Yesterday I did something I really hate to do: I cut apart a book for its pictures. We currently have a bunch of Los Angeles: Portrait of a City, a gorgeous new coffee table book, in stock, so the buyers decided I should write a copy out of inventory and have at it with my scissors to create an eye-catching display. It hurt, but if I didn't do it somebody else was going to.
I found a ton of great photos in this book, from migrant field workers in the 1890s to models posing in one of the original Case Study Houses. What I really loved seeing, however, were pictures of things that have changed over the years. I am a total sucker for before and after shots, and Los Angeles is without a doubt a city that has changed drastically over the past century.
Here are a couple of my favorite pictures, along with photos of what those sites look like now.
Have you ever been to Clifton's? It's right smack in downtown L.A., on Broadway, I believe, and inside it's this crazy woodland-themed cafeteria. It looks like some fantastic Disneyland dining establishment, with pine trees and logs and taxidermied animals all over the place. The food, your typical cafeteria fare, is fine but nothing to get excited about, but the decor is wild. Clearly the exterior used to reflect that same sensibility. I love the big "Pay what you wish" banner on the left; their motto is still "Dine free unless delighted." This picture was taken in 1935.
A more recent shot of Clifton's. *sigh* So much for whimsy in downtown Los Angeles.
This is the Universal Studios backlot, circa 1919. Universal has allowed visitors to see the backlot in action since 1915.
A modern picture from approximately the same angle. I wonder if this shot was taken before or after the 2008 fire that destroyed a large section of the backlot? I remember hearing that only hours after the fire was extinguished, Universal resumed its backlot tram tours and had details of the fire worked into the tour guides' spiel. Man, do I love Hollywood.