News

Majestic Mammoths: A Brief History of L.A.'s Moreton Bay Fig Trees

Sat, 06/04/2016
Content It lacks the native charm of the sycamore or oak. It wants for the palm's exotic appearance. It doesn't have the pepper tree's romantic associations with California's mission past. It never enjoyed, unlike the eucalyptus, the passionate advocacy of a forester like Abbot Kinney. But the fig tree -- and specifically the…
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Who Took the First Photo of Los Angeles?

Sat, 06/04/2016
Content Widely considered the earliest photograph of Los Angeles, the origin story of this image remains something of a mystery. Who took the photo, and when? Though the image and the historical record offer clues, they provide no definitive answers. What we do know is that some day in the late 1850s or early 1860s, a…
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A Snowstorm in Los Angeles? It’s Happened.

Sat, 06/04/2016
Content Angelenos dreaming of a White Christmas, take note: The scene above may be set in Hollywood, but it’s no special effects shot. The photo from the Los Angeles Public Library’s collections documents the result of a freak snowstorm that passed over Hollywood on Jan. 22, 1921, dusting the gabled rooftops of the Charlie…
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How El Camino Real, California's 'Royal Road,' Was Invented

Sat, 06/04/2016
Content Along Highway 101 between Los Angeles and the Bay Area, cast metal bells spaced one or two miles apart mark what is supposedly a historic route through California: El Camino Real. Variously translated as "the royal road," or, more freely, "the king's highway," El Camino Real was indeed among the state's first…
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The L.A. That Might Have Been

Sat, 06/04/2016
Content A spiraling, 1,290-foot tower built of magnesium. A rapid-transit system with hundreds of miles of subways and elevated tracks. A comprehensive network of parks, beaches, and open spaces linked by greenbelts and parkways. These are just a few unrealized visions for Los Angeles featured in an upcoming exhibition at the…
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The Lost Train Depots of Los Angeles

Sat, 06/04/2016
Content   Before the Jet Age brought safe and comfortable air travel to the masses, most newcomers in Los Angeles arrived by rail. Train depots thus provided tourists' and emigrants' first introduction to Los Angeles, helping shape their ideas about the city. The city's grandest passenger terminal, Union Station, survives…
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When Hollywood Boulevard Became Santa Claus Lane

Sat, 06/04/2016
Content Today, shopping malls hang garland, pipe in holiday tunes, and build showy reproductions of St. Nicholas' polar hideout, attracting customers to their privately owned concourses and encouraging the buying spirit. But before malls, holiday shoppers flocked to Los Angeles' downtown and suburban retail districts where…
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When L.A. Was Empty: Wide-Open SoCal Landscapes

Sat, 06/04/2016
Content Early photographs of Los Angeles surprise for many reasons, but often what's most striking is how empty the city looks. Open countryside surrounds familiar landmarks. Busy intersections appear as dusty crossroads. Southern California entered the photographic record at the cusp of a dramatic transformation in the…
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Before Its Time: Burbank’s Experimental Monorail

Sat, 06/04/2016
Content Decades before Walt Disney moved his studio there and dreamed up Tomorrowland, Burbank glimpsed another man’s futuristic vision in 1910, when a colorful inventor named Joseph Fawkes built an experimental monorail, the Aerial Swallow. Keep reading the full post at Los Angeles magazine's City Think blog.
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When the Los Angeles River Ran Wild

Sat, 06/04/2016
Content Imagine the Los Angeles River before its metamorphosis into a concrete flood control channel, and Mark Twain’s quip about falling into a California river and coming out “all dusty” might come to mind. But the historical record, including photos like the shown here, paints a much different picture. Keep reading the…
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The History of Turning Right in Los Angeles

Sat, 06/04/2016
Content With apologies to Woody Allen, making a right turn on a red light is certainly not Los Angeles’ only cultural advantage. In fact, while it was once a Los Angeles idiosyncrasy, today the maneuver is permitted nationwide, with some local exceptions. Keep reading the full post on Los Angeles magazine's City Think…
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Catalina Island’s Lost Landmark, Sugar Loaf Rock

Sat, 06/04/2016
Content In 1929, dynamite forever changed the look of Catalina’s Avalon Bay. Long one of Catalina’s most prominent landmarks, Sugar Loaf Rock was a volcanic monolith rising some 50 feet above the harbor where Avalon’s iconic Casino building stands today. Early 20th-century guidebooks described the Sugar Loaf as Avalon’s…
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Hooray for...Colegrove? Remembering Hollywood's Forgotten Neighbor

Sat, 06/04/2016
Content Glance at an old map of the Hollywood area like the one above and two things stand out. First,the land is remarkably empty. There are few roads and even fewer structures. Second, two separate towns appear where we would expect one: Hollywood, destined for stardom, and Colegrove, destined for obscurity. What happened to…
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8th-annual Los Angeles Archives Bazaar

Sat, 06/04/2016
Content Los Angeles history comes alive at the 8th-annual Los Angeles Archives Bazaar. Organized by L.A. as Subject and presented by the USC Libraries, the annual event celebrates the diversity of Southern California’s history. For scholarly researchers, journalists, history buffs, and those simply interested in exploring the…
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L.A. as Subject Honors Wally Shidler

Sat, 06/04/2016
Content L.A. as Subject has honored private collector Wally Shidler with its 2013 Avery Clayton Spirit Award. Wally Shilder has been amassing his “Historical Collection of Southern California Ephemera” since he was a teenager.  He is a third generation Angeleno and his interest in history was piqued by his grandmother who…
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