The Los Angeles Public Library's website features a massive collection of online photographs. Most are of the history of Southern California. The largest portion, photos of Los Angeles, includes more than 15,000 images. We thought it would be a great idea to sift through the library's collection for photos of special interest to residents of West Adams and other nearby neighborhoods of South Los Angeles. In discussions with Carolyn Cole, the librarian-curator of the collection, the Library has kindly given us permission to post links to a selection of these photos. Jodi Siegner, a long-time member of the Van Buren Place Community Restoration Association, former member of the board of the Los Angeles Conservancy and of the West Adams Heritage Association, and a collector of historic postcards of Los Angeles, has reviewed the entire 15,000 photos of Los Angeles in the Library collection and made a selection of several hundred that are presented here. We have sorted our selection into sections to make browsing easier. Some additional photos were added by our webmaster, Leslie Evans. The brief descriptions are adapted from those provided by the Library. Clicking on the thumbnail image or on the photo's ID number will take you to the Library website to see the larger version.
West Adams proper has been defined with different borders at different times. We think of it as running from Pico on the north to a few blocks south of Jefferson, and from Figueroa to Crenshaw, or to Lafayette Square just west of Crenshaw. In addition to photos clearly within those boundaries we have included photos of Central Avenue from the first half of the twentieth century, the Crenshaw district south of Jefferson, the origins and history of Exposition Park and the Shrine Auditorium, as well as a selection of photos of local churchs, buildings, schools, and long-gone night spots. For some interesting photos we have bent the boundaries a little and gone a few blocks north, but more often we have ventured further south, as West Adams today is mainly a south-of-the-10 Freeway community, and areas such as Downtown have their own constituencies.
We have included a few photos of the City of Vernon because one of its three founders was a long-time resident of West Adams, and occasionally we have included photos from as far south as Watts. We have also made a selection of photos of the people who have lived in these communities. Most often photos of people in the Library depository do not include addresses where they were taken, which has led us to keep that section fairly small. Lastly, we have included a section of famous people who lived in West Adams, or who are buried in the historic Angelus-Rosedale Cemetery.
Often little is known about the photos, not even the year taken or the exact place. We have summarized the available information and occasionally added a note or a comment in square brackets. The Library for a fee will provide paper prints of its photos. The prices and conditions of use for photos in the collection can be consulted at: http://www.lapl.org/catalog/photo_orderinfo.html
Old West Adams - 1880s to 1919
West Adams - 1920 to the 1960s
Some Grand Old Houses
Exposition Park and the Coliseum
The Shrine Auditorium
Nightlife and Restaurants
Stores, Hotels and Other Commercial and Public Buildings
Parades, Disasters, Oddities, and the Black Dahlia Murder Case
*These are mainly photos of unidentified people on the streets and in the parks. We will soon post a biographical section for sketches and photos of interesting and famous people who lived in West Adams, and after that, who are buried at the historic Angelus Rosedale cemetery in West Adams.