Weird History
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17 Incredible And Hilarious Pictures Of Los Angeles From The Early 1900s

Updated August 1, 2019 22.8k views16 items

The United States gained Los Angeles and its surrounding California territory as part of the 1848 Treaty of Guadelupe-Hidalgo, which brought an end to the Mexican American War of 1846-1848. For a few decades, the newly acquired Southern California territory was a rustic outpost of the US; however, as these photos of Los Angeles in the 1910s illustrate, by the turn of the 20th century, LA was well on its way to becoming the oil-rich Tinseltown of the modern age. In 1910s Los Angeles, silent film stars mixed with daring aviators, and rustic dirt roads led to blooming boulevards.

From Calbraith P. Rogers's tragic plane crash in the waters off Long Beach in 1912 to Helen Keller christening ships in 1918 to the creation of the United Artists Corporation in 1919, images of 1910s Los Angeles exist at the crossroads of glamor and the pastoral. 

  • D.W. Griffith, Mary Pickford, Charlie Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks, And Their Attorneys Sign The Papers Officially Creating The United Artists Corporation, April 17, 1919

    Photo: Sunset Boulevard / Getty Images
    • Helen Keller Christens A Ship Docked In Los Angeles, 1918

      Photo: CORBIS / Getty Images
      • Actress Myrtle Linds Holding A Kodak Graflex Camera At The Beach In Los Angeles, 1919

        Photo: Library of Congress / Getty Images
        • Charlie Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks, And Friends At The Sidney Chaplin 'Aeroplane Field' In Los Angeles

          Photo: George Rinhart / Getty Images