Spring Street revisited


Moss Photographer, 315 W. Pico St. WE stmore 2301, Los Angeles, Cal.

Unfortunately, The Times’ Spring Street photo file has nothing that shows the transition at 1st Street in the critical period of the 1900s to the 1920s. Suddenly, we go from horses and buggies to what we recognize as a modern streetscape with vestiges of the past.


And for comparison, here’s Spring Street today via Google maps’ street view.

The most prominent feature in our photo is City Hall, which opened in 1927. The city government formally transferred operations to City Hall on April 16, 1928. (A note on the back dates the photo to 1928).


Whatever the date, we find stacks of lumber in the street that could be for scaffolding or a reviewing stand.


Notice that Spring Street still has a kink in it. The Bank of Italy, 225 N. Spring, just past of City Hall, skews off at an angle. (Bonus fact: The institution merged with the Bank of America of California in 1930).

According to The Times, demolition of the buildings between Temple and Sunset Boulevard to allow realignment of Spring Street got underway in late 1930. The buildings to be torn down included the old Hall of Justice and an old County Jail being used as a storehouse. The Times predicted that realignment of Spring would improve the flow of traffic.   



Notice that by now we have street lighting on Spring. There are similar streetlight fixtures on Spring today, but without the long extension at the top.

Above, a roadster convertible with the city seal and a large spotlight. Note that cars are lined up on both sides of Spring despite the "No Parking" signs.


The most striking element of the photo: Buildings blocking the street. Well, not for much longer. I haven’t been able to identify these structures. After the Phillips Block burned in 1912, a large hotel was proposed for the site, but clearly it wasn’t built.

Photograph by the Los Angeles Times

I was surprised to see just how decrepit and seedy Spring Street had become by the mid-1920s. This is the 100 block of South Spring, about 1926. Email me


About lmharnisch

I am retired from the Los Angeles Times
This entry was posted in #courts, City Hall, Downtown, LAPD, Transportation and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Spring Street revisited

  1. Joe Vogel says:

    According to data pages for various photos of it at both the L.A. Library’s online photo collection and the USC digital archives, the Romanesque building athwart the route of Spring Street was the old County Jail, at the northeast corner of Temple and Buena Vista Streets. One page gives the construction date as 1902.
    The three story Victorian business block to the right was on the northwest corner of Temple and New High Streets. This building shows up in a couple of L.A. Library photos, dating from before the Courthouse was built. There are a couple of good photos of it at the USC archive, but no name is given for it. I do believe, though, that it was directly across New High Street from the first offices of the L.A. Times, which were in a western extension of the Downey Block.


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