Sunday, April 19, 2009

Traffic at Wilshire and Western . . . in 1926

What a nightmare! Of course, it is rush hour--5:20 P.M. In this shot, I believe we are looking east along Wilshire Boulevard, from just west of Western Avenue, and the date is April 20, 1926.

These pictures are part of a traffic study done from April 13 to 20th in 1926. Most of the shots are either of Wilshire and Western, or Washington and Western.

The second photo is labeled clearly--a view north. The Packard billboard is still there. The second shot was taken on April 13th at 1:25 P.M. The building right at the corner, below the Packard billboard, is labeled James A. Donahue.

According to the record at the Los Angeles Public Library, which has these pictures online, the Donahue business was a Packard dealership. North of it (with awnings) is the Standard Public Market. This, I believe, is the northeast corner, which is where the Solair Wilshire Towers are now.

OK, one more shot looking south along Western, so you can see the two corners. The Pellissier Square Real Estate office is on the southeast corner; looks like pure residential on the southwest. This was taken at 8 A.M. on April 13. What's there now?

In 1929--three years after these photos were taken,--construction began on the Wiltern Theater and the 12-story Pellissier Building, which sits on the southeast corner to this day. Pellissier, as in Monsieur Germain Pellissier, the original owner of the property, was long gone when the Wiltern was built. His grandson, Henry de Roulet, operated Pellissier Square Real Estate in 1926. (merci beaucoups to Carissa Marsh and the Pepperdine U Graphic, for their article about concert venue histories in L.A.)

This last photo shows the kind of stop signs used back then--a very small printed sign that flipped up and down. Don't imagine they were terribly effective.


Scott Shannon said...

Just found your blog last night, looking for old images of Wilshire & Western on the web. Reason being, I just got this old postcard on eBay, and I was curious about the traffic control device in the middle of the intersection. Have a look:

Ever seen a signal like that? To me, it almost looks like the drivers are treating it as a "roundabout." Interesting how the driver in the foreground is signaling left, yet he's over on the right side of the road. Strange...

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