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Historical Photos of Los Angeles When It Was Just A Small Seaside Village

The Huntington Library recently purchased over 4,500 images of early Southern California from the Ernest Marquez Collection, including several rare photographs of 1870s Los Angeles and Santa Monica.


The following collection show us Los Angeles before the busy streets and bright lights. It gives us insight into the understanding of the historical growth and development of the area. You will be surprosed seeing this photos taken before Los Angeles was a booming metropolis.

In the mid 1870s, Los Angeles was a sleepy little hamlet town that was more akin to a dusty, remote American cowboy town than the lively, frenzied city that exists today. The Southern Pacific Railroad was yet to connect this area to the rest of the nation, and LA was still a small township separated from the United States, and had only just begun welcoming city dwellers. The coastal town of Santa Monica became a hub of beachside tent cities, and photographers moved in to open studios catering to the emerging tourist trade.

All images from The Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens

Photo Gallery