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New viaduct for Red Car line

New viaduct for Red Car line

1927: Pacific Electric Red Car sits on the new Pico Street viaduct. According to an article in the Oct. 24, 1927, Los Angeles Times,  the new viaduct cost $290,000 and was 1,160 feet long and “was built to separate the street and railway grades and thus eliminate dangerous crossings.”

This image was not published but was probably taken on Nov. 2, 1927, during a dedication of the new viaduct.

A short Times article on Oct. 31, 1927, reported:

Dedication of the new 1000-foot viaduct bridging Pico street and serving to eliminate the grade crossing at this point, is schedule for Wednesday (Nov. 2), when city and county officials, together with Pacific Electric executives, will join in an inspection of the structure.

Several clues are in the image. First, a man is getting off a middle car, indicating the train is stopped – as shown in this enlarged section of the photo below.

Second, there is a large group of people gathered on the right side of the image. And third, on the viaduct is a large banner stating “This Grade Separation Sponsored by The Los Angeles County Grade Crossing Committee composed of representatives of the state, county and City of Los Angeles, Railroads and Automobile Club of Southern California. Public support of similar projects assures early construction.”

The original glass negative is at the Los Angeles Times Photographic Archive at UCLA. What I love about the 4 by 5 format is the amount of detail possible even after extreme enlargements. It also helps to have a  high-quality scan done by the staff at UCLA.

The identity of the photographer is unknown.


  1. March 28, 2011, 9:49 am

    Lokk like 4800 Pico is the address on the sign. There is an Osh at that address now.

  2. March 28, 2011, 11:43 am

    Love these old photos.Thank you very much for posting.

  3. March 28, 2011, 4:41 pm

    I love images that bring back our past, and this is a wonderful image. The closest I ever got to 4×5 glass plates was acetate file in film holders for a 4×5 Crown Graphic camera. That was a workhorse camera.

    By: Wayne Frost
  4. March 31, 2011, 11:44 pm

    I've had a Crown Graphic for 40 years; great camera. Sad to say, it's been a while since I used 4×5 film, though.

    By: jpl
  5. March 28, 2011, 8:43 pm

    Great photo, thanks!

    This picture is Pico Blvd. at San Vicente, facing east. If you look up the intersection on Google Maps and zoom to street level, you can see that the utility pole and light standard on the left corner are still in the same locations, albeit updated versions of them.

    It appears as though the photographer is standing on top of some type of tall vehicle (or ladder) parked on the north side of the street. Also judging by the shadows, the picture was probably taken in the later afternoon or early evening.

    Keep those old pictures coming!

    By: OldLA Lover
  6. March 29, 2011, 9:22 am

    Thank you for posting this great photo!
    What a shame it was demolished only 23 years later when PE's Westside lines were abandoned and replaced with busses…


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