Southern California November 01, 2022
12 Historic Photos That Show Us What It Was Like Living In Southern California In The Early 1900s
The Southern California we know and love is densely populated with vibrant cities and sprawling suburban developments. We think nothing of high-rise buildings and interlacing highways full of modern vehicles. Even quaint beach and mountain communities enjoy easy access and modern conveniences. But life in the Golden State was not always this way. Take a brief look back at life during the early 1900s with these historic photos of Southern California.
1. In Santa Barbara during the late 1800s and early 1900s, Franciscan monks worked as blacksmiths and did their metalwork with an open brick forge and anvil.
2. In its early days, dense olive groves filled large areas of land in what is now the City of Los Angeles. Southern California was also widely populated with orange groves.
3. Men in vested suits handle bottles of olive oil at the Selma Brand Olive Oil company. The oil was produced from olives grown at their local grove and guaranteed as pure California olive oil.
4. This 1906 photo shows a typical day on a Los Angeles thoroughfare, with horse-drawn carriages and trolley cars, men and women in formal attire, cloth awnings over the windows of sidewalk shops, and charming lamp posts.
5. A prominent feature on Broadway Street in downtown Los Angeles was The Broadway Department Store. Horse-drawn wagons and carriages filled the streets, hauling goods and people through the city.
6. A Los Angeles amusement park known as Chutes Park is pictured in 1906 with a 30-foot-tall waterslide and lift to bring the brave to the top and a wooden roller coaster. The ticket booth proclaims that tickets are 10 cents for adults and five cents for children.
7. State Street, which has become Santa Barbara’s main tourist-populated shopping and dining district, is pictured in the early 1900s, prior to the majority of the city being flattened by a 1925 earthquake.
8. A patchwork of agricultural plots along the Los Angeles River is typical of what many areas of Southern California looked like in the early 1900s.
9. In 1900, what is now a three-lane highway was a narrow dirt road which allowed horse-drawn wagons to pass from the coast of Santa Barbara through the Gaviota mountain pass.
10. Typical of early Southern California communities, this photo shows two Native American sisters in San Diego sitting outside an adobe home and weaving baskets.
11. This was the residence of General James Longstreet who fought in the Civil War. A female servant provides the family with tea service and even the young child is formally dressed. Some things have not changed, however; it seems that dogs have always been a prominent part of SoCal family life.
12. Far from being a quaint town with shops and cafes, in 1915 the coast of Summerland, just south of Santa Barbara, was filled with offshore oil wells and wharves that butted up against the bluffs.
Things have certainly changed in the last 100 years! What do you think of Southern California’s history? Would you like a real taste of the early days? Check out these
places where you can still experience old SoCal.
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