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Old July 22nd, 2006, 11:29 AM   #1
archd1
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Los Angeles in the 1900s: What life in LA was like 100 years ago

Let us for a moment turn back the hands of time and see LA the way our forefathers had lived and seen it. Check out this link and compare what our city was like then and what we have become...are we better off today or not? You decide. What aspects of the past would you keep, improve upon or rather forget? It's been said that LA is a city that erases it's memory and constantly reinvents itself. Have we ever learned anything in the past 100 years?

http://www.ulwaf.com/LA-1900s/index04.html

CITY BEAUTIFUL PLAN OF L.A., December, 1907

Architect Robinson’s Charming Dream of the Los Angeles City Beautiful
Grand boulevard entrance, stretching away in delightful vista of a mile from magnificent union railroad station through heart of the city to Central Park and Normal School heights on the west, proposed site for public library and museum. This is Fifth Street looking west. The Normal School tower is at the top of the hill where the Central Library now stands. The buildings on each side of this magnificent street were, of course, never constructed.






COMMUTER RAIL LINES



GRAND OPENING OF VENICE-OF-AMERICA
From the Los Angeles Daily Times, July 5, 1905
THRONG STORMS FAIR VENICE.
Day of Many Charms at New City by the Sea.

ONE OF THE EARLIEST PLANS FOR DEVELOPING THE L.A. RIVER, April 1909


The 1909 plan (far left) would have had a lagoon where the Arroyo Seco runs into the L.A. River, backing up to Elysian Park (about where the Pasadena Freeway runs today). The color photo (from the L.A. River Connection) shows what the confluence looks like today.

From the Los Angeles Evening Express, October 1, 1900
POPULATION OF LOS ANGELES IS: 102,479
Official Announcement Made by the Census Bureau at Washington — Will Make Necessary Reorganization of Police Courts
Washington, Oct. 1. — The Census Bureau today announced the population of Los Angeles, Cal. The total is 102,479, as against 50,395 in 1890. the increase is 52,084, or 103.35 per cent


Los Angeles in the 1900s
How It Was a Hundred Years Ago
by
George Garrigues


If you were living in Los Angeles
a hundred years ago:


You would take the streetcar to work.

Another streetcar might kill you when you got off.

You would work six days a week.

If you were a bank clerk you would work Saturday nights.

If you were really, really lucky you might get a week’s paid vacation.

Perhaps a 10-year-old would be piloting the elevator in your building (don’t worry; the building wouldn’t be higher than five or six floors).

You would shop Downtown (even, perhaps, for groceries).

If you were black, you would live near the railroad tracks.


If you were black you could be a policeman or a fireman, but not police chief or fire chief. You would have to sit in the balconies of the theaters. You could be a lawyer or a doctor or a minister or a porter.


If you were white and had a fancy title or owned a business, you might live on Ninth Street or on Adams.


If you lived in Hollywood, you might be raising flowers or fruits.

If you lived in the San Fernando Valley, you
definitely would be raising something or growing something or tending to some kind of animal.


If you spoke Spanish in your home, you would be called a cholo.


A cop could arrest you ‘on suspicion’ and then try to figure out what to charge you with.


You could be arrested for speaking to a crowd without a permit.

You might be treated with radium and milk for breast cancer.

You could walk through the Third Street tunnel and sing songs in harmony with your fellows.

You could take Angels Flight to your mansion on Bunker Hill.

If you were a police officer, you might have to work from 3 a.m. to 6 p.m. You wouldn’t have a union or even an officers’ association.

Likewise, a streetcar conductor would work from 5 a.m. until 11 p.m. (well, on the Fourth of July at least).

You would be surprised that a black man could invent a motorized roller skate. (If you were black, you might not be surprised.)

You could go to see a “coon show,” or even be in one if you had some blackface makeup (or already had a black face).

The last course of any dinner would be a cigar. Fancy dinners attended by big shots would be closed to women.

You could see Lillian Russell, Sarah Bernhardt or Booker T. Washington — in person.

All ladies would be women, but not all women would be ladies.

You would have to buy textbooks for your schoolchild at jam-packed Downtown stores.

The schools would be overcrowded.

If you were a woman you could join a club and try to do good things for your community and your country. You could also work six days a week in a department store.

If you were a married woman, you would always use your husband’s name, with Mrs. in front of it.

You would take the Pacific Electric to Venice or Long Beach as often as you could, unless you already lived there.

If you lived in Venice, you could get fifty dollars in gold for having a baby there.

If you lived in San Pedro or Wilmington you might decide being a part of L.A. would be better than watching your trees die of thirst.

You could go to an ostrich farm and see them pluck the ostriches.

It's very unlikely you’d be one of the 20 people murdered in a year within the city limits.

Ghouls might dig up your grandparents’ bones. No, strike that; your grandparents were probably neither born nor buried in Los Angeles — unless you were of Mexican (or French) descent.

If you were a teacher, you couldn’t get married and keep your job (unless you were a man, and then you probably wouldn’t be a teacher; you would be on the School Board).

You would get the flu in December or January, but you would call it the grippe.

If you were Chinese, there would be about 3,000 other people like you living in or near the Plaza, and most white folks would think you odd, dirty and smelly. You would probably be a man and, if so, you would wear your hair in a pigtail. Some would feel you couldn’t open a laundry outside of Chinatown. But you’d be allowed to march in the Fiesta parade — because then you’d be considered colorful.

You could have plenty of fun on the boats at Westlake Park — even if you were Japanese.

Your local minor-league baseball team would be called the Looloos.

If you were president of the Protective Savings Mutual Building and Loan Association, you would pack heat.

You could get two years in the clink for stealing seven cents from a church poor box.

You could take your whole family swimming in fresh mineral water.

You’d be shocked that the donor of Griffith Park was charged with trying to murder his wife. But you’d be happy that she survived and divorced him.

If you were a man living in Hollywood, chances are you would vote to outlaw the sale of beer and wine except at drug stores. If you were a woman living there, you couldn't vote.

If you lived in Watts, you’d be surrounded by nature.

If you died, chances are your final illness would be diagnosed as tuberculosis.

Last edited by archd1; July 22nd, 2006 at 01:58 PM. Reason: revise title
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Old July 22nd, 2006, 01:21 PM   #2
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Great pictures archd1. Thanks a lot for these. More than differences between then, I see many, many similarities between the LA of 100 years ago and now, mainly:
-People had an eye toward the future, these conceptualizations of possible promenades and what not aren't too different from our current conceptualizations of what our Metro system could be like.
-Yet the city was very much a continually changing, economically booming, "living city". The development in the then-expanding city reminds me of the continual expansion today.
-People seemed to be continually on the move (that picture of Third Street to a picture of a freeway today).

Overall, I think the city has changed far more for the better. Although many deride LA for being more automobile-centric than other cities, I actually completely disagree. Although we can't rely on the auto in it's current form and use, I don't think it will be too hard to adopt a gradient variety of transportation in the city depending on the density of the local and uses etc. that will allow us to easily take transport to work and use our cars for pleasure and other special uses, which in my opinion is the optimal set-up that provides the greatest mobility and lifestyle. We've also managed to maintain our vibrancy. While other cities seem to have reached a 'developmental apex' so to speak, settled down, expropriated much of their industry and gentrified their neighborhoods. Los Angeles has managed to retain its sense of still very much being a living, breathing, continually-changing, very chaotic place and frankly the day it stops being so, is the day I leave . So overall, I think we've been on the best course of any urban city because we've allowed the city to grow up organically, which is what has kept it thriving, instead of trying to master-plan or force stuff. Even the current downtown revival is an organic function. Lets hope we never settle down, become stagnant or conform to anyone's vision of what our city should be other than our own and our needs.

Some things I wish we had kept from the past:
-The trolley/tram system, and I would really love it if we rebuilt a modern system downtown and in other parts today.
-I wish they had built some of the ideas they had back then, that Grand Ave Promenade and LA River plan both look awesome. We of course have the Grand Avenue Project, so I guess even if it is 100 years too late, we are building something. I still hope we build that urban lake/riverfront area somewhere in the future.

Some regrets:
-The residential aspect of the city is still somewhat segregated by class and race, which is ridiculous since were fairly integrated when it comes to where we shop and our public spaces, but this is rapidly changing downtown and in places like Silverlake, so hopefully it will continue.
-We should do something about the LA River, I dont know if the concrete channeling is a must for flood-control, but at the very least it shouldn't be a no-man's zone, it should be embraced.
-I wish our expansion of the past 20 years had involved re-growth in population in the city core, and revitalization of inner suburbs, instead of the exurban growth into the Inland Empire.

OK, those are my thoughts for now, great thread and I'm interested in what others think of the past 100 years of LA growth.
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Old July 22nd, 2006, 09:29 PM   #3
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Quote:
You would work six days a week.
...glad to see that has not changed

or this

Quote:
A cop could arrest you ‘on suspicion’ and then try to figure out what to charge you with.
http://www.ulwaf.com/LA-1900s/Specia...eWayItWas.html



haha ha... baby criminals
http://www.ulwaf.com/LA-1900s/00.05.html
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Old July 23rd, 2006, 02:17 AM   #4
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Oh Botox, you a funny mothafukka!

Thanx Arch for that info. As Spaceman says, we are very much still an evolving city, living, breathing, doing some things right, doing some things wrong. Oh well.......I have come to appreciate LA's organic path. The car becomes popular the city starts to build major roadways. The city is becoming more and more dense, the city starts to build a viable rapid mass transit system. The city has in no way "settled down" and I don't forsee this happening anytime soon. In fact, it feels as if it is just getting started. In the end, it will all work out for this wonderfully chaotic city, I do believe. And just to think, this was only 100 years ago! While people were still living on farms in some parts of LA most of the "I love-----" cities in the US were at the peak of their powers in regards to population, industry and influence. Simply amazing!
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Last edited by klamedia; July 23rd, 2006 at 02:25 AM.
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Old July 23rd, 2006, 02:29 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by godblessbotox
...glad to see that has not changed

or this



http://www.ulwaf.com/LA-1900s/Specia...eWayItWas.html



haha ha... baby criminals
http://www.ulwaf.com/LA-1900s/00.05.html
And you think the "baby criminals" column is funny. Read the following about, I presume 2 little black boys under the heading "Little Pickaninnies".
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Old July 23rd, 2006, 02:37 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SpaceMan1
Some regrets:
-We should do something about the LA River, I dont know if the concrete channeling is a must for flood-control, but at the very least it shouldn't be a no-man's zone, it should be embraced.
how about lining it with brick pavers!

...i kind of like it as the nomans land. better then making it a man-made flowing rivier or god forbid, a lake

speaking of lakes, there was a lake in gardena?
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Old July 23rd, 2006, 02:40 AM   #7
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Monaco sho' looks pritty!
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Old July 23rd, 2006, 06:45 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by klamedia
Monaco sho' looks pritty!
STAY ON TOPIC!!!
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Old July 23rd, 2006, 08:41 PM   #9
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interesting
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Old July 24th, 2006, 05:49 PM   #10
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It is quite interesting to note that there had been earlier efforts to redefine and redevleop LA as a traditional-looking city----more inline with Paris maybe. Now we know today's rhetoric and vision of a "new" downtown has been going on for the last 100 years. Hopefully it will not take another 100 years for our planners to fulfill that vision.
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Old July 24th, 2006, 07:56 PM   #11
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...but its la, not paris
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Old July 24th, 2006, 09:09 PM   #12
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Yeah after reading that article I am more of the mind that I would like LA to keep its identity intact. But I guess if LA was going to lose its identity it would have by now.
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Old July 25th, 2006, 04:59 AM   #13
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Well, LA was going into that "traditional-city" mode of planning (I'm using the term "traditional" in a very loose way here since apparently it has generated a lot of controversy in this forum)before it made a drastic U-turn in the 50's when freeways were planned, built, the city decentralized and suburban sprawl sprung all over within a few decades. LA pretty much defined itself in its own terms and continues to do so!
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