2nd Street tunnel opens
July 25, 1924: Cars line up for the opening of the 2nd Street tunnel connecting Hill and Figueroa streets After many years of delay, the tunnel was finally open.
This photo was published the next day with a Los Angeles Times article reporting:
“I am glad I lived to see the day that the tunnel was completed,” said Acting Mayor (Boyle) Workman.
“If the tunnel lasts as many years as were taken to build it.” said Councilman (Ralph) Criswell, “It will last for a long time.”
“All things come to him who waits,” said Mrs. Nellie D. Gleason, who for more that twenty years urged the building of the tunnel and who turned the first shovelful of earth when ground was broken for the improvement on April 11, 1921…
The LA Times article also reported that the tunnel was 1,502 feet long, had 42 feet of clearance and was lined with glazed ornamental white tile.
The tile led to the tunnel being a popular site for photographers, and movie and television shoots.
The 2nd Street Tunnel in Los Angeles is probably the most recognizable city landmark most Americans have never heard of. The tunnel — a 1,500-foot-long bore lined with white tile, like a bathroom that never ends — has been used as an exterior in dozens of films and TV shows, most famously in the sci-fi masterpiece “Blade Runner.” The tunnel will get more big-screen love this weekend in “The Soloist”: The once-homeless violinist Nathaniel Ayers used to be a regular at the tunnel’s west entrance….
“It’s a beautiful reflective surface,” said Tom Dunlap, senior vice president for Deutsch in Los Angeles, who has shot several car commercials at the tunnel. Particularly at night, when the city would prefer commercials were shot, the tunnel “creates really interesting light textures,” Dunlop said. “It really is an amazing backdrop.”
The photo above was scanned from the original glass negative with the damaged right edge emulsion left in. The 1921 photo at the bottom was left uncropped.
Oct. 22, 2003: Red lights from a traffic jam inside the 2nd Street tunnel reflect off the tiles. Ken Hively/Los Angeles Times
Aug. 22, 1921: The 2nd Street tunnel construction site from the Figueroa Street side. Photo published in the Aug. 22, 1921, Los Angeles Times with story claiming the tunnel would be finished in less than a year. The tunnel did not open for nearly three years. Los Angeles Times Photographic Archive/UCLA
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