In the half-century following the completion of the Pacific Electric Building (1905), the intersection of Sixth and Main Streets was one of the busiest in the city, seeing a constant flow of streetcars and pedestrians in and out of the interurban transit hub. In the peak years of transit ridership during World War II, over 100,000 passengers per day were believed to have passed through the station. The top photograph shows a Pasadena-bound train turning out of the terminal onto Main Street, blanketed by overhead trolley wires.
The Pacific Electric Building ceased to function as a transit terminal soon after the end of streetcar service in 1961, and remained in use as an office building before its conversion to residential lofts in 2005. Sadly, the surrounding blocks of Main Street were considerably less fortunate. As businesses fled from the city center during downtown’s half-century decline, most of the station’s neighboring buildings were destroyed and replaced by parking lots. Despite the growing trend of revitalization around the Historic Core, the intersection of Sixth and Main Streets today remains far-removed from the heart of downtown.
Source: Maese, Kathryn. “A new track for the Pacific Electric.” Los Angeles Downtown News. 9 May 2005. 9.
Original Photo: “Sixth and Main Station” c. 1941. Metro Transportation Library and Archive. Flickr. The Dorothy Peyton Gray Transportation Library and Archive at the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority.