Southern California November 01, 2022
13 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Southern California
Everyone seems to know a lot about Southern California. Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, San Diego, and other cities are known around the world for various reasons. Of course, every place has its secrets, from its history to its people to surprising statistics. Even if you were born and raised in this state, these little-known facts about Southern California may be new to you.
1. The famous Santa Monica pier, now known as a center for recreation, is over 100 years old and was originally used to move sewage offshore.
Most Californians would be relieved that it is no longer used for that purpose.
2. The internet was invented in Los Angeles.
It all began with a network called the ARPANET connecting computers at four universities, and a single message sent by Professor Leonard Kleinrock at UCLA. The system crashed halfway through his message to Stanford University. It was supposed to read “LOGIN,” but the historic first message ended up being just two letters, “LO.”
3. In the 1890s, oil fields were discovered beneath the city of Los Angeles. By 1930, at least one-fourth of the world’s petroleum production could be traced to California oil.
4. There are about 11 miles of tunnels that run under Los Angeles.
While many are now used for the Metro train system, some of the tunnels were originally used to transport prisoners, mobsters, and even money. Others run between the courthouse and other government buildings and are used by staff to get from one location to another on golf carts.
5. Barbie was created in 1959 by Ruth Handler, co-founder of the Mattel toy company in Los Angeles.
The doll that came to be known worldwide as “Barbie” was named after Handler’s daughter, Barbara, and was actually named Barbara Millicent Roberts.
6. The speed of light was first measured in the Los Angeles area by Dr. Albert A. Michelson.
Michelson’s most famous, and most accurate, experiment was performed by bouncing light between Mount Wilson and Mount Baldy. Michelson was even praised for his work by Albert Einstein.
7. Hollywood is known around the world as the center of entertainment and celebrity, but when the land was originally purchased in 1886 and named Hollywood, the owners intended to establish a religious community and fig farming.
8. When it was originally built in 1923, the now-famous Hollywood sign actually read “HOLLYWOODLAND” and was an advertisement for a housing development, not the city.
9. When the area that is now known as the city of Los Angeles was founded in 1781, its name was actually “El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora Reina de Los Angeles Sobre el Rio Porciuncula.”
10. The palm trees that have become iconic in Los Angeles, and particularly Beverly Hills, are not native to California. They were imported to the state, with as many as 25,000 being brought just in 1931.
11. Beverly Hills was almost named "Morocco."
It may now be known for its upscale shopping and famous residents, but it was originally headed in a very different direction. When it was purchased by a developer in 1900, not only was "Morocco" a possible name, but the plan for the area was to drill for oil. Plans failed and the town was renamed with inspiration from Beverly Farms in Massachusetts.
12. Hollywood Bowl, arguably California’s most iconic music venue, is the largest outdoor amphitheater in the country.
13. The first person to cross San Diego’s Coronado Bridge was Ronald Reagan. He was California’s Governor at the time.
Did you know these little-known facts about Southern California? Do you know something else about the state that most people don’t know? Share with us in the comments. Want more fun facts about the Golden State? Check out these
little-known facts about Northern California.
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