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Exploring Cities with Postcards: Los Angeles

Los Angeles is the second-most populous city in the United States, after New York City, and the largest and most populous city in the Western United States. With an estimated population of four million, Los Angeles is the cultural, financial, and commercial center of Southern California. Nicknamed the “City of Angels” partly because of its name’s Spanish meaning, Los Angeles is known for its Mediterranean climate, ethnic diversity, Hollywood and the entertainment industry, and sprawling metropolis.

 

laPacific Electric Building

The historic Pacific Electric Building (also known as the Huntington Building) opened in 1905 as the terminal for the Pacific Electric Red Car Lines running east and south of downtown Los Angeles, as well as the company’s main headquarters building. It was designed by architect Thornton Fitzhugh. Though not the first modern building in Los Angeles, nor the tallest, its large footprint and ten-floor height made it the largest building in floor area west of Chicago for several decades. Above the main floor terminal were five floors of offices and on the top three floors, the Jonathan Club, one of the city’s leading businessmen’s clubs.

In 1914, a total of 1,626 PE trains entered or left Los Angeles in 3262 cars daily. With the increase in automobiles in Los Angeles in the 1920s, congestion of shared street running with the Los Angeles Railway city streetcars and auto traffic delayed PE trains traveling to the north and west up Main Street to Glendale, Hollywood, and Santa Monica. In 1922, the California Railroad Commission issued Order No. 9928, which called for the Pacific Electric to construct a subway to bypass downtown’s busy streets. The Subway Terminal Building, a second PE terminal, was then built across downtown at the base of Bunker Hill at 4th and Hill Streets across from Pershing Square to serve the subway, which opened December 1, 1925, speeding passenger service considerably to Hollywood, Santa Monica, and Glendale.

 

s-l1600-35.jpgPolytechnic High School

John H. Francis Polytechnic High School is a secondary school located in the Sun Valley neighborhood of Los Angeles, California, United States. It serves grades 9 through 12 and is a part of the Los Angeles Unified School District. Despite its name, Polytechnic is a comprehensive high school.

Polytechnic High School opened in 1897 as a “commercial branch” of the only high school at that time in the city, the Los Angeles High School. As such, Polytechnic is the second oldest high school in the city. The school’s original campus was located in downtown Los Angeles on South Beaudry Avenue, the present location of the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) Board of Education headquarters.

Notable alumni include Helen Gurley Brown: founder of Cosmopolitan magazine,  Marcellite Garner: voice actress of Minnie Mouse, Tom Bradley: 38th Mayor of Los Angeles, and Carl David Anderson: recipient of the 1936 Nobel Prize in Physics.

 

s-l1600-36.jpgGriffith Observatory

Griffith Observatory is a facility in Los Angeles, California, sitting on the south-facing slope of Mount Hollywood in Los Angeles’ Griffith Park. It commands a view of the Los Angeles Basin, including Downtown Los Angeles to the southeast, Hollywood to the south, and the Pacific Ocean to the southwest. The observatory is a popular tourist attraction with an excellent view of the Hollywood Sign and an extensive array of space and science-related displays. Admission has been free since the observatory’s opening in 1935, in accordance with the will of Griffith J. Griffith, the benefactor after whom the observatory is named.

3,015 acres of land surrounding the observatory was donated to the City of Los Angeles by Griffith J. Griffith on December 16, 1896. In his will Griffith donated funds to build an observatory, exhibit hall, and planetarium on the donated land. Griffith’s objective was to make astronomy accessible by the public, as opposed to the prevailing idea that observatories should be located on remote mountaintops and restricted to scientists.

As a Works Progress Administration (WPA) project, construction began on June 20, 1933, using a design developed by architect John C. Austin based on preliminary sketches by Russell W. Porter. The observatory and accompanying exhibits were opened to the public on May 14, 1935 as the country’s third planetarium. In its first five days of operation the observatory logged more than 13,000 visitors.

During World War II the planetarium was used to train pilots in celestial navigation. The planetarium was again used for this purpose in the 1960s to train Apollo program astronauts for the first lunar missions.

 

s-l1600-37.jpgUniversity of California, Los Angeles

The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), is a public research university in Los Angeles. It became the Southern Branch of the University of California in 1919, making it the second-oldest (after UC Berkeley) undergraduate campus of the 10-campus University of California system. It offers 337 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in a wide range of disciplines.

In March 1881, the California State Legislature authorized the creation of a southern branch of the California State Normal School (now San José State University) in downtown Los Angeles to train teachers for the growing population of Southern California. The Los Angeles branch of the California State Normal School opened on August 29, 1882, on what is now the site of the Central Library of the Los Angeles Public Library system. The facility included an elementary school where teachers-in-training could practice their technique with children. That elementary school is related to the present day UCLA Lab School. In 1887, the branch campus became independent and changed its name to Los Angeles State Normal School.s-l1600 (38)

During its first 32 years, UCLA was treated as an off-site department of UC. As such, its presiding officer was called a “provost”, and reported to the main campus in Berkeley. In 1951, UCLA was formally elevated to co-equal status with UC Berkeley, and its presiding officer Raymond B. Allen was the first chief executive to be granted the title of chancellor. The appointment of Franklin David Murphy to the position of Chancellor in 1960 helped spark an era of tremendous growth of facilities and faculty honors. By the end of the decade, UCLA had achieved distinction in a wide range of subjects.


Click here to check out our range of Los Angeles Postcards

Click here to check out our range of California Postcards

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