Los Angeles in the Roaring Twenties: A Look Back

In this article we take a look back at how Los Angeles transformed during the 1920s - from its population growth to iconic landmarks such as Rose Bowl Stadium and Watts Towers.

Los Angeles in the Roaring Twenties: A Look Back

The 1920s were a time of great transformation for Los Angeles. The city underwent extensive modernization, with a dramatic increase in the use of cars, a large suburban expansion, and the formation of Western commercial and financial centers. In 1919, the population of Los Angeles was mostly Anglo-Saxon Protestants, with only 50% living in the city center. The suburbs were sparsely populated and the hills were largely uninhabited.

At the time, Los Angeles was ranked 17th on the list of U. S. cities, with little industrial development and an oil industry still in its infancy. However, the city was home to the Hollywood film industry, which dominated the world with its silent film productions.

Jews from New York's theatrical world flocked to Los Angeles to take advantage of this burgeoning industry. The Architectural Digest began its publications in 1920, showcasing images of the picturesque gardens that wealthy settlers had built. This period also saw women in Los Angeles embarking on the study and practice of landscape architecture. In 1928, the construction of the Town Hall was completed, replacing the old Romanesque Town Hall of 1888.This building was a skyscraper built on a base with columns, designed to project a sense of power and prestige.The growth of Los Angeles during the 1920s was particularly dramatic.

At the turn of the century, it was a far cry from San Francisco's cosmopolitanism as the main city on the West Coast. But by 1930, it had become the fifth largest city in the U. S., with iconic landmarks such as Rose Bowl Stadium (built between 1921 and 1992), Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum (built between 1921 and 192), Watts Towers (construction began 192), Automobile Club of Southern California (built 192), Richfield Tower (built between 1928 and 1929, demolished 196), and Hall of Records (construction began). The selection of Los Angeles for the 1932 Summer Olympics was emblematic of this transformation and supported the rise of professional and university sports in the region.

The oil industry was one of the major employers during this period in parts of Los Angeles County and Orange County.Hollywood was annexed by Los Angeles to receive water from the city's new water supply. The Los Angeles Public Library (LAPL) system encompasses 73 libraries with a collection of 7.1 million volumes. The first dynamite explosion occurred in the Los Angeles aqueduct when residents of Owens Valley tried to block a further diversion of Owens River to Los Angeles.The release of D. W Griffith's controversial film 'Birth Of A Nation' (despite its blatantly negative portrayal of African-Americans and its positive image of Ku Klux Klan) made Los Angeles become the center of film industry.

Air quality in Los Angeles Basin has steadily improved since then, with ozone levels dropping to approximately one-third of 1975 levels.The popular TV show 'The Tonight Show' first aired from New York but later moved to Los Angeles, making Johnny Carson synonymous with the city. In 1929, a money truck on wheels called Roving Bank Teller made select stops in Los Angeles.Around 38,000 BC, Los Angeles has been attracting visitors for tens of thousands of years, as evidenced by fossils found in what are now La Brea tar pits. The global flu pandemic reached Los Angeles through a naval training ship that docked in San Pedro.The Los Angeles City Council selected 640 acres of an old wheat, barley and bean field as the location for a new airport in Los Angeles. A small army of residents from Owens Valley seized control over Los Angeles aqueduct near Lone Pine and cut off water supply to Los Angeles.Ford Motor Company opened its first car assembly plant in Southern California in Los Angeles on Seventh and Santa Fe Streets to assemble Ford Model T cars.

The year began with Los Angeles struggling to overcome flu pandemic that had hit it in September previous year.

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