Photo gallery: streetcars in Los Angeles in the late 1940s in glorious black and white

I had the pleasure of lunching earlier this week with Alan Weeks, the retired Metro employee who literally shot thousands of photos of the Los Angeles streetcar scene in the 1940s, ’50s and early ’60s.

Alan sent me the above collection of black and white photos the other day, most of them shot in 1948 and 1949. I definitely see a few “Then & Now” possibilities in the photos and I encourage you to give it a crack if interested and share with us via our Twitter page. Or if you manage to duplicate one of Alan’s shots, email me and maybe I’ll feature it on the blog.

His collection has gone a long way to helping all of us either remember or comprehend the vastness of the streetcar network which vanished for good in 1963 after a long decline. “At the time, there was a lot of us who never thought we’d see rail transit in this area again,” Alan said. “It seemed like everyone wanted a house, two cars in the driveway and a swimming pool.”

Alan is now busy on two fronts: documenting rail’s comeback in the area with construction of the Expo Line’s second phase and the Gold Line Foothill Extension. And he’s still plugging away, digitizing many of his old photographs and slides. Many of Alan’s photos can also be seen on the Metro Transportation Library & Archive’s Flickr page.


Metro Library’s Historypin page (it overlays historic photos with current street views) and post explaining Historypin

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

Then & Now: a streecar and a bus in Highland Park, 1955 and 2013

Then & Now: streetcars along the Crenshaw/LAX Line alignment

Then & Now: a streetcar and a bus on Florence Avenue in Inglewood, 1955 and 2013



5 replies

  1. The photo of the LATL streetcar on the Macy St. bridge shows the Gas Company storage tank in the right rear. I believe this is the area where a one month project to clean up the CMF employee parking lot turned into a one year project due to more contamination than believed.