Downtown Los Angeles 1930

Life in Los Angeles in the 1930s

Posted on Posted in 1930s

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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

Bizarre Los Angeles Collection: Los Angeles Figueroa 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)

 

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.

 

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 LawCalifornia’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 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)

 

 

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)

 

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

 

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)

 

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).

 

Laguna Beach 1937

A 1937 view of the Pacific Coast Highway from Park Avenue in Laguna Beach during its “Festival of Arts.” (Photographer: Herman Schultheis / LAPL: 00099951) 

 

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.

 

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.

 

Old Hollywood Collection: Walt Disney Studios (1938) – historic photo – Los Angeles – Mickey Mouse – animation Framed poster

 

 

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.

 

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)

 

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)

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4 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.

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