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Los Angeles in 1902

Los Angeles in 1902

Feb. 15, 1953: The Times published this reader-submitted 1902 photo of downtown Los Angeles. The accompanying story reported:

Downtown Los Angeles of 51 years ago–an era when a four-story building ranked as a skyscraper–is illustrated in a photograph received yesterday by The Times.

Mrs. Glenn Randolph Schreiner of Indianapolis, sent it after reading a copy of the Times Midwinter Edition.

“Looking at the pictures of your beautiful modern buildings,” Mrs. Schreiner wrote,”I remembered a picture mailed to me years ago by an uncle who was working in your city at the time.” The uncle, Sloan Randolph, now lives in Vashon, Wash.

The picture, taken from the old Courthouse Hill, is a view looking southward down Broadway. Near its center is the tower of the old City Hall, completed in 1888. The 183-foot tower looked down on many large residences with lawns and trees on nearby Bunker Hill. The tower later was cracked by the 1918 quake which badly damaged San Jacinto and Hemet, and it was lowered by removal of a 76-foot section.

Long-time residents can spot the Nadeau Hotel, which stood on the site of the present Times Building; the Tally-Ho Stables, just north of 1st St. on the west side of Broaday, and the Central Jail, still in use on 1st St. between Broadway and Hill St.

The city has multiplied in population about 20 times since this picture was made in 1902. The census listed a figure of 102,479 in 1900.

The City Hall, the Nadeau and the Tally-Ho are gone today but some of the store and office buildings shown on Boardway and Spring St. are still in use.

The Times Midwinter Edition was published every New Year’s Day from 1885 to 1954. The edition, with many large photos, promoted Southern California.


  1. April 18, 2012, 12:58 pm

    From 1985 to 1954 ?

  2. April 18, 2012, 4:26 pm



    By: Scott Harrison
  3. April 19, 2012, 7:37 am

    It is truly amazing what 110 years of development can do. The transformation of L.A. I'm sure has surpassed that of New York or Chicago, which were already metropolis with high rises at that time. Try as I could, I did not see any buildings in this photograph that are still around. L.A.'s downtown continues its transformation (for the better).
    It is interesting that many of the store fronts along Broadway have awnings, a sign of our warm summer mornings. The Bunket Hill neighborhood looks intriguing. I wish some of those houses had been saved.

  4. November 6, 2014, 1:57 pm

    Thanks for posting the photo of LA. My great grandfather Lambert Vandenberg moved to LA in 1902, so the picture shows what he must have seen when he first came.

    By: Diana Walstad

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