Being a native angeleno who cherishes connections to my city’s history (in part because so much of my personal historical landmarks have been destroyed), I take a special geekish pride not just in our 104-year-old house, but also that I live within the original city limits as it was incorporated in 1850.
With that love of Los Angeles’ past comes a fascination with old maps and photos and I can often be found haunting various digital archives just reveling in the images of yesteryear.
So it was that yesterday I took a nostalgia tour through the LA Public Library’s repository and did a search for Silver Lake images, finding this awesome aerial made of the neighborhood under development circa 1924 (click it for the slightly bigger picture):
It’s amazing to see Silver Lake in its infancy, with the area directly south of the reservoir practically devoid of homes and looking more like a strip mine than an eclectic residential enclave.
The only problem I have with the pic? Our then 18-year-old house is out of frame, standing literally juuuuuust beyond the lower right corner that shows the curve of still unpaved Occidental Boulevard to Sunset Boulevard north of it. Had the photographer pointed his lens but 0.0657 smidgens (roughly 1/10th of a skosh) lower there’d be a long-sought historic visual of our Home Sweet Home.
You want another one I discovered? Check this out from 1950:
When the Hollywood Freeway officially opened that year it was celebrated with a police-escorted procession of automobiles (no doubt containing officials and dignitaries) heading north on it from downtown. But the 101 was far from done. In fact, you couldn’t actually get to Hollywood on it yet. Construction had only been completed to Silver Lake Boulevard, where the parade of cars had to exit, turning around to re-enter the south bound lanes back to the Civic Center, as seen above.
Lastly, here’s another one I found, taken by one of my favorite LA photographers, Gary Leonard (probably for the old LA Reader). It’s not as old as the previous two, but it features an acquaintance I’ve written about recently, Paul Greenstein (at right), back in the day when he co-owned Millie’s, Â a looooong while after that historic Silver Lake eatery opened in 1926, two years after the aerial photo at the top of this post was snapped.
If you haven’t, you should really take a spin around the library’s digi-archives when you get the chance: