LA as Subject

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

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Institute for Baseball Studies now open to the public

Posted by Liza Posas on Feb 18, 2015

The Institute for Baseball Studies, the first humanities-based research center of its kind associated with a college or university in the United States, has announced its public hours for the 2015 spring semester at Whittier College.  Effective immediately through May 1, the Institute will be… Read more »


Before 1948, L.A.‘s Power Grid Was Incompatible With the Rest of the Nation’s

Posted by Nathan Masters on Feb 4, 2015

Courtesy of the USC Libraries – Dick Whittington Photography Collection.

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.

The problem? Southern… Read more »

Topics: Gizmodo

How Santa Monica’s Third Street Became a Promenade

Posted by Nathan Masters on Feb 4, 2015

King of the road? Since 1965, the pedestrian rather than the private automobile has reigned over a three-block stretch of downtown Santa Monica. Today, the Third Street Promenade is one of the Southland's best-known examples of a public space that prioritizes pedestrians over cars.

But while… Read more »

Topics: KCET

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

Posted by Nathan Masters on Oct 27, 2014

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.

Designed by Los Angeles-based architects Adrian… Read more »

Topics: KCET

Monomania L.A.: The Obsessive Collectors of Southern California

Posted by Nathan Masters on Oct 27, 2014

What happens when collecting becomes more than a hobby? File cabinets conquer living rooms. Boxes scrape the ceilings of garages. A trip to a paper ephemera show becomes a grail quest. Even dumpsters offer the promise of a new acquisition.

Such collectors perform a tremendous service to… Read more »

Topics: Featured

Was Western Avenue Originally L.A.‘s Western Boundary?

Posted by Nathan Masters on Oct 15, 2014

Courtesy of the Library of Congress

It seems logical enough -- Western Avenue, as the oft-repeated explanation goes, is so named because it once formed Los Angeles' western boundary. But is there any truth to this just-so story?

Some streets did once mark L.A.'s western city limit. Most notably, West Boulevard's name dates to… Read more »

Topics: KCET

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

Posted by Nathan Masters on Oct 15, 2014

Courtesy of the Mount Lowe Preservation Society

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… Read more »

Topics: Gizmodo

Los Angeles Archives Bazaar on Saturday, Oct. 25

Posted by Nathan Masters on Oct 15, 2014

The Archives Bazaar returns to USC's historic Doheny Library on Saturday, Oct. 25. Come experience the diversity of stories that make Southern California such a place of discovery. At the 9th-annual Los Angeles Archives Bazaar, presented by L.A. as Subject and the USC Libraries, anyone with an… Read more »

Topics: Archives Bazaar

Metro Wins an Emmy

Posted by Liza Posas on Aug 5, 2014

It was announced on Saturday, July 26 that the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (“Metro”) won an Emmy in the public programming category for the Metro Motion show on Union Station’s 75th Anniversary. The 30-minute episode aired just prior to the Union Station anniversary… Read more »


These Massive Hangars in Orange County Once Housed WWII Airships

Posted by Nathan Masters on Aug 4, 2014

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.

They rank among the largest… Read more »

Topics: Gizmodo