Framework

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Undated photo of the Santa Fe Railroad's La Grande Station in Los Angeles. The station opened in 1893 at 2nd Street and Santa Fe Avenue and closed in 1939. It was torn down in 1946. The Moorish dome was damaged in the 1933 Long Beach earthquake and removed.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Los Angeles Times

May 18, 1924: Residents and visitors at Santa Fe Railroad's La Grande Station in Los Angeles. A special summer rate brought thousands to Southern California. This photo was published in the May 19, 1924, Los Angeles Times.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Los Angeles Times

Exterior area of La Grande Station operated by Santa Fe Railroad. Image probably taken in May 1924.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Los Angeles Times

Exterior area of La Grande Station operated by Santa Fe Railroad. Image probably taken in May 1924.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Los Angeles Times

May 18, 1924: A train arrives at Santa Fe Railroad's La Grande Station in Los Angeles. A similar photo was published in the May 19, 1924, Los Angeles Times.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Los Angeles Times

1918: Trains at the Santa Fe Railroad's La Grande Station in Los Angeles.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Los Angeles Times

Image probably taken May 22, 1924: On back of print is written, "Part of crowd at Santa Fe Station Thursday to see Californians off for East." The Friday, May 23, 1924, Los Angeles Times has a story reporting large numbers of Californians heading east by train for summer excursions.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Los Angeles Times

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Santa Fe Railroad’s La Grande Station

The Moorish-style La Grande Station opened July 29, 1893, at 2nd Street and Santa Fe Avenue. In addition to the exotic architecture, La Grande Station featured lush gardens and later, a Harvey House restaurant.

In the 1920s, summer discount tickets by all railroads brought a major influx of tourists to Los Angeles. During the 1924 influx, the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Le Grande station was featured in a May 19, 1924, Los Angeles Times story:

Wide-eyed and wondering, the vanguard of the great army of summer tourists that will make their way across the plains of the Middle West and over the Rockies for the next few months, arrived in Los Angeles yesterday.

Beginning at 7:30 o’clock yesterday morning the three great trans-continental railroads into Los Angeles began pouring tourists into the city by the trainload. The climax to the day’s influx came early in the afternoon when the Golden State Limited on the Southern Pacific and the California Limited on the Santa Fe unloaded about 620 passengers. The Los Angeles Limited on the Union Pacific came in with two sections. The last of the day’s travelers from the East got in shortly before 9 o’clock last night. The day’s total reached more than 1200 passengers.…

Accustomed as Los Angeles is to having tourists come in from the East, the arrival of the first of the season’s sight-seers brought great crowds down to the railroad stations. At the Santa Fe depot it was estimated that 1500 persons were on hand to meet three sections of the limited. And they weren’t all there to meet friends or relatives either.

Long before the train time at the Santa Fe the crowd of welcomers began to muster. By the time the big iron horses were dragging their human cargoes through the outlimits of Los Angeles, private cars were parked up and down the street for two blocks in front of the station. A regular battalion of taxi drivers were ready to “do their stuff.” Out in the train sheds the red caps and their wagons were deployed strategically to handle the baggage of the newcomers.

A great throng of persons stood in the friendly shade of the depot and train employees, according to one of the company statisticians who carried an adding machine slung on a strap over his shoulder, told 1200 persons 2400 times the the first section of the limited would arrive on time on track No. umph.

The clanging of a bell growing louder, the crowd begins to crane its collective neck, the little girl clutching a bunch of California roses begins to jump up and down with hysterical anticipation, and around the curve there looms the engineer of the first section, The engineer nearly fell out of the cab when he saw the crowd at the depot. Regaining his self-composure, however, he saved the day by bringing his mount to a halt with a great hissing of air and the proverbial grinding of the brakes. …

And it wasn’t just the influx of visitors to Southern California, the discounted tickets worked in reverse. An article in the May 23, 1924, Los Angeles Times reported that, ” eastbound trains pulled out of Los Angeles stations yesterday carrying capacity loads. Approximately 6500 Southern Californians bound eastward on vacation trips were said to be aboard.”

The dome on La Grande Station was removed in 1933 after being damaged in the Long Beach earthquake. The depot was closed in 1939 with the opening of Union Station. The building was torn down in 1946.

Previous From the Archives railroad posts include Union Station at 75 and Southern Pacific Railroad’s Central Station.

scott.harrison@latimes.com

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