Why People Keep Trying to Erase the Hollywood Sign From Google Maps

The Hollywood Sign might be one of the most recognizable things on Earth. In Los Angeles, it's also one of the most visible. You can see it from a plane as you glide into LAX. You can see it from a car as you drive up the 101 freeway. But a group of people who live near the sign are trying to hide it, even as it looms… » 11/21/14 6:15pm 11/21/14 6:15pm

Trolley Tracks Once Ran Through the Beaches of Los Angeles

Trolleys once rivaled the crashing surf in the soundscape of Southland beaches. Along much of the Southern California coast from Santa Monica to Redondo and from Long Beach to Newport, a red dot—a distant Pacific Electric car—would appear down the shore. As it neared, the click-clack of the wheels moving over the… » 10/24/14 4:44pm 10/24/14 4:44pm

In 1966, the Angels Landed in Anaheim's Futuristic Baseball Stadium

How could the Angels call any place but Los Angeles their home? After all, the club's name directly referred to the city, and there had been a team named the Los Angeles Angels since the first decade of the 20th Century, when the minor-league Los Angeles Looloos wisely opted for a more dignified nickname. So it's… » 9/05/14 2:33pm 9/05/14 2:33pm

This Giant Searchlight Once Scanned L.A. From the Mountains Above

As twilight faded over Pasadena on September 9, 1894, an artificial sun flickered to life for the first time. High above town in the San Gabriel Mountains stood a wonder of the new electric age: a 60-inch General Electric searchlight, by many accounts the largest in the world. This massive projector first dazzled… » 8/06/14 1:17pm 8/06/14 1:17pm

10 Years Later, You Can Finally Buy The Best Documentary About L.A.

Los Angeles Plays Itself is a story of how L.A. has been portrayed on screen, its thesis unfolding through hundreds of iconic film clips. But the biggest reason that Thom Andersen's legendary documentary has reached a near-cult status is that, due to copyright issues, the film has never been properly released in… » 7/09/14 6:52pm 7/09/14 6:52pm

You Can Swim In a Secret Pool in the Mojave Desert, If You Can Find It

When it's hot, city dwellers begin to have a certain look of desperation: That single-minded determination to access the sweet summer relief of a pool. Well, here's a public pool that's completely free and available to use—provided you can locate the pool itself, which is somewhere in the middle of a 25,000… » 7/02/14 4:00pm 7/02/14 4:00pm

What if Your Dream Home Had a View of an Oil Derrick?

Its promoters billed it as an exceptional housing tract—buried utility lines, curving concrete roads, and a hilltop site whose ocean views gave the subdivision its name: Monte Mar Vista. With country clubs bordering it on three sides, residents of the so-called "central jewel in a Tiffany setting" could easily play… » 6/25/14 9:00pm 6/25/14 9:00pm

Photos of L.A.'s Most Famous Streets When They Were Dirt Roads

Like some of the very people who drive on them, a few Los Angeles streets have achieved the height of fame. Sunset Boulevard lent its evocative name to Billy Wilder's classic film noir. Pasadena's Colorado Boulevard appears on millions of television screens each New Year's Day as the route of the Rose Parade. And to… » 6/19/14 3:30pm 6/19/14 3:30pm

Did Disneyland's Main Street, USA, Inspire Better Urban Design?

Walt Disney didn't set out to revolutionize urban design when he created Disneyland—that's what his Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow, or EPCOT, was for. But whereas EPCOT never became anything more than a sort of permanent world's fair, it was Disneyland and especially its Main Street, USA, that ultimately… » 6/18/14 6:00pm 6/18/14 6:00pm

Animated Map Shows How Paved Roads Spread Across L.A. County

Is the L.A. of 2014 driving around on a road network built for the L.A. of the 1980s? That's one conclusion two researchers at Arizona State University draw from their above data visualization, which uses building records from the Los Angeles County Assessor's Office to infer the age of the metropolis' roads. Green… » 6/06/14 6:30pm 6/06/14 6:30pm

L.A.'s 1930s Extension of Wilshire Blvd. Left Urban Scars

The message was clear: Los Angeles was not afraid to reshape its urban form to accommodate the automobile. Over the course of a few months in 1931, workers cleared a wide swath through three dense downtown blocks, demolishing buildings, tearing up foundations, and filling in basements—all to extend an automobile… » 6/06/14 3:00pm 6/06/14 3:00pm

Arriving Soon in Southern California: A New Golden Age of Train Travel

If we really are witnessing the dawn of a "new golden age of train travel," there are few better places to see it take physical form than the Southland. In Orange County, the arches of the Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center, or ARTIC (above), have been rising across the freeway from Angel Stadium. It's… » 6/05/14 2:01pm 6/05/14 2:01pm