Before 1948, LA's Power Grid Was Incompatible With the Rest of the US

Before 1948, there was something funny about the Southland's electricity. Plug in a clock from New York and it would lose 10 minutes every hour. Spin a record on a turntable from San Francisco and it would sound deep and drowsy. Some gadgets wouldn't work at all. » 2/04/15 2:00pm 2/04/15 2:00pm

When Anaheim's Flying-Saucer Arena Touched Down Near Disneyland

Had one of Tomorrowland's flying saucers gone missing? When the Anaheim Convention Center's arena opened in the summer of 1967, it looked as if a spacecraft from another world had touched down directly opposite Katella Avenue from Disneyland. » 12/22/14 5:00pm 12/22/14 5:00pm

In Cold War LA, Nuclear Missiles Starred in Veterans Day Parades

Trolley Tracks Once Ran Through the Beaches of Los Angeles

Trolleys once rivaled the crashing surf in the soundscape of Southland beaches. Along much of the Southern California coast from Santa Monica to Redondo and from Long Beach to Newport, a red dot—a distant Pacific Electric car—would appear down the shore. As it neared, the click-clack of the wheels moving over the… » 10/24/14 4:44pm 10/24/14 4:44pm

In 1966, the Angels Landed in Anaheim's Futuristic Baseball Stadium

How could the Angels call any place but Los Angeles their home? After all, the club's name directly referred to the city, and there had been a team named the Los Angeles Angels since the first decade of the 20th Century, when the minor-league Los Angeles Looloos wisely opted for a more dignified nickname. So it's… » 9/05/14 2:33pm 9/05/14 2:33pm

This Giant Searchlight Once Scanned L.A. From the Mountains Above

As twilight faded over Pasadena on September 9, 1894, an artificial sun flickered to life for the first time. High above town in the San Gabriel Mountains stood a wonder of the new electric age: a 60-inch General Electric searchlight, by many accounts the largest in the world. This massive projector first dazzled… » 8/06/14 1:17pm 8/06/14 1:17pm

These Massive Hangars in Orange County Once Housed WWII Airships

Rising conspicuously above the red-tile roofs and big-box stores of suburban Tustin, California, these two massive hangars stand as monuments to a lost age of aviation, built when lighter-than-air dirigibles held promise as the future of air travel—and air warfare. » 7/16/14 7:03pm 7/16/14 7:03pm

Photos of Orange County, Calif., When Oranges Actually Grew There

Orange County, California, hardly lives up to its name1 anymore. A few relict orchards may survive, but today the endless citrus groves that once clothed the county in green are only a memory. » 6/30/14 2:30pm 6/30/14 2:30pm

What if Your Dream Home Had a View of an Oil Derrick?

Its promoters billed it as an exceptional housing tract—buried utility lines, curving concrete roads, and a hilltop site whose ocean views gave the subdivision its name: Monte Mar Vista. With country clubs bordering it on three sides, residents of the so-called "central jewel in a Tiffany setting" could easily play… » 6/25/14 9:00pm 6/25/14 9:00pm

L.A. Glows Red in This Photo From the International Space Station

Photos of L.A.'s Most Famous Streets When They Were Dirt Roads

Like some of the very people who drive on them, a few Los Angeles streets have achieved the height of fame. Sunset Boulevard lent its evocative name to Billy Wilder's classic film noir. Pasadena's Colorado Boulevard appears on millions of television screens each New Year's Day as the route of the Rose Parade. And to… » 6/19/14 3:30pm 6/19/14 3:30pm

Did Disneyland's Main Street, USA, Inspire Better Urban Design?

Walt Disney didn't set out to revolutionize urban design when he created Disneyland—that's what his Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow, or EPCOT, was for. But whereas EPCOT never became anything more than a sort of permanent world's fair, it was Disneyland and especially its Main Street, USA, that ultimately… » 6/18/14 6:00pm 6/18/14 6:00pm

This Remarkable Palm Tree Couldn't Decide Which Way to Grow

Before the Hollywood Sign Found Fame, Others Signs Dotted LA's Hillsides

HOLLYWOODLAND's voice was not alone. Other hillsides also spoke. Across Los Angeles in the 1920s, signs announced new real-estate subdivisions in big block letters perched high above the city. BEVERLY CREST. BRYN MAWR. TRYON RIDGE. » 6/10/14 3:30pm 6/10/14 3:30pm

Animated Map Shows How Paved Roads Spread Across L.A. County

Is the L.A. of 2014 driving around on a road network built for the L.A. of the 1980s? That's one conclusion two researchers at Arizona State University draw from their above data visualization, which uses building records from the Los Angeles County Assessor's Office to infer the age of the metropolis' roads. Green… » 6/06/14 6:30pm 6/06/14 6:30pm

L.A.'s 1930s Extension of Wilshire Blvd. Left Urban Scars

The message was clear: Los Angeles was not afraid to reshape its urban form to accommodate the automobile. Over the course of a few months in 1931, workers cleared a wide swath through three dense downtown blocks, demolishing buildings, tearing up foundations, and filling in basements—all to extend an automobile… » 6/06/14 3:00pm 6/06/14 3:00pm

I was pleasantly surprised when my hometown chose this bold design for its new rail station, which replaces a dismal depot in the Angel Stadium parking lot. I'm looking forward to riding Amtrak/Metrolink here. » 6/05/14 2:08pm 6/05/14 2:08pm

Arriving Soon in Southern California: A New Golden Age of Train Travel

If we really are witnessing the dawn of a "new golden age of train travel," there are few better places to see it take physical form than the Southland. In Orange County, the arches of the Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center, or ARTIC (above), have been rising across the freeway from Angel Stadium. It's… » 6/05/14 2:01pm 6/05/14 2:01pm

The Hollywood Sign Originally Read "HOLLYWOODLAND"

Looking at photos of the Hollywood Sign in its early years is a little like seeing the Statue of Liberty with a third arm, or the Golden Gate Bridge with a second deck. The sign has become such an effective icon of Los Angeles that we assume its present configuration must conform to its Platonic ideal. » 6/04/14 7:00pm 6/04/14 7:00pm