LA as Subject

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

LA as Subject Blog

Subscribe to RSS

KCET

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 »

Topics: KCET

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 »

Topics: KCET

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 »

Topics: KCET

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 »

Topics: KCET

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 »

Topics: KCET

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 »

Topics: KCET

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 »

Topics: KCET

Creating the Santa Monica Freeway, Building Walls Across Communities

Posted by Nathan Masters on Sep 28, 2012

The Santa Monica Freeway under construction at La Cienega and Venice. Courtesy of the Los Angeles Times Photographic Archive, UCLA Library.

Today, the Santa Monica (I-10) Freeway is an indelible marker across the Los Angeles landscape, a mini-equator that delineates boundaries between cultural and historical hemispheres of the city. Southern Californians depend on the freeway as a vital link between the Westside and downtown Los… Read more »

Topics: KCET

Uncovering L.A.‘s Lost Streams

Posted by Nathan Masters on Sep 6, 2012

Courtesy of the USC Libraries

As any hike through the mountains will confirm, different geographies govern wild and urban areas. In the wild, peaks, ridges, and watercourses help us navigate, and as we move through the landscape it's difficult to miss how geologic uplift and erosion have shaped the land. But in the city, a… Read more »

Topics: KCET

L.A.‘s First Freeways

Posted by Nathan Masters on Aug 15, 2012

Arroyo Seco Parkway in 1940. Courtesy of the Automobile Club of Southern California Archives.

Perceptions may be changing with the gradual return to Los Angeles of fixed rail transit, but from today's vantage point, the city's freeways almost seem like an inevitable feature of the landscape. As "Saturday Night Live" recently parodied, for many of us freeways are the region's primary… Read more »

Topics: KCET