20 Pictures That Demonstrate How Much LA Has Changed Over Time

Whatever you call Los Angeles, whether it’s the City of Angels, La-La Land, or Tinseltown, you need to know a few things about it. There are beautiful beaches, palm-lined avenues, and more superstars than IMDb can keep track of. Since the city’s founding in 1871, a great deal has transpired. But we’re concentrating on the last century or so, when studios began to spring up all over town and Old Hollywood took over. We’re looking at (nearly) everything that’s happened in Los Angeles since the early 1900s, from the establishment of the Griffith Observatory to the historic O.J. Simpson pursuit to the recent California wildfires.

So climb aboard our time machine and travel through the past, present, and future. If you live in Los Angeles now, you may be disappointed to learn that the roads weren’t always so congested during rush hour. In reality, there was no such thing as “rush hour.” The Beatles’ performance at the Hollywood Bowl is still spoken about today, and any vista from Sunset Boulevard seems like it came straight out of a movie. Now is the moment to observe these epochs for yourself. Here are some of the important events, perspectives, and individuals who have shaped Los Angeles throughout the years.

  1. 1913
    Cars look very different these days — and so does that view of Los Angeles. This scenic shot was snapped at Laurel Canyon in Hollywood. About 63 years earlier, California wasn’t even considered one of the United States.
Scenic View
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2. 1925
Just two years before this shot was taken, the Hollywoodland sign was constructed to encourage people to live in the same-named suburban housing complex.

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3. 1925
From 1918 until 1928, a Pacific Electric vehicle would frequently convey hundreds of passengers along Hollywood Boulevard. Those wires aren’t visible anymore, but think how much simpler it was to travel about with them.

Pacific Electric Rail Car on Hollywood Boulevard just west of Highland Avenue in Los Angeles, California
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4. 1930
We’ll never forget Old Hollywood, and it demonstrates how much Los Angeles has evolved over the years. At the inaugural Academy Awards, William C. DeMille is shown clutching one of the first Oscars. Hanns Kraly, Mary Pickford, and Warner Baxter were among the winners that year (all pictured here).

Mary Pickford, Warner Baxter And Hans Kraly Receiving An Oscar 1929
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5. 1934
We adore this shot of Walt Disney working with a penguin at his Burbank studios, even though he established his business a decade earlier.

Actor's Nerves
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6. 1935
Griffith Jenkins Griffin’s dream was realized 16 years after he died in 1919. The Griffith Observatory is now one of Los Angeles’ most popular (and Instagrammed) attractions.

Griffith Observatory
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7. 1940
Almost certainly, your cookouts do not resemble this one. In the 1940s, young people in Los Angeles dressed up in vintage swimwear and barbecued on the beach.

Fun, Team, Barechested, Style,
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8. 1945
Film employees went on strike against Warner Bros. Studio in October 1945, picketing and clashing with Burbank police. This was only one of several entertainment industry labor strikes.

Sit Down Strikes At Warner Bros Studio At Los Angeles In Usa On 16Th October 1945
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9. 1951
Is there anything more opulent than a night in Hollywood? The Pantages Theatre and the Broadway Hollywood Building, among other places, could be seen from Hollywood Boulevard in 1951.

Metropolitan area, Metropolis, Night, Cityscape, City, Urban area, Human settlement, Landmark, Skyline, Light,
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10. 1953
With the release of The Robe in 1953, a new age of CinemaScope widescreen pictures started. It was a historic event for the business, held at the Grauman’s Chinese Theatre (now known as the TCL Chinese Theatre).

The Robe
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11. 1957
What kind of person wears short shorts? Joan Bradshaw, please! She featured in a few films but is most known for her producing career, posing in front of Capitol Records with a beautiful puppy.

Los Angeles Over the Years
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12. 1963
The Amalgamated Flying Saucer Club of America proudly released this photograph obtained by one of its members in 1963. Is this proof that extraterrestrials visited Earth? It’s possible we’ll never know…

UFO Flying Low Over Trees
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13. 1964
In 1964, seeing The Beatles perform live at the Hollywood Bowl was another popular ticket. Were you too young to witness it? On Amazon, you can purchase their CD, which includes recordings from the performance.

The Beatles in California
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14. 1976
Jimmy Carter, a presidential candidate, regarded Proposition 14 as an opportunity to gain California voters. When he visited Los Angeles, they gave him a warm welcome.

UFW Welcomes Carter
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15. 1984
The Games of the XXIII Olympiad were held in Los Angeles, with some competitions staged in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. In 2028, the Games will return to Los Angeles.

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16. 1992
Many people remember the 1990s in Los Angeles as a tough, tense period. The Los Angeles Riots, commonly known as the Rodney King Riots, rocked the city in 1992. A five-day riot broke out when four police officers were acquitted of the savage beating of a black man named Rodney King.

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17. 1994
Natural calamities occurred as well. The Northridge earthquake killed over 60 people, wounded over 9,000 others, and wreaked havoc throughout the San Fernando Valley.

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18. 2009
While much of Los Angeles has changed, the pollution problem has not. It has been ranked the smoggiest city in the United States 19 times in the last 20 years.

Los Angeles Growth Declared Fastest in the Nation
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19. 2014
The Griffith Observatory is arguably the best site to get a bird’s eye view of Los Angeles. From the downtown skyline to the Pacific Ocean, everything is seen from there.

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20. 2019
Snow may be seen from Los Angeles, contrary to common perception! A variety of beautiful snow-capped mountains may be seen in the background of the metropolitan skyline.

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