January 4: This Date in Los Angeles Transportation History

Los Angeles Electric Railway Company, ca. 1887 (Click to enlarge)

1887:  The first electric streetcar appears in Los Angeles.

The Los Angeles Electric Railway Company’s streetcar route began on Los Angeles Street at the Plaza, heading south to 3rd Street, east to San Julian Street to 7th Street, west on Seventh Street to Maple Avenue, to Pico Boulevard westward to Lorde Street (now Harvard Boulevard).

This was the first streetcar line to use electricity as propulsion power west of the Rocky Mountains.

Numerous images of early electric streetcars in 1890’s Los Angeles can be found here.

Los Angeles Railway streetcar at 1st and Evergreen Streets, Boyle Heights, ca. 1897 (Click to enlarge)

1890:  Los Angeles Railway Company is formed.

The City of Los Angeles grants the company a 50-year franchise and its seven main lines begin operating on October 14, 1890.

The company’s headquarters building provides the first transportation library in Los Angeles: a 2,100 square foot reading room supplied with books, newspapers and periodicals.