L.A.'s First Public Transit Used Actual Horse Power

Public transportation was slow to arrive in Los Angeles, a city whose farthest reaches were still accessible by foot in the 1870s. But as the city began to stretch out over the surrounding landscape, some form of regular, wheeled transportation around town became a practical necessity. And in the beginning, horses… » 4/23/14 5:39pm Yesterday 5:39pm

"Desire Lines" Are the Real Future of Urban Transit

For many cities, the grid of the streets and transit systems were likely laid down long before the buildings grew up around them, thanks to the rigor of planners and engineers who knew best. But as cities transition in ways that challenge the century-old plan, they need new and quick ways to improvise connections… » 4/22/14 4:40pm Tuesday 4:40pm

The High-Tech Sensors That Keep Track of L.A.'s Weather

When Dallas Raines or the Times' weather page reports that it was 92 degrees in Los Angeles yesterday, their data likely come from one source: the National Weather Service's downtown Los Angeles station on the University of Southern California (USC) campus. » 4/18/14 5:40pm Friday 5:40pm

The Hollywood Bowl Started as a Natural Amphitheater Named Daisy Dell

From the back benches of the Hollywood Bowl, with the sounds of the Los Angeles Philharmonic floating through the warm air of a summer evening, it might seem hard to believe that this L.A. landmark is anything but a masterpiece of engineering. And to be sure, the venue's iconic band shell, speakers, and other… » 4/17/14 4:45pm 4/17/14 4:45pm

Synanon's Sober Utopia: How a Drug Rehab Program Became a Violent Cult

In 1970, George Lucas needed dozens of actors with shaved heads for his sci-fi dystopian movie THX 1138. He had trouble filling the roles at first, since so few actresses wanted to cut their locks, but Lucas eventually found the extras he needed in a strange utopian community where everyone worshipped sobriety and… » 4/15/14 2:04pm 4/15/14 2:04pm

This May Be the First Photograph of Los Angeles

Widely considered the earliest photograph of Los Angeles, the origin story of this image remains something of a mystery. Who took the photo, and when? Though the image and the historical record offer clues, they provide no definitive answers. What we do know is that some day in the late 1850s or early 1860s, a… » 4/09/14 2:20pm 4/09/14 2:20pm

Hollywood From the Air: 1965 vs. 2014

Hollywood, 1965: the futuristic Cinerama Dome has just touched down on Sunset Boulevard. This spaceship of a movie theater—built in 1963 to showcase the three-projector Cinerama process—seems to bob amid a sea of surface parking. On the left, a new 22-story office tower rises from a concrete plaza at the corner of… » 4/08/14 5:55pm 4/08/14 5:55pm

L.A. Once Had Cable Cars (Just Like San Francisco's)

They used to be more than just a San Francisco novelty. In the late 19th century, cable cars were a widely used public transit solution in cities across the United States—including Los Angeles. There, they replaced the city's first generation of streetcars, horsecars, and brought real estate development to previously… » 4/04/14 12:43pm 4/04/14 12:43pm

Some of L.A.'s Most Beautiful Landscapes Are Its Freeways

The vast and looping knots of L.A.'s elaborate freeway system have long inspired an unlikely stew made from equal parts road rage, suffocating air pollution, and an unexpected aesthetic appreciation for their stacked coils and crisp lines. A drivable geometry textbook, the freeways are perhaps the city's real… » 4/02/14 9:40am 4/02/14 9:40am

Someone Just Bought a House in L.A. for $102 Million... In Cash

When Los Angeles's most expensive house went up for sale at $125 million, no one expected it to go for that price in a million years. Well, someone, identified only as a "French billionaire," has bought said house for only slightly less that that figure: $102 million. And just to rub it in, the dude paid cash. » 4/01/14 6:42pm 4/01/14 6:42pm

Ring of Thieves Pulls Off Huge Luggage Heist At LAX

You probably don't realize it, but hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of goods pass through airports every day inside of passengers' baggage. Well, a ring of baggage handlers at LAX certainly realized it. Police say they've been stealing thousands of dollars worth of goods right out of people's suitcases for… » 3/28/14 11:40am 3/28/14 11:40am