But Have You Seen This One?: Celebrating The Lesser-Known Historic Transit Photos Of Los Angeles

The first trolley coach in America: the Laurel Canyon Utilities Company, 1910 (Click to enlarge)

We are celebrating another achievement today: our Flickr online photo gallery has clocked 1.5 million views after just three years since we began offering up our digital images to the public.

It was exactly nine months ago that we celebrated hitting the 1,000,000 mark.

On February 3, we marveled that it took just 28 months to reach this milestone.

A quick calculation shows that the first million views over the course of three years averages out to more than 35,000 per month.

3rd Street looking west during Angels Flight pre-construction, 1898 (Click to enlarge)

But getting to the next half million in only nine months means that over 55,000 views were recorded per month.

Granted, the collection is larger (now over 7,700 photos online), but the demand for both historic and current images of transit and transportation in Southern California cannot be denied.

Some of these images have been used in other blogs and publications, as well as in previous posts here.

But this is an opportunity to point out some fascinating images in our collection that may have escaped your eyeballs over the past three years.

Our “Early Electrics photo set” contains images from the 1880s-1890s when horse-drawn carriages were replaced by electric-powered vehicles.

This 1895 Los Angeles Railway’s Agricultural Park streetcar is rumbling along 39th Street just south of the Museum of Natural History in what was later renamed “Exposition Park.”

This is just steps away from where Metro’s Expo Line light rail will soon open…117 years later.

Many people aren’t familiar with the story of Los Angeles’ remarkable cable car service during the 1880s, and our photo collection from the brief cable car era captures not just the cars, but the track laying, powerhouse engines, and men who worked the rails.

 In this 1903 photo, a Los Angeles Railway streetcar at 7th & Maple has jumped the track on its way to East Los Angeles.

If you look closely, you may be able to spot a couple of bicycles as well.

Bicycling was quite the craze around the turn of the last century even in Los Angeles (whose population grew ten-fold between 1880 and 1900), as documented in this LA as Subject historical article.

During World War II, Pacific Electric Railway played a huge role in moving troops in and out of Los Angeles.  Special service was put in place to transport defense workers to and from local factories.  This photo collection contains numerous images of 1940s men, women and transit all serving their country.

This image shows that, during the War, the Information Counter at Pacific Electric’s 6th & Main depot was certainly a busy place.

Planning for a Los Angeles subway began around 1911 — and was finally launched in the 1990s.

But many Angelenos don’t realize that Pacific Electric did use a subway tunnel between 1925 and 1955.

The tunnel ran from Sunset and Glendale Boulevards to the Subway Terminal Building downtown.

This photo collection documents L.A.’s “first” subway.

Back in March of 1937, the nation was celebrating “Transportation Week” and Los Angeles Railway introduced its new PCC cars.

This promotional film in our YouTube collection shows Shirley Temple, just shy of her 9th birthday, hosting the event.

While the video clip has been viewed over 10,000 times, only the still photo shows the incredible throngs of people who showed up downtown to ogle the new streetcars.

Photographer Alan Weeks has recently shared with us numerous color images from the 1950s which now reside in our Los Angeles Transit Lines streetcar photo set.

The composition and color of these images are nothing short of spectacular.

Our Flickr collection also features a number of great renderings from the early days of Metro Rail planning.

Some of these have been used to highlight previous posts on “Future Stations Of The Past” for Los Angeles, but many more remain to be seen.

Please remember that not all of our online images are from the distant past.

We hold great resources documenting the current transit and transportation projects going on around Los Angeles County.

Rendering of proposed Metro rail in Hollywood, 1982 (Click to enlarge)

The Expo Line construction, Gold Line Eastside Extension construction, and Red Line construction photo sets are just a few of the many collections that offer insight into the planning, construction and operation of our contemporary transit system.

Our images span 130 years of transportation in the Los Angeles area.

We are very proud to share them with anyone who is interested in this important facet of local history.