Then & Now: in L.A. getting rid of streetcars easier than getting rid of billboards

008 - Old - LATL 5 Line Car 1423 Northbound At Prw. & Crenshaw Bl. 19550507 (2)

Looking west from Crenshaw Boulevard, just south of 67th Street. Photo by Alan Weeks, via the Metro Transportation and Library’s Flickr stream. Click above to visit.

008 - New - Metro ROW now

Photo by Metro.

005 - Old - LATL 5 Line Car 1402 Southbound On Crenshaw Bl. At 60th St. 19541215 (2)

Looking north at Crenshaw Boulevard from 60th Street. Photo by Alan Weeks, via the Metro Transportation Library & Archive’s Flickr stream. Click above to visit.

Photo by Metro.

Photo by Metro.

Two observations from this set of past and present photos along Crenshaw Boulevard:

1. It’s a shame that there are so few food outlets remaining that serve both donuts and chili dogs.

2. Those set of three ugly nearly street level billboards in the bottom set of photos: They were there when Alan Weeks took captured his image on Dec. 15, 1954, and they were there last year when Metro staff took the bottom photo. Billboards in L.A.: once there, always there, eh?

Many thanks to Alan Weeks for capturing the two images from the 1950s and Metro’s Crenshaw/LAX Line construction staff for taking the modern photos.

About Alan: He worked for many years as a transit scheduler first with the RTD and later the MTA, now known as Metro. He is retired and very proud of his many years of public service — as he should be. Many of his photos of L.A.’s transit scene can seen on the Metro Transportation Library & Archive’s Flickr page, which as of this morning had 8,915 images and is still growing.

If you’ve enjoyed our Then & Now posts, then you are morally obligated to check out the Metro Library’s Historypin page, a sophistacted mapping tool that allows you to overlay historic photos with current street views. It is, trust me, epically cool. Here’s a Source post from last week explaining Historypin; check out the photo from Crenshaw and 60th on Historypin. Very cool.

5 replies

  1. I suggest your Crenshaw/67 photos don’t line up. I think the old streetcar tracks curved off of Crenshaw to the north of the old fashioned telegraph-style comm lines we see in the background of the old picture. The “new” picture shows the ATSF tracks to the south of the old pole line. Could be the poles were moved. But where are the straight ATSF tracks northeast to Slauson Avenue? I think the Chili-Donut ptomaine palace was sandwiched in between the streetcar tracks and the ATSF crossing, which was off to the left and not in the picture.. I could be wrong. But the streetcar would not have shared the ATSF tracks, and the ATSF trains did not curve up Crenshaw.

  2. Steve, you don’t need to post these from me. But look at Google Maps at this corner, then look to the SW on the aerial picture. You can plainly see the pavement patches where the old streetcar tracks crossed the 2 residential streets to the west of Crenshaw. Plus, you can see the extra right of way north of the ATSF tracks parallel to Florence Ave The interurban tracks ran north of the ATSF tracks that Metro bought and will replace. You can see all kinds of long skinny buildings and stuff on the old interurban right of way. Your historical Crenshaw pic shows the curving grade crossing just north of the existing abandoned grade crossing. These posts are fun and I really enjoy them, particularly the sleuthing. Nice catch on the billboards.

  3. I love donuts and chili dogs, too. It’s a shame.

    Personally, I know Alan Weeks very well and I’m honored to know such a person who was witnessed L.A.’s rail landscape transforming the way it did for more than half-century. He’s a living legend in his own right.

  4. I love these photos! More please! I think that if they turned the deserted hamburger stand at the Cornfields State Historic Park into a chilidog and donut stand, it would prosper. Only a quarter mile or so from the Gold Line….