LAhistory
A photo from the International Jitterbug Championships, held in Los Angeles in June 1939. Informally called “The Swingeroo,” the first (only?) annual Jitterbug Championships took place in Los Angeles’ Palomar Ballroom (now gone) and culminated with finals performed in front of 26,000 people at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on June 18, 1939. A thousand dancers entered the contest representing 20 states and 6 foreign countries and judges were pulled from local movie studios. Peter Loggins tells more (and names the winners) of this event in an article for Swivel Magazine. This photo comes from the Los Angeles Daily News Negatives, archived in the Department of Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, University of California at Los Angeles.

A photo from the International Jitterbug Championships, held in Los Angeles in June 1939. Informally called “The Swingeroo,” the first (only?) annual Jitterbug Championships took place in Los Angeles’ Palomar Ballroom (now gone) and culminated with finals performed in front of 26,000 people at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on June 18, 1939. A thousand dancers entered the contest representing 20 states and 6 foreign countries and judges were pulled from local movie studios. Peter Loggins tells more (and names the winners) of this event in an article for Swivel Magazine. This photo comes from the Los Angeles Daily News Negatives, archived in the Department of Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, University of California at Los Angeles.

A 1936 photo of Olvera Street as on April 20, 1930 (Easter), Olvera Street opened. Socialite and preservationist, Christine Sterling led efforts to preserve the historic plaza and its buildings. Current historians note that the original intention of Olvera Street was to focus on LA’s Spanish past instead of its Mexican/Indigenous one. William Estrada, author of “The Los Angeles Plaza: Sacred and Contested Space,” writes: 

"Olvera Street was successful and even surpassed Mexican tourist zones along border in Tijuana & Mexicali because it fulfilled tourists’ preconceived notions about Mexico & quaintness of its culture without risk or ‘reality’ of actually crossing border."

While Olvera Street originally created a sanitized view of the Mexican culture in Los Angeles history, the marketplace has “witnessed a rebirth among Latino immigrants,” as explained in Estrada’s book. In a 2011 post to National Trust for Historic Preservation’s blog, Edgar Garcia wrote:

Over the years it became fashionable for academics and writers to cynically deride the Plaza as a tourist trap touting an unrealistic portrayal of Los Angeles history. But for those of us who came to experience the Plaza in the role of immigrants and children of immigrants…the Plaza provided a space that both maintained our ties to our Latin American heritage while slowly binding us to our new environment in this country.

Celebrate this rich and complex history on Saturday (April 21, 2012) as Olvera Street honors its 82nd anniversary. [Photo is from the photo archive of the Los Angeles Public Library].

A 1936 photo of Olvera Street as on April 20, 1930 (Easter), Olvera Street opened. Socialite and preservationist, Christine Sterling led efforts to preserve the historic plaza and its buildings. Current historians note that the original intention of Olvera Street was to focus on LA’s Spanish past instead of its Mexican/Indigenous one. William Estrada, author of “The Los Angeles Plaza: Sacred and Contested Space,” writes: 

"Olvera Street was successful and even surpassed Mexican tourist zones along border in Tijuana & Mexicali because it fulfilled tourists’ preconceived notions about Mexico & quaintness of its culture without risk or ‘reality’ of actually crossing border."

While Olvera Street originally created a sanitized view of the Mexican culture in Los Angeles history, the marketplace has “witnessed a rebirth among Latino immigrants,” as explained in Estrada’s book. In a 2011 post to National Trust for Historic Preservation’s blog, Edgar Garcia wrote:

Over the years it became fashionable for academics and writers to cynically deride the Plaza as a tourist trap touting an unrealistic portrayal of Los Angeles history. But for those of us who came to experience the Plaza in the role of immigrants and children of immigrants…the Plaza provided a space that both maintained our ties to our Latin American heritage while slowly binding us to our new environment in this country.

Celebrate this rich and complex history on Saturday (April 21, 2012) as Olvera Street honors its 82nd anniversary. [Photo is from the photo archive of the Los Angeles Public Library].

As we wait for the clock to strike midnight in sunny SoCal, we would just like to wish you a Happy New Year! [The 1933 photo is courtesy of the Los Angeles Public Library’s photo archives.]

As we wait for the clock to strike midnight in sunny SoCal, we would just like to wish you a Happy New Year! [The 1933 photo is courtesy of the Los Angeles Public Library’s photo archives.]

They just don’t make transit tickets like they used to. A transit pass from the Los Angeles Railway, posted with permission from Dana Graves’ wonderful collection of vintage LA Transit passes.

They just don’t make transit tickets like they used to. A transit pass from the Los Angeles Railway, posted with permission from Dana Graves’ wonderful collection of vintage LA Transit passes.

As the LAFD takes time from their more serious work to attend (and hopefully, have a little fun at) the 12th annual Public Safety Appreciation BBQ today in downtown, here’s 1930 photo of SoCal firemen having a little fun (receiving new helmets). This photo is from the Los Angeles Public Library Photo Archives. Also, check out the Los Angeles Fire Department Historical Society for more on the history of LAFD.

Weekly transit pass for September 8-14 1935 for the Los Angeles Railway (posted with permission from Dana Graves, who has great collection of LA’s vintage transit passes on Flickr). They just don’t make transit passes like they used to…  :)

Weekly transit pass for September 8-14 1935 for the Los Angeles Railway (posted with permission from Dana Graves, who has great collection of LA’s vintage transit passes on Flickr). They just don’t make transit passes like they used to…  :)

This souvenir program is from La Fiesta De Los Angeles, a ten-day celebration of the 150th birthday of Los Angeles in 1931.  [Note, this image comes from http://thriftydiscoveries.com, but had trouble reblogging it on tumblr.]

This souvenir program is from La Fiesta De Los Angeles, a ten-day celebration of the 150th birthday of Los Angeles in 1931.  [Note, this image comes from http://thriftydiscoveries.com, but had trouble reblogging it on tumblr.]

On July 14, 1934, the Original Farmer’s Market opened with 18 stalls.  Vendors paid $0.50/day. More on the history of the Original Farmer’s Market on their website.

On July 14, 1934, the Original Farmer’s Market opened with 18 stalls.  Vendors paid $0.50/day. More on the history of the Original Farmer’s Market on their website.

June 10, 1938: Hollywood Park opened over what used to be Inglewood’s  bean fields. Eventually, Hollywood Park instituted the “Goose Girl,” a  young lady who rode around ponds & posed with geese. :)

June 10, 1938: Hollywood Park opened over what used to be Inglewood’s bean fields. Eventually, Hollywood Park instituted the “Goose Girl,” a young lady who rode around ponds & posed with geese. :)