LA as Subject

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How El Camino Real, California’s ‘Royal Road,’ Was Invented

Posted by Nathan Masters on Jan 3, 2013

Photo courtesy of the Photo Collection - Los Angeles Public Library.

Along Highway 101 between Los Angeles and the Bay Area, cast metal bells spaced one or two miles apart mark what is supposedly a historic route through California: El Camino Real. Variously translated as "the royal road," or, more freely, "the king's highway," El Camino Real was indeed among… Read more »

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When Hollywood Boulevard Became Santa Claus Lane

Posted by Nathan Masters on Dec 23, 2012

Hollywood Boulevard as Santa Claus Lane, circa 1950. Courtesy of the Photo Collection - Los Angeles Public Library.

Today, shopping malls hang garland, pipe in holiday tunes, and build showy reproductions of St. Nicholas' polar hideout, attracting customers to their privately owned concourses and encouraging the buying spirit. But before malls, holiday shoppers flocked to Los Angeles' downtown and suburban… Read more »

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Manhattan Beach Celebrates Its Centennial

Posted by Nathan Masters on Dec 13, 2012

1915 view of the Manhattan Beach boardwalk, today known as The Strand. Courtesy of the Herald-Examiner Collection, Los Angeles Public Library.

 

This month, Manhattan Beach celebrates its centennial. Known for its lively seaside promenade, the Strand, and for its associations with surf culture, the city has its origins as a coastal resort built atop shifting sand dunes of the South Bay.

Though 2012 marks 100 years since… Read more »

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L.A.‘s First Streetcars Were Horse-Powered

Posted by Nathan Masters on Dec 6, 2012

A two-horse City-Central streetcar, circa 1886. Courtesy of the California Historical Society Collection, USC Libraries.

Nearly fifty years since the ringing of trolley bells last echoed off the buildings of Los Angeles' historic core, voters approved of a funding measure that will likely return streetcars to downtown Los Angeles. The campaign has brought forth many fond memories of the local yellow cars of the… Read more »

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The Santa Ana River: How It Shaped Orange County

Posted by Nathan Masters on Dec 3, 2012

A swollen Santa Ana River in 1927. Courtesy of the Orange County Archives.

On the banks of the Santa Ana River -- at nearly 100 miles, the longest in Southern California -- the interplay between nature and culture becomes visible. Since the first humans arrived in Southern California several millennia ago, people have maintained a complicated relationship with the Santa… Read more »

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A Black Friday Conundrum: Why Is SoCal’s Harbor Split Between Two Cities?

Posted by Nathan Masters on Nov 26, 2012

Aerial view of the twin ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach in 1964. Courtesy of the Dick Whittington Photography Collection, USC Libraries.

With the combined equivalent of 14 million standard shipping containers moving through San Pedro Bay's harbor each year, it's likely that many of the TVs, toys, and other imported goods sold at deep discount this Black Friday will have passed through the region's twin seaports of Los Angeles… Read more »

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Photos: The Bella Union, L.A.‘s First Hotel

Posted by Nathan Masters on Nov 8, 2012

Courtesy of the Photo Collection - Los Angeles Public Library.

Hotels have long served as temporary abodes for those visiting Southern California. Luxury hotels like the Raymond and the Green made Pasadena a coveted resort destination among East Coast elites in the 1880s. The Hotel Arcadia helped put Santa Monica on the map. And today hotels serve the… Read more »

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SoCal’s Devil Winds: The Santa Anas in Historical Photos and Literature

Posted by Nathan Masters on Oct 25, 2012

Dormant since spring, the Santa Ana winds howled back to life this week throughout the L.A. area. Triggering allergies, fraying nerves, and alarming fire-prone communities, the winds have long been a fact of life in Southern California -- the unadvertised price residents pay for the region's… Read more »

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SoCal’s Devil Winds: The Santa Anas in Historical Photos and Literature

Posted by Nathan Masters on Oct 25, 2012

Dormant since spring, the Santa Ana winds howled back to life this week throughout the L.A. area. Triggering allergies, fraying nerves, and alarming fire-prone communities, the winds have long been a fact of life in Southern California -- the unadvertised price residents pay for the region's… Read more »

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Rediscovering Robinson Jeffers: the Poet’s Formative Years in L.A.

Posted by Nathan Masters on Oct 18, 2012

Jeffers (left) hiking in the San Gabriel Mountains, circa 1903-05. Courtesy of the Occidental College Library Special Collections.

As a city that hosted such masters of the novel as Faulkner and Fitzgerald, provided sanctuary to European titans like Mann and Brecht, and produced its own homegrown stars like Raymond Chandler and Bret Easton Ellis, Los Angeles is no stranger to literary greatness. But the poet who -- according… Read more »

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