Look Up, Los Angeles! A Walking Tour of Downtown
by Doug Gelbert
published by Cruden Bay Books at Smashwords
Copyright 2012 by Cruden Bay Books
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system without permission in writing from the Publisher.
Los Angeles has often been characterized as a jumble of “suburbs in search of a city.” But Los Angeles has always boasted a significant downtown and it looks a whole heck of a lot like it did eighty years ago. Unlike Manhattan (on an island) or Philadelphia (squeezed between two rivers) or Chicago (pressed against a lake), developers in Los Angeles could build freely to the west rather than destroy existing structures.
But far from being an amorphous blob, downtown Los Angeles followed a rigid development pattern in its formative years. The first break-out from the original settlement in the early 1900s took place south along Spring Street (the banks) and Main Street (the businesses) and Broadway (the theaters). Restless entrepreneurs began pushing a few blocks west along 7th Street around 1915 and by 1920, the city’s private and municipal rail lines stretched for over 1,000 miles into four surrounding counties with downtown as the hub.