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1910 photo of Los Angeles taken from a balloon. The "A" arrow indicates the Pacific Electric Building at 6th and Main streets. The "B" indicates the intersection of 7th and Broadway.


March 2, 1931: Aerial photo looking southwest from 6th and Los Angeles streets. When this photo was published in the Dec. 4, 1931, Los Angeles Times the two arrows were added. The top arrow points to the intersection of 7th and Broadway. The bottom arrow points to the Pacific Electric Building at 6th and Main.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Spence Air Photos

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1910/1931 Los Angeles aerial photos

Today’s mini two-photo gallery shows downtown Los Angeles looking southwest from 6th and Main streets. The images were taken in 1910 and 1931.

The 1910 photo was taken from a balloon by C.C. Pierce. The “A” arrow indicates the Pacific Electric Building at the corner of 6th and Main. The “B” indicates the intersection of  7th and Broadway.

The Mar. 2, 1931, photo was taken by Spence Air Photos. The top arrow points to the intersection of 7th and Broadway. The bottom arrow points to the Pacific Electric Building at 6th and Main. The photo was probably taken by Robert E. Spence, owner and operator of Spence Air Photos.

These two photos were published in the Dec. 4, 1931, Los Angeles Times 50th Anniversary Special Section. The images ran on opposite pages. For the 1931 publication, the two arrows and letters were added by staff artists. In the years since publication, the “A” and “B” were either removed or fell off the 1931 print, but remain on the 1910 print.

On Jan. 1, 1925, the 1910 photo was published with a similar 1924 Spence Air Photos image. The 1924 Los Angeles Times caption reported:

Things in general have changed to correspond to the conditions that governed the operations of the two cameramen. Mr. Pierce, leaning out of a slightly swaying basket beneath a gas bag that was held practically stationary by a cable, exposed his plate a twenty-fifth of a second–he had plenty of time. Mr. Spence, rushing through the air at sixty-five miles an hour, had to do his work with the lens in one-thousandth of a second! We’re all going that much faster–we have to keep up with the growth of Los Angeles!

This previous From the Archive blog post C.C. Pierce Photography Collection includes 30 images. The post accompanied this July 10, 2012, Los Angeles Times article L.A.’s boomtown years captured in photos by Larry Harnisch.

The 1924 aerial photo by Robert E. Spence is no longer in the Times archive.

1 Comment

  1. January 16, 2013, 8:37 pm

    I was born at 108th and Main eighty years ago. Nice to see what my home town looked like then.

    By: dollyhei

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