Photographic History of Los Angeles Online


The testimony of a once thriving manufacturing industry downtown Los Angeles is evident by viewing the pictures of the DWP website & USC;s Dick Whitting Photographic Digital Library.

The Department of Water & Power website as well as USC's Dick Whitting Photographic Digital Collection (1924-1987) offer a fascinating pictorial history of Los Angeles' businesses and structures which have long disappeared.

"The "Dick" Whittington Studio was the largest and finest photography studio in the Los Angeles area from 1924 to 1987. Specializing in commercial photography, the Whittington Studio took photographs for nearly every major business and organization in Los Angeles; in so doing, they documented the growth and commercial development of Los Angeles."

  • An example is a photograph of a warehouse of paint, at a time when the city's traffic department was within the jurisdiction of the police department.   While the structure still exists, it is adjacent to Interstate 5 freeway in an area with a large number of vacancies.
    • "Photographs of men and containers of paint in interior of 1021 North Mission Road, Los Angeles, CA, 1926. "Zone-Lac, Union Wholesale Paint Co[mpany], J.E. Bauer Co[mpany], street marking lacquer"-- on cans. "LAPD, Paint Shop, Traffic Department, L.A. Police"-- on signs."
    • The 5,600 sq ft building was built in 1925, just prior to the photograph, at a time when Los Angeles had commerce and manufacturing.   
    • Another is "5 photographs of doorways and stairs leading to a restaurant below street level, Los Angeles, California, 1937 May 15. "Subject: Stairs to Submarine Cafe - Dinty Moore's - 8th & Spring;" Dinty Moore's was at 524th S. Spring St.  Which is now the 8th & Spring towers!!!  Take a Look Through the 8th & Spring Towers | Urbanize LA
    • The LA Post Office Terminal Annex became a historical site in 1985. Photographs concerning its development are included in the USC collection.
      • It was the central mail processing facility for Los Angeles, from 1940 to 1989.
      • Most of the building is leased by CoreSite as their LA2 data center. While it is a historical site the interior of the building is closed to the public.
    • Another fascinating photo from 1937 - is the Tatsuta Maru, a 583 ft Japanese passenger ship, The 16,975-ton vessel was used prior to the start of the war between America & Japan as a means to transport Jewish refugees from Europe, until it was employed by the military. On 14 Oct 1941 the ship was acquired by the Japanese Navy and served as a troop transport. It sank in 1943, with 1,223 soldiers and passengers and 198 crewmen  Tatsuta Maru - Wikipedia 
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