Super cool old school maps of LA


I’ve always been drawn into illustrated maps, that’s probably their intent to begin with, but upon finding one I faced with no choice but sitting there and reading every minor citation. And if I know the place being mapped then you can expect me to go through them all twice. This morning Xeni sent me a link to this illustrated map of Los Angeles painted by Joseph Jacinto “Jo” Mora in the first half of the 1900s. 45 minutes after panning and scanning I downloaded the high res version because I knew I’d be back. This map is one of many that the Library of Congress has online in an exhibition called Los Angeles Mapped including a ton of very old perspectives on what this city looked like from above. A few favorites include a 1639 version showing California as an island, this 1909 look at Dowtown LA when the city had a population of 300K, but this 1873 map is the earliest one of LA in their collection and having been inked only 92 years after LA was first settled shows how far we’ve come since then. As noted there, much touted “oldest street in LA” Olvera Street was originally called Wine Street.

3 thoughts on “Super cool old school maps of LA”

  1. oh man nice find. reminds me a bit of a wall map i once bought from a grumpy crackpot sort on venice beach. Conversation went like this:

    “I wrote a book about the history of Venice Beach. It is out of print but it is for sale for $75.”

    “Can I see it?”

    “No, it is too valuable to bring out here to the beach to have people thumb through it.”

    “How do I know it’s worth $75 then?”

    “Buy it.”

    Here’s his map.

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