clock menu more-arrow no yes

History

Filed under:

  • Map

LA’s strange history as an oil town

On November 4, 1892, what had been a small agricultural city popular became a boomtown nearly overnight when Edward Doheny discovered oil in modern-day Echo Park.

Filed under:

The sordid and possibly murderous secrets of the Sowden House

Was one LA’s most famous murder victims slain in the basement of the Lloyd Wright-designed fortress?

The spellbinding storybook houses of Los Angeles

How storybook style—drawn from the pages of fairytales and Europe’s cobblestone streets—came to have a bewitching effect on Los Angeles.

The stories behind LA’s famous (and strange) street names

They are named after cult leaders, old Mexican ranchos, and the pets and family members of real estate subdividers.

The story of Smilin’ Jack, LA’s huge pumpkin-shaped oil tank

A Halloween tradition since 1952, the 80,000-barrel storage tank has 18-foot eyes and a 73-foot-long grin.

The surviving beach shacks of Los Angeles

In the era of multimillion-dollar seaside homes, the early days of beachfront housing sound too good to be true.

A vision of what Downtown LA might have been

For years, neighbors tried to revive a coral tree left over from the days when planners starting building out—but never finished—a Jetsonian vision of street life.

Filed under:

The ultimate guide to Dodger Stadium

The Boys in Blue are back for the playoffs.

How LA became the land of strip malls

As car ownership boomed, unremarkable commercial centers became an integral part of the LA landscape.

How LA neighborhoods got their names

From Beverly Hills to Compton, the origin stories of more than a dozen Los Angeles cities and neighborhoods.

How Disney made America’s most famous haunted house

Cutting-edge technology and Victorian-era magic tricks created one of Disneyland’s most popular attractions.

A totally incomplete history of trouble at Chateau Marmont

As Harry Cohn once said: "If you must get into trouble, do it at the Chateau Marmont."

The Manson murder house

The home on Cielo Drive stood for more than five decades, but is forever connected to the Manson family’s 1969 killing spree.

How LA addressed its housing shortage with a single megadevelopment

In the 1950s, Park La Brea was built to house 10,000 residents in 18 high-rises and dozens of garden apartments.

Amazing original Disneyland designs included a working farm

Disney’s plans for the park were even more ambitious than what was actually built.

The LaBianca house of Manson notoriety is for sale

The Los Feliz home where the LaBiancas were murdered by the Manson "family" is for sale for $1.98 million.

An urban oasis

Village Green is an affordable "garden city" in the heart of Los Angeles.

How the aviation industry shaped Los Angeles

The fascinating, strangely forgotten history is recounted in a new four-part documentary produced by KCET.

1959 ad shows where in LA you could get on a ‘funliner’ bus

The advertisement emphasizes the strength of LA’s bus system at a time when the city’s once-bustling streetcar lines were being slowly taken out of service.

How LA’s health craze birthed modernist design

In her new book, author Lyra Kilston connects the city’s wellness culture to its streamlined, sun-drenched homes.

The 1899 plan to build a bike highway from Pasadena to Downtown

It’s a bittersweet tale of what might have been.

Dolores Huerta deserves more than a square

Compared to Cesar Chavez, Huerta is still vastly under-honored in Los Angeles.

A century of Los Angeles summer fun

Before TV, the internet, and air conditioning, the young LA park system provided crucial space for summer recreation. Here’s a look at what summer was like 100 years ago in three of LA’s most beloved parks.

The sunshine cure

Long before celebrities recuperated in Malibu, LA’s climate was promoted to East Coast and Midwestern residents sick of brutal winters and sweltering summers.

Filed under:

  • Map

Mapping LA’s Zoot Suit Riots

The riots are one of the darkest chapters in LA history.

The designer who gave Googie its flair

With Armet and Davis, Helen Liu Fong designed some of the most iconic cafes and diners in LA.

The movie ranch where the Manson family launched Helter Skelter

Spahn Ranch was Manson’s kingdom.

In 1974, buses painted like submarines took kids to LA beaches

The "Street Fleet" lasted for one sweet summer.

Life, death, and bathing in LA’s first water system

LA’s earliest attempt to harness water was a system of irrigation ditches called zanjas, and they were the lifeblood of the booming pueblo.

How Crenshaw became black LA’s main street

"Crenshaw Boulevard is the main street of black LA. Has been, still is, and hopefully always will be."

The notorious Los Feliz murder house is looking for a new owner

Cash offers only.

LA’s ‘most recognizable and beloved’ building

The Griffith Observatory has enraptured Los Angeles since the day it opened 84 years ago.

LA has ‘the best Koreatown outside of Korea’

How one immigrant’s enterprising vision transformed the neighborhood into a bustling Korean-led mini city.

Watch the only extant footage of Union Station’s 1939 opening

Incredibly, color footage of the fanfare still exists.

What really happened at Rustic Canyon’s rumored Nazi ranch?

Rumors abound about the Murphy Ranch ruins. This is the true history.

The modernist enclave that tested a utopian vision of LA

In the 1940s, four friends set out to build a community where the houses were affordable and stylish and neighbors shared similar beliefs in progressive ideals.

Family photos from the 1970s capture a vanishing LA

"I hope that people who see my photos get an appreciation for the ephemerality of life."

The fabulous Florence Yoch

To design the shaded splendors of Tara, producer David O. Selznick had only one person in mind: Florence Yoch.

Glitter, glam, grit

The Sunset Strip in the 1980s was nothin’ but a good time—and tight leather and teased hair.