A vanished city lives again...

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Southwest from City Hall: Then & Now

I'm not quite done with the special project I've been working on of late, but I just got this old postcard and I can't wait to do a quick "Then & Now" with it.

As usual, I can't be absolutely certain about the date of this photo, but I'm thinking it's probably around 1962. The buildings around Angels Flight have been razed by this time, but The Dome is still alive and well at the corner of Second and Grand (upper right), so I think this is a good ballpark guess.

Taken by me from the observation deck of City Hall during my visit on July 10, 2009. I have to say – when I first saw that block-square open pit at First and Broadway, I had mixed feelings about it, but now that I see the building that was there before (The California State Office Building?), I have to say the current open space is a significant improvement.

Photo by J Scott Shannon.

It's interesting to me to think that the old photo is from a time that is actually within my living memory. This Then & Now comparison illustrates pretty much exactly the extent to which downtown Los Angeles has changed in the short space of my own lifetime...


Thursday, October 22, 2009


My apologies for the lack of updates recently. Due to Real Life circumstances, I've been forced to take a bit of a hiatus from writing about my favorite avocation here. When I come back, though, I'll have something really special to share – something quite different than what I usually post, and more personal, too. Anyway, rest assured, Los Angeles Past will be back again in a week or two. Stay tuned!


Sunday, October 4, 2009

Palm Drive: Then & Now

Nathan Marsak recently sent me this lush postcard image of the palm drive of Singleton Court in West Adams, circa 1915. These are the Longstreet palms which I've written about previously. Planted circa 1875, the 23 Longstreet palms that remain today are quite possibly the oldest living things in Los Angeles. These trees have a continuous documented photographic history which alone affirmatively attests to their great age.

Palm Drive, Singleton Court, West Adams, c.1915:

The same view of Palm Drive, 2009:

Photo by J Scott Shannon.

These palms actually began life during the Civil War, almost a century and a half ago. Only five buildings still standing in all of Los Angeles are older (dead link) than these palm trees. They may look just like any others, but the Longstreet palms are really quite special, indeed...