LA as Subject

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

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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

When Oxnard Beach Became ‘Hollywood-by-the-Sea’

Posted by Nathan Masters on Aug 4, 2014

Never mind that Tinseltown was five or even fifty miles away. By the mid-1920s, the Hollywood brand was so strong that communities across Southern California were affixing it to their names. Toluca became North Hollywood. Sherman became West Hollywood. And in distant Ventura County, Oxnard Beach… Read more »

Topics: KCET

USC Libraries awarded grant for residency program

Posted by Liza Posas on Jun 19, 2014

Workers wash oranges from Puente Hills orange groves in 1925. (Photo/courtesy of California Historical Society Collection/USC Libraries)

The Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) has awarded the USC Libraries and the L.A. as Subject research alliance a grant to develop a residency program that will support archival education. The grant is part of the IMLS Laura Bush 21st-Century Librarian program, which funds training… Read more »


The Lost Towns of Los Angeles County

Posted by Nathan Masters on Jun 6, 2014

Entire towns have vanished from the Southland.

The street grid of Morocco once stretched across the same gilded real estate occupied today by Beverly Hills. The ruins of a town named Minneapolis lie beneath Atwater Village. The independent city of Tropico melded with Glendale.

In an earlier… Read more »

Topics: KCET

How 19 Giant Earthmovers Carved Dodger Stadium Out of a Mountain

Posted by Nathan Masters on Jun 6, 2014

Courtesy of the USC Libraries – Los Angeles Examiner Collection

They literally moved mountains to create Dodger Stadium. Between 1959 and 1962, an army of construction workers shifted eight-million cubic yards of earth and rock in the hills above downtown Los Angeles, refashioning the rugged terrain once known as the Stone Quarry Hills into a modern baseball… Read more »

Topics: Gizmodo

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