LA as Subject

Collectively preserving, archiving and sharing the rich history and culture of Los Angeles

LA as Subject Blog

Subscribe to RSS

How Ivanhoe Canyon Became Silver Lake

Posted by Nathan Masters on Mar 21, 2014

With his stalwart dam of concrete and steel in place, William Mulholland began flooding the meadowlands of Ivanhoe Canyon in November 1907. The waters rose, sedges drowned, and red-winged blackbirds fluttered away in search of undisturbed wetlands. Within a few months, Mulholland had created… Read more »

Topics: LA Magazine

How ‘Golden Apples’—Oranges, That Is—Sold the Golden State

Posted by Nathan Masters on Mar 21, 2014

Courtesy of the David Boule Collection

Call it an early version of viral marketing. Promoters of two products -- a fruit and the region that grew it -- created hundreds of images of oranges, orange trees, and orange groves during the reign of Southern California's Orange Empire. They then leveraged the social network of the time --… Read more »

Topics: KCET

LA as Subject awarded Cal Humanities grant

Posted by Liza Posas on Mar 4, 2014

Earlier this year, LA as Subject was announced as one of the 17 recipients of the Cal Humanities Community Stories grant. Community Stories (formerly the California Story Fund) gives expression to the extraordinary variety of histories and experiences of California’s places and people.

The… Read more »


New book by LAAS Executive Commitee member David Boulé!

Posted by Liza Posas on Feb 20, 2014

Cloaked in mystery and until modern times available only to the elite, the orange has been known as the fruit of the gods, the food of emperors, a token of gratitude, and the symbol of health, wealth, and love. The dream of California since its discovery by Europeans has been that it is a place… Read more »


Little Tokyo celebrates 130th anniversary

Posted by Liza Posas on Jan 27, 2014

Commemoration of the 130th Anniversary of Little Tokyo, 1884-2014

Throughout 2014, the Little Tokyo Historical Society (LTHS) will observe a year-long celebration of the 130th anniversary of Little Tokyo, which had its origin in 1884 with the establishment of a humble restaurant, Kame, at
340… Read more »


How Los Angeles Erased Entire Hills From Its Urban Core

Posted by Nathan Masters on Jan 13, 2014

n 1912, Los Angeles considered an audacious plan to reshape its topography. A group calling itself the Bunker Hill Razing and Regrading Association proposed to pump water from the Pacific Ocean, pipe it 20 miles to the city center, and spray the seawater through high-pressure jets against a ridge… Read more »


How N.Y.C.‘s Broadway Gave Its Name to an L.A. Street

Posted by Nathan Masters on Jan 9, 2014

Why does downtown Los Angeles' grid include a street with such a distinctively New York name? Broadway may be one of L.A.'s oldest streets -- laid out by surveyor Edward O. C. Ord in 1849 -- but until 1890, Angelenos knew it only as Fort Street.

Problems with pronunciation provided the impetus… Read more »


L.A.’s Dearly Departed Cemetery Ravine

Posted by Nathan Masters on Jan 7, 2014

It’s doubtful that any prayers were said on Cemetery Ravine’s behalf when earthmovers filled in and paved over the gully to create part of the Dodger Stadium parking lot.

Early maps of Los Angeles show Cemetery Ravine as one of several canyons draining the Elysian Hills just north of the city’s… Read more »

Topics: LA Magazine

When Candy-Cane Streetcars Rolled Out Holiday Cheer

Posted by Nathan Masters on Dec 18, 2013

It would be more Scrooge than Santa to dwell on the fact that these candy-cane streetcars were designed to bolster two ailing business models, the downtown department store and the fixed-rail streetcar. After all, Angelenos loved the festive paint job. Anywhere from 50 to 100 people, many of them… Read more »

Topics: LA Magazine

Christmas Tree Lane: The Origins of a Southern California Tradition

Posted by Nathan Masters on Dec 18, 2013

Woodbury ranch superintendent Thomas Hoag had no idea the three-foot seedlings he was planting would someday become a major Yuletide attraction. It was 1885, and Hoag and his Chinese American ranch hands were building a driveway that climbed a steady grade from the Pasadena city limit up to the… Read more »