1930s

Life in Los Angeles in the 1930s

Downtown Los Angeles 1930

Life in Los Angeles in the 1930s

Above photo: Downtown Los Angeles in 1930.

 

Howe's Service Station 1930

Howe’s “At the Sign of the Indian” Complete Motor Service, located at 7456 Melrose Avenue, circa 1930. Proprietor: Leon D. Howe. (Photo: LAPL 00057621)

 

The Umbrella Service Station, General Petroleum Gas, circa 1930, once located at 830 South La Brea in Inglewood. By 1946, the gas station was gone and a retail strip center was built on the site. (Bizarre Los Angeles)

The Umbrella Service Station, General Petroleum Gas, circa 1930, once located at 830 South La Brea in Inglewood. By 1946, the gas station was gone and a retail strip center was built on the site.

 

A Standard Oil Station located on the corner of Beverly and La Brea. The photo is undated, but possibly late1920s to early 1930s, since Pope and Burton Architects didn't open their Los Angeles office until 1927. (Bizarre Los Angeles)

A Standard Oil Station located on the corner of Beverly and La Brea. The photo is undated, but possibly late 1920s to early 1930s, since Pope and Burton Architects didn’t open their Los Angeles office until 1927.

 

Los Angeles Auto Show 1930

The seventeenth annual Los Angeles Automobile Show, held inside the Shrine Auditorium’s Expo Hall in February 1930. (Photographer: Art Streib / LAPL 00105791) 

 

Art Prints

Dean Cornell (far left), and an assistant working on a mural for the Los Angeles Public Library from his Kensington Studio in London, circa 1930. Note the model with the basket on his head. (Bizarre Los Angeles)

Dean Cornell (far left), and an assistant working on a mural for the Los Angeles Public Library from his Kensington Studio in London, circa 1930. Note the model with the basket on his head.

 

USC's "Tommy Trojan" statue, created by Roger N. Burnham, nearing completion in 1930. The iconic statue was completed at a cost of $10,000. (Bizarre Los Angeles)

USC’s “Tommy Trojan” statue, created by Roger N. Burnham, nearing completion in 1930. The iconic statue was completed at a cost of $10,000.

 

The Los Angeles Times' Hoe Super Production press consisting of 18 units in a line, which allowed for a new style of color printing in their daily newspapers. These machines were designed to print over 200,000 32-page newspapers in one hour. Postcard circa 1930. (Bizarre Los Angeles)

The Los Angeles Times’ Hoe Super Production press consisting of 18 units in a line, which allowed for a new style of color printing in their daily newspapers. These machines were designed to print over 200,000 32-page newspapers in one hour. Postcard circa 1930.

 

Mines field (later the site of LAX) in 1930 during its dedication ceremony. (Bizarre Los Angeles)

Mines field (later the site of LAX) in 1930 during its dedication ceremony.

A scenic view of Topanga Canyon from around 1930. Bizarre Los AngelesA scenic view of Topanga Canyon from around 1930.

 

Dancers at Laguna Beach in Orange County, c. 1930. (LAPL) Bizarre Los Angeles

Dancers at Laguna Beach in Orange County, circa 1930.

 

Cooking School Monrovia 1930

Cooking school in Monrovia, circa 1930. (Huntington Library)

 

Los Angeles City Hall

The Los Angeles City Hall in 1931. The landmark, designed by John Parkinson, John C. Austin, and Albert C. Martin, Sr., opened in 1928.

 

 

Adolph Hamer Grocery Store

Adolph Hamer’s grocery store at 4311 S. Figueroa Street in 1931. That’s probably him standing in front.

 

Figueroa Street Tunnels 1931 Framed Poster

 

Los Angeles ColiseumIn November of 1931, the Florida ‘Gators came to Los Angeles to play the UCLA Bruins at the Los Angeles Colosseum on Thanksgiving Day. The Bruins blanked the Gators 13-0.

 

alligator cheerleaders Los Angeles Colosseum

 

alligator Los Angeles Colosseum 1931

 

Sunset Blvd. and Laurel Canyon, circa 1932. Photographer: Harold A. Parker. [Huntington Library Archive] Bizarre Los Angeles

Sunset Blvd. and Laurel Canyon, circa 1932. Photographer: Harold A. Parker. [Huntington Library Archive]

 

McDonnels La Brea

McDonnells

The McDonnell’s Ever Eat Restaurant at 301 N. La Brea Blvd. Not sure what the year is, but it would have to be after 1932 in order for it to be at that location. (California State Library)

 

The Garden of Allah Apartments at 8080 Sunset Blvd., circa 1930s. Bizarre Los Angeles

The Garden of Allah Apartments at 8080 Sunset Blvd., circa 1930s. (LAPL)

 

Members of LAPD Captain Hynes' "Red" squad throwing a woman in the back of a car during an attempted political meeting at the Plaza on June 28, 1932. William Foster, the Communist political candidate for U.S. President at the time, had legally tried to get a permit to speak at the Plaza, but had been denied. Frustrated by the lack of cooperation, he announced that he would be there anyway at noon. The picture tells the rest of the story. (LAPL: 00039797) Bizarre Los Angeles

Members of LAPD Captain Hynes’ “Red” squad throwing a woman in the back of a car during an attempted political meeting at the Plaza on June 28, 1932. William Foster, the Communist political candidate for U.S. President at the time, had legally tried to get a permit to speak at the Plaza, but had been denied. Frustrated by the lack of cooperation, he announced that he would be there anyway at noon. The picture tells the rest of the story. (LAPL: 00039797)

 

Wilshire and Western 1933

Street traffic in Los Angeles 1930s

Two photos of Wilshire and Western, circa 1933.

 

The Griffith Observatory under construction in 1933. If you look closely, you can see a man sitting on one of the steel girders. (LAPL 00063956)

 

Haunted Old ChinatownAccording to the USC Digitial Archive, this dwelling on Juan Street in old Chinatown was allegedly haunted in 1933. Note the “For Rent” sign next to the door.

 

 

Dollar Day 1933

Downtown Dollar Day

Before “Black Friday,” there were annual Dollar Day sales in the major downtown department stores. These photos were taken on “Dollar Day,” September 1, 1933.

 

Afton Place Los Angeles 1934

Afton Place (between Fountain and Sunset), circa January 1934.

 

A window display at the Mullen and Bluett Clothing Store, located inside the Walter P. Story Building (610 S. Broadway), circa 1934. (California State Library) Bizarre Los Angeles

A window display at the Mullen and Bluett Clothing Store, located inside the Walter P. Story Building (610 S. Broadway), circa 1934. (California State Library)

 

1934 Los Angeles CA Olvera Street Scene City Hall

From Olvera Street, circa 1934.

 

Temple AuditoriumA 1934 view of the the old Temple Auditorium’s box seats. (LAPL 00032526)

To read more, click here: https://sites.google.com/site/downtownlosangelestheatres/auditorium

The auditorium was used for theatrical productions, as well as Sunday morning church service. The venue later became the Philharmonic Auditorium before it was demolished in 1985.

 

Oil field workers for Lane-Wells, based in Vernon, pose for a photo in Los Angeles, circa 1934.

Oil field workers for Lane-Wells, based in Vernon, pose for a photo in 1934.

 

A film crew shooting the horse races at Santa Anita Park in 1935. (LAPL 00081704)

A film crew shooting the horse races at Santa Anita Park in 1935. (LAPL 00081704)

 

White Cane Law (Bizarre Los Angeles)California’s White Cane Law unofficially launched in 1931 when the Braille Institute began dispersing free white canes with red tips to legally blind people. When motorists saw these canes, they were supposed to yield the right-of-way. Visually impaired pedestrians could then safely cross streets and thoroughfares.

While a few California cities recognized the right-of-way policy, many state politicians questioned the effectiveness of the white canes. Hoping to win political support, Frank Look, the Institute’s blind public relations director, demonstrated the cane’s effectiveness in front of politicians. These demonstrations took place in Oakland and Sacramento in 1933.

As a result, the California State Legislature passed the White Cane Law, which went into effect on April 30, 1935.

Photo: 1935.

 

Pan-Pacific Auditorium

The Pan-Pacific Auditorium at 7600 West Beverly Boulevard. It opened in 1935 but was destroyed by fire in 1989.

 

Griffith Observatory (Bizarre Los Angeles)Griffith Observatory after it was completed in 1935.

 

Griffith ObservatoryPhotographer Herman J. Schultheis snaps a photo of his wife Ethel on the opening day of the Griffith Observatory, May 14, 1935. (Photographer: Herman J. Schultheis / LAPL 00068738)

 

Part of a fashion show at Bullock's Wilshire around 1935 but could be earlier. (Bizarre Los Angeles)

Part of a fashion show at Bullock’s Wilshire around 1935. (LAPL)

 

Tennis anyone? Models working at a 1935 fashion show at Bullock's Wilshire pose for a gag photo. (LAPL 00073183) Bizarre Los Angeles

Tennis anyone? Models working at a 1935 fashion show at Bullock’s Wilshire pose for a gag photo. (LAPL 00073183)

 

Photo is dated Oct. 19, 1935, with a caption that reads: "Celebrating the completion of a modern highway over one of Los Angeles' oldest trails, Sepulveda highway will be dedicated Sunday with gay fiesta where the highway joins with Sunset boulevard. Angeline Pagones is shown with her horse on the bridle path inspecting the new roadway. The highway follows a trail used ceturies [sic] ago by the Indians on their way to the sea." Bizarre Los Angeles.Photo is dated Oct. 19, 1935, with a caption that reads: “Celebrating the completion of a modern highway over one of Los Angeles’ oldest trails, Sepulveda highway will be dedicated Sunday with gay fiesta where the highway joins with Sunset boulevard. Angeline Pagones is shown with her horse on the bridle path inspecting the new roadway. The highway follows a trail used ceturies [sic] ago by the Indians on their way to the sea.”

 

Hollenbeck Park 1930s

A peaceful day at Hollenbeck Park (415 S St Louis Street) in the 1930s.

 

Wreck of the Lady LuckThe wreck of the “Lady Luck” at Rocky Point sometime in the 1930s. Rocky Point is a part of Redondo Beach. (UCLA)

 

USC’s Mudd Hall in the 1930s.

 

downtown Bullock's department store

A vintage postcard of the downtown Bullock’s department store building, probably dating back to the mid to late 1930s.

 

It seems as though every Woolworth's store in America had "The world’s longest lunch counter." This is true in Delaware, Colorado, Minnesota, Texas...and California! The list goes on. Here is a postcard of the Los Angeles store at 431 South Broadway, circa 1935. (Bizarre Los Angeles)

It seems as though every Woolworth’s store in America had “The world’s longest lunch counter.” This is true in Delaware, Colorado, Minnesota, Texas…and California! The list goes on. Here is a postcard of the Los Angeles store at 431 South Broadway, circa 1935.

 

Eastern Columbia Building

The Eastern Columbia Building at 849 S. Broadway, c. 1930s.

 

Fortune teller 1936

A fortune teller stands outside of her place of business at the La Casa Santa Cruz adobe, once located at 728 N. Broadway. The building was an old throwback to Sonora Town and was formerly owned by Ysabel Santa Cruz, who had purchased it from Benito Valle in 1864. Photo was taken in 1936. (LAPL: 00067652)

 

Members of El Teatro Mexico in 1936, hanging out in the Childs Grand Opera House's green room, where Sarah Bernhardt once waited to go onstage in 1891. The photo was taken on April 8, three days after the 1884 theater building closed. Once located at 110 S. Main St., it was quickly torn down to make a parking lot. (LAPL 00036861)

Members of El Teatro Mexico in 1936, hanging out in the Childs Grand Opera House’s green room, where Sarah Bernhardt once waited to go onstage in 1891.

The photo was taken on April 8, three days after the 1884 theater building closed. Once located at 110 S. Main St., it was quickly torn down to make a parking lot. (LAPL 00036861)

 

The prop room of the Childs Grand Opera House in April of 1936, after the theater building closed for demolition.The building was once located at 110 S. Main and the props belonged to its last tenants, the El Teatro Mexico. (LAPL 00036860)

The prop room of the Childs Grand Opera House in April of 1936. The items belonged to its last tenants, the El Teatro Mexico. (LAPL 00036860)

 

An art deco dressed woman (L. Taylor) at Santa Anita Park in 1936. (Bizarre Los Angeles)An art deco dressed woman (L. Taylor) at Santa Anita Park in 1936.

The racetrack was the brainchild of Hollywood producer Hal Roach and Dr. Charles Strub, a San Francisco dentist, who formed the Los Angeles Turf Club in 1933 in order to raise money for the track. Santa Anita Park, designed by Gordon B. Kaufman, opened on Tuesday, December 25, 1934. The opening day’s attendance was 30,077 visitors. Admission price was .15 cents.

 

Arrowhead water car 1930s

A 1936 custom made, three-wheel car for Arrowhead Spring Water. Photographer: J.H. McCrory. Photo: L.A. Times.

Photo can be found here: http://framework.latimes.com/…/06/11/arrowhead-teardrop-car/

More info can be found here: http://www.hemmings.com/…/sto…/2012/03/01/hmn_feature28.html

 

Two salesman for Halsco Land Yacht (3587 Beverly Boulevard) demonstrate the efficiency and comfort of one of its 1936 travel trailers. (Photographer: Art Streib / LAPL 00044861) Bizarre Los AngelesTwo salesman for Halsco Land Yacht (3587 Beverly Boulevard) demonstrate the efficiency and comfort of one of its 1936 travel trailers. (Photographer: Art Streib / LAPL 00044861)

 

Hoover Dam OpeningFrom the Los Angeles Times article “City to Blaze Tonight in Vast Light Festival,” dated October 9, 1936:

Like a streak of lightning – flashing 260 miles across mountains, deserts and farm lands – power from Hoover Dam will be brought to Los Angeles at 7:36 p.m. today, flooding the downtown section with illumination vieing [sic.] that of the sun and opening a celebration which is expected to draw thousands of persons into the business district. 

Shining with a radiance equal to that of 7,200,000,000 candles, the downtown area will be bathed in the greatest illumination that has ever been flooded over a city since history began, according to electrical and illuminating engineers who have been preparing for the celebration for several months.

Photo: UCLA

 

Crossing Spring Street 1937

Crossing Spring Street in 1937.

(Photographer: Herman J. Schultheis/ LAPL)

 

Pedestrian traffic on Seventh Street at Hill in 1937. Photographer: Herman J. Schultheis / LAPL 00097819 (Bizarre Los Angeles)

Pedestrian traffic on Seventh Street at Hill in 1937. Photographer: Herman J. Schultheis / LAPL 00097819

 

Two icons of Los Angeles: the Brown Derby Restaurant on Wilshire and the Ambassador Hotel across the street. From 1937. Both a memory. (Bizarre Los Angeles)Two icons of Los Angeles: the Brown Derby Restaurant on Wilshire and the Ambassador Hotel across the street. From 1937. Both a memory.

 

Banner Theatre

Outside the (lost) Banner Theatre at 458 S. Main Street in June of 1937.
(Photographer: Herman J. Schultheis/ LAPL)

 

Old Chinatown

Alameda Street in Old Chinatown, c. 1937. Photographer: Herman Schultheis. (LAPL 00097498)

 

Intersection of Marchessault Street (now part of Sunset Blvd) and Los Angeles Street (right). Bizarre Los Angeles

Intersection of Marchessault Street (now part of Sunset Blvd) and Los Angeles Street (right).

 

Westwood Village, circa 1937. (Bizarre Los Angeles)

Westwood Village, circa 1937.

 

A great 1930s photo of Cabrillo Beach in San Pedro. (Bizarre Los Angeles)

A great vintage photo of Cabrillo Beach in San Pedro, circa 1937.

 

Dreamland Circus 1937

A carnival barker for the Dreamland Circus Side Show entertains a crowd of people attending the 1937 Los Angeles County Fair in Pomona. (Photographer:Herman J. Schultheis / LAPL 00097289)

 

A side show carnival performer with the Parisian follies dancers at the 1937 Los Angeles County Fair. (Photographer: Herman J. Schultheis/LAPL) Bizarre Los Angeles.

A side show carnival performer with the Parisian follies dancers at the 1937 Los Angeles County Fair. (Photographer: Herman J. Schultheis/LAPL) Bizarre Los Angeles.

 

"Oil Island" was located on La Cienega Blvd., between Beverly and 3rd Street. The wooden derrick was originally constructed in 1907 in the middle of a bean field. When the city extended La Cienega to Sunset Blvd., there was a dispute over the cost of the well, so the city built around it. In 1946, an agreement was struck and the well was dismantled. (Bizarre Los Angeles)“Oil Island” was located on La Cienega Blvd., between Beverly and 3rd Street. The wooden derrick was originally constructed in 1907 in the middle of a bean field. When the city extended La Cienega to Sunset Blvd., there was a dispute over the cost of the well, so the city built around it. In 1946, an agreement was struck and the well was dismantled.

 

Mona Lisa Restaurant

The Mona Lisa Restaurant was once located at 3343 Wilshire Blvd., east of the Gaylord Apartments and across the street from the Ambassador Hotel bungalows. Photo taken in 1937. (LAPL 00008603)

 

Santa Monica Blvd Beverly Hills 1937

Santa Monica Blvd. (between N. Doheny and Robertson) in 1937.

 

In late November of 1937, a mountain near the Figueroa Tunnels in Elysian Park collapsed, knocking down power lines and sending boulders crashing down a hillside onto Riverside Drive and into the Los Angeles River bed. The noise and sight of falling boulders created quite a spectacle over several days. So much so that one Angeleno mounted a telescope on his car so that people could witness the mountain’s collapse from a safe distance. Photographer: Herman J. Schultheis.

 

Hill Street 1938

A wet day in January 1938. The photo was taken on the 800 block of Hill Street. Photographer: Herman J. Schultheis / LAPL 00100752

 

The intersection of Eighth and Hill in 1938. The RKO Hillstreet Theatre (since demolished) is in the background. Photographer: Herman J. Schultheis/ 00100753)

The intersection of Eighth and Hill in January 1938. The RKO Hillstreet Theatre (since demolished) is in the background. Photographer: Herman J. Schultheis/ 00100753)

 

Los Angeles River flood 1938

The Los Feliz Boulevard Bridge from Riverside Drive looking northeast shortly after half of it was destroyed by Los Angeles River flood waters in 1938. The Police Officer, left, is unknown. The man on the right is Van Griffith, son of Col Griffith J. Griffith, who gave Griffith Park to Los Angeles.

 

A slum in L.A., circa 1938. The address appears to be 311 N. Mission Road. The small room with the open door is a shoe repair shop. (UCLA) Bizarre Los Angeles

A slum in L.A., circa 1938. The address appears to be 311 N. Mission Road. The small room with the open door is a shoe repair shop. (UCLA)

 

June 8, 1938. Hula dancers perform inside the Los Angeles City Council Chamber accompanied by a ukulele and guitar orchestra. (LAPL) Bizarre Los AngelesJune 8, 1938. Hula dancers perform inside the Los Angeles City Council Chamber accompanied by a ukulele and guitar orchestra. (LAPL)

 

September 7, 1938. Jitterbugging juveniles disrupt the L.A. City Council to promote the American Legion's "Jitterbug" contest at Gilmore Stadium. (Bizarre Los Angeles)

September 7, 1938. Jitterbugging juveniles disrupt the L.A. City Council to promote the American Legion's "Jitterbug" contest at Gilmore Stadium. (Bizarre Los Angeles)

September 7, 1938. Jitterbugging juveniles disrupt the L.A. City Council to promote the American Legion’s “Jitterbug” contest at Gilmore Stadium.

 

A billboard in a section of Old Chinatown, circa 1938. (University of California) Bizarre Los Angeles

A billboard in a section of Old Chinatown, circa 1938. (University of California)

 

Fire engine – LAFD Fire Station No. 50 – 1948

A 1938 fire engine parked in front of the LAFD Fire Station No. 50, circa 1948. The station was once located at 1524 Winfield Place.

 

Photography Prints

 

Broadway between 4th and 5th streets

Broadway between 4th and 5th streets in 1938.

 

A dance hall that once existed at 245 South Vermont Avenue from 1925 to 1939. It was originally named El Patio. By the time this 1938 photo was taken, however, it was called the Palomar Ballroom. The following year, a fire destroyed the building. (Bizarre Los Angeles)A dance hall that once existed at 245 South Vermont Avenue from 1925 to 1939.
It was originally named El Patio. By the time this 1938 photo was taken, however, it was called the Palomar Ballroom. The following year, a fire destroyed the building.

(Photographer: Herman J. Schultheis / LAPL 00100741)

 

The Los Angeles Police Motor Patrol in 1938.

The Los Angeles Police Motor Patrol in 1938.

 

Ice skating at the Tropical Ice Gardens at Westwood Village in 1938 (the year that it opened). The outdoor rink was once located on the southwest corner of Gayley and Weyburn Avenues.Ice skating at the Tropical Ice Gardens at Westwood Village in 1938 (the year that it opened). The outdoor rink was once located on the southwest corner of Gayley and Weyburn Avenues.

 

 

Auto Show 1938

The Los Angeles Auto Show at the Pan-Am Pacific Auditorium in November 1938. (LAPL 00105773)

 

"Fandangos and salami were offered cheek by jowl at the opening of Rancho Pico, a super-market in Los Angeles. Super-markets, fearing that their customers have become too jaded to be attracted by conventional searchlight displays, now put on floor shows with their weekend sales. The Otto K. Olesen Illuminating Co., which supplies the searchlights, also produces the floor shows." -- LIFE Magazine, November 1938. (Bizarre Los Angeles)“Fandangos and salami were offered cheek by jowl at the opening of Rancho Pico, a super-market in Los Angeles. Super-markets, fearing that their customers have become too jaded to be attracted by conventional searchlight displays, now put on floor shows with their weekend sales. The Otto K. Olesen Illuminating Co., which supplies the searchlights, also produces the floor shows.” — LIFE Magazine, November 1938.

 

ernie's

Ernie’s 5¢ Café, once located at 806 E. 5th Street, circa 1939. (Photographer: Burton O. Burt/ LAPL 00068906)

 

La FLoristas Ball 1939

Before the Las Floristas Headdress Ball took on its present name, the social event was called the Bal de Tete, started by the Junior Flower Guild. Here is the second annual Bal de Tete, which took place in late April 1939 at the Victor Hugo, a trendy Beverly Hills restaurant once located at (or near) 235 N. Beverly Drive. Notice how small the headdresses were back then? (LAPL 00044842)

 

i_magninSecond floor of the I. Magnin store in 1939. Its address was 3240 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90012

 

Flower and 8th Street 1939

Flower Street, south of 8th, circa 1939. (LAPL 00104226)

 

Dancers do the jitterbug at City Hall's portico in 1939. It was a publicity stunt to get Los Angeles Mayor Fletcher Bowron to attend the International Jitterbug Championship at the Los Angeles Coliseum. (LAPL) Bizarre Los Angeles

Dancers do the jitterbug at City Hall’s portico in 1939. It was a publicity stunt to get Los Angeles Mayor Fletcher Bowron to attend the International Jitterbug Championship at the Los Angeles Coliseum. (LAPL)

Looking north on Hill Street from 5th in 1939. (Photographer: Dick Whittington / USC Digital Archive) Bizarre Los AngelesLooking north on Hill Street from 5th in 1939. (Photographer: Dick Whittington / USC Digital Archive)

 

The interior of a Los Angeles Pacific Electric Streetcar in December 1939. LAPL (Bizarre Los Angeles)The interior of a Los Angeles Pacific Electric Streetcar in December 1939. LAPL

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5 thoughts on “Life in Los Angeles in the 1930s

  1. I’m researching a novel set in LA in 1936 and this site has been invaluable (and will be duly credited). Thank you so much!

    1. You are welcome. That’s part of the reason why I created this website: to inspire and provide resources to writers, artists, actors, filmmakers, etc. As a writer and photographer, I felt that there was a need for a website like this.

  2. Am researching my ancestors, one of who rented a room at a Continental Hotel, at 802 E. 7th. St. around 1935-1940. He was employed at a business, (still here), called Germain Seed & Plant, which I found history on. I imagine the hotel was torn down, but do you know any info. on it? In 1942 he was stationed at Fort Macarthur in San Pedro. Thanks much for any help you can pass my way. Rita

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