Then & Now: 11th and Broadway in downtown Los Angeles, i.e. the land that time forgot



Photo by Steve Hymon/Metro.

The top photo was taken at the intersection of Main and 11th streets in downtown Los Angeles on May 21, 1955, most likely from the front of a streetcar. The bottom photo was taken by yours truly on Friday, who had to quickly shoot and dodge cars turning south onto Broadway.

Southbound buses didn’t quite cooperate with my shooting schedule and the buses run curbside now, not down the middle of the street.

I don’t see much difference in the area in the past 58 years. The single story building at left at some point got a makeover. Everything else is still there. The other three corners of the intersection are depressing: a mostly empty Herald Examiner building (southwest corner), the Railway Building that appears vacant that was built by Howard Huntington in 1920 (son of Henry Huntington, northeast corner) and the old YWCA building that was (not sure if still is) used by the L.A. Job Corps (southeast corner).

They’re all great buildings, all sited on a busy transit street and just south of the many theaters on Broadway (some still theaters, some subdivided into tiny businesses). The Herald-Examiner closed shop in Nov. 1989 and the building is apparently used mostly for film shoots with occasional talk of redevelopment plans.

The proposed downtown L.A. Streetcar would travel through the 11th & Broadway intersection. Obviously there are some questions about the project’s budge in the news these days, but anything that could bring some much-needed investment to this intersection would be welcome. I love the old buildings. But they need some love, people.

Photo by Steve Hymon/Metro.

Photo by Steve Hymon/Metro.


Then & Now: a streetcar and a bus on Brand Boulevard in Glendale

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

Then & Now: downtown Sierra Madre

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

9 replies

  1. I started work at SCRTD headquarters at 11th/Broadway across the street from the Examiner in June of ’74. Doesn’t look too much different today. I remember having to cross the picket line leaving the building after working 28 hours straight on the phones before the longest strike in our history. Damn I’m really getting old.

  2. The tag on the glass says “Urine”. Also, are you referring to the smell of these buildings?

  3. No, the Job Corps is no longer using the building on the corner of 11th & Broadway. They moved a block west.

  4. I’ve long liked the LARy building because it’s an improbable building for such a small, strangely shaped lot. But there it is!

    Thanks for sharing.

    • Hey Mark;

      It’s a very cool building and I hope it sticks around. Probably needs a ton of work to be useful but well worth preserving, IMO.

      Here’s a pic I took if you’re interested. Has some distortion in it, but kind of interesting shot.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  5. your reference to 68 is really 58. I was born in 1949 and you scared me by making me think i was 10 years older.

    • Hi Steve,

      You are correct. It’s 58 years. Just seems like 68!!!

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  6. Nice photos. This looks like SUCH a more interesting place in 1955. If only …

    • Hi Andrew;

      Couldn’t agree with you more. It’s such a dead corner now thanks to the mostly abandoned buildings. Shame.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source