February 6: This Date in Los Angeles Transportation History

1874:  Judge Robert M. Widney incorporates the Spring and West 6th Street Railroad, the first rail transit system in Los Angeles.

Spring and West 6th Street Railroad

The birth of Los Angeles transit: Spring & West 6th Street Railroad, 1874 (Click for more information)

The line originally ran from Temple & Spring Streets in a southwestward direction via Spring, 1st, Fort (now Broadway), 4th, Hill, 5th, Olive, and Sixth Streets to Figueroa Street.

In September, D.V. Waldron forfeits his earlier franchise (the first granted in Los Angeles, on July 3, 1873), allowing Widney to assume that franchise and extend his horse-drawn street railway northeast via Main Street to Alameda.

Eventually the railway reaches the Southern Pacific rail station.

The complex history of these earliest street railways is documented by the Electric Railway Historical Association of Southern California.

It is interesting to note that Los Angeles’ earliest transit system across downtown from northeast to southwest roughly mirrors the Metro Red Line subway route from Union Station through Civic Center, Pershing Square to 7th/Metro Center which opens nearly 120 years later.