Interesting ways to explore Los Angeles

Here's an offering of a few ideas for sites
to visit related to Los Angeles history. I'm partial
to architecture, design, and individuals who have
an interesting way of looking at the city.

If you have suggestions for additions
to the page, please e-mail me.

The page will continue to evolve.

Happy exploring!

--- Bill Counter

about photos from other
websites that appear on this page...

I've tried to give appropriate credit. Please 
e-mail me if there are incorrect attributions, links
that no longer work or other issues. A link near each
image will direct you to a full size version on the
website hosting it. Assume that all the images
are subject to copyright restrictions.

     Art Deco Society

For those who wish to celebrate and preserve

the architecture, art, music, dance, clothing and
elegance of art deco Los Angeles.

The society offers tours, special events,

publiocations and more. Make sure you visit
the Art Deco Los Angeles Books page.

     Big Orange Landmarks   

Floyd B. Bariscale is investigating everything
on the City of Los Angeles landmarks list on his
glorious blog. Everything is indexed for
easy browsing. 

Above is a photo of the Biltmore Hotel lobby, part
of his investigation of the. Biltmore Hotel

Go to the  full size view and browse 59
other photos of the Biltmore. 

On Big Orange:

     Card Cow

An amazing treasure trove of vintage postcard views. 
Here we're looking at a card depicting Union Station. 
full size view

Search the site:
| los angeles |

     D L D   

The site is "a simple directory to explore
downtown los angeles"  with lots of interesting links.
Shown here is Broadway's Eastern Columbia
building in a photo on the site.

     Experience L.A.    

Pay a visit to the Experience LA Heritage Portal for listings
of upcoming events of interest to LA history buffs.

     Frasher Foto Postcards

The Frasher Foto Postcard Collection at the Pomona
 Library has hundreds of photos from all over southern
 California. Here we're looking up the Long Beach Pike
 in 1937. It's a "Frasher's Foto Postcard."
 full size view

The collection is particularly strong on beach scenes,
 small town business districts and nature views

     Facebook pages of interest...    

1947 Project

Art Deco Society of Los Angeles

Beverly Hills Art Deco

Beverly Hills Historic Preservation

Bringing Back Broadway

Downtown L.A. Artwalk

I Heart Miracle Mile

Island of Long Beach

L.A . as Subject

L.A. Conservancy on Facebook

L.A. Historic Theatre Foundation

Los Angeles Theatres

Mid Century Modern

Photos of Los Angeles

RMS Queen Mary

San Fernando Valley Relics

Vintage Los Angeles

    Elizabeth Fuller's Old L.A. Postcards 

Elizabeth Fuller has amassed a lovely collection
of Los Angeles postcards--659 at last count.
Here is the classic "Greetings" card. 
full size view


Lots of up info about architecture, culture and
other happenings in various neighborhoods.
Here's a photo by Kara Brugman of the Edison in a
2009 post about eateries.    full size view

Also see the companion site:
Eater LA

     The Barbara Harlen Collection    

A luscious view of Hollywood and the Cinerama Dome.
It's one of many great mid-century color Los Angeles views
on this site from the estate of Barbara Harlen (1915-2003)
full size view

Use the navigation bars at the top of the page to look
through four great color pages plus there's a page of black
and white views from the Oleathia Owens collection.

     The Historic Core of Los Angeles    

by Curtis C. Roseman, Ruth Wallach, Dace Taube
Arcadia Press Images of America Series, 2004
ISBN: 9780738529240

| buy on Amazon | preview on Google Books |

Here we're looking at the 1893 Atchison
Topeka & Santa Fe Terminal.
On Google Books:  larger view

    The Historic Los Angeles Blogs    

A set of blogs curated by Duncan Maginnis
exploring neighborhood history one house at a time.

A tropical image from Duncan's
St. James Park blog.

On Facebook:

     History, Los Angeles County

A great blog by Vickey Kalambakal about Los Angeles
history. Here we have a photo of old River Station, the pre-1939
Los Angeles train station, on a 2008 post
 "Los Angeles 19th Century Railroad."
 larger view

     The Hollywood Sign

All about the sign -- past, present and future.
 Lots of photos and interesting facts. This view is on
the site's  History of the Sign page.

     Image Archeology    

A wondrous collection of old postcards from
various neighborhoods.  Here's a scene on
 Olvera St. from the collection.  full size view

See also their views of Universal City,
Farmer's Market, the Bernheimer residence
 and lots more.


     Legends of America  

This shot of the Azusa sign if from one
of this site's Route 66 pages. There's also lots
more of interest on the Legends site.
 full size view

more photos from legends


     L.A. Conservancy    


This organization is a leading force in preserving
historic buildings in Los Angeles. Shown here
is a photo of the Ambassador Hotel from their site.
  full size image 

See their site for tours, film screenings in
historic Los Angeles movie theatres and more. 

   more photos from the site

     Los Angeles Past

A postcard from J. Scott Shannon's collection on a 2009
 post "South from 250 Spring." It's one of many
interesting entries on this wonderful blog. 
full size view

     Neon - Public Art in L.A.  

A nice list of historic neon with links to many
great photos. Here we're looking at the neon of
the El Rey Theatre on Wilshire's Miracle Mile.
full size view

    Penny Postcards from California    


Lots of fun here browsing through submissions
 from many contributors.  Shown here is 1913
view of oil wells in the General California Cards
 section of the site.
   full size view 

See the sections on Los Angeles County,
 City of Los Angeles, HollywoodVenice,
 1933 earthquake damage and lots more.

     Roadside Peek

This photo of the Angel's Flight car is on
 Roadside Peek's  Southern California Historical Sites
page. Check out the Hollywood, Southern California Postcards
and Southern California Index pages for lots of pictures
 of buildings, neon signs and other adventures.

     South Bay History

A view of an early seaplane at Avalon from Sam
 Gnerre's lovely
article "Seaplanes to Catalina." 

Sam is the archivist for the Torrance "Daily Breeze" and
writes interesting stories on a wide variety of historical topics.

    The Studio for Southern California History

Visit the Studio's website for information on exhibitions,
walking tours, their colllections and more.  Also see
their History Archive site.

     Uncanny - Streetcars & More

A great site by Tom Wetzel with period views
along different rail lines. This view from his
page on the Glendale-Burbank Line.  

 Also check out the Hollywood Boulevard Line
tour and the terrific Downtown Walking Tour

     Vintage Los Angeles

 Check out this great Facebook page curated
by Alison Martino. Vintage Los Angeles gets a
lot of action with a wonderful variety of historic
photos posted everyday.

Here we're looking at a wonderful early view of the
Music Box in Hollywood posted by Maurice E. Ideses
full size view


A 1931 view of the Los Angeles City Hall
from Overland Monthly via Wikipedia.
full size view

Well, how much time do you have?
You could start with the Los Angeles article. Check out articles on various neighborhoods: Downtown Los Angeles, The Eastside , Northeast Los Angeles, South Central Harbor Area, Hollywood, WilshireWestside and San Fernando Valley .

 And then there are discussions of West Adams, Watts, Leimert Park, Baldwin Hills, Venice Beach, the Downtown Financial District, Los Feliz, Silver Lake, Koreatown, Westwood, Bel Air, Benedict Canyon, Hollywood Hills, Hancock Park, Pacific Palisades, Century City, and Brentwood.

There are also articles on various landmarks in Los Angeles including:  Walt Disney Concert Hall, Kodak Theatre, Griffith Observatory, Getty Center, Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, LACMA, Grauman's Chinese Theatre, Hollywood Sign, Hollywood Boulevard, Capitol Records Tower, Los Angeles City Hall, Hollywood Bowl, Watts Towers, Staples Center, Dodger Stadium and Olvera Street.

Will that be enough for a while?

     Archives To Explore    

California State Library

Cal State Northridge - Oviatt Library

Cal State Dominguez Hills - Photo Collection

Huntington Library Digital Collections

Library of Congress - American Memories Collections

Los Angeles Public Library Photo Collection

Online Archive of California
LA Times photos  |  S. Charles lee papers  |

USC Archives

     The 1947 Project    

The original year 1947 project

A tour through L.A. Noir in the pivotal year of 1947 was the
original subject of this wondrous collection of photos, clippings
and analysis.
  The current postings have  moved on to 2 new
years of mayhem, 1907 and 1927. Highly recommended.
photo above is the lobby of the Clark Hotel from a 2007 post.

New adventures by the same team:
On Bunker Hill -- a house by house survey
In SRO Land -- lost lore of the historic core

     Arcadia Publishing    

How do they do it? The amazing list of titles in their
 "Images of America," "Postcard History" "Images of Rail"
  and other series all have wonderful photos.

A detail of some ornament from the William Fox Building
 on Hill Street. It appears in "Los Angeles Art Deco" by Suzanne
Tarbell Cooper, Amy Ronnebeck Hall and Frank E. Cooper
On Google Books: larger view

Some title suggestions: 

"Beverly Hills 1930-2005"


"Culver City"

"Early Beverly Hills"

"Highland Park"

"Historic Hotels of Los Angeles and Hollywood"

"Los Angeles"

"Los Angeles Art Deco"

"Los Angeles's Angel's Flight"

"Los Angeles's Boyle Heights"

"Los Angeles's Little Italy"

"Los Angeles Railway Yellow Cars"

"Los Angeles River"

"Mount Lowe Railway"

"Pacific Electric Red Cars"

"Route 66 in California"

"The South Bay

"Theatres in Los Angeles"

"Vanishing Los Angeles County"

"West Hollywood"

     Blogs About Life in Los Angeles    

Big Orange Landmarks
great articles about historic buildings

life in downtown Los Angeles

Curating Los Angeles
Jim Gilbert explores the people, places
and culture of the region

Curbed LA
real estate and neighborhoods with
many postings on historic buildings

Design East of La Brea
news, tours, history, design info

Nikki Finki: Deadline Hollywood
latest show business news and gossip

all the dirt

arts, events and gossip

Downtown LA News

politics and downtown news

Downtown Art Walk on Facebook
events on the second Thursday

Downtown Artwalk website

Eater LA
all about restaurants in the city

The Elegant Variation
a literary blog

Fishbowl LA

the latest Hollywood news

Hidden Los Angeles
look deeper

urban adventures: Los Angeles movies,
food, shopping, news

LA Metblogs
history, happenings and more

LA Places
articles and photos about wonderful
spots around Los Angeles

LA Weekly - Eat + Drink

the paper's recommendations

Love and Hate L.A.

On the Road With Mark Peacock
a photo journal

The Silverlake News
all about what's happening
in this neighborhood

L.A. then and now

[view] From a Loft
Los Angeles as seen
from the arts district

join Morticia Adams as she chronicles fun things
 to do all over the L.A. area with an emphasis on
 happenings of historical interest

The Pantages Theatre Hollywood as seen
in a photo from [view] From a Loft.
 full size view

     Flickr Photo Collections    

I'm finding lots of great photo collections
of Los Angeles architecture on Flickr.
Some of our favorites so far:

A Box of Pictures

Ansel Adams LA Photos

Art Deco Los Angeles

A view of the famous Miracle Mile camera shop
by Photo Avatar in the Flickr Art Deco pool.
full size view

Thomas Hawk -- Signs

James Herman -- Los Angeles

Jerical Cat -- Los Angeles architecture

Los Angeles History

Mark Peacock -- all over Los Angeles

A view of the sign for the Golden Spur
restaurant in Glendora from Mark Peacock's
 Vintage Signs set.   full size view

MrArteest -- Historical and Fascinating

Old Los Angeles & Nostalgia

Carlos Rossi -- Art Deco LA

Too Much Fire -- Signs

Tortuga: gas stations, shopping centers--everything

Vintage Los Angeles

Vintage Los Angeles

Vintage Los Angeles Favorites

Vintage Southern California

Waltarrrrr -- Los Angeles

Waltarrrrr -- Pico Blvd.

Zota -- the Edison

A view from Zota's Edison nightclub set.
 full size view

     More Los Angeles History Sites    

All the Malls of Southern California

Architecture in L.A.
historical societies
historic preservation
historic buildings

Berkeley Square -- Historic Los Angeles

Delirious L.A.

Digital Imaging Project - Architecture

Electric Railway Historical Association

Historic Los Angeles: A Miscellany

Historic Mapworks

Los Angeles Modern 

L.A. Streamlined

The Museum of the San Fernando Valley

On Bunker Hill

Pacific Electric Subway

The Pike

Road Trip USA

St. James Park - - Historic Los Angeles

Sepia Town

Smoker's Hack

Synthetrix - Photos of the Forgotten

USC Urban History Map

Venice and the Movies

Venice Historical Society

Wilshire Boulevard Houses -- Historic Los Angeles

     LA Observed

L.A. Observed regularly runs posts about

Los Angeles History. The postcard here comes
from a 2009 post about Westlake Park.
full size view
On L.A. Observed:  more history posts

     L.A. Places

A terrific exploration of great architecture,
 public spaces and more all over Los Angeles.
 Have fun wandering arounbd the blog archives.

Here's a great view of the entrance
 vestibule of the Eastern Columbia Building.
 It's on one of several posts under the
 topic Art Decofull size view


     Lotta Living

Your source for mid-century modern, atomic age
and googie style living.   Here's a postcard from a
 Knott's Berry Farm tour.   full size view


     L.A. Vegetarian Restaurants  

See this site for a list of  vegetarian restaurants,
restaurant reviews and farmer's market information
in the Los Angeles area.   They also do a
 monthly newsletter.

     Metro Archive - MTA

A postcard view of the Griffith Observatory from the
 Archives' Historic Los Angeles Postcards set.
 full size view

There's also a nice Downtown Los Angeles set but
what this archive is really about is transit. Hundreds
of photos from the Los Angeles County Metropolitan
Transportation Authority's Dorothy Peyton Gray
Transportation Library and Archive document the
history of the City of Los Angeles
and its transit systems.

     Noirish Los Angeles

This is a forum (at last look with 81 pages of posts)
on the website  Most of the
 posts are from local archives and involve photos
 selected for a romantic, noirish feel.

It's a fascinating browse through a variety of images
 of architectural subjects that you perhaps wouldn't
 otherwise find in the archives. Here we're looking at
 City Hall from Bunker Hill in 1951.  full size view

     Preserve L.A.

A site devoted to keeping you up to date
with preservation news. This image is from an
article about the Weatherwolde Castle
 in Tujunga.  full size view



     Spherical Panoramas    

A 360 degree tour of the Egyptian Theatre
 is just one of many panoramic journeys you can
 take on this amazing site.

The many tours include the Mt. Wilson
observatory, desert adventures, Frank Lloyd Wright's
 Freeman House, Mt. Hollywood and lots more.

     USC Archives

A wonderful collection with images displayed on
the web in high resolution.  After selecting an image you
can usually click again and zoom in on more detail
 The collection is particularly good on photos of downtown.

Here we're back in 1924 looking north on Broadway
from 4th Street. Grauman's Million Dollar Theatre
is on the left.  full size view

     A Visit to Old Los Angeles    

Take a journey to Echo Park, Santa Monica
and Venice -- which is where we are in this
vintage postcard.   full size image

This extraordinary site features a number
of other episodes created by Brent C. Dickerson
combining his text with an amazing collection of old
postcards and other historic photos. 

Other adventures include  Broadway in the 20's,
Catalina and more. The index page will give
you the rundown.       


     Water and Power Museum

Many pages of great photos culled from the Department of Water
 and Power Archives as well as USC, the Los Angeles Public Library
 and other sources.  Here we see a view up into the rotunda dome
 of the Central Library on the site's Early L.A. Buildings page.
 full size view

     You Are Here

Check out this terrific site.  Martin (from Stuttgart)
has done a building by building documentation of the
Broadway theatre district, Hollywood Blvd. and other
areas.  This photo of Chips coffee shop is from his
 Googie Architecture page.   full size image    

And don't miss Martin's --
Broadway Tour
Hollywood Blvd. Tour
Wilshire Blvd. Tour

more photos from you are here

Info on a few downtown buildings: