I just discovered a great site! (full disclosure and translation: I did nothing but receive an email from a friend who works at the Long Beach Library, telling me about this site. I haven't even gotten up off my butt to refill my coffee cup.)
Long Beach Seen: Then and Now is the blog of Jeff Gritchen, a staff photographer with the Press Telegram. He pairs recent photographs with old black and whites of the same intersection/marina/building/etc, back in Ye Olden Days. Endlessly fascinating!
I hope he does not mind that I copied one pairing to illustrate. This shows the Long Beach Arena, now painted by Wyland but back in the 50s or 60s, a two-tone building. What colors are represented by the grays? I wonder. Trivia picked up from Gritchen's post (along with the pictures): the Kings played in this arena before the Forum in Inglewood was built, and the Wyland mural is officially the largest in the world, according to the Guinness Book of Records.
But this is just one set of pictures. Go see the rest!
The church and office building at 3rd and Cedar have not changed in 75 years, according to the pictures posted on March 23, 2010. Only the old Model Ts give away the era--the first picture was taken in 1927. Check out the palm trees in front of the Stilwell/Whitworth building in both pictures. Could they be the same trees? Or just later plantings that have grown a bit?