The Daily Mirror

Larry Harnisch reflects on Los Angeles history

Category: Freeways

Found on EBay – 1947 Thomas Bros. Guide


A 1947 Thomas Bros. guide has been listed on EBay. These are terrific resources (the Daily Mirror HQ has a small collection of them) showing what Los Angeles looked like before freeways. The guides also include streetcar and bus routes. This item is listed as Buy It Now for $12.99.

MTA Plans Rapid Transit Route From Century City to El Monte!!

  May 15, 1961, Comics  

  May 15, 1961, Transit Plan  

May 15, 1961: The Metropolitan Transit Authority announces plans for a rapid transit system from Century City to El Monte! 

The proposed line, including 12 miles of subway, would extend from the downtown area to El Monte and west to the new Century City in West Los Angeles!!

The western terminal would be under Santa Monica Boulevard at the Century City project on which construction has begun!!!

The line would swing over to Wilshire Boulevard, continuing downtown via subway beneath Wilshire! The subway would continue to a point one mile east of Union Station, where the line would rise to the surface and travel the Pacific Electric right of way along the San Bernardino Freeway to El Monte!!!!!!!

And best of all, according to the Kaiser Industries engineers who helped draft  the plan: “The line would take three years to build.”

That’s right. A rapid transit line from Century City to El Monte, including 12 MILES of subway, could be built in three years!!!!!!!

I don’t know whether to laugh or cry over this story. Maybe both.

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Jimmie Fidler in Hollywood, Dec. 30, 1940

  Dec. 30, 1940, London in Flames  

  Dec. 30, 1940, Evacuation of Dunkirk  

  Dec. 30, 1940, Dunkirk  

  Dec. 30, 1940, Ribbon  

  Rose Queen Sally Stanton, Gov. Culbert Olson and Highway Patrol Chief E. Raymond Cato at the ribbon cutting of the Arroyo Seco Parkway (Pasadena Freeway), Dec. 30, 1940.  

  Dec. 30, 1940, Arroyo Seco Parkway  

Dec. 30, 1940: George Brent has enrolled in a night school navigation class to ready himself for that California to Hawaii yacht race, Jimmie Fidler says. 


The Pasadena Freeway/Arroyo Seco Parkway on the Daily Mirror
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Bus Strike Begins!


  Nov. 6, 1960, Bus Strike  

  Nov. 21, 1960, Strike Ends  

Nov. 16-21, 1960: Another bus strike ends after six days, with MTA mechanics winning a raise of 54 cents an hour to be given in three steps. Officials say that the raises will probably require an increase in the 20-cent [$1.43 USD 2009] basic fare.

Interestingly enough, the city traffic department set up an emergency ride-sharing program using a map that divided the city into large zones. Motorists were encouraged to pick up people at bus stops in these zones and give them a ride downtown. People seeking a ride from downtown to the outlying areas were to stand in areas designated for various zones.

And yes, the main commute was to and from downtown Los Angeles.
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Matt Weinstock, Aug. 17, 1960

Aug. 17, 1960, Comics

Aug. 17, 1960: A motorist wins a battle over a parking ticket (it wasn’t filled out properly) … and one Whittier market has such a problem with kids stealing cigarettes it doesn’t even bother to report them.

CONFIDENTIAL TO UPSET MOTHER: The least lovable child needs the most love. Force yourself.

Also on the jump: Some employers are switching to staggered work hours in an attempt to ease traffic on the freeways. Yes, this is 1960 and yes, freeway traffic was a problem 50 years ago.  And yes, this is when Los Angeles still had streetcars (d 1963).

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The Arroyo Seco Parkway Revisited


July 23, 1939, Pasadena Freeway
Los Angeles Times file photo

Dec. 29, 2007, Pasadena Freeway
Photograph by Larry Harnisch / Los Angeles Times 

I did a series of posts two years ago for the 70th anniversary of the Arroyo Seco Parkway. You can find them here.

Nixon Rejects 'Liberal' and 'Conservative' Labels

June 21, 1960, Nixon

June 21, 1960: E.W. Darby of the Chicago Sun-Times says  Vice President Richard Nixon is "impatient with such labels" as "conservative," "liberal" or "progressive conservative."

"I think it is difficult to categorize people in public life with terms like liberal and conservative because those terms have been distorted by usage and practice," Nixon says.

On the jump, see the new Corvair Monza!

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Freeway Trench Cave-In Kills Boy, 6

 May 23, 1960, Cave-In

May 23, 1960: Kelly "Randy" Holmes of 2829 Allesandro St. is killed when he is buried under four feet of dirt while playing in a trench for the Golden State Freeway near what is now the interchange with the Glendale Freeway. Two friends from the neighborhood, Alfonso Garcia Jr., 9, and his 7-year-old brother, Gilbert, were unhurt despite being half-buried in dirt.

On the jump: “Should We Really Believe Weird Stories of Red Missile Bases in Cuba?”
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Paul V. Coates – Confidential File, May 13, 1960

May 13, 1960, Mirror Cover

May 13, 1960: Two mothers share their stories on dealing with teenage sons who are so obsessed with drag racing that everything else in their lives is suffering.  

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Paul V. Coates – Confidential File, May 12, 1960

May 12, 1960, Mirror Cover

May 12, 1960: Paul Coates writes, “He's 18 years old. He uses our freeways and boulevards to prove his prowess, at speeds of 110 mph. Three times, he's almost been killed.”

The racer says: “It was Tuesday night. We were down at the usual hangout. Races going on there every Tuesday night. This '50 Cad pulled in. He's running big racing slicks and all sorts of traction bars.”

"The lines in the road just looked like dots...."

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Downtown Parking Ban to Ease Traffic

Feb. 29, 1920, No Parking 

To ease congested streets, Los Angeles will ban street parking from Figueroa to Los Angeles streets and 1st to 9th streets. Notice that Spring hasn’t been straightened out yet, another attempt to relieve traffic. 

Feb. 29, 1920, Parking

Feb. 29, 1920, Parking

Feb. 29, 1920, Children 

L.O. Keown  and his wife (God-fearing, churchgoing, hardworking people, The Times says) were too busy to teach three of their eight children to speak English, so the youngsters made up their own language. Now child welfare officials want them to break them of the invented language and have them speak the language that “is their birthright.”

Feb. 29, 1920: If the plan to ban parking in downtown Los Angeles sounds familiar, that’s because it is. Back in 1908, the city did something similar with horse-drawn freight wagons

"At every corner where two streets cross, we used to see an express wagon, as many as four at a junction, standing there most of the day waiting for business to come to them. And at some places were these big furniture vans almost as big as a house," one unidentified councilman said, according to The Times of May 16, 1908.

And The Times manages to drag in a little riff on women shoppers and their long-suffering husbands who can wait in no-parking zones for no more than two minutes. 

I can't say it often enough: Traffic congestion in Los Angeles is at least a 100-year-old problem. If there were easy answers, it would have been resolved decades ago.

Republicans Losing Strength, Poll Finds

Jan. 31, 1960, Freeways

Jan. 31, 1960: A progress report on the construction of Los Angeles’ freeways.

Jan. 31, 1960, Gallup Poll  

Jan. 31, 1960, Gallup Poll


The Democrats try to assess the political weaknesses of Vice President Richard Nixon. The unpublished study obtained by the Herald Tribune News Service finds that most people have only a dim awareness of Nixon’s 1950 campaign against Helen Gahagan Douglas. “Although the image of Nixon as a ruthless opportunist, it reports, is held by some voters, almost all of them are Democrats,” the story says.

Jan. 31, Native Americans

Native Americans protest their portrayal on television.

Jan. 31, 1960, M-14

Goodbye, M-1 Garand and BAR! Of course the M-14 will be replaced by the M-16, which was developed by George C. Sullivan, a Lockheed engineer tinkering in his garage in Hollywood.

Jan. 3, 1966, M-16

Jan. 3, 1966: George C. Sullivan, a hunting enthusiast who was tired of carrying a heavy rifle and decided to improve it,  shows off the latest version of the weapon, an AR-18.

Jan. 31, 1960, John Cassavetes

Cecil Smith talks to John Cassavetes about “Shadows.”

Jan. 31, 1960, John Cassavetes

Jan. 31, 1960, Braven Dyer

Braven Dyer recaps boxing at the Coliseum.
Jan. 31, 1960: A new Gallup poll offers sobering news for the Republican Party despite the popularity of President Eisenhower and Vice President Richard Nixon, and attributes Democrats’ strength to better canvassing for candidates.


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