Life in Los Angeles in the 1930s
Above photo: Downtown Los Angeles in 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.
The seventeenth annual Los Angeles Automobile Show, held inside the Shrine Auditorium’s Expo Hall in February 1930. (Photographer: Art Streib / LAPL 00105791)
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.
A scenic view of Topanga Canyon from around 1930.
Cooking school in Monrovia, circa 1930. (Huntington Library)
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’s grocery store at 4311 S. Figueroa Street in 1931. That’s probably him standing in front.
In 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.
Sunset Blvd. and Laurel Canyon, circa 1932. Photographer: Harold A. Parker. [Huntington Library Archive]
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. (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)
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)
According 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.
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 (between Fountain and Sunset), circa January 1934.
From Olvera Street, circa 1934.
A 1934 view of the the old Temple Auditorium’s box seats. (LAPL 00032526)
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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 1934.
A film crew shooting the horse races at Santa Anita Park in 1935. (LAPL 00081704)
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.
The Pan-Pacific Auditorium at 7600 West Beverly Boulevard. It opened in 1935 but was destroyed by fire in 1989.
Griffith Observatory after it was completed in 1935.
Photographer 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. (LAPL)
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.”
A peaceful day at Hollenbeck Park (415 S St Louis Street) in the 1930s.
The 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.
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.
The Eastern Columbia Building at 849 S. Broadway, c. 1930s.
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)
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)
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)
From 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.
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
Two icons of Los Angeles: the Brown Derby Restaurant on Wilshire and the Ambassador Hotel across the street. From 1937. Both a memory.
Outside the (lost) Banner Theatre at 458 S. Main Street in June of 1937.
(Photographer: Herman J. Schultheis/ LAPL)
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).
A great vintage photo of Cabrillo Beach in San Pedro, circa 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.
“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.
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. (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.
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 January 1938. The RKO Hillstreet Theatre (since demolished) is in the background. Photographer: Herman J. Schultheis/ 00100753)
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)
June 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.
A billboard in a section of Old Chinatown, circa 1938. (University of California)
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.
Broadway between 4th and 5th streets 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.
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.
Ernie’s 5¢ Café, once located at 806 E. 5th Street, circa 1939. (Photographer: Burton O. Burt/ LAPL 00068906)
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)
Second floor of the I. Magnin store in 1939. Its address was 3240 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90012
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)
Looking 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