“I have a lot of lands. I bought it because I had a very strong feeling. I was in my early twenties, and I had grown up in Los Angeles and had seen that city slide off into the sea from the city I knew as a little kid. It lost its identity – suddenly there was cement everywhere, and the green was gone and the air was bad – and I wanted out.”
– Robert Redford
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Los Angeles is one of the most iconic cities in the United States. It is the home of Hollywood, sandy beaches, famous recording studios, and the place where all kinds of aspiring artists go to live in poverty before making it big, and moving to Beverly Hills (or not making it big, and not moving to Beverly Hills).
This city is the backdrop for so many stories; from thrillers, and horrors to dramas and comedies, every kind of story known to man is told or happens here. But the city’s own story rarely gets told.
Los Angeles was founded in 1781, when a group of forty settlers, known as Los Pobladores, founded the long-named pueblo El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles del Río de Porciúncula. This part of L.A. is now known as Pueblo Plaza and Olvera Street, where the original pueblo is also commemorated.
It remained a small ranch village for a fairly long time, but by the early 19th century, the population increased to around 650 residents. Also around this time, in 1821, Mexico got their independence from the Spanish Empire, and California, together with Los Angeles, were part of the new state territories. Los Angeles became the capital of Alta California.
In 1847, California and its capital would be lost to the United States after the signing of the Treaty of Cahuenga, in the aftermath of the Mexican-American War. As part of the United States of America, Los Angeles would continue to flourish.
In 1876, the Southern Pacific railroad line is completed, allowing people to come to the town a whole lot easier. This proved to be a smart investment, as oil was discovered in California in 1892. By 1923, the state became the largest oil producer in the country, accounting for one-quarter of the world’s petroleum output.
During 1900, the city was pushed to its limits, in terms of water supply, as the population grew to 102,000 people. It stagnated for about 13 years until the Los Angeles Aqueduct was completed, under the supervision of William Mulholland.
Three years before the aqueduct’s completion, Los Angeles annexed Hollywood. Within the city -Los Angeles- there were already at least 10 movie companies, each operational. By 1921, Hollywood was the movie capital of the world, with 80% of the industry being concentrated in Los Angeles. It is the revenue generated by this status that insulated the city from much of the hardships of the Great Depression.
As I said, in 1900 the population of L.A. was 102,000 people. By 1930, the population surpassed the one million mark, and in 1932, they hosted the Summer Olympics, and 52 years later, in 1984, they did it again.
Not content with just putting out movies, the city also played the role (see what I did there?) of industrial powerhouse during World War II.
Hundreds of ships were built on Terminal Island, and the Los Angeles area was the headquarters of six major aircraft manufacturers. During the conflict, more aircraft were produced than in all the years since the Wright brothers’ successful flight combined.
After the war, Los Angeles started growing at an unprecedented rate, encompassing the San Fernando Valley and propelling suburban growth with the expansion of the Interstate Highway System. This, however, did lead to the demise of the electrified rail system that the city had, which was, at one point, the largest one in the world.
Like I mentioned earlier, 1984 saw the Summer Olympics coming to Los Angeles for the second time. In typical L.A. style, they were an enormous success. Although boycotted by 14 Communist states, the 1984 Los Angeles Summer Olympics became the most successful Olympics ever, and the second ever Olympics to turn a profit, the first being the previous 1932 one, yet again in Los Angeles.
As you can imagine, a history as intense as this city’s does not happen without leaving behind architectural and urban vestiges. The city has so many faces, yet we only get to see the glitz and glam.
Los Angeles is split into over 80 districts and neighborhoods, but generally the down is divided into the following areas: Downtown Los Angeles, East Los Angeles, Northeast Los Angeles, South Los Angeles, Harbor Area, Greater Hollywood, Wilshire, the Westside, and the San Fernando and Crescenta Valleys.
In today’s article, I will be showing a few amazing pictures of Los Angeles, done by photographer Dan Marker-Moore. You can see more of his stuff by visiting his website here.
I hope you enjoyed these gorgeous photos of Los Angeles, as much as I enjoyed picking them out for this article. Dan is such a fantastic photographer, and his time slices really blew me away. So much so that I am going to start planning a trip to L.A. right now.
If you are planning to go to L.A., or just want to drop me a couple of lines, please scroll on down to the comment section and leave me lots and lots of comments.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in January 2015 and has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.