Looking north on Flower Street from Pico Boulevard, 1897-2011


Streetcar service first arrived in Los Angeles’ southwestern districts with the opening of the Consolidated Electric Railroad’s University Line. Built in 1891 and taken over four years later by the Los Angeles Railway, the streetcar route ran between Fourth and Spring Streets and the fledgling University of Southern California. The top photograph shows a northbound car traveling along a still semi-rural stretch of Flower Street.

Three decades after the demise of Los Angeles’ original streetcar network, Flower Street became one of the city’s first corridors to be served by a modern light rail line. In 1990, Metro Blue Line trains began traveling along and below the roadway north of Washington Avenue, nearly a full century after the University Line’s first streetcars. With Metro’s Expo Line scheduled to open in early 2012, Flower Street will soon again host a rail transit link between Downtown and University Park. Pico Station, pictured above, will be one of two stops to be served by both Blue and Expo Line trains.

1. “Railroad affairs.” Los Angeles Times. 3 Nov. 1891. 8.
2. “The modern city.” Los Angeles Times. 1 Jan. 1897. 28.
Original Photo: “CHS-M240 – View of Flower Street looking north from Pico Boulevard, 1897.” Title Insurance and Trust/C. C. Pierce Photography Collection. USC Digital Library. USC Libraries Special Collections. http://digitallibrary.usc.edu/assetserver/controller/view/CHS-7117.

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