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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • SYPHILIS ... SIX OUT OF TEN CURED, 1941

L.A. Again: 1899

L.A. Again: 1899

Circa 1899. "General view, Los Angeles." The lefthand section of a three-frame panoramic set. (The middle section, alas, is not available in high resolution.) Detroit Publishing Company glass negative. View full size.

 

Mail Pouch Tobacco, Goldwater Bros.

Good eye on St. Vibiana's. I think the photo is being taken from the top of Fort Moore Hill, looking south. The 101 Freeway and newer government or institutional buildings replaced most of what is seen here. And this must be one of the earliest images of a Mail Pouch Tobacco billboard. These can still be seen on barns all over the Midwest. Also, Goldwater Bros., this is the same Goldwater family as Barry Goldwater.

The City

America has been on a quest to recreate the great cities of Europe. New York is our London at the height of the British Empire. Washington is our Athens, in an idealized Hellenic Empire. Los Angeles is our Rome.

Building identification

I've been trying to identify what the different businesses might be. I think the building at the intersection in the lower left might be a bank.

Anyway, any idea what the large round building towards the right just a bit below the horizon might be?

A Spreading Metropolis

There's a lot more city out there than I expected for a town that has not yet solved its water supply problems. Lots of large trees, probably eucalyptus (a fast-growing, drought-tolerant species imported from Australia). The tall royal palms, also not native, apparently are not yet part of the scene. Not a motor car in sight of course, and few carriages. The streetcar system should be highly active -- LA's famous "urban sprawl" was a result of streetcar extensions, not the motor car (which of course furthered the ability to sprawl by the 1920s). The aforementioned haze has always been a factor in the "valley of the smokes" due to the air basin trapping natural haze, probably augmented by dust from unpaved roads (although downtown looks paved). The nearbyoil fields are still decades in the future, but the spectacular Mount Lowe Scenic Railway opened in 1894, and during the winter the trolleys carried sightseers through poppy fields on the way to Pasadena.

St. Vibiana's

Ahhhhh, FANTASTIC!. This is looking east/southeast. The small dome atop the column right of center is the steeple at the rear of St. Vibiana's Cathedral -- still standing -- which fronts on Main Street just south of Second.

The Great Divide

America begins west of the Delaware, and ends east of the Sacramento.

L.A. love it or hate it

What an interesting photo. I didn't think L.A. was that built up & congested in 1899, as this photo shows.

I grew up & lived in L.A. from 1958 thru 1985 when it was actually a nice, fun & affordable place to live. It amazes me how that town completely turned around for the worse, which is why I'm glad I live 170 miles away.

I was there for this last Thanksgiving visiting family and it seems to be getting worse in every sense with every visit.

[Stop visiting! - Dave]

How sad

This is the most depressing cityscape I have seen on your site. This includes bombed cities which, at least, often show the elegance of what they were. I am now reminded of why my parents and, later, my own family never went near the city center, always staying as close to the ocean as we could. The worst part is that, over 100 years later, it has only gotten worse. This actually helped me get over my nostalgia for California -- I'll stick to the suburbs of D.C. or at least the east coast from now on. I do miss the Pacific Ocean, however.

You know what's missing?

Not a palm tree to be found anywhere but still plenty of "smog."

Call Dirty Harry

Guy on a roof, centre right, where ladders are.

 
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Shorpy.com | History in HD is a vintage photo blog featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1950s. The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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