Los Angeles before cars

Spring Street 1897Meant to re-post this oldie but goodie from 2004 for New Year's. On Dec. 31, 1897, a cameraman for Thomas Edison shot movie footage of the street scene in the heart of Los Angeles, then populated by about 100,000 people. Twenty-nine seconds — possibly the first motion picture footage of Los Angeles — can be viewed on the Library of Congress website. Horse-drawn coaches, a trolley and even a cop walking the beat on Spring Street pass by. The opening credits date the film in February 1898, but the metadata on the LOC website says Dec. 31, 1897. Almost as good is Edison footage from the front of a locomotive passing through the tunnel onto Santa Monica Beach, pre-Pacific Coast Highway, and chugging along the foot of the palisades.

This is fun too: Footage of Los Angeles in 1951 — which almost exactly splits the difference between 1897 and now — compliments of Larry Harnisch of the 1947 Project.

More by Kevin Roderick:
Ralph Lawler of the Clippers and the age of Aquarius
Riding the Expo Line to USC 'just magical'
Last bastion of free parking? Loyola Marymount to charge students
Matt Kemp, Dodgers and Kings start big weekend the right way
LA Times writers revisit their '92 riots observations
Recent History stories on LA Observed:
The other horrible April 29 date in Los Angeles history
KNBC 'live-tweeting' the run-up to '92 riots
When Muhammad Ali boxed in LA - and posed for pictures *
MALDEF sues sheriff over withheld Ruben Salazar files
Scenes from a convention - Los Angeles, 1960
Previous story: LAT union vote tomorrow

Next story: No parties for Arnold

New at LA Observed
Follow us on Twitter

On the Media Page
Go to Media
On the Politics Page
Go to Politics

LA Biz Observed
Arts and culture

Sign up for daily email from LA Observed

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

LA Observed on Twitter and Facebook