Weird History

40 Mind-Blowing Photos of Historic Los Angeles  

Jude Newsome
19.3k votes 3.5k voters 221.1k views 40 items

Travel back to a time before smog and freeways ruled Los Angeles with a list of vintage LA photos. We all have an image of LA, whether it's based on the beaches of Santa Monica or the glitz of Hollywood, but these photos from the 1800s and early 1900s show the City of Angels in a whole different light.

Los Angeles is a city that is constantly changing, which makes looking at old pictures of the LA area a strange experience. Though the city's history goes back much further, California's induction into the United States and the railroad's arrival in the mid-19th century resulted in a massive immigration boom and breakneck industrialization. That's when LA as we know it began to take shape.

These mind-blowing black and white photos from the period allow us to trace the origins of modern Los Angeles, illuminating just how much has changed and how much has stayed the same in the Southland.

1
Westlake Park, 1890
Westlake Park, 1890 is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list 40 Mind-Blowing Photos of Historic Los Angeles
Photo: via Pinterest
Now known as MacArthur Park. Those are the Hollywood Hills in the background.
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2
City Hall, 1889
City Hall, 1889 is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list 40 Mind-Blowing Photos of Historic Los Angeles
Photo: Unknown/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain
LA's third City Hall was located on Spring St. and served as the center of local government until 1928.
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3
Ambassador Hotel Pool on Wilshire, 1937
Ambassador Hotel Pool on Wilsh... is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list 40 Mind-Blowing Photos of Historic Los Angeles
Photo: via Imgur
31 years later, the Ambassador Hotel would be the site of Robert F. Kennedy's assassination. The hotel was demolished in 2005 and the site is now home to the Robert F. Kennedy Community Schools.
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4
Silver Lake Reservoir, 1932
Silver Lake Reservoir, 1932 is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list 40 Mind-Blowing Photos of Historic Los Angeles
Photo: via Twitter
Not pictured: 1930s hipsters.
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