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1936 tunnel opening in Santa Monica

1936 tunnel opening in Santa Monica

Feb. 1, 1936: Dedication of new tunnel in Santa Monica linking Roosevelt Highway with Olympic and Lincoln boulevards.

Staff photographer Bob Jakobsen’s original caption reported:

Scene near tunnel opened yesterday (Saturday – Feb. 1, 1936) afternoon in Santa Monica, as another important link was added to the Roosevelt Highway system. Hundreds crowded the scene despite a drizzling rain as county, state and city officials dedicated the tunnel, located at the head of Santa Monica pier. The tunnel was formerly used, before its reconstruction into a much larger capacity road, by Pacific Electric Streetcar system.

An article in the Feb. 2, 1936 Los Angeles Times reported:

SANTA MONICA, Feb. 1. (Exclusive)–A drizzling rain today failed to hold back a crowd that witnessed the formal opening of the new 400-foot tunnel in Santa Monica linking Roosevelt Coast Highway traffic with the coast route south, Olympic Boulevard and arteries to metropolitan Los Angeles.

The new bore, costing $200,000, running under Ocean Avenue along Colorado Avenue, was formally opened to traffic by Earl Lee Kelly, State Director of Public Works. The ceremony was preceded by a parade headed by the Santa Monica Municipal Band. …

The tunnel became known as the Olympic Tunnel. In 1969, it was renamed the Robert E. McClure Tunnel – honoring the former editor of the Santa Monica Outlook. Today the tunnel connects the Santa Monica Freeway and Pacific Coast Highway.

Jakobsen’s photo above was not published. The photo below was published in the Feb. 23, 1936 Los Angeles Times automotive page.

Feb. 1936: A new Ford V-8 Fordor sedan exits the new tunnel in Santa Monica onto Olympic Boulevard, which leads to Lincoln Boulevard. The tunnel connected those streets with the Roosevelt Highway. Credit: Los Angeles Times.

scott.harrison@latimes.com

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