Los Angeles’ hosting of the 1932 Summer Olympics propelled one of the largest planting and beautification initiatives in the city’s history, leading to the creation of the city’s modern street tree program. In addition, many of its sidewalk parkways were planted with summer flowers in the months leading up to the event. In the top photograph, workers are seen preparing one parkway on a very lightly developed part of Wilshire Boulevard, set to be adorned with petunias.
The Hancock Park section of the boulevard remained relatively barren until the later part of the 20th century, when it acquired a handful of mid-sized office buildings. Strangely enough, it seems that the lot at the northwest corner of Rimpau Boulevard, overgrown and fenced off in the contemporary photograph, has never been built on.
Source: “We’re getting ready.” Los Angeles Times. 15 May 1932. K16.
Original photo: “chs-m437 – Workers planting along the sidewalk of Wilshire Boulevard in preparation for the 1932 Olympic Games, 1932.” 1932. Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce Collection. USC Digital Library. USC Libraries Special Collections. http://digitallibrary.usc.edu/assetserver/controller/view/CHS-37110.