March 31: This Date in Los Angeles Transportation History

1890:  The Electric Rapid Transit Company, incorporated in Kansas by a group of Topeka capitalists, arrives in Los Angeles with plans to take over Los Angeles Electric Railway Company.

1949:  Work begins on removing Fort Moore Hill in Los Angeles to make way for the Hollywood Freeway.

The hill was located near the intersection of North Hill Street and Cesar Chavez Avenue.

The project takes nearly two years and costs over $1 million to remove 900,000 cubic yards of material.

Work coordinated by the City of Los Angeles, Los Angeles County and the State Division of Highways included excavating and removing the hill as well as the old Broadway Tunnel while confronting issues involving drainage, bridges, entrances and exits to and from the freeway, traffic problems, right-of-way problems and other challenges.

Fort Moore served as a U.S. military fort during the Mexican-American war.  A small force of U.S. soldiers built a fort atop the hill following the raising of the American flag over Los Angeles in August, 1846.


Over the years, the hill would later become the site of Los Angeles’ first brewery (circa 1882-1887), the “Banning Mansion,” a cemetery (1853-1947), and a high school (1891-1917).

More information can be found in the January-February, 1951 issue of California Highways and Public Works and the June-July, 1949 issue of Two Bells, the Los Angeles Railway employee news magazine.

1963:  A fleet of 300 new SilverLiner coaches replace the two last remaining trolley coach lines and five remaining rail lines in Los Angeles.

Los Angeles Metropolitan Transit Authority Executive Director C.M. Gilliss had previously explained that:

Over the past 15 years, the cost of maintaining and operating these two classes of equipment (streetcars and trolley coaches) has risen entirely out of proportion to the service they render.

The crowded cities of today make this equipment inefficient and more costly thna our riders can afford.

Every major city in the United States either has converted, or plans to convert…”

The Los Angeles Press Club holds a “wake,” complete with elegy, for the demise of the streetcars. Miss Press Club gleefully waves from the “Teardrop Trolley” transporting press members to the Georgia Street Yard. They were shuttled back to the Press Club by one of the replacement buses. (Click for more information)

Several pages of photographs documenting the conversion taking place March 30-31, as well as the Bus Spectacular at Dodger Stadium celebrating the arrival of replacement coaches March 26, can be found in the April, 1963 issue of The Emblem, the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transit Authority employee news magazine, while archival footage of the last streetcar runs can be found here.

On this date:

  • Rail Line J becomes West Jefferson-Huntington Park Motor Coach Line 9
  • Rail Line P becomes West Pico-East First Street Motor Coach Line 26
  • Rail Line R becomes Whittier Boulevard-West 3rd Street Motor Coach Line 28
  • Rail Line S becomes San Pedro-West 7th Street Motor Coach Line 29
  • Rail Line V becomes Vernon-Vermont Avenue Motor Coach Line 95
  • Trolley Coach Line 2 becomes Brooklyn Hooper Avenue Motor Coach Line 2
  • Trolley Coach Line 3 becomes West 6th Street-Central Avenue Motor Coach Line 3