wilshire Blvd & Lucas Avenue (Westlake); MacArthur Park (Westlake); Washington Blvd & Main Street (south Downtown); and La Grande Santa Fe Station (2nd Street & Santa Fe Avenue).

Photo from the DWP Collection at L.A. Public Library

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., 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. From his first visit to Los Angeles in 1956, through his final visit, just three weeks before his death in 1968, King visited the Los Angeles area almost every year, sometimes more than once. He spoke at places of worship, auditoriums, stadiums, schools and colleges, from South L.A. to Pasadena to Santa Monica; from CalTech to USC to UCLA, Occidental College, and L.A. Valley College. He found Angelenos to be a welcoming and receptive audience.

Photo from the LA Times Photographic Collection at UCLA Digital Library

Memphis Belle, B-17, Doughlas Aircraft, Long Beach, 1943

1943. Women aircraft workers at the Douglas Aircraft plant in Long Beach sign their names on the B-17 heavy bomber Memphis Belle. The aircraft had arrived in Long Beach on a nationwide tour promoting war bonds, after earlier being the first to survive 25 combat bombing missions over Europe. This feat, a remarkable one for Allied bombers during that particular period in World War II, earned itself and its crew a return home. Although Memphis Belle was originally built at the Boeing Aircraft plant in Seattle, these Long Beach workers at Douglas themselves ultimately built 3,000 other B-17 bombers by the end of the war, almost a quarter of more than 12,700 B-17s built and delivered to the U.S. Army Air Corps. Vega Aircraft, a Lockheed subsidiary across town in Burbank, built 2,750 B-17 bombers. The two plants in Los Angeles County, combined, built and delivered 45 percent of all B-17s flown in World War II. Approximately 65 percent of the workers who built them were women. Per a 2022 count, only two of the 3,000 B-17s built in Long Beach and four of the 2,750 built in Burbank survive and remain airworthy.

Photo from the L.A. Daily News Collection at UCLA Library.

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.

Los Angeles City Hall, Christmas, 1947

1947. Los Angeles City Hall at night with office lights turned on to form crosses for Christmas. Since the mid-1930s, on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and Easter, it became a tradition to coordinate office lights in Los Angeles City Hall to be lit overnight to form crosses on all four sides of the building. This continued through 1973, when, for the first time, it was proposed that City Hall skip the display that year because Angelenos were being asked to conserve energy during an energy crisis. Nevertheless, Los Angeles City Council voted to carry on with the tradition. However, two years later, in 1975, just days before Christmas, a lawsuit was brought against the city, alleging that the display of Christian crosses on City Hall was unconstitutional. The suit asked that City Hall either not display crosses or agree to display any religious symbol requested. The city balked, claiming that its display was not religious. The Los Angeles Superior Court disagreed, issuing a temporary injunction, pending a trial to resolve the issue. As the city appealed the injunction through 1976 and 1977, it did repeat the lighting of crosses on City Hall. Then, in 1977, just ten days before Christmas, the California Supreme Court issued a ruling in favor of the injunction, effectively bringing an end to the four-decade tradition.

Photo from LA Times Photographic Archive at 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 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 "restrictive covenants" as unconstitutional that barred Jewish and non-white families from buying homes outside designated neighborhoods (80% of Los Angeles homes had been under restrictive convenants - see Redlining in Los Angeles County). With that discriminatory obstacle removed, Jewish families began relocating from Boyle Heights to other parts of Los Angeles, particularly the more affluent westside, and throughout Los Angeles County. Evergreen Avenue Elementary School continues to educate children in Boyle Heights today.

Photo from L.A. Times Photographic Collection at UCLA Library.

Christmas Tree Lane, Altadena, 1948

1948. Rows of then 80-foot trees, lining both sides of "Christmas Tree Lane" in Altadena, are decorated with lights. The street is actually Santa Rosa Avenue and, almost every year since 1920, it has been converted into Christmas Tree Lane for the Christmas season. It is said to be the oldest large-scale Christmas lighting display in the world. On Dec. 10, 2022, the three-quarter-mile length of Christmas Tree Lane (along Santa Rosa Avenue, from Woodbury Road to Altadena Drive), began its one-hundredth lighting season. See Christmas Tree Lane Association.

Photo from L.A. Times Photographic Archive at UCLA Library.

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.

Indian, Native American, Los Angeles, 1954

1954. Gathering at the Los Angeles Indian Center in Los Angeles. In the 1930s, indigenous Americans joined tens of thousands migrating into Los Angeles area for work. Initially, they used informal family and tribal networks that connected newcomers to housing, work, and other assistance. In 1935, this led to the establishment of the Los Angeles Indian Center. The center became a focal point for Native American residents for social services, job programs, and cultural activities. It became a rallying place for indigenous actors and other workers to fight for equity and dignity in L.A.'s entertainment industry. The center’s networks connected Indian reservations, rural areas and other urban Native American communities throughout the country. It became a center of what would grow into the largest Native American population in the nation - the “urban Indian capital of the United States” (This is Indian Country by Nicolas G. Rosenthal, Aug. 22, 2016, LMU Magazine). Sadly, though, after 50 years of service to L.A.'s indigenous people, the center came under investigation by federal officials for alleged mismanagement of federal job funds. State and local funders quickly followed suit. The center was unable to sustain its programs and closed in 1986. Stepping in, a nearby sister agency, Orange County Indian Center, stepped in to assume funding and services for Los Angeles and, in 1987, was renamed Southern California Indian Center.

Photo from the L.A. Daily News Collection at the UCLA Library.

USAF Women Enlistees in Los Angeles, 1968

1968. Group portrait of seventeen U.S. Air Force women enlistees and recruiters in Los Angeles. At the time, America was still embroiled in the Vietnam War. Thousands of Angelenos ended up fighting there and more than 1,800 died there.

Photo courtesy of the L.A. Times Photographic Collection at the Department of Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, UCLA.

Los Angeles, Shopping, Retail, Broadway, Dollar Day Sale, 1935

1935. Shoppers await opening time at the Broadway Department Store in Downtown Los Angeles for the start of the Dollar Day sale. At a time when Downtown Los Angeles was the retail center for the Los Angeles region and even billed as “the West’s Biggest Shopping Center,” Dollar Day was a semi-annual event, jointly coordinated among as many as 100 Downtown Los Angeles merchants. It drew several hundred thousand shoppers into a retail bargain shopping frenzy, not unlike today's “Black Friday” sales. L.A.’s Dollar Day events, usually held in the Spring and Fall, were enormously successful and ranked among the largest shopping events in the nation. City authorities and transit companies cooperated to smooth the flow of shoppers into and out of downtown. The automobile had not yet taken over as the primary mode of transportation for most Angelenos, so L.A.’s urban rail lines were vital to these events. Dollar Day sales events continued into the 1970s. By then, however, the number of shoppers and participating retailers had dwindled. After World War II, modern shopping malls began replacing Downtown L.A. as the center of L.A. retailing. The Almanac found news stories of Dollar Day events as far back as 1933, when it was reported that 1.1 million shoppers (perhaps an exaggeration) spent the 2022 equivalent of $274 million in one day.

Photo in the Los Angeles Daily News Collection at UCLA Library.

Traffic, Fatalities, Mr. Statistic, LAPD, 1952

1952. LAPD Officer Ray Harrison (left) and Sergeant S.E. Mills (right) return “Mr. Statistic” to the “morgue” after he offered a warning speech for drivers before the Greater Los Angeles Safety Council. The performance was meant to highlight the need to reduce road fatalities during the Labor Day weekend. Mr. Statistic urged drivers to “Take it easy, or we may meet again sooner than you think." This was long before auto safety features, such as seat belts, air bags, safety glass, and other safety technology, became common place in American motor vehicles. In 1952, the national fatality rate from motor vehicle accidents was 24.3 deaths per 100,000 population. By 2020, it had fallen to 12.9.

Photo in the Herald Examiner Collection at 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) inspects 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.

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 at the Los Angeles Public Library.

Spring Street, Main Street, Ninth Street, Los Angeles, Circa 1917

Circa 1917. Looking north, junction at Spring Street, Main Street, and Ninth Street, in Downtown Los Angeles. Los Angeles, at the time, had a population of approximately 560,000, a bit larger than Long Beach today. About a year after this photograph was taken, the city would be afflicted by it first pandemic, the so-called "Spanish Flu" pandemic, taking the lives of thousands of Angelenos.

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

Ramirez Family at Los Nietos, Circa 1880

Circa 1880. Portrait of 19 members of the Ramirez family at Los Nietos. The Los Nietos community, located in today's southeast Los Angeles County area of Whittier, had been a subdivision of the former Rancho Los Nietos. Jose and Josefa Ramirez (seated couple in the center of the photo), patriarchs of the family, were Mexican-born farmers who had purchased 140 acres from Rancho Los Nietos in 1830. They developed there a successful and productive agriculture community that continued into the early 20th century. The Ramirez family were neighbors to the Colima family, namesakes of Colima Road in Whittier.

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

Tampico Bar, Modesta Ruiz, Los Angeles, Circa 1940s

Circa 1940s. Modesta Ruiz (far left), poses with patrons in her bar - The Tampico - on First Street in Boyle Heights. Only a few years earlier, she had moved to Los Angeles from Arizona, after selling her business there. In Los Angeles, she bought the bar. During World War II, Ruiz was among tens of thousands streaming into Los Angeles from other parts of the country, seeking new opportunities in L.A.'s rapidly-growing wartime economy. As with many American parents at the time, her two sons went off to fight in the war and her youngest, a daughter, ended up working in L.A.'s massive defense industry. Ruiz had learned, years earlier in Arizona, as a young widow and sole support for four young children, how not to wait for good luck. She learned quickly how to be entrepreneurial. She put this into good practice with her L.A. bar, later expanding into a café. She also went on to invest in real estate around Los Angeles. By the time she retired in the 1960s, the little Mexican immigrant girl had done well. In 1967, she treated herself to a tour of Europe and completed her trip as a passenger on RMS Queen Mary’s 14,450-mile “Last Great Cruise” from Southampton, England, to its final destination of Long Beach, California.

Photo courtesy of the Moya Family.

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. Some of these ranchos had names that Angelenos today would be familiar with, such as, for example, Rancho Cahuenga, Rancho La Cañada, Ranch La Puente, Rancho San Vicente y Santa Monica, Rancho Topanga Malibu Sequit, Rancho Los Feliz, Rancho Los Cerritos, Rancho San Pedro, and Rancho Sausal Redondo. The scene portrayed above is believed by some to depict Ignacio del Valle on his Rancho Camulos, then covering what is now Newhall.

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

Long Beach State, Chicano Movement, Guerilla Street Theatre, 1971

1971. Students Delia Moya and Zo Ann Villacorte from California State University, Long Beach, perform with an anti-war guerilla street theatre group, as part of the growing Chicano movement or El Movimiento among young Latinos. The movement protested the disproportionate number of young Latinos fighting and dying in the Vietnam War while family members at home continued to struggle against persistant discrimination and injustice.

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

Western Avenue, Los Angeles, 1924

1924. View of Western Avenue in Los Angeles, looking north, between First and Second Streets, in the Central Los Angeles/Greater Wilshire area. The street today remains busy with traffic and a number of buildings seen here continue to house businesses.

Photo by C.C. Pierce & Co., from the California Historical Society Collection at USC Library.

School, 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 about $750 in 2022) 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 at USC Library.

School, Manhattan Beach, American Martyrs Catholic School

1965. Eighth graders at American Martyrs Catholic School in Manhattan Beach file into school while public school counterparts continued to enjoy summer vacation until the following week.

Photo by Frank Q. Brown in the Los Angeles Times Photographic Collection at UCLA Library.

Heat Wave, Los Angeles

1976. Youngsters cool off during a heat wave in a sidewalk wading pool on Stanford Avenue in South Los Angeles. That day, temperatures reached 102oF in Downtown Los Angeles and 111oF in Burbank.

Photo by R.L. Oliver in the Los Angeles Times Photographic Collection at UCLA Library.

Dorothy Healey, Communism, Los Angeles

1951. Dorothy Healey (at center, third from left) and fellow leaders of the American Communist Party in Los Angeles - Henry Steinberg (second from right), Philip Connelly (third from right), and Rose Chernin (far left) - are escorted by U.S. Deputy Marshals after their arrest. Healey was among 14 California American communists charged with conspiracy to advocate for the violent overthrow of the government. During the 1950s, Healey had become known as the “Red Queen of Los Angeles,” due her leadership of the American Communist Party in Southern California. She was, however, more noted as a labor organizer and civil rights activist, taking on issues of racial equality and justice for African American and Latino workers as early as the 1930s, when few others did so. In 1951, because of the “red scare” in America, Federal prosecutors used the Smith Act to bring charges and obtain convictions against Healey and the other California American communists. She received a five-year prison sentence. In 1957, the U.S. Supreme Court, more narrowly interpreting “advocated,” threw out the convictions, ruling that the government failed to show proof that the parties actually urged or incited anyone to unlawful action. Healey had become the face of American communism in Los Angeles, yet, she supported democratic socialism and pushed back against authoritarian Soviet-style communism. By the late 1960s, she had become disillusioned with the American Communist Party’s unwillingness to reject authoritarianism. Her outspokenness resulted in her splitting with the party. Undeterred, Healey joined with other democratic socialist movements and continued to advocate for democracy, the labor movement, and economic and social justice. For two decades, she was known for her regular Marxist commentary on KPFK-FM radio in Los Angeles. In 1966, Healey ran for the office of Los Angeles County Tax Assessor and came in third place with more than 83,000 votes.

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

California Grizzly Bear, Vaqueros, James Walker

Early 19th Century California. Painting of California Mexican vaqueros (cowboys) roping a California Grizzly Bear. English-born painter James Walker moved to California in 1870s and spent time at a friend's ranch in Southern California. There, he was captivated by the romance of California's past Mexican ranching culture, reflected in a number of his paintings. California Grizzlies, a species now extinct, once roamed freely throughout the state and welcomed the meat of livestock made easily available to them by the arrival of Spanish cattle and sheep ranchers. Although ranchers initially tolerated the losses, the free food only spiked the bear population. This resulted in, not only increased livestock losses, but increased odds of dangerous human-bear encounters. Mexican ranchers shifted from tolerance to extermination and stepped up bear hunts for sport and entertainment. California Grizzlies were captured and chained to posts in a ring to be pitted in gruesome fights with bulls (the bears were said to typically win). Althought bull-bear fight spectacles continued into California's American period, the California Grizzly became increasily scare by the 1880s, due to the growing human population and hunting. The bull-bear spectacle consequently also became scarse. Bull-bear fights were thankfully outlawed in 1905.

Painting by James Walker, 1877, at Denver Art Museum.

Sixth Street Viaduct, Bridge, Los Angeles, 2022 and 2010

New Sixth Street Viaduct in Downtown Los Angeles rendered above. Old Sixth Street Viaduct in 2010 below. The old iconic Sixth Street Viaduct, once spanning 3,446 feet over Los Angeles River, was demolished in 2016. It was built in 1932 and was the largest concrete bridge built in California until 1945. On July 9, 2022, the new Sixth Street Viaduct (or Sixth Street Bridge) opened at the same location, spanning 3,500 feet. The new $588 million bridge, the largest bridge project in the history of Los Angeles, incorporates ten sweeping pairs of arches (ranging in height from 30 to 60 feet above the roadway) in its design as a tribute to the original bridge. It was designed by HNTB Architecture Inc. and Los Angeles architect Michael Maltzan.

Also see: Historic Highway Bridges - Los Angeles County

Upper image screenshot from video "Flyover Rendering of New Sixth Street Viaduct" by the City of L.A. Bureau of Engineering and HNTB. Lower image by Downtowngal via Wikimedia Commons.

Biddy Mason, Los Angeles, Circa 1870

1950. Nurses Ermaline Weese and Cecile Bogdanoff refuse to testify before a Los Angeles County grand jury investigating a network of people alleged to have violated California anti-abortion laws at that time. The court offered the nurses immunity, in exchange for their testimony, but, when finally agreeing to testify, they stated that they actually witnessed no illegal medical operations. Los Angeles prosecutors, however, were able to obtain convictions of some of the defendants - hospital manager Henry J. Glynn, osteopath Dr. Oswald Gallardo, and nurse Frieda Zipse. Glynn was sentenced to 8 to 20 years in prison, Gallardo to 4 to 10 years, and Zipse, in lieu of a suspended sentence, to one year in county jail and four additional years of probation. Many California women had to travel to Mexico to obtain an abortion. Those unable to do so or unwilling to take the risks of cross-border medical procedures, had to find local medical providers willing to break the law. In 1966, the year before California legalized abortion, a Los Angeles Times article estimated that about 1,500 illegal abortions were being performed each year in Los Angeles County. The article also noted police reports of 40 to 60 arrests and prosecutions of abortion providers each year, just in the city of Los Angeles alone. In 1967, California became the third U.S. state to legalize abortion, when Governor Ronald Reagan signed the Therapeutic Abortion Act into law.

Photo from the Los Angeles Daily News Negative Collection at UCLA Library.

Biddy Mason, Los Angeles, Circa 1870

Circa 1870. Biddy Mason (in front of doorway on left) with daughter (on right) and others on porch of the home of Robert Owens, Sr., located at First and Los Angeles (now a block from L.A. City Hall). Mason won her freedom from slavery in a Los Angeles court in 1856, after a family claiming ownership of her had moved, five years earlier, from Mississipi to the San Bernardino area. Working as a midwife and nurse, Mason went on to not only become a significant Downtown Los Angeles landowner and one of the wealthiest African Americans in the western U.S., but also a beloved philanthropist and community leader. See our article, Bridget “Biddy” Mason.

Photo from the Miriam Matthews Photograph Collection at UCLA Library.

Los Angeles Soap Company, 1890s

Circa 1890s.* Los Angeles Soap Company founder, John A. Forthmann Sr. (bottom row, third from right) poses with his workers, including son Horace (bottom row, second from right) and company executive John J. Bergin (bottom row, far right). A German immigrant, Forthmann arrived in Los Angeles at age 17 in 1860. He purchased a small soap-making business and, later, with partner William B. Bergin, launched Los Angeles Soap Company. The company grew to become a significant regional soap and detergent manufacturer. Just after World War I, the company introduced the country’s first powdered laundry soap (under brand White King D). Besides supplying soap bars to hotels (including most Las Vegas hotels), it supplied house-label soap and detergent to retail chains such as Albertsons, Lucky’s, Ralphs, Stater Brothers, Thrifty Drug and Vons. Forthmann Sr. died in 1922, but his company continued to grow into eight acres at First and Alameda in Downtown Los Angeles, just east of Little Tokyo. At its peak, the company employed 500 people. From 1922 to 1941, Los Angeles Soap Company sponsored a semipro baseball team, named White King Soapsters (or Soapers or White Kings). The team won the California Winter League championship in its 1924-1925 season. During the 1930s, the company also sponsored radio serial episodes of Chandu the Magician in the western U.S. (on KHJ in Los Angeles). From 1945 to 1964, the company also sponsored the hugely popular Queen for a Day show on radio and television which popularized big prize giveaways. In 1987, after 127 years in business, Los Angeles Soap Company was forced to close, succumbing to competition from bigger national soap and detergent companies.

* Although photograph notes say the image was from 1874, the age of Forthmann’s son and men’s fashion styles in the image are clues that the photo was more likely taken no earlier than the 1890s.

Photo from the California Historical Society Collection at USC Library.

Samoan Football Players, Carson High School, 1978

1978. Eighteen of twenty 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. About a thousand Samoan employees were invited to move to the continental United States to work at naval installations. Many settled in the Los Angeles area in the communities of Long Beach, San Pedro, Wilmington, Carson, Lakewood, and Torrance. In these communities, football became popular among Samoan American high school boys, offering what had long been difficult-to-obtain college scholarship opportunities. Success was found through football, especially with the help of supportive coaches, such as Carson High’s famed Gene Vollnogle. Soon, other American Samoa families, seeing only limited economic opportunities in the islands, sought to migrate to Samoan communities in Southern California. Their sons could also play football there and compete for scholarships and potential careers in the NFL.

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

Donna Parker, Organist, Dodgers, 1972

1972. Donna Parker plays the organ at a Los Angeles Dodgers game in Dodger Stadium. For three months during that year, Parker, age 15, in her stylish 1970's-era outfit and go-go boots, was the official organist of the Los Angeles Dodgers. She was only the fourth organist to hold that title (Gladys Goodding was Major League Baseball's first organist when she began playing for the then Brooklyn Dodgers at Ebbets Field in 1942), but was certainly the youngest. She received the job due to her contract with the installer of the stadium’s large new organ, Conn Organ Company. Her brief stint for the Dodgers, however, was also ended by the company because they wanted her to go on a promotional tour for their products. Before playing for Dodger fans, Parker had already become an accomplished organist. She started playing the organ at age 7 and began giving recitals at age 13. She performed at Universal Studios and her first recording was made just in the year before playing for the Dodgers. She also played at Los Angeles Memorial Sport Arena. After graduating from Baldwin Park High School, Parker went on to earn a degree from California Polytechnic State University, Pomona, with a major in organ. One story told about her first night of playing for the Dodgers, was that legendary announcer Vin Scully came out of his broadcast booth and said to her, “Young lady, I’m going to tell you something: Nobody has ever made me stop when I’m announcing. That's the most fantastic music I ever heard."

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

Jackie Robinson, Brooklyn Dodgers, 1954

Ca. 1954. Jackie Robinson posing at bat for the Brooklyn Dodgers. Seventy-five years ago, on April 15, 1947, Robinson joined the Dodgers to become the first person of color to play in Major League Baseball. Robinson grew up and went to school in Pasadena.

Photo by Bob Sandberg, LOOK Magazine Photograph Collection at the Library of Congress.

Easter, Hollywood Bowl, Los Angeles, 1947

1947. At sunrise, 5:30 a.m., bells chimed, as more than 25,000 worshipers had gathered at the Hollywood Bowl for the start of Easter services. Standing beneath a wooden cross on the north hillside, eight white-robed young women trumpeters heralded the rising sun, said to be with “Gloria Patri. At that service, actress Elizabeth Taylor read the ancient Sanskrit poem, Salutation of the Dawn. The Hollywood Bowl's first Easter sunrise service was held on March 27, 1921 (the Bowl was then known as Daisy Dell). About 2,000 worshippers attended. Then, at sunrise, 5:40 a.m., trumpets sounded and the poem The Master is Coming was read. The Philharmonic performed Holy, Holy, Holy. The Bowl in 1921 had no shell or stage (later added in 1926 and 1927) or seating. It did, however, have its legendary acoustics. The free, nondemoninational Easter sunrise service has been held at the Hollywood Bowl, almost every year since.

Photo by Paul Calvert from Los Angeles Times Photographic Collection at UCLA Library.

Los Angeles Police, Lucy Gray, 1904

1904. The entire Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) posing in front of the Old County Courthouse at Broadway and Temple (demolished in 1936 due to damage from the 1933 earthquake). Not present, inexplicably, is the the department's chief, then William Hammell, who also had served as Los Angeles County Sheriff.
Note Lucy Gray in front (dark dress) with daughter Aletha Gilbert. Matron Gray was the first female LAPD employee who primarily handled female prisoners. Sadly, she died from pneumonia shortly after this photograph was taken.

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

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.

Barbie, Ruth Handler, Mattel, 1961

1961. Ruth Handler, executive of Mattel Toy Company, poses with Barbie Dolls. Since 1959, Handler's Barbie, originating at Mattel Toy Company in El Segundo, became one of the most iconic toys in the world.

Photo from L.A. Times Photographic Archive at UCLA Library.

Saint Francis Dam, Disaster, Santa Clarita Valley, 1928

1928. Surviving children at a relief camp, after the St. Francis Dam collapse, resulting in a monstrous 12.4 billion gallon-wave of water crashing down the San Francisquito Canyon into and flooding the Santa Clara River Valley. Tents were set up in several locations in the valley to house displaced flood survivors and relief workers. The St. Francis Dam had been a 200-foot-high concrete dam, built between 1924 and 1926, in San Francisquito Canyon (near present-day Castaic and Santa Clarita), to collect more water for a rapidly-growing Los Angeles. The dam collapsed on March 12, 1928, just two and a half minutes before midnight. The resulting flood took the lives of more than 400 residents and an unknown number of itinerant farm workers camped in the canyon. It was the second greatest loss of life in a California disaster, after the San Francisco earthquake in 1906. It was also the worst U.S. civil engineering failure of the 20th century. L.A.'s legendary water engineer, William Mulholland, who oversaw construction of the dam, was tarnished by the disaster, although later investigations determined that he could not have known of the geologic issues behind the failure at the time. Nevertheless, Mulholland accepted responsibility. His 50-year career of bringing water to L.A. came to an end.

Photo from L.A. Times Photographic Archive at UCLA Library.

Also see the video: Exploring the St. Francis Dam Ruins

Traffic, Los Angeles, 1953

1953. Traffic jam at Venice and La Cienega Boulevards in Los Angeles. Los Angeles has long struggled with traffic congestion. The city grew rapidly in the early 20th century, just as automobiles came into widespread use. In 1920, L.A. County had 132,145 registered automobiles (7.1 residents per automobile). That year, L.A. tried to ban parking in downtown in order to relieve worsening congestion. A caravan of motorists responded by deliberately jamming downtown streets, forcing the city to rescind the ban. The solution then seemed to be to just add more road capacity. However, L.A.'s 1920 traffic engineers warned that more road capacity only resulted in more traffic. Since then, despite implementaiton of a variety of traffic solutions, the warnings of 1920 traffic planners kept coming true. Los Angeles County now has 6.4 million registered automobiles (1.6 residents per car) and traffic congestion remains a significant problem. The Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority (L.A. Metro) is currently looking into a proposed system of congestion pricing for driving in high congestion areas (a solution used in London, Singapore, Milan, and Stockholm). See "A Historical Perspective on Los Angeles’ Traffic Congestion Fight."

Photo from L.A. Daily News Archives at UCLA Library.

Furlong Tract, African American, circa 1900s

Circa 1900s. Children from the Furlong Tract community pose for a group portrait in what appears to be a patriotic event, perhaps celebrating Lincoln’s birthday. The Furlong Tract, located south of Downtown and west of Vernon, was a community of more than 200 homes that was L.A.’s first African American community.

From Shades of L.A. Collection at Los Angeles Public Library.

Central Avenue, 1938

1938. African American club-goers enjoy Central Avenue night life in Los Angeles. Central Avenue, from the 1920s through the mid-1950s, was considered the Harlem of the West Coast and heart of L.A.’s African American community. It stretched from Little Tokyo in the north to Watts in the south. Along this street, a new genre of jazz emerged that came to be known as West Coast Jazz. Old barriers were broken and plenty of venues along the street offered the opportunity to showcase this exciting new form of jazz. These venues included such names as the Dunbar Hotel, Club Alabam, The Downbeat, Elk’s Hall, The Apex Club, The Flame, The Casablanca, The Bird in the Basket, Plantation Club, The Lighthouse, Lincoln Theater, Jelly Roll Morton’s Hotel, Shepp’s Playhouse, Dynamite Jackson’s, and Ivie’s Chicken Shack. These also became popular with the white community, including regular patronage by Hollywood celebrities. Post-World War II prosperity, however, ultimately led to Central Avenue’s sunset as center for L.A.’s African American life.

Photo by Paul Calvert, from the L.A. Times Photographic Collection at UCLA Library.

Los Angeles Fireman of Hose Company 4, 1914

1914. African American Los Angeles firemen of Hose Company Number 4 (originally Chemical Company Number 1) pose in front of their station at 129 S. Loma Drive (Westlake). The all-black fire company had been formed in 1902 under newly-promoted Fire Lieutenant George Washington Bright (L.A Fire Department's first African American firefighter). After his promotion, the department would not place him in charge of white firefighters. Thus, Chemical Company Number One (later Hose Company Number 4) was formed at Loma Drive.

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

Snow, Newhall, 1974

1974. A rare snow storm stalls traffic along Interstate 5, south of Magic Mountain Parkway, near Newhall. See "Did You Know?" feature below.

Photo by John Malmin from Los Angeles Times Photographic Collection at UCLA Library.

Los Angeles, Chinatown, Anna May Wong, 1938

1938. Los Angeles-born actress Anna May Wong with children at a tree-planting ceremony in Chinatown in Los Angeles. She became the first female Asian American and first Chinese American to become a film star and first to achieve international fame. In her film career, from 1919 to 1961, she acted in 64 motion pictures and 17 television episodes. Wong came to be outspoken against the stereo-type and villian film roles that Asian actors were typically cast in. In Hollywood's earlier days, good Asian character roles were often cast to white actors in "yellow-face." One possible reason that Wong was not cast in the lead Asian female role in the 1937 film "The Good Earth," opposite white actor Paul Muni (also portraying an Asian character) was that Hollywood, like most of American society, opposed anything resembling interracial romantic interactions, even for actors in fictional roles. In 2022, the U.S. Mint announced that Anna May Wong's face would be featured on the U.S. quarter as part of the American Women Quarters™ Program. She becomes the first Asian American and first Los Angeles native to be portrayed on U.S. currency.

Photo from Los Angeles Times Photographic Collection at UCLA Library.

Anna May Wong, U.S. Quarter, American Women Quarters Program, 2022

Reverse side of U.S. quarter, featuring face of Anna May Wong, 2022. Sculpted by John P. McGraw and designed by Emily Damstra.

Los Angeles, Van Nuys, Martin Luther King, 1968

1968. Marchers on a street in Van Nuys (believed to be the 6700 block of Van Nuys Boulevard) mourn Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., days after his death in Tennessee. They carry signs that read "I Have a Dream," "We Mourn Dr. King" and "End White Racism."

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

Los Angeles, Fashion, 1912

1912. The streets of Downtown Los Angeles bustled with pedestrians, bicyclists, horse-drawn carriages, street cars, and, of course by then, early motor vehicles. Style was also prevalent and it was common practice, even for routine outings, to dress up. The wealthy, at the time, did not turn their nose up at taking public transportation and this they did – with women wearing top-tier fashion and large flamboyant hats for showing off. Some women also carried furry hand-warmers in cooler weather, a clear status symbol for socialites.

Photo from the Los Angeles Times, 125th Anniversary Fashion Gallery.

Rose Parade, Pasadena, 1966

1966. The Williams family of Salt Lake City bed down in sleeping bags on Colorado Boulevard in Pasadena on the night before the Tournament of Roses Parade. Considered to be one of the most famous parades held in the world, the Rose Parade was first held in 1890 before 3,000 spectators. Today, an estimated 700,000 spectators descend on Pasadena (easily overwhelming the city of 200,000). The parade is also seen by another 37 million television viewers from around the world. A bit of trivia: the 1954 Tournament of Roses Parade was America's first live national color television broadcast.

Photo by Jack Gaunt in the Los Angeles Times Photographic Archive at UCLA Library.

Christmas tree,Marin a 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 at UCLA Library.

Ella Fitzgerald, Watts, Los Angeles, 1975

1975. Legendary jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald sings with children on Christmas Day at a Christmas party at South Central Community Child Care Center in Watts. Fitzgerald actively supported child care facilities in South Los Angeles. She herself grew up under humble and difficult circumstances. Her incredible talent, however, propelled her to sing at top venues all over the world and with the greatest jazz singers and musicians of her time. She was dubbed “The First Lady of Song” and “Queen of Jazz” and was the most popular female jazz singer for nearly half a century. She won 13 Grammys and sold more than 40 million albums. She received high honors from President Ronald Reagan, the government of France, and a number of prestigious universities. After retirement, she lived her later years in Beverly Hills, where she died in her home in 1996, at the age of 79. She is buried at Inglewood Park Cemetery in Inglewood.

Photo by Penni Gladstone, from the Los Angeles Times Photographic Archive at UCLA Library.

Christmas Trees, Los Angeles, Circa 1928

Circa 1928. Christmas trees line a street in Downtown Los Angeles.

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

Turkey Farm, Poultry, Torrance, 1959

1959. Diane Vaccaro is surrounded by birds at the only turkey ranch left in Torrance. All other turkey farms in the region had moved north, east, and south into more rural areas of Southern California. The Vaccaro family's ranch, Mira Loma Turkey Ranch, was among the dwindling remnants of what was once an enormous and thriving farming industry in Los Angeles County. Before the 1950s, the county was one of the most productive agricultural producers in the nation. That began changing after World War II as farm land was sold off and new rapidly-expanding housing tracts rose in their place. In fact, two years after the photo above, in 1961, the Vacarro family's ranch ceased raising turkeys, after 43 years of farm operations. Housing tract developments, West High School, and Victor Elementary School surrounded what was left of the ranch. All that remains today is Vaccaro Avenue in Torrance, named for the family that had, for more than four decades, raised crops and turkeys there.

From the Los Angeles Times Photographic Archive at UCLA Library.

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. From the California Historical Society Collection at USC Library.

LAX, Los Angeles Airport, 747, Jumbo Jet, 1970

1970. The public is fascinated by the new 747 jumbo jetliner, as hundreds watch a takeoff from the west end of Los Angeles International Airport. It was small wonder, considering that the new aircraft, manufactured by Boeing Company, was nearly three times the size of the largest airliner anyone had ever seen at the time. Airline Pan Am flew the first commercial passengers on a 747, between New York and London, early A.M. on January 22, 1970. It was TWA, however, that inaugurated the first scheduled 747 service, beginning with nonstop Flight 100, from Los Angeles to New York (JFK), at 9:15 a.m., February 25, 1970. The 747 came to be flown by every major American airline since then. In December 2017, the last four passenger 747s flown by a U.S. airline were retired by Delta Airlines. Delta flew three of its last four 747s on a farewell tour, on December 20, 2017, from Seattle to Atlanta and then to Los Angeles and Minneapolis/St. Paul. The 747 continues to be seen at LAX, but only flown by a dwindling number of foreign airlines, charter services, freight services, and, on occasion, as "Air Force One."

Photo by George F. Fry in the Los Angeles Times Photographic Archive at UCLA Librarys.

Homesteads, El Monte, New Deal, Depression, Los Angeles, 1936

1936. One of a hundred federal susbsistance homesteads in El Monte. The family of eight includes six boys, ages 1 to 14. The father works as a street car conductor, earning $100 per month in pay. The family paid $16.20 per month for the home as rent-to-buy. This home resulted from the “small farm movement,” popular in Southern California during the 1920s and 1930s, that promoted an idealized view of "every American a farmer," doing part-time agriculture in their backyard. Ross Gast, an El Monte resident, was a prominent proponent of the movement and, with cheerleading by the Los Angeles Times, talked the Federal government into funding 100 homesteads in El Monte and 40 in the San Fernando Valley. The homesteads were granted to select families for part-time on-site farming. Thousands applied, but those selected were families typically headed by white males in blue-collar occupations. The Federal government also planned for segregated homestead communities for People of Color and Jewish families, but, Gast had little interest in supporting even segregated social reform.

Photo by Dorothea Lange in the Farm Security Administration Collection at the Library of Congress.

Railway, Los Angeles, Pasadena, Altadena, 1894

1894. People stand outside a Los Angeles & Pasadena Railway Company parlor car at the line’s Altadena station. The parlor car was exclusively for scenic excursions to Pasadena and Altadena. Electric railcars debuted on Los Angeles streets in 1887. The Los Angeles & Pasadena Railway Company eventually became part of the Pacific Electric Railway, which rapidly expanded throughout the Greater Los Angeles region, operating its iconic “red cars”.

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

Wrigley Field, Baseball, Los Angeles, 1969

1969. Two boys play in the ruins of the late, great Wrigley Field ballpark in South Los Angeles before its demolition. When Wrigley Field opened in 1925, it was considered to be the finest minor league ballpark in the country and, by some, the finest ballpark period. It was named for chewing gum magnate, William Wrigley Jr., who had it built as home for his Pacific Coast League team,the Los Angeles Angels. Wrigley also owned the major league Chicago Cubs, however, L.A.’s Wrigley Field was named as such a year before the Cubs’ larger Chicago ballpark was renamed to Wrigley Field. The Angels served as a farm team for the Cubs. Wrigley Field also hosted both incarnations of the minor league Hollywood Stars clubs. In 1957, the Dodgers purchased the ballpark with its minor league Angels franchise. The Dodgers ended minor league play at Wrigley Field when they moved to Los Angeles in 1958. They considered expanding the venue as their new ballpark, but instead opted to play at the larger capacity L.A. Memorial Coliseum. In 1961, in agreement with the Dodgers, Gene Autry’s new major league expansion team, Los Angeles Angels (no relationship to the earlier minor league team), began playing at Wrigley Field. After only one season, however, the Angels moved to Dodger Stadium (Chavez Ravine when the Angels played there). After 36 years as a ballpark, Wrigley Field saw its last baseball game on October 1, 1961. The venue ended in the hands of the City of Los Angeles and played host to concerts, football, soccer, and film shoots. In 1963, it hosted a rally by civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. Wrigley Field was demolished in 1969 and is now the site of Gilbert Lindsey Recreation Center and Kedren Community Health Center.

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

Traffic Deaths, Los Angeles, 1952

1952. Man in a skeleton outfit, representing "Mr. Statistic," is carried back to the "morgue" by LAPD (L-R) Officer Ray Harrison and Sergeant S. E. Mills. He had spoken before the Greater Los Angeles Safety Council, urging a reduction in holiday weekend traffic fatalities. "Take it easy,” he warned, “or we may meet again sooner than you think." In 1952, the U.S. motor vehicle fatality rate was 24.3 deaths per 100,000 population. By 2009, the rate had fallen below 12.0, attributed to improved vehicle safety standards and features, such as laws requiring the wearing of seat belts. On January 1, 1986, despite intense resistance and pushback, California became the second state (after North Carolina) to make it mandatory that all persons in a motor vehicle wear a seat belt.

Photo from the Los Angeles Herald Examiner Collection at 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 Downtown Los Angeles. Protestors charged that young Latinos were disproportionately dying in the Vietnam War, even as grievances of injustice and discrimination were not being addressed back home. The American War Library estimates that 5.5 percent of U.S. casualties in Vietnam were Latino (the majority being from California and Texas), whereas, the U.S. population overall, at the time, was only 4.5 percent Hispanic.

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

Olvera Street, Los Angeles, Early 1930s

Early 1930s. Musicians and costumed performers at Olvera Street in the historic core of Los Angeles. The man at the forefront is said to be Jose Herrera, a candlemaker on Olvera Street. In the background is Los Angeles City Hall, completed only about a few years earlier. The street was at the site of the original settlement of El Pueblo de la Reina de Los Angeles (Town of the Queen of Angels), founded in 1781. By the 1920s, reduced to a run-down alley, the street faced demolition, to be replaced by L.A.'s new Union Station. Local preservationist Christine Sterling, however, seeking to save the street with its historic buildings as a historic and cultural destination, almost single-handedly won support to relocate the proposed Union Station site and launch a restoration project for the street. Reopened in 1930 and renamed Olvera Street, it celebrates the historic Spanish and Mexican cultural origins of the city of Los Angeles. The street was reopened to visitors on Easter in 1930.

Photo by Bob Plunkett from the Ernest Marquez Collection at The Huntington Library, San Marino, CA.

Vaccines, Smallpox, Los Angeles, 1949

1949. Children at Ann Street Elementary School, east of Chinatown in Los Angeles, give up smiles after receiving smallpox vaccinations. The last cases of smallpox in the United States occurred that same year (an outbreak in Texas), attributed to the nation's widespread vaccinations by that year. Between 1900 and 1949, the U.S. suffered more than 1.4 million smallpox cases and the loss of almost 17,000 lives to the disease. Those numbers likely would have been considerably less and the disease eradicated sooner, had it not been for a great deal of vaccine resistance by individuals and some states, as is now the case with COVID-19 vaccines. By 1972, with smallpox long eradicated in the United States, smallpox vaccinations were no longer routinely given. All 50 states, however, continue to mandate other vaccines (currently for measles, polio, tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis, and chickenpox) for children entering childcare and elementary school. This maintains a mostly vaccinated population against these deadly diseases and keeps outbreaks non-existent or rare.

Photo from the Los Angeles Daily News Negatives Collection at UCLA Library.

Spain, Leather-Jacket Colonial Soldier, Circa 1771

Today, more than 25,000 local and state police officers patrol and keep the peace in 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) were tasked with keeping the peace at the two local missions, the Pueblo de Los Angeles, and the dwindling number of villages of the local native people. 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 in what was then a remote region. Some of their last names are familiar today to Angelenos such as Dominguez, Nieto, Verdugo and Sepulveda.

19th century engraving of Spanish colonial soldier from the book La cavalerie de la Nouvelle-Espagne, edited by Del-Prado Osprey. Work by Raymundus à Murillo, via Wikimedia Commons.

Labor Day, Waitress, Los Angeles, 1935

1935, Labor Day. Although Labor Day has long been a day off from work for many American workers, this waitress, Margaret Wright, was one of many who still ended up having to work. At the time, a Los Angeles food server could make from $18 to $21 per week, depending on hours worked. That was equivalent to about $358 to $418 today. Today's food servers in Los Angeles average about $595 to $765 per week. This puts these workers, according to U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Developement guidelines, at best, in the economic category of "very low income."

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

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.

School, Montebello, 1935

1935. Crowd of students with Montebello Police Officer Ivan Crooks on their first day of school at Fremont School in Montebello. Some of the children are Latino, who, at that time in most other school districts in California, were typically assigned to substandard "Mexican" schools, segregating them from white students (as were black, Asian and Native American children). That changed in 1947, however, after a Latino family in Orange County challenged California school segregation laws in Federal court. The court's historic ruling compelled California to repeal all its public school segregation laws.

See: Mendez v Westminster: Paving the Way to School Desegregation.

Photo from the L.A. Times Photographic Archive at UCLA Library.

Beach, Long Beach, Pike, 1920

Circa 1920. Women and children play around in the surf, probably in Long Beach. In the background is a pier and roller coaster that appears to be the famed Long Beach amusement pier known as The Pike.

Photo from the California Historical Society Collection at USC Library.

Olympics, Sam the Olympic Eagle, 1984

1980. Entertainer Bob Hope escorts “Sam the Olympic Eagle” down the steps of Los Angeles City Hall. The character was introduced as the mascot for the 1984 Summer Olympic Games to be held in Los Angeles. The mascot, representing two American symbols, the Bald Eagle and Uncle Sam, was designed by Angeleno and legendary Disney animator Bob Moore. Moore helped to animate Dumbo, The Reluctant Dragon, and The Three Caballeros and also designed the 1968 Walt Disney United States postage stamp. The Sam the Olympic Eagle mascot was often confused with the Disneyland character Eagle Sam, host of its “American Sings” attraction. The Sam the Olympic Eagle mascot continues to be used to promote the LA 84 Youth Days athletic event, held annually at Mount San Antonio College in Walnut by the LA 84 Foundation.

Photo by Steve Fontanini, from the Los Angeles Times Photographic Archive at UCLA Library.

Olympics, Harold Connelly, Olga Connelly, 1964

Cold War Romance Story

1964. Olympian Harold Connelly (a UCLA alumni and Santa Monica High School teacher) helps wife and fellow Olympian, Olga, practice the shot-put, in preparation for the 1964 Olympic Games. Six years earlier, in the midst of 1950s cold war tensions, the two gold medal winners became a sensation when they met and fell in love at the 1956 Olympic Games.

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

Universal Studios, Movie Studios, 1915

Circa 1915. Visitors watch a western bar scene being filmed at Universal Studios. Today's spectacular, special effects-laden studio tour began in 1915 as the “25 cent studio tour.” For the price of a quarter, visitors watched movies being made from the "Visitor's Observatory" built above the sets. From there, they could cheer for heroes and boo villians. Because films then were made without sound, noise was not a production issue. Between takes, visitors could meet the stars and collect autographs and wander around the sets. For an extra nickel, they could also enjoy a chicken box lunch from the studio eatery. The tours were popular until the advent of sound movies in the late 1920s, when quiet became important to film sets. The viewing stands were removed by 1930 and the public was no longer welcome on the studio lot. In 1964, the studio reopened to visitors aboard the pink and white Univeral Studio "Glamor Trams."

Photo from the California Historical Society collection at USC Library.

Felix Chevrolet, Felix the Cat, Auto Dealerships, 1977

1977. The Felix Chevrolet showroom and sign at Figuero and Jefferson in Los Angeles. The story behind the Felix the Cat sign, arguably one of the most iconic landmarks in Los Angeles, goes back one hundred years.

Photo by John Margolies in the "Roadside America" archive at the Library of Congress.

July 4, Los Angeles, Firefighters, 1871

1871. Los Angeles firefighters march in what was reported to be the city's first civic parade, held to celebrate Independence Day on July 4. The view looks north on Main Street from Central Avenue. Firefighters are marching with their horse-drawn pressurized water pump. Spectators can be seen along the unpaved road, under store awnings or in carriages. Just seven years earlier, however, there was little enthusiasm among Angelenos for any celebration of Independence Day. The American Civil War was raging and many Angelenos were migrants from southern states that had seceded from the Union. There was a significant amount of pro-Confederacy sentiment in Los Angeles. In fact, July 4th celebrations were not even held in the city in 1863 and 1864. Federal troops even had to be garrisoned nearby to guard against insurrection in the region.

Photo from the California Historical Society Collection at USC Library.

Beach-goers, Santa Monica, 1898

Ca. 1898. Beach visitors flock near North Beach Bath House in Santa Monica (just north of where Santa Monica Pier is today). In the distance is the Arcadia Hotel, then considered California's finest seaside hotel. When most people of that era did not know how to swim, public bath houses were often where they could learn. Los Angeles area bath houses were open to the public (although not for all) and affordable to most. Each weekend, throngs streamed to the beach by train or buggy. The North Beach Bath House, opened in 1894, was considered to be the finest in Los Angeles County. It featured a large salt water plunge with full-time attendants. Crowds watched bathers from bleachers (often with men there to oogle women bathers). A complex around the bath house also featured a bowling pavilion, an elegant parlor, ballroom, roof garden, and restaurant. Other competing and even grander bath houses opened in Ocean Park, Redondo Beach and Long Beach. By the turn of the century, Los Angeles County's public bath houses were known throughout the world. By the 1910s and 1920s, however, the era of public bath houses came to an end, as they ceased to be fashionable. We also suspect that the influenza pandemic of 1918-1919 may have hastened their demise. North Beach Bath House closed in 1909.

See The Lost Bath Houses of Los Angeles.

Photo from the California Historical Society Collection at USC Library.

Zev Yaroslavsky, Los Angeles, 1978

1978. Zev Yaroslavsky, then on the Los Angeles City Council, holding his 10-month-old daughter, Mina, during a council meeting. With an earlier reputation as a high-profile young political activist, Yaroslavsky was first elected to the council at age 26, in a 1975 upset victory. He brought his activism to the council, but also came to be considered the council’s “budget czar.” Although he eyed becoming mayor, that opportunity never came. Yaroslavsky left the council in 1994, after his election to the Los Angeles Board of Supervisors. There he played a significant role in raising taxes to shore up the county's trauma care network, expanding the region’s bus and light rail system and, with support for a master plan for the Santa Monica Mountains, adding 20,000 acres to the parks system. Yaroslavsky also supported the arts, including the refurbishment of the Hollywood Bowl and development of Walt Disney Concert Hall. Due to term limits, he stepped down from the Board of Supervisors in 2014.

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

Dayton Heights Elementary School, Los Angeles, 1972

1972. Second graders charge out with joy from Dayton Heights Elementary School (in the Virgil Village neighborhood of East Hollywood), as summer vacation begins. Teacher Jill McKay, at the rear, waves goodbye. The school first opened in 1909. Total enrollment in the Los Angeles Unified School District was about 625,000 students in 1972. That number peaked at about 750,000 in 2005, but has since dropped to about 550,000 today.

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.

Beach, Long Beach, Circa 1890

Ca. 1890. People enjoying the beach at Long Beach.

From the California Historical Society colleciton at USC Library.

Japanese American, California Young Buddhist League, Los Angeles, 1941

1941. Young Japanese American women gather for a meeting of the California Young Buddhist League in Los Angeles. This and hundreds of other clubs and organizations were formed, from the 1920s through the 1950s, by young Japanese Americans in Los Angeles and California, but most notably by girls and women. These typically focused on sports or community service, but, importantly, offered an opportunity for young second generation daughters to explore their distinctively American identities. Some clubs also offered acceptable social opportunities to meet the opposite sex. These were vital to Japanese American young people who, like other people of color, were often unwelcome in social venues outside their neighborhoods. Even after Japanese Americans were forced into “relocation” camps during World War II, girls continued forming social organizations and clubs in the camps. A number of these continued after the war, maintaining tight-knit and life-long relationships. – See “How Wartime Prejudice Brought Young Japanese Americans Together for Life,” by Josie Huang, The World.

Photo from the L.A. Times Photographic Archive at UCLA Library.

Space Shuttle, Enterprise, Palmdale, 1977

1977. A boy on horseback, watching the Space Shuttle Enterprise being moved across the desert in the Antelope Valley, reflects Los Angeles County's 200-year progression from horses to spaceships. The shuttle was moved 36 miles overland on a 90-wheel transport from the Rockwell International facility in Palmdale to a NASA test facility at Edwards Air Force Base. Enterprise was designed and constructed at the Rockwell International plant in Downey, with final assembly at the company’s facility in Palmdale, as were all six shuttles built. Although Enterprise was the first to fly, it was never launched into orbit, as it was never actually intended for that purpose (it launched from atop the NASA Boeing 747 shuttle carrier aircraft). In 1981, Space Shuttle Columbia was the first to be launch into orbit.

From the L.A. Times Photographic Archive at UCLA Library.

Day Laborer, Griffith Park, 1933

1933. A day laborer, wearing a button-down shirt and bow tie, dumps rocks from a wheelbarrow, as part of a work crew on a road-widening project in Griffith Park. Each day as many as 6,000 workers received day jobs on various infrastructure projects throughout the park. These and many other government-funded projects provided work for armies of unemployed people during the Great Depression and gave the country a much-needed infrastructure upgrade. The attire of the worker in the image illustrated how many found themselves in work outside their customary occupations. Even the presence of so many personal automobiles in the background, parked along the worksite, highlighted the unusual makeup of the Griffith Park labor force (day laborers could not then typically afford automobiles). People took whatever work was offered. Sadly, the 1933 Griffith Park work projects also became the background for one of the most deadly wildfires in U.S. history.

From the L.A. Times Photographic Archive at UCLA Library.

Los Angeles, From Space, 2015, Scott Kelly, NASA

2015, April 5. NASA astronaut Scott Kelly (now U.S. Senator from Arizona), took this photo of the Los Angeles area at night from the International Space Station. At the center of the large splash of light is Los Angeles. The San Diego metro area is to the right. Ventura/Oxnard and Santa Barbara stream off to the bottom left. The smaller globs of lights orbiting above L.A. are (left to right) Santa Clarita, Palmdale/Lancaster, Victorville and Palm Springs. Las Vegas is towards the top right of the image. Bakersfield is the largest light glob to the right center. The Pacific Ocean is at the bottom center. This image alone emcompasses an area that is home to more than 25 million people.

Photo by Scott Kelly/NASA.

Griffith Observatory, Los Angeles, 1949

1949. A crowd watches the eclipse of the moon from the balcony of Griffith Observatory, overlooking Los Angeles. When the observatory opened in 1935, the concept of a "public observatory" was a novel concept. Since then, night sky (and daytime skyline) viewing from the observatory has delighted a cumulative 85 million visitors. Today, it has become the most visited public observatory in the world, receiving 1.6 million visitors in a year. More people (8 million) have looked through its 12-inch refractor telescope than through any other telescope on earth. In 2009, Griffith Observatory was named among "Ten Places to See Before You are Ten" by Travel & Leisure Magazine.

Photo from LA Daily News Negatives Collection at UCLA Library.

Olvera Street, Los Angeles, Postcard, 1936

Photo from the Los Angeles Almanac Postcard Collection.

1936. Postcard image of Olvera Street in Los Angeles. Then known as "El Paseo de Los Angeles," the street first opened as a tourist attraction on Easter Sunday, April 20, 1930. It was part of the original townsite of early Los Angeles and contained a number of historic structures, including the Avila Adobe, the oldest remaining home in the city. Over time, however, as the city's center moved southward, the street (which essentially had become an alley) fell into a state of being run-down. By 1926, plans emerged for the city to raze structures in the area, including the Avila Adobe, in favor of redevelopment around the new Union Station, under construction nearby. When preservationist Christine Sterling became aware of this, she launched into a one-woman campaign to preserve and redevelop the street as a tribute to the historic Spanish/Mexican heritage of Los Angeles. After four years of lobbying, fund-raising, restoration, and reconstruction (with support from Los Angeles Times owner Harry Chandler and often with labor loaned from the city jail), Sterling saw Olvera Street reopened to the public on that Easter Sunday. It has become one of L.A.'s most iconic and popular destinations.

Olvera Street, Los Angeles, 1926

1926. Olvera Street, before restoration, looking south towards Plaza. Photo from El Pueblo Monument Photo Collection, Los Angeles Public Library.

Japanese Americans, Detention, 1942

1942. Not long after America's entry into World War II, ethnic Japanese Southern Californians await registration at a government assembly (detention) facility at Santa Anita Racetrack in Arcadia. In February of that year, all persons of Japanese ancestry living on the West Coast, even U.S.-born citizens, were ordered to "evacuate" from the West Coast. Those unwilling or unable to do so were then ordered to be restricted to military-guarded "relocation" camps.

Photo by Russell Lee, courtesy of Library of Congress.

Los Angeles County, Board of Supervisors, Government, 2020, 1887

In 2020, for the first time in 168 years, Los Angeles County voters seated an all-woman county board of supervisors. The Almanac was unable to find this having happened in any other county in California history. The board's first ever woman supervisor (and first African American supervisor) was Yvonne Brathwaite Burke, who, in 1979, was appointed to fill a vacant seat by Governor Jerry Brown. In 1991, Gloria Molina became the first woman to be elected to the board. The five current women supervisors serve the most populous county in the nation (more than 10 million people), oversee a $36 billion budget, and govern the second largest government entity below the state level in the nation (second only to the City of New York).

Group portrait of 2021 and 1887 L.A. County Board of Supervisors. The 1887 group portrait (including one unidentified person) is the earliest found. From the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. 1887 portrait colorized by HotSpot.ai.

2021, L-R: Holly Mitchell (2nd District), Sheila Kuehl (3rd District), Hilda Solis (1st District), Janice Hahn (4th District) and Kathryn Barger (5th District).
1887, Top L-R: Thomas Rowan (3rd Dist.), Jacob Ross Jr. (5th Dist.), Joseph Venable (4th Dist.); Bottom L-R: William Martin (1st Dist.), Unidentified Person, Oscar Macy? (2nd Dist.).

African American Women Aircraft Assembler, Los Angeles, Circa 1939-1945

Circa 1939-1945. African American "Rosie the Riveter" at a Los Angeles area aircraft manufacturing plant during World War II. She was one of almost half a million American women among more than 2 million workers overall who built aircraft during the war. According to the Los Angeles Times, more than 10,000 African American families were among those who moved to Los Angeles for jobs in the war industry. As African American pilots flew combat aircraft in the war, African American workers helped to build them.

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

Actors, Los Angeles, 10th Cavalry, 1966

1966. Forty African American youth at a Burbank stable, most who had previously never been near a horse, train to portray historic 10th U.S. Cavalry troopers - "Buffalo Soldiers" - for an independent movie production. The filmmakers used actual army cavalry training manuals to mold the boys into a fully capable team of horsemen. The film was never made, but the boys went on to appear in parades, fairs and television shows. See 10th Cavalry Rides Again, by Scott Harrison, L.A. Times.

Photo from Los Angeles Times Photographic Archive at UCLA Library.

Tom Bradley, Los Angeles, Mayor, Election, 1973

1973. Tom Bradley is congratulated for his victory in the Los Angeles mayoral election by (L-R) daughters Phyllis, Lorraine, and wife Ethel. Bradley retired from the LAPD as a lieutenant in 1962 and, after a brief stint as a private-practice attorney, was elected in 1963 to become the city’s first African American council member. In 1969, he ran for mayor of Los Angeles against incumbent Mayor Sam Yorty. Although Bradley had 22 years of service as an LAPD officer and the endorsement of the Los Angeles Times, Yorty ran a race-baiting campaign that sought to paint Bradley as a radical threat to white Angelenos. The campaign was considered one of the most bitter in Los Angeles history and Bradley ended up being defeated. He came back, however, in 1973, to run again against Yorty’s effort to win a fourth term in office, This time, Bradley defeated the incumbent. He became only the second African American mayor of a major U.S. city and went on to become the longest serving mayor of Los Angeles, serving five terms in office. One of Bradley's accomplishments, the expansion of Los Angeles International Airport, led to the naming of the international terminal in his honor, Tom Bradley International Terminal.

Photo from Los Angeles Times Photographic Archive at UCLA Library.

Smog, Los Angeles, Civic Center, 1948

January 1948. Los Angeles Civic Center (viewed from First and Olive Streets) covered in eye-irritating smog. In 1940, Los Angeles had more than one million cars. By 1942, the city began seeing explosive industrialization, brought on by the nation’s entry into World War II. Angelenos also began seeing increasingly murky and dirty air. Many thought of it as just increased cloudiness, however, the bad air also brought eye and throat irritation and breathing problems. Many days, the city seemed to disappear in smog. On July 26, 1943, smog so thickly blanketed the city that residents believed it to be a Japanese “gas attack.” The event prompted the city to try to identify the sources of smog and find ways to combat it. In 1947, despite opposition from oil and business interests, new California air pollution legislation led to the formation, in Los Angeles County, of the nation’s first air pollution control district. Major industries were required to have air pollution permits. It wasn’t until the early 1950s that car exhaust was identified as significantly contributing to air pollution. Hundreds of thousands of backyard trash incinerators also burned across the county and these, by 1957, were outlawed. Air pollution, however, seemed, not only to persist, but to worsen. By the 1960s, Los Angeles was experiencing 200 bad air days each year. It wasn’t until after 1970, with passage of the Clean Air Act, that Los Angeles County finally began seeing improvements to its air quality.

Photo from Los Angeles Times Photographic Archive at UCLA Library.

Wrigley Ocean Marathon, Santa Catalina Island, 1927

January 15, 1927. Swimmers, slathered in grease, animal fat and oil, meant as insulation against the cold ocean temperature (some swimming naked, including women, to minimize drag), prepare for the Wrigley Ocean Marathon. More than 100 swimmers set out to complete the 22-mile marathon swim from Isthmus Cove on Santa Catalina Island to Point Vicente on Palos Verdes Peninsula. The prize for the winner was so large that it has not since been matched in marathon swimming. The sole finisher became an overnight sensation. Nonetheless, although the event drew national and international attention, it was only held once.

Photo from Los Angeles Times Photographic Archive at UCLA Library.

Tommy Lasorda, Pete Rose, Dodgers, Reds, Baseball, 1985

1985. Tommy Lasorda talking with Cincinnati's Peter Rose before a game at Dodger Stadium.

Lasorda managed the Los Angeles Dodgers from 1976 to 1996. He led the team to two World Series Championships (1981 & 1988) and four National League pennants (1977, 1978, 1981, 1988). He was twice named National League Manager of the Year (1983 & 1988). He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame as a manager in 1997. He led the U.S. Olympic baseball team to a gold medal win at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney. Lasorda's uniform number 2 was retired by the Dodgers in 1997.

Photo from Los Angeles Times Photographic Archive at UCLA Library.

Automobiles, Manufacturing, Studebaker, Vernon, 1936

1936. Auto assembly workers at the Los Angeles Studebaker assembly plant in Vernon. The plant manufactured motor vehicles from December 1935 until its closure in June 1954. Automobile manufacturing in Los Angeles County even, at one time, rivaled Detroit, pushing out, at its peak, half a million new vehicles a year.

Photo from LA Daily News Negatives Collection, courtesy of UCLA 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. The event was not held in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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

Vietnam, Veterans, Protest, Westwood, Los Angeles, Federal Building, 1974

1974. Vietnam War veteran and activist Ron Kovic leads other disabled veterans from the Federal Building in Westwood after ending an occupation and hunger strike in the offices of then U.S. Senator Alan Cranston. The veterans were protesting the treatment of veterans in Veteran Administration (VA) hospitals and demanded an investigation of VA facilities. The group ended their protest after VA Director Donald E. Johnson flew out from Washington, D.C. to meet with them. Kovic was a Purple Heart medal-winning former USMC sergeant who was wounded and paralyzed in the Vietnam War in 1968. He became an internationally known anti-war activist and ended up being arrested 12 times during protests. Kovic’s memoir, Born on the Fourth of July (written in Santa Monica during 1974), became a 1976 best-seller and was made into the 1989 film of the same name by director Oliver Stone.

Photo by Cal Montney, from the Los Angeles Times Photographic Archive at UCLA Library

Leo Carillo, Thanksgiving, Los Angeles, 1937

1937. Actor Leo Carillo hosts Thanksgiving dinner for Mexican American children at La Golondrina Restaurant in Olvera Street. Carillo (b.1880-d.1961), a film and television actor, was best known for his role as Pancho in the television series The Cisco Kid, from 1950 to 1956. He traced his lineage to the prominent Carillo family of early Spanish and Mexican California. He was an active conservationist and preservationist. During his 18-year tenure on the California Beach and Parks Commission, he had a key role in California's acquisition of Hearst Castle at San Simeon, the Los Angeles Arboretum, and Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. He was honored as namesake of Leo Carillo State Park on Pacific Coast Highway, west of Malibu.

Photo from the Los Angeles Times Photographic Archive at UCLA Library

XNLT Tamale Cart, Los Angeles, 1894

1894. XNLT tamale cart on a street in Los Angeles. More than 100 years before trendy food trucks began flourishing in Los Angeles, more than a hundred tamale wagons roamed the city. These horse-drawn wagons (or tamaleros), traced back to the mid-1800s in Los Angeles, are said to have played a part in the popularity of Mexican food here. They became so ubiquitous that the Los Angeles Herald commented, “The experience of our Eastern visitors will be incomplete” without sampling a Los Angeles street tamale. Restaurant owners weren’t happy then with the tamale wagons. Local newspapers tried painting the wagons as attractions for unsavory patrons and “nurseries of crime.” Efforts were made to outlaw the wagons. Enthusiastic patrons, however, defended their presence. L.A. City Councilman Fred Wheeler stated in 1920, “The tamale put Los Angeles on the map. These wagons are almost an institution of our city. Cabrillo and his sailors are said to have found them here when they landed. Drive these wagons from our streets? Never!” By the late 1920s, however, the wagons quickly began to disappear with the advent of the automobile and some vendors moving to brick-and-mortar. XLNT Tamales Co. continues in business today as XLNT Foods Corporation.

Photo from XLNT Foods Corp.

See Tamales, L.A.'s Original Street Food by Gustavo Arellano, L.A. Times.

Children, Asian, Play, Elysian Park, Los Angeles, 1976

1976. Five girls play Chinese jump-rope in Elysian Park in Los Angeles.

Photo by Gary Ayala from the Los Angeles Times Archive at UCLA Library.

Giant Wilmington Jack-O-Lantern, 1965

1965. Aerial view of “Smilin’ Jack” at an oil refinery in Wilmington. Said to be the world’s largest jack-o-lantern, a 3.3 million-gallon storage tank at the Phillips 66 Los Angeles Refinery in Wilmington still transforms into “Smilin’ Jack” for every Halloween. First painted by Darrell Stuart in 1952, at what was then a Union Oil facility, the tank has been painted to resemble a giant jack-o-lantern every October since. The tradition became increasingly popular over the years. More than 20,000 people reportedly visit the Great Pumpkin each October. The tank continues to be a working storage tank. Refinery engineers calculate that, if the tank were a real pumpkin, it could fill almost 27 million pumpkin pies. For 2020, in light of the pandemic, Smilin’ Jack was appropriately painted with a face mask.

Photo from the Los Angeles Times Archive at UCLA Library.

Los Angeles, Grand Central Market, 1946

1946. Customers wait to purchase meat from a butcher at Grand Central Market in Los Angeles. In recent years, the iconic market, stretching between Broadway and Hill Street, has evolved into a center of hip downtown eateries. For most of its history since 1917, however, it served as a marketplace for produce, meat and groceries for working-class downtown residents and workers.

Photo from the Los Angeles Daily News Negatives collection at UCLA Library.

Los Angeles Dodgers, World Series, Fans, 1965

1965 at LAX. Fans await the return of the Los Angeles Dodgers from the team's World Series win against the Minnesota Twins. The day before, the Dodgers defeated the Twins in game 7 in Minnesota to win the series. Walter Aston was then manager and Sandy Koufax was MVP in that series. This was the Dodgers' fourth World Series win and their third after moving to Los Angeles.

Photo by Jack Gaunt, in the Los Angeles Times Photographic Archive at UCLA Library.

Padrón, Painting, James Walker, Circa 1885

“Padrón” by James Walker (1818-1889), circa 1885. A man on horseback in colorful Spanish-style attire. He portrays a wealthy California ranch owner from the Spanish/Mexican period. By the mid-19th century, nostalgic and romanticize images of early California became the rage among Americans and Europeans. Walker, an English-born American painter who had lived in Mexico and California, painted for that market. He was fascinated by vaqueros (cowboys), who were vital to California’s early cattle-ranching culture (also see Roping Wild Horses and Charros at the Round-Up). By the time Walker painted these images, however, most of the great Spanish/Mexican ranches (among them, recognizable names such as Los Cerritos, San Pedro, Sausal Redondo, La Puente, Santa Anita, La Cañada, Boca de Santa Monica, Los Palos Verdes, Las Virgenes, Los Feliz, El Encino, Las Cienegas, La Brea, Los Alamitos, Topanga, and Tujunga) had either been purchased or wrested away in court from the original Mexican family owners. The ranches were then carved up for agriculture and development.

Painting in the collection of The Brancroft Library at University of California, Berkeley.

Fiesta de Los Angeles, Circa 1890

Circa 1890s. Latino families gather to celebrate "Fiesta de Los Angeles." The event was an annual parade and festival held in Downtown Los Angeles in the spring, held from 1894 to 1916. It was meant to celebrate L.A.’s diverse cultures (as far as they appreciated diversity at the time) and a springtime boost to the local economy. Although L.A.'s Latino population had been dominant from the city's founding through the mid-19th century, it was increasingly dwarfed by incoming white "Anglo" migrants in the latter half of the century. Toward the end of that century, the L.A. Times reportedly predicted that the "Mexican" population would disappear altogether from Los Angeles, leaving only the legacy of their culture.

Photo from the California Historical Society Collection at USC Library.

Garment Workers, Los Angeles, 1940-1950

1948. Members of Las Damas Pan Americanas club in evening clothes. From 1946 into the 1960s, the club served as a social organization for more affluent Latinas in Los Angeles. They were generally not welcome in white social clubs. The club held an annual high-profile debutante ball in which young Latinas were "introduced to society."

Photo from the L.A. Daily News Collection at UCLA Library.

Garment Workers, Los Angeles, 1940-1950

Circa 1940s-1950s. Workers assemblying shirts in a garment factory in Los Angeles. The Los Angeles fashion industry grew from a single maker of men's coveralls in 1890 into one of the largest fashion centers in the world. See Beginning of L.A.’s Fashion Industry.

Photo from the California Historical Society Collection at USC Library.

Chicano Moratorium, Vietnam, East Los Angeles, March, 1970

August 29, 1970. Fifty years ago, 20,000 to 30,000 people came from across the country to East Los Angeles to march against injustice and the Vietnam War. The event was the iconic civil rights Chicano Moratorium march.

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

Students Show Up for First Day of Class, Plymouth Elementary, Monrovia, 1970

1970. Caption: "OPENING DAY--The first black students to attend Monrovia's Plymouth School arrive by bus with others as district integration plan went into effect." By 1970, Los Angeles County schools were largely segregated by race, despite an earlier U.S. Supreme Court ruling against segregated education. Local school boards explained that the cause was geography rather than race. However, there was evidence that some school districts divided students among schools based on race. This led to a period of court-ordered busing, beginning in 1970, where students were reassigned among schools. African American children got access to better schools. Many white families, however, hotly opposed busing. Many opted for private schools or moved outside their district. In 1979, California voters passed Proposition 1 that brought an end to busing. Nevertheless, some school districts continued to work toward voluntary integration. Thus came the introduction of “magnet” schools. These offered a unique education that hoped to attract a greater racial mix of students.

Photo by Fitzgerald Whitney, from the Los Angeles Times Photographic Archive at UCLA Library.

Long Beach Earthquake, Food Aid Station, 1933

1933. Boys and adults line up at a food aid station after the Long Beach earthquake. The 6.4 magnitude earthquake occured on March 10 and was centered offshore, southeast of Long Beach. In addition to the 120 lives lost, the earthquake caused widespread damage throughout Southern California, with property damage then estimated at $40 million (about $800 million in 2020 dollars).

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

Los Angeles Refuse Collector, Circa 1910-1930

Circa 1910-1930. Refuse collector on the streets of Los Angeles, said to be from the Department of Public Works. Before World War II, Los Angeles residents burned most of their trash in their backyards. Organic waste, such as food scraps, was either composted or left on curbs for pick up by waste collectors (such as in the photo) to be hauled to pig farms. Although the Los Angeles Bureau of Sanitation had been operating since 1890, it appeared to mostly focus on cremating dead animal carcasses and the like to prevent disease. During World War II, the City of Los Angeles took over all residential waste collection in order to help conserve or recycle materials for the war effort. After the war, residents went back to burning waste in backyard incinerators. In 1957, in response to worsening air pollution, backyard incineration was banned. Waste was still generally sorted by type and left on curbs in piles or sorted in bins. In 1961, Los Angeles Mayor Sam Yorty directed that all waste, regardless of type, be placed in the same bins, and hauled away to landfills.

Photo from the California Historical Society Collection at USC Library.

Dodger Fans at Dodger Stadium Box Office, 1977

1977. October 10. Caption: "DODGER DIEHARDS--More than 150 "real Dodger fans" stay in line after 9 a.m. at ticket office on Stadium Way although no World Series tickets were on sale there." It was Tommy Lasorda's first season as general manager for the Dodgers and the team had, two days earlier, defeated the Philadelphia Phillies for the National League Championship. That season, the Dodgers were the first team with four players to hit 30 or more home runs in one season, with Steve Garvey hitting 33, Reggie Smith, 32, Ron Cey, 30, and Dusty Baker, 30. This photo was taken the day before the Dodgers faced the New York Yankees for first game of the 1977 World Series in New York. The Dodgers ended up losing that series to the Yankees, 4 games to 2.

Photo by Art Rogers from the Los Angeles Times Photograph Collection at UCLA Library.

Isabel Crocker, West Hollywood, 1947

1947. Isabel Crocker in her Los Angeles area gift shop. By then, Crocker, with her husband and three daughters, had been living in West Hollywood for two years. At some point, six neighbors brought a lawsuit against her, complaining that she was three-quarters American Indian and, therefore, violated housing deed restrictions that, at the time, prohibited non-white persons from residing in their neighborhood. In early 1947, the Los Angeles County Superior Court ordered her and her daughters to vacate their home, allowing only her husband, who was white French Canadian, to remain in their residence. After the plight of the Crockers was publicized, offers of help and legal assistance came pouring in for the family. A year later, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against racially restrictive "covenants" and all racial restrictions on any housing were outlawed by the Federal Fair Housing Act of 1968.

Photo from the Los Angeles Times Photograph Collection at UCLA Library.

Influenza Patients in Hospital at Wilson High School, Pasadena, 1905

1919. During the 1918-1919 global influenza pandemic, influenza patients are cared for by nurses in a make-shift hospital at Wilson High School in Pasadena. This is one of only a few photographs that the Almanac could find of life in the Los Angeles area during that early 20th century pandemic. Before the pandemic ceased to threaten the Los Angeles area, more than 55,000 people were reported sickened and about 3,300 died, just within the city of Los Angeles alone. Although that was a century ago, there are many similiarities between then and now as to how people responded to lockdowns and mask orders. If there is one lesson that Angelenos of a century ago can teach us is that we are better off listening to our public health experts.

Photo by Harold A. Parker, in the Harold A. Parker Studio Collection of Negatives at the Huntington Library.

Life Guards at Venice Beach, circa 1915-1920

Ca. 1915-1920. Young lifeguards knitting at the beach in Venice. Note the early lifeguard tower in the background on the left. Los Angeles County Fire Department's Lifeguard Division today, the largest professional lifeguard operation in the world (conducting 10,000 ocean rescues and watching over an estimated 55 million beachgoers a year), traces its roots back to these early volunteer lifeguards.

Photo from the Bain News Service photograph collection at the Library of Congress.

Young People Hitchhike Sunset Strip, 1966

1966. Young people hitchhike on the Sunset Strip. The Sunset Strip, a one and a half mile stretch of Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood, became a center for counterculture youth and hip celebrities during the mid-1960s. It helped launch new rock talent such as The Byrds, The Doors, Led Zeppelin, The Seeds and Frank Zappa. These played at iconic venues such as Whisky a Go Go (birthplace of “Go-Go Dancers”), the Roxy, Pandora’s Box and London Fog. However, with local residents angry about the growing crowds of young people, alcohol, drugs and traffic, the Strip also drew a curfew crackdown by authorities resulting in the “Sunset Strip (or Hippie) Riots.” This was a clash between police and counterculture youth that journalist Woody Haut called “an early salvo in the ‘culture wars’, a battle that continues to this day.”

Photo by Harry Chase, from L.A. Times Photographic Archive at UCLA Library.

Eighth and Broadway, Los Angeles, 1937

1937. Downtown Los Angeles, looking up Flower Street towards Seventh Street, from the intersection of Eighth and Flower Streets. The Barker Bros. Building is visible and still stands there today. Almost everything else has since changed. A parking garage stands today at the corner where the eatery and parking lot were then located. Note the traffic signal at the corner. At the time, the nation was struggling through the Great Depression and was about four years from entering World War II. Los Angeles was home to about 1.4 million people (today, about 4 million). Organized crime in Los Angeles, overseen by the East Coast mob, seemed to be running free in the city. That same year, Los Angeles Mayor Frank L. Shaw was re-elected to a second term in office, but, in the following year, with an administration beset with corruption, he became the first mayor of a major U.S. city to be recalled from office.

Photo by Foster & Kleiser, from the Montebello Historical Society Collection.

Women Contestants, Venice Pier, California, Los Angeles, 1920s

Circa 1920s. Women at Venice Pier, possibly beauty contestants. The pier in Venice, California, was long a place of sights and people for visitors to gawk at. These included beauty contests for women that were popular at the pier during the 1920s. In 1926, male beauty contests were also introduced. Although female contests focused on physical attractiveness, male contests offered prizes in categories "most handsome," "most fit" and "homeliest."

From the California Historical Society Collection at USC Library.

Picketers Opposing Housing Discrimination, San Fernando Valley, 1964

1964. Picketers at the office of the Valley Board of Realtors in Van Nuys protest the board's opposition to the Rumford Housing Act. The act, passed by the California legislature in 1963, prohibited discrimination against home buyers and renters, based upon race, ethnicity, religion, sex, marital status, physical handicap, or familial status. Many white property owners were unhappy at no longer being able to legally discriminate as they saw fit. Thus entered the California Real Estate Association (including the Valley Board of Realtors) to sponsor a statewide initiative to roll back Rumford Housing Act protections. This resulted in the 1964 Proposition 14 campaign to amend the California constitution to restore a property owner's right to freely discriminate. Endorsed by California Republicans, the John Birch Society, and some major California newspapers (such as the Los Angeles Times), Prop. 14 was passed by voters, including 67.4 percent of Los Angeles County. By 1966, however, Prop. 14 was ruled to be unconstitutional by the California Supreme Court, a ruling affirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1967. In 1968, Congress passed the landmark Fair Housing Act, prohibiting housing discrimination nationwide.

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

Junior NAACP Members, 1923

1923. Young members of the Junior NAACP, presumed to be in Los Angeles. During a time when the Ku Klux Klan enjoyed the peak of its popularity in America, Junior NAACP clubs were meant to provide African American students in secondary and higher education with mutual support and involvement in the civil rights activism of the NAACP (such as some of its pioneering litigation in Los Angeles). During the late 1930s, when attending UCLA, future Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley was a member of the Junior NAACP.

Photo from the Shades of L.A. Collection at Los Angeles Public Library.

Hollywood High School, Graduating Class, 1912

Ca. 1912. The Hollywood High School graduating class of 1912 pose for a class portrait. The famous "Home of the Sheiks," established in 1903, has had graduates who, among other accomplishments, went on to become a major newspaper publisher, a Nobel laureate, a U.S. Secretary of State, America's first Japanese American judge, a U.S. Postmaster General, a U.S. Ambassador, a Federal Communications Commission chairman, and a physicist on the Manhattan Project. The school is most famous for its large number of alumni who achieved fame in the entertainment industry.

Photo from the California Historical Society Collection at USC Library.

Memorial Day Participants, LA Coliseum, 1935

1935. Participants in a Memorial Day event at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum march before 25,000 spectators. A number of surviving Civil War veterans were also honored in this event. Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum was first opened in 1923, commissioned in honor of U.S. veterans who died in World War I. In 1968, the Coliseum was re-dedicated to honor all veterans of World War I.

Photo from the L.A. Times Photographic Archives Collection at UCLA Library.

Japanese American Girls, Monterey Park, 1945

1964. Japanese American girls, celebrating Japanese Girl’s Day at Robert Hill School in Monterey Park, try their hand on a koto, a traditional Japanese musical instrument. Persons of Japanese ancestry have lived in Los Angeles since at least 1870, when the U.S. Census counted two Japanese residents. Today, an estimated 240,000 residents of Los Angeles County are solely or partially of Japanese ancestry. Second only to those in Honolulu County, Hawaii, Los Angeles County's ethnic Japanese population is the largest outside of Japan.

Photo from the L.A. Times Photographic Archives Collection at UCLA Library.

Los Angeles Traffic, Eric Demarq, 2015

Circa 1940s. Women’s softball team for the Simons Brick Company. The company, said to have been the largest brick manufacturer in the world, operated its brickyards in Montebello and part of the City of Commerce.

Photo from the Aurora Parra Uribe collection at the Montebello Historical Society.

Los Angeles Traffic, Eric Demarq, 2015

2015. Los Angeles traffic. Miss it? According to an article by LAIST, freeway VMT ("Vehicle Miles Traveled" or sum of all miles driven by cars and trucks on roadways over a specific time period) dropped 35 percent, from 96.2 million miles to 63.1 million miles, between March 2 and April 6. The photo faces southbound on Highway 101. Santa Monica Boulevard crosses over the highway.

Photo by Eric Demarq, courteously provided through Flickr, (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).

Los Angeles City Hall Under Construction, Circa 1927

Circa 1927. Los Angeles City Hall under construction, believed to be viewed from Los Angeles Street, looking southwest (about where the intersection of Main and Aliso Streets is today). Note the unpaved street. The building was designed by Los Angeles architects John Parkinson (designer, Grand Central Market and Memorial Coliseum), John C. Austin (designer, Griffith Observatory and Shrine Auditorium) and Albert C. Martin, Sr. (designer, the May Company Building and St. Vincent's Catholic Church). The building's concrete was mixed with sand from each of California's 58 counties and water from each of the state's 21 Spanish missions. Opened on April 26, 1928, Los Angeles City Hall has been L.A.'s center of municipal government for 92 years. Until 1964, it was the tallest building in Los Angeles, made so by city ordinance. It is also the tallest "base-isolated" structure in the world (where the superstructure is able to decouple from its substructure in the event of a severe earthquake). Retrofitted between 1998 and 2001, it is able to withstand a magnitude 8.2 earthquake.

Photo from the California Historical Society Collection at USC Library

Couple in Flooded Home in Long Beach, 1937

1937. Frank Foster and his wife wear waders in their flooded kitchen during flooding in Long Beach. This was one of several floods devastating Southern California during the 1930s, culminating in 1938, when two major cyclones dumped more than 10 inches of rain onto the Los Angeles region over five days beginning on February 27. The downpour inflicted significant damage across the Los Angeles Basin, but most severely so across Orange and Riverside counties (more than 7,000 homes destroyed or rendered uninhabitable). Los Angeles had its three transcontinental rail connections severed from the rest of the country after rail lines were flooded or washed out. Mail had to be brought into the city by the U.S. Coast Guard. Total loss of life came to 115. The 1938 event led the federal government to pass the Flood Control Act of 1941, authorizing the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to construct storm drains and flood control channels throughout Los Angeles.

Photo from the L.A. Daily News Negatives Collection at UCLA Library

Easter, Sunrise Service, Hollywood Bowl, Los Angeles, 1921

1921, Easter. A crowd of 2,000 Angelenos attend the first Easter sunrise service held at what was then called Daisy Dell. Later, the site came to be renamed "Hollywood Bowl" for its natural contour (not the famous band shell later raised in 1929). Two Easter sunrise services had previously been held in the Hollywood Hills, at Whitley Heights in 1919 and what is now known as Barnsdale Park in 1920, but the acoutics and accommodation for large crowds were not satisfactory. Since the 1921 event would debut the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the acoutics had to be right. Daisy Dell was found to be ideal and the Hollywood Bowl's first of almost a century of Easter services came to be held there. It should be noted that this event occurred just two years after the end of L.A.'s last pandemic experience.

Photo by C.W. Beam in the Digital Collection at the California State Library

Young Women Dance, Easter, Love-In, Elysian Park, Los Angeles, 1970

1970, Easter. Four young women dance amidst a crowd of 7,500 at the fourth Easter "Love-In" held at Elysian Park, just north of the intersection of Academy and Solano Canyon Roads. No social distancing here. These events were held during the period in which the Vietnam War raged on. The term "Love-In" was first used by Los Angeles radio comedian Peter Bergman, who hosted the first Love-In at Elysian Park on Easter, March 26 1967 (see featured video below). A huge collection of photos of the orginal 1967 event can be found at Getty Images. The last Easter Love-In at Elysian Park was in 1971 and drew 6,500 people. Unfortunately, public attitudes had become increasingly hostile toward these counter-culture young people and police seemed all too happy to oblige. The event reportedly came to an abrupt end when officers attempted to pursue a narcotics suspect into the crowd, resulting in celebrants hurling bottles at police. The event was immediately declared an illegal assembly and was harshly shut down with 376 officers and 135 arrests.

Photo by Cal Montnay from the L.A. Times Photographic Archive at UCLA Library

Roping Wild Horses, James Walker, 1875

Early 1800s. For the last 100 years, the automobile has been central to life in the Los Angeles region. For the 100 years prior to that, it was the horse. Angelenos, especially those of the Spanish and Mexican period, were said to live on their horses. The landscape painting above is of Mexican caballeros and the ranch owner, titled "Roping Wild Horses," by renowned painter James Walker, 1875.

Image from The Athenaeum via Wikimedia Commons

Casting Call for Black Cats, Hollywood, 1961

1961. Black cats show up for a Hollywood casting call accompanied by their owners. The call was held by pop film director Roger Corman, preparing to film the segment “The Black Cat” as part of his feature film “Tales of Terror” (released in 1962). Corman needed a black cat for the starring role and five others to be stand-ins. The film and segment starred Vincent Price, Peter Lorre and Joyce Jameson.

Photo from the Los Angeles Times photographic archive at UCLA Library

Tabulating the Vote, Los Angeles County, 1954

1954. Corridor filled with men and women tabulating ballots for California's primary election in Los Angeles. In this election, L.A. City Councilman Edward R. Roybal, who, from 1947 to 1962, was seen as the champion for minority groups on the city council, first ran for higher office, seeking California's Lieutenant Governorship. He won the Democratic nomination in this primary election, but, lost in the general election. He was later elected to congress in 1962. Today, he is honored as namesake of the Edward R. Roybal Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse in Downtown Los Angeles.

Photo from the Los Angeles Daily News Negatives collection at UCLA Library

Beatrice Jones, Los Angeles, 1898

1898. Portrait of a young Los Angeles woman named Beatrice Jones with certificate in hand.

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

Truant Girls, Downtown Los Angeles, 1946

1946. A truancy detail officer gathers a group of girls around her who were truant from school in Downtown Los Angeles. Truancy had become such a problem at the time that a parent-teacher group called for expanding truancy details to outlying areas of the school district in Los Angeles, including the beaches.

Photo from the L.A. Daily News Negatives Collection at UCLA Library

Pedestrians and Trolley, Downtown Los Angeles, Circa 1900

Circa 1900. Downtown Los Angeles pedestrians with the Grand Avenue trolley in the background.

Photo from the Los Angeles Times

Mother and Children Await Bus to Washington DC, 1968

1968. Ceola Millner and her five children, from Watts in Los Angeles, wait to board a bus for Washington, D.C. Millner and thousands of others gathered in the nation's capital that spring for the Poor People's Campaign to demonstrate for economic justice for poor people in America. The demonstration was initially organized and led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who sought to bring the faces of American poor before the President and Congress due to waning interest in anti-poverty efforts. Sadly, King was assassinated just before the campaign could kick-off. King's friend and fellow activist, Dr. Ralph Abernathy, however, stepped up to lead the campaign and see it through.

Photo by R.L. Oliver from the L.A. Times Photographic Archives at UCLA Library

Veteran Family Lives in Tent, 1946

1946. Veteran Jesse Swatton and his family live in a tent due to a serious shortage of housing in California after the end of World War II. During the war, construction of new housing in Los Angeles came to a halt. After the war ended, U.S. servicemen returned home to start new families and they were joined by other veterans who passed through Southern California during the war and decided to return and settle here. There were plenty of jobs to be had, but, the area was caught unprepared to house this influx of new families. By 1946, the shortage pushed desperate families to find whatever housing they could. The late, famed L.A. Times columnist Jack Smith wrote of his own experience during that time.

Photo from the L.A. Daily News Negatives Collection, UCLA Library

Japanese American Family Awaits Relocation, 1942

1942. Due to Presidential Executive Order 9066, a Japanese American family awaits forced "evacuation" (relocation) from Los Angeles to the Manzanar Relocation Center in the Owens Valley.

Photo by Russell Lee, Office of War Information Photograph Collection, Library of Congress

Girls with a Camera at the Rose Parade in Pasadena, 1930

1930. Two girls hold a camera along the route of the Rose Parade in Pasadena.

Photo from L.A. Times Photographic Archive, courtesy of UCLA Library.

Christmas Tree Lighting, Perhsing Square, 1949

1949. A 105-foot, 85-year-old tree, is lit in a Christmas Tree lighting ceremony at Pershing Square in Downtown Los Angeles, surrounded by a crowd of 4,000. The 15-ton white fir, brought to L.A. from the Sequoia National Forest and billed then as the "world's largest Christmas tree" (cannot verify), was lit by then 10-year-old Joan Blair of the Los Angeles Orphanage and Los Angeles Mayor Fletcher Bowron.

Image from the Los Angeles Daily News Negatives Collection at UCLA Library.

Las Posadas Procession, Olvera Street, Los Angeles, 2017

2017. The Las Posadas Procession at Olvera Street, in Downtown Los Angeles, has been held in the days leading up to Christmas every year since 1930. The procession, featuring costumes, music and singing, is said to be the oldest, continuously-celebrated Christmas event in Los Angeles.

Los Angeles Almanac photo by Gary Thornton.

Queen of Watts Christmas Parade, 1968

1968. Velma Carlisle on parade as Queen of the Watts Christmas Parade in the Watts community in Los Angeles. The parade, held early in December every holiday season, is a cultural institution in the Watts/Willowbrook community. It was founded by Edna Aliewine and a small number of volunteers in 1964. Aliewine was motivated by childhood memories of the Hollywood Christmas Parade and asking “why isn’t there anybody like me in the parade?” Aliewine also co-created the Watts Walk of Fame. She died in 2011 at age 90. The parade continues to be organized by the Edna Aliewine Foundation and celebrates recipients of the Edna Aliewine Award for their efforts to work for positive change in the Watts Community.

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

Christmas Trees in Exposition Park, 1920-1930

Circa 1925. Christmas trees put up by the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce light the night in front of Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Exposition Park.

Photo from the California Historical Society Collection at USC Library.

Christy's Drive-In, 1937

1937. Food server at Christy's Sandwiches Drive-In at the corner of Olympic and Western in (present-day Koreatown) Los Angeles. Although Texas was where, in 1921, Dallas entreprenuer Jessie G. Kirby introduced America's first drive-in eatery for his "Pig Stand" chain, he later opened a franchise in Los Angeles in 1931. Located at the SE corner of Sunset and Vine, Pig Stand Number 21 became Southern California's first drive-in restaurant. Soon, imitators of the drive-in model joined the fray to feed Southern California's burgeoning new car culture. Along with its sprouting drive-in theaters, the region quickly came to be considered the drive-in capital of the world. Incidentally, after Red's Giant Hamburg (opened 1947) closed in Missouri in 1984 (then reopened in 2019), In-N-Out Hamburger (opened 1948 in Baldwin Park) became the world's longest continuously-operating drive-through restaurant.

Photo from the Los Angeles Daily News Negatives Collection at UCLA Library.

Queen of Angels Nursing School Graduates, 1967

1967. Graduates of the Queen of Angels School of Nursing pose with their nursing pins. With them is Sister M. Pauline, Queen of Angels administrator. In 1918, Los Angeles County became one of the first counties in the nation to admit African American students to its nursing school.

Photo from Los Angeles Times Photographic Archive at UCLA Library.

Inglewood School Class, 1800s

Late 1800s. Group portrait of one of Inglewood's first schools and classes. The grammar school stands behind the class. The teacher is unnamed. Note that the class is integrated, a rarity for the time.

Photo from the Inglewood Public Library.

Dr. Frank Webb and LAPD Forensic Specialist Ray Pinker, 1938

1938. Dr. Frank R. Webb examines human remains from a Los Angeles crime scene with LAPD forensic specialist Ray Pinker looking on. Pinker joined the LAPD crime lab in 1929 as the nation's first civilian forensics specialist, six years after the lab was established as the nation's first public-funded crime lab. Well into the 1930s, Pinker and a single LAPD officer were the entire scientific forensics team for the city of Los Angeles.

Photo from the L.A. Times Photographic Archive at UCLA Library

Zeta Tau Alpha Members at Halloween, 1912

1912. Members of the Zeta Tau Alpha chapter at USC pose in costume for a halloween party. Zeta Tau Alpha's chapter at USC was founded just two years before this photo was taken and it remained active until 1961.

Photo from the USC History Collection at USC Library

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. A year earlier, Alvarez became California's first female peace officer intentionally shot and wounded in the line of duty. Her actions confirmed that women were up to the challenges of police work on the streets.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 the Almanac's collection of more than 600 vintage Los Angeles County postcards (1900-1960), available online as a permanent digital exhibit.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

Photo from U.S. Office of War Information, in the collection at the Library of Congress.

Circa 1942. Dora Miles and Dorothy Johnson assembling World War II bombers and transports in Long Beach for Douglas Aircraft Company. Approximately 65 percent of these workers were women. The Long Beach plant churned out 3,000 B-17 bombers by the end of World War II, almost a quarter of the more than 12,700 B-17s delivered to the U.S. Army Air Corps. Vega Aircraft, a Lockheed subsidiary across town in Burbank, built another 2,750 B-17s. The two Los Angeles County plants, combined, built and delivered 45 percent of all B-17s flown in the war.

Also see: L.A. Video: Rosie the Riveter - The Story

Chinatown, Los Angeles, Circa 1922

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

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

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

1935 Dustbowl Oklahomans Reach San Fernando, California

1935 Dustbowl Oklahomans reach San Fernando, California.

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

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.