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Los Angeles skyline in 1869... click to see Los Angeles photos at the Library of Congress
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TIME Magazine, July 4, 1949, p. 8 (cover story):

NATIONAL AFFAIRS: CALIFORNIA: The Pink Oasis
    ...In a Little Spanish Town... Los Angeles began life in 1781 as the Spanish pueblo of Nuestra Se?ora la Reina de Los Angeles de Porci?ncula--a comatose village of 44 souls, surrounded by arid plains and arid mountains. It dozed for a century, hardly opening an eye when four square Spanish leagues of its dusty ground was incorporated into a U.S. city.

    Then the West-reaching railroads got to Los Angeles--the Southern Pacific in 1876, the Santa Fe in 1885. New settlers came in expecting an oasis and found none. They set out to build an artificial one. They dug wells with imported picks, planted imported palms and eucalyptus trees, cultivated lemon, orange and nut groves and a thousand and one foreign flowers, grasses and grains. They built with imported brick and lumber. They had no domestic material but sunshine.

    A city sprang up where no city seemed to belong. It built a 233-mile long aqueduct, ruthlessly sucked away the water of the distant Owens River--a project which turned the verdant Owens Valley to desert and stirred its farmers to rebellion. It constructed an artificial harbor, hatched the motion-picture business and raised oil derricks and searchlight beams. Its full-voiced Chamber of Commerce ballyhooed its climate. The city gulped in armies of aging Iowans, land-hungry Oklahomans and dazzled tourists.

    It grew without inhibitions. It was fascinated by space, color, the vehement sermons of real-estate sharks and the horticultural efficacy of powdered cow manure. It developed into a new kind of city--a sprawling confederacy of villages, with five branch city halls and 932 identifiable neighborhoods, in which life is dedicated to the sun, the lawn sprinkler and the backyard grill, and in which the swimming pool is the mark of success and distinction...

    City on Wheels. Los Angeles became the first big city of the automobile age. Its citizens worship the fishtail Cadillac, use their cars for almost all transportation (there is one car for every 2.6 persons--the nation's highest average), drive up to traffic lights like ballplayers sliding into second, and regard the pedestrian with suspicion and distrust.

    A pearly industrial smog now hangs embarrassingly over the city for days at a time, dulling the sun and stinging the eyes of the population...



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