Saturday, July 17, 2010

Big Red Car Routes in 1905

Found a great ad for the Los Angeles-Pacific Railroad (the Red Cars) from 1905, advertising the "Balloon Route." Sounds like a Party Train, if I read it correctly! The Balloon Route took you all over LA County, with stops going north to Laurel Junction (as in Laurel Canyon) and Hollywood, then east to Los Angeles and the 4th Street Station and down to Sawtelle and the National Soldiers Home--that outlines a big loop, the "balloon."

Cars then went due west to Santa Monica--the balloon's tether, I guess. From there you could go on to weekend destinations along the coast, but it might be hard to pull yourself away. After all, Santa Monica, "the oldest and most widely known beach on the Coast, situated on the bluff overlooking the sea" had the "famous Hotel Arcadia, Fine Bath House, Pleasure Pier, FIshing, excellent surf bathing..."

Here are some descriptions of the other stops:

  • Playa del Rey, the Play Ground of the King--"One of the most beautiful resorts on the Pacific." Apparently, there was a huge auditorium and convention hall there, as well as "Still water bathing and boating on the Lagoon" and a pleasure pier and surf bathing.

  • Venice of America, with Parlor Car Service!

  • Ocean Park, one mile from Santa Monica. "Bathing, fishing, and every form of beach attraction, including large dancing pavillon, pleasure pier, bath houses and roller coaster."

  • Redondo. "At this beautiful beach overlooking a fine natural harbor is located the far-famed Redondo Hotel, commanding the great ocean front, rivaling all others for grandeur of view." They spared no superlative in those days, huh?

And here's what the ad says about Hollywood. Remember, this is 1905--no movie connection yet. "Beautiful Hollywood, "The Bridal Chamber of California," a city of artistic homes. The "Outpost" of Gen. Harrison Gray Otis, Whitley Heights, Laughlin Hill, and many similar beautiful places, including the home of Mr. Paul de Longpre, the celebrated flower artist."

This Balloon Route Map, borrowed from the USC page on the Big Red Cars, is dated a little later but the route itself seems the same. The picture above of the Red Car is from San

1 comment:

circuitmouse said...

Even as the Metro plans future Westside coastal lines, they recently announced that they are considering eliminating service on line 439 (Downtown to LAX) and line 220 (originally West Hollywood to Playa del Rey, but they've systematically emasculated it at both ends so it currently runs on Robertson from the Beverly Center to downtown Culver City)