The Hollywood Bowl Started as a Natural Amphitheater Named Daisy Dell

From the back benches of the Hollywood Bowl, with the sounds of the Los Angeles Philharmonic floating through the warm air of a summer evening, it might seem hard to believe that this L.A. landmark is anything but a masterpiece of engineering. And to be sure, the venue's iconic band shell, speakers, and other… » 4/16/14 9:00pm Wednesday 9:00pm

Did Construction Workers Just Unearth L.A.'s Original Aqueduct?

It began as little more than a modest trench in the ground, but its name—Zanja Madre, or Mother Ditch—speaks to the importance of this proto-aqueduct to early Los Angeles. Diverting water from the free-flowing Los Angeles River, the Zanja Madre did indeed rear tiny Los Angeles, founded in 1781 as an agricultural colony … » 4/15/14 9:18pm Tuesday 9:18pm

Downtown L.A.'s Skyline from the Air, 1940s vs. 2014

Is L.A. flat? With mountains ringing the Southland on three sides—and even bisecting the city of Los Angeles along the Hollywood Hills—"flat" has never been an entirely fair description. But for decades the city's architecture betrayed a commitment to horizontality. While Manhattan and Chicago strained toward the… » 4/14/14 9:09pm Monday 9:09pm

This May Be the First Photograph of Los Angeles

Widely considered the earliest photograph of Los Angeles, the origin story of this image remains something of a mystery. Who took the photo, and when? Though the image and the historical record offer clues, they provide no definitive answers. What we do know is that some day in the late 1850s or early 1860s, a… » 4/08/14 9:30pm 4/08/14 9:30pm

L.A. Once Had Cable Cars (Just Like San Francisco's)

They used to be more than just a San Francisco novelty. In the late 19th century, cable cars were a widely used public transit solution in cities across the United States—including Los Angeles. There, they replaced the city's first generation of streetcars, horsecars, and brought real estate development to previously… » 4/03/14 8:45pm 4/03/14 8:45pm

L.A.'s Interchanges Are Beautiful (If You're Not Stuck in Traffic)

To anyone who's ever endured a maddening, 15-minute crawl through one, freeway interchanges may seem the furthest thing from beauty. But given some psychic distance—and the skilled composition of a photographer—we can indeed appreciate the elegance of these concrete structures. » 4/01/14 10:10pm 4/01/14 10:10pm

It's the 21st Century, So Where's My Monorail to LAX?

Getting people to the airport via train is a natural priority for cities around the country. When Minneapolis built its first light-rail line back in 2004 it had two major stops: the airport and downtown. But despite over two decades of modern Los Angeles embracing subways, there's still no train to LAX. And even if… » 3/24/14 2:10pm 3/24/14 2:10pm

They Moved Mountains (And People) To Build L.A.’s Freeways

Carmageddon—it was the nightmare scenario L.A.'s transportation authorities warned of when a construction project shut down a critical stretch of freeway for an entire weekend in July 2011. Gridlock. The glow of brake lights. The overwhelming angst of a city denied its full and unimpeded access to its freeways. In the… » 3/17/14 2:30pm 3/17/14 2:30pm

In the '60s, Disney Almost Built a Ski Resort in Sequoia National Park

Today, Mineral King Valley is a remote hideaway within California's Sequoia National Park, accessible only by foot-trail or a winding, treacherous automobile road. But in the 1960s this mountain paradise of snowmelt streams, white-fir forests, and hulking granite peaks nearly became home to a massive ski resort… » 2/18/14 8:30pm 2/18/14 8:30pm

How L.A.'s 1984 Summer Olympics Became the Most Successful Games Ever

It's almost showtime for Sochi, which may or may not have its shit together by the time the opening ceremonies start. While it's too late for Sochi to change its trajectory, perhaps the 2016 host city could jot down a few tips from what are widely considered to be the most successful Olympics ever: L.A., 1984. » 2/06/14 4:39pm 2/06/14 4:39pm

Are LED Streetlights Changing the Way Los Angeles Looks at Night?

Michael Mann's Collateral may be one of the more memorable cinematic depictions of Los Angeles from the past decade. L.A.'s city lights provided an ever-present backdrop for the film's action, and Mann gave the city a distinctive look by shooting in high-definition digital video. But the nighttime city Mann captured… » 2/03/14 7:37pm 2/03/14 7:37pm

Paved Streets Near California's Venice Beach Were Once Canals

Secreted away from the hustle and bustle of the famous boardwalk, the picturesque canals of Venice, California, are one of the seaside community's hidden charms. But in Venice's early years, the canals that survive today were only a sideshow. The main attraction — the original canals of Abbot Kinney's Venice of America … » 1/31/14 3:00pm 1/31/14 3:00pm

L.A. Weather Isn't Always Perfect: Snow & Hurricanes in the Southland

How many people has climate lured to the Southland? Idyllic images of a sun-drenched region—packaged into travel narratives, citrus crate labels, and surf-rock songs—attracted millions to the Los Angeles area. As early as the 1870s, tubercular invalids were moving to the region for its dry air and mild temperatures.… » 1/28/14 2:00pm 1/28/14 2:00pm