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First car through Hill Street tunnel

First car through Hill Street tunnel

March 22, 1913: Contractors drive a car out of the Hill Street tunnel at 1st Street, a few minutes after a steam shovel had removed the last foot of dirt.

This tunnel was the second of twin bores through the northeastern section of Bunker Hill. The hill was also referred to as Court Hill. The tunnel connected Temple St. with 1st Street.

This photo accompanied a story in the March 23, 1913, Los Angeles Times that reported:

The industrious steam shovel which for almost eight months has been steadily eating into the vitals of Bunker Hill removed the last of 40,000 cubic yards of earth from the new Hill-street tunnel yesterday afternoon and the first automobile went through. The 550-foot bore will be opened to traffic within sixty days. When completed this tunnel will be one of the finest in the country, the contract calling for walls lined with white enamel tile similar to that used in bathrooms, and will cost $135,000.

H.A. Wattson and C.A. Spicer, the contractors, climbed into the company automobile and made the maiden trip through the new bore. The first vehicle to pass through encountered difficulties that will not face others upon completion. …

The new tunnel parallels the Hill Street tunnel constructed and used by the Pacific Electric Railway and will mean much to traffic inasmuch as it saves the long climb up Broadway to reach Temple street and points west of Broadway.

The Hill Street tunnels and the hill above them were removed in 1955 to make way for the current Los Angeles Civic Center.

scott.harrison@latimes.com

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