Up through the 1880s, South Main Street had few commercial structures, and was largely occupied by single-family residences, many of whose lawns are visible on the left side of the top photograph. This view also shows the four-story Westminster Hotel at the northeast corner of Fouth and Main soon after its completion in 1888 (I hope to write in more detail about the Westminster in the near future). The intersection managed to preserve its early 20th century buildings for quite some time, until the historic hotel’s unfortunate demolition in 1960. It is currently the site of the Medallion apartments, completed last year.
Source: “Hotel Westminster” Los Angeles Times. 11 Mar. 1888. p. 3.
Original photo: “View of Main Street looking north from Fourth Street, Los Angeles, ca.1888-1898 – chs-m1301.” Title Insurance and Trust/C. C. Pierce Photography Collection. USC Digital Library. USC Libraries Special Collections. http://digitallibrary.usc.edu/assetserver/controller/view/CHS-7199.