After a nearly fifty-year absence, electric trolleys will soon return to to downtown Los Angeles’ streets. From the USC Digital Library’s TICOR/Pierce Collection, here’s a ca. 1909 view of a streetcar rolling down Broadway between Fourth and Fifth streets.

After a nearly fifty-year absence, electric trolleys will soon return to to downtown Los Angeles’ streets. From the USC Digital Library’s TICOR/Pierce Collection, here’s a ca. 1909 view of a streetcar rolling down Broadway between Fourth and Fifth streets.

1888 view of Main Street in downtown Los Angeles, near Temple Street.
Part of the Title Insurance and Trust, and C.C. Pierce Photography Collection in the USC Digital Library.

1888 view of Main Street in downtown Los Angeles, near Temple Street.

Part of the Title Insurance and Trust, and C.C. Pierce Photography Collection in the USC Digital Library.

May Company building at 8th and Broadway in downtown Los Angeles, circa 1940.
Part of the Dick Whittington Photography Collection in the USC Digital Library.

May Company building at 8th and Broadway in downtown Los Angeles, circa 1940.

Part of the Dick Whittington Photography Collection in the USC Digital Library.

The Bella Union was Los Angeles’ first hotel when it opened in 1849 on Main Street. In its early years the hotel, pictured here in 1871, was the center of civic life, doubling as the county courthouse.
Its saloon — the scene of occasional gunfights — earned a reputation for its rowdy crowd. The patrons were “the most bandit, cut-throat looking set that the writer ever sat his youthful eyes upon,” one observer wrote. “The grim, desperado looking bartender…looked as though he hadn’t smiled since his father was hung.”
After decades of decline, the hotel was demolished in 1940 to make way for a parking lot.
Discover more of the Bella Union’s history in L.A. as Subject’s latest KCET.org contribution.

The Bella Union was Los Angeles’ first hotel when it opened in 1849 on Main Street. In its early years the hotel, pictured here in 1871, was the center of civic life, doubling as the county courthouse.

Its saloon — the scene of occasional gunfights — earned a reputation for its rowdy crowd. The patrons were “the most bandit, cut-throat looking set that the writer ever sat his youthful eyes upon,” one observer wrote. “The grim, desperado looking bartender…looked as though he hadn’t smiled since his father was hung.”

After decades of decline, the hotel was demolished in 1940 to make way for a parking lot.

Discover more of the Bella Union’s history in L.A. as Subject’s latest KCET.org contribution.

1915 or 1951? Antique horseless carriages parade through downtown L.A. at 8th and Flower on May 4, 1951.Part of the Los Angeles Examiner Collection in the USC Digital Library.

1915 or 1951? Antique horseless carriages parade through downtown L.A. at 8th and Flower on May 4, 1951.

Part of the Los Angeles Examiner Collection in the USC Digital Library.