Oct. 29, 1943: Downtown Los Angeles is only partially aglow on one of the last nights of World War II dimouts — when light use was restricted to save power as well as reduce visibility for enemy aircraft. On Nov. 1, 1943, at 12:01 a.m., WWII dimout restrictions in Los Angeles were lifted, but residents were asked to continue to keep power usage down as replacement equipment, such as transformers, was virtually nonexistent.
Allied success at the Battle of Midway and other wartime campaigns against the Japanese made an attack on the West Coast highly unlikely — so dimout restrictions were lifted.
These four photos were taken from the top of Los Angeles City Hall on one of the last nights of the dimout restrictions.
A different photo by Los Angeles Times staff photographer Jack Carrick, along with a matching image taken the night dimouts ended, ran in the Nov. 2, 1943, Los Angeles Times. Both of Carrick’s images were taken from the top of Los Angeles City Hall.
I strongly suspect the above four images also were taken by Carrick as part of the L.A. Times’ 1943 story but were not published.
My previous “View from the top.”
Now a plug for a previous LA Times.com ‘View from the top.’
Back in November 2009, I came across a set of seven Associated Press images of downtown Los Angeles taken from L.A. City Hall on Jan. 1, 1951.
The logical idea was to match the images and document how downtown L.A. had changed in 59 years.
My first attempt fizzled — the observation deck was closed that day. So L.A. Times staff photographer Gary Friedman gave me his City Hall contact, Los Angeles Councilman Tom LaBonge.
Councilman LaBonge not only got me up to the observation deck, but he also held up the proofs of the 1951 images for me to match. That’s his hand in the above photo.
I turned in the photos and went off on vacation. While gone, Web photo editor Bryan Chan really got behind this project. He went back to City Hall and did one of his 360-degree panoramic images. Then Chan and Web expert Sean Connelley built an interactive Web page on LATimes.com.
The Metro photo desk editors also got behind the project. Some of the images became a full page Then and Now column for the Jan. 3, 2010, edition.
The final Web page included six of the images. The seventh overlapped two of the others so was dropped.
The Los Angeles City Hall observation deck is open to the public, but the best way to get there is one of the weekday public tours. Tours are from 10 a.m. until noon Mondays through Thursdays. For information, call (213) 978-1995.
As I found, the deck is sometimes closed for private events. Call ahead.
See the interactive “View from Los Angeles City Hall, then and now.” This page was updated in early 2013 with sliders to switch back and forth between 1951 and 2009 images.
Photo: November 2009: A 1951 Associated Press photo is held by Los Angeles Councilman Tom LaBonge for comparison with the current Los Angeles skyline. Both photos were taken from the top of Los Angeles City Hall. Credit: Scott Harrison / Los Angeles Times