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Amex: 1910

Circa 1910. "American Express Co., Main and Sixth." Just steps away from the Aseptic Barber Shop. Who can tell us what city we're in? View full size.

Circa 1910. "American Express Co., Main and Sixth." Just steps away from the Aseptic Barber Shop. Who can tell us what city we're in? View full size.


On Shorpy:
Today’s Top 5


Wanna know what's up with the seated person in the middle of the intersection!

610 South Main

It is indeed the PE Building, later the Southern Pacific’s general offices in Los Angeles. I worked there in the late 1970's and early 1980's when the Red Cars were long gone and the street-level station was turned into a parking lot. Our disptaching office controlled traffic betweeb Yuma, AZ and Fresno /San Luis Obispo, CA. Downstairs it was interesting to park one's car next to marble-covered columns. Working rotating shifts I sometimes had to step over a local citizen or two sleeping on the sidewalk.

The building closest to the viewer on the left was the Santa Fe's offices and across the street out of view to the right was the Continental Trailways bus depot. The top floors of the PE building housed a handsome two-storey atrium - perhaps Mr Huntingdon's offices. We had a “Watch Inspector” (a man who sold and serviced approved railroad timepieces) in the building and I bought a Ball Trainmaster wristwatch from him for about $120. Years later it cost that much just to have it cleaned. Understand the neighborhood is much nicer now and this building is a condominium.

No Traffic Control

Wow, no stop sign or anything. I also like the seat on the front of the trolley on Sixth. Does one pay extra to be out in front?

Yay LA

It's great to see a photograph of Los Angeles on Shorpy. I will have to take a look at this spot this weekend and stand at this corner. There's a great restaurant down the street on 4th and Main called Pete's with great Mac and Cheese.

You should see inside

I worked on a couple of movies in the late '90s inside the abandoned Pacific Electric building. What an amazing space. I wandered all through the building and stumbled into what I was told was Huntington's private office -- awesome, massive, with unbelievable marble stairways. In "Gang Related" worked on one scene right around where the streetcar is shown here coming out of the garage. In the scene was Tupac Shakur, who appeared to be somewhat inebriated. It wasn't too much longer after that that he was murdered in Las Vegas.

The loneliest man in the world

I love it when a shot of an old building includes a person looking out a window. This one's a classic.

Before the credit card

What was American Express' main line of business?

[Express is short for "express mail." Express companies like Adams Express and American Express were businesses similar to UPS or FedEx, relying mostly on the railroads for speedy delivery. American Express specialized in services to travelers -- travelers checks and money orders. The window gives some clues. - Dave]


It looks very much the same today, though I doubt the chap on the stool in the middle of Main Street would find his perch as comfortable today.

Imagine an LA with ...

"completed electric railroads to practically every city and town of importance in Southern California and to the thriving beach resorts." I'll think of that during my commute.

Another vote for LA

The streetcar on the left side of the image says, "Edendale," which was a neighborhood in old Los Angeles.

All three still there!

the building on the right looked very modern in 1910, all simple and light.

Pacific Electric Railway Terminal

The National Magazine, 1908

The Huntington Interests

The lines operated by the Los Angeles Railway Company, the Pacific Electric, the Los Angeles Inter-Urban Railway Company, the Los Angeles & Redondo Railway Company, The San Bernardino Valley Traction Company and the Riverside & Arlington Railway Company, which comprise the Huntington system, is undoubtedly the greatest system of street and inter-urban railways in the world. It consists of over 500 miles of standard gauge line, reaching from Alpine (Mount Lowe), a mile above the sea, to the south coast ocean resorts, and penetrates all the valleys in the beautiful country adjacent to Los Angeles. …

The Pacific Electric Railway was the name adopted by the corporation managing the suburban electric lines of the Huntington system, Mr. Huntington having acquired the line to Pasadena and outlining the plan for an extensive system of suburban railways reaching out from Los Angeles in every direction. Since then there have been completed electric railroads to practically every city and town of importance in Southern California and to the thriving beach resorts tributary to Los Angeles as a center. …

One of the most enduring monuments to his public spirit and enterprise is the mammoth Pacific Electric Building of Los Angeles, a building of nine stories, with eleven acres of floor space and which is the terminal station for the wonderfully perfect inter-urban system. This is the largest structure of its kind west of Chicago, and was completed in December, 1904.

The American Architect and Building News, 1908

The Pacific Electric Building, and the
Jonathan Club Roof Garden, Los Angles, Cal.

The rooms and roof garden of the Jonathan Club, on the upper stories of the Pacific Electric Building, at Los Angeles, were an afterthought.

At the time the external character of the building was determined by Mr. Thornton Fitzhugh, the architect, the contracts let and the construction work well advanced, no thought had been given to the adaptation of the upper floors for club purposes. This problem was therefore a most difficult one, not only because the changes involved were many and complicated, but owing to official dictation and limitations imposed, the result is one in many respects quite at variance with what would have been accomplished had the architect been allowed freer rein in his work. None the less the Pacific Electric Building presents characteristics that would entitle it to some measure of recognition if built in the largest cities. Its proportions for a city the size of Los Angeles are unusual and its equipment such as will meet every condition of a first-class office building.

The building stands on a plot 285x211 feet, and is nine stories high. The total floor space is more than twelve acres, and exceeds in area the Broad Exchange Building in New York, which is 21 stories high. The structure was erected for the Pacific Electric Railway Co.

The basement has a clear floor space of 58,000 feet and is designed for use as a freight depot.

The main floor ceiling is thirty feet high, supported by cement columns. Through an opening sixty feet high, spanned by a cement girder eight feet deep, the cars enter the building.

The upper stories from the second to the sixth inclusive are devoted to offices. There are ninety-nine offices on each floor, or a total of 594 in all.

No office is less than twenty by fifteen feet, and they range in size to a maximum of sixty by thirty feet.


Wonderful to know where you are! But who is that sitting on a stool, in the middle of the interesection, next to the policeman? And why?

Follow the trolley to

Trolleys left their mark

The attachments where the various wires and cable were are still visible on the building.

View Larger Map

More important

Why is there a man who appears to be holding a newspaper sitting on a chair in the middle of the street? Perhaps the officer is telling him to "move along now, nothing to see here."

Sitting down

Bet there isn't a bloke sitting on a stool in the intersection now.

Los Angeles

The building is the Pacific Electric headquarters at 6th and Main, in Los Angeles. More here.

We are in Los Angeles

Sixth and Main, Los Angeles. That is the Edendale streetcar line.

Los Angeles

Corner of W. Sixth and S. Main, Los Angeles. All three buildings still there.

My bet is on San Francisco

This is obviously just a local branch office, and a window on an upper floor says "Pacific". And, the number of streetcars.

The Magic 8 Ball says

Los Angeles.

Could it be

sunny Los Angeles?

Los Angeles

I think this is L.A.

American Express

That building, I believe, is the one on Broadway in NYC.


Pacific Electric Building in Los Angeles, CA

That Toddling Town

I gotta say it's Chicago.


I'm going to guess Honolulu based on the "Pacific Power and Light" sign in an upper window.

City Of Angels

Downtown Los Angeles. The actual building was called the Pacific Electric Building.

Still There Too!

Here it is today.

Lazy Answer

My limited research leads me to guess that the city we're looking for is Kingston, New York.

In Los Angeles

This is the Pacific Electric Building in Los Angeles.

Los Angeles

I believe this is the old Pacific Electric building on Sixth and Main.

I'm going to guess Los Angeles

We're on S. Main Street.

Pacific Light and Power Company in one of the windows is a clue we're on the west coast.

The real clue are the offices of W. M. Garland Company Real Estate. Mr. Garland was a commercial developer in Los Angeles. He was instrumental in bringing the Olympics to Los Angeles in 1932.

That's my final answer.

Dual gauge in L.A.

It's Los Angeles. The tipoff (for me at least) is the dual-gauge streetcar track -- 3'6" for the city streetcars of the Los Angeles Railway; standard gauge for the interurbans of the Pacific Electric.

West Coast

I would guess Los Angeles as there is a Pacific Light and Power sign on one of the windows in the building.

Amex 1910 location

The lampposts ("5-Globe Llewelin") indicate downtown L.A., unless the design was used elsewhere. But I don't believe so.

Pacific Power and Light


It's the Huntington Building

It's the Huntington Building in Los Angeles. "W.M.Garland & Company" was the clue."

On state street

that great street, I just want to say, they do things they don't do on Broadway. Chicago?

[I goofed in typing "State." Should have been "Sixth." - Dave]

Main & Sixth

It's Sixth Street, not State, but I have no idea what city.

Pacific Electric Building, Los Angeles

This is the Pacific Electric Building (or Huntington Building) at 6th and Main in Los Angeles, California. You can see intertwined Ps and Es in the column capitals at the cornice.

And, amazingly enough, still there!

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