J Scott Shannon (ashetlandpony) wrote in then_now,
J Scott Shannon

Where Mother was: Then & Now

In this old post, I told the story of my mother having had her picture taken by a street photographer somewhere in downtown Los Angeles in 1936, when she was a 19-year-old secretarial student at Woodbury College. Some time later, I finally identified the location of the picture as having been the 900 block of South Broadway.

Thereafter, I decided that if I ever went back to Los Angeles, I would like to visit the place where my mother was photographed, 73 years ago. And three Wednesdays ago, during my recent L.A. vacation, I did just that.

Here's the exact spot, then and now.

Relatively little has changed. The two principal buildings visible in the old photograph are still there – the "Stalinesque" 9th and Broadway Building (1929), and the L.L. Burns Building (1914); the latter is the one with the "Kelly's" ad painted on its side. (No ads today – Broadway is not in any way the commercial "hotspot" it used to be.) The lampposts are noticeably different in height and style, but the bases themselves are apparently the same ones as when Mother was there.

And where was Mom walking to that day in October, 1936? Probably to a trolley stop at the intersection of South Broadway and Olympic Blvd., which is only a few feet in back of where the 1936 photographer was standing. (Mother at the time lived on Norton Avenue, just south of Olympic, so she probably rode the Olympic trolley line to and from downtown daily.)

Heh, it's funny, when I was there taking my photos, I tried to show Mom's picture to several passers-by, but nobody could be bothered. Admittedly, if I were walking on South Broadway and some stranger asked if I'd like to see a picture of his mother, I'd probably avoid the guy, too. ;)


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