An Entertaining & Informative Vintage Automobile Internet Magazine

1930s Rush Hour Traffic on Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles

One constant in the greater Los Angeles area is traffic, and this set of photos taken in the 1930s show that it was not a post-World War II problem although it did get worse at that time. The lead image and the enlargeable version below both show heavy traffic at Wilshire Boulevard and South Western Avenue circa 1930.

The area in an earlier time was part of Frank Pellissier’s dairy farm. When the photograph was taken, Pellissier Square was being developed by the Henry de Roulet Co., and the firm’s office can be seen on the right-hand street corner, which was later replaced with the Pellissier Building that houses the Wiltern Theater. The majority of the cars on Wilshire Blvd. were built in the late-1920s but a close look appears to show a couple that may be 1930 models and included in the mix are at least four luxury cars. The Pellissier Garage has also been visited here in the past.

Wilshire Boulevard Traffic 1930-1

The view below is at the junction of Wilshire Blvd. and Vermont Ave. circa 1934. Beyond the Flower Shop on the far side of the street are a number of businesses with one displaying a sign for twelve bottles of Coca Cola for fifty cents. There appears to be a Chrysler products roadster (a blur) on the far-left with it’s top and windshield down and at least three or four cars in the scene were built in 1934-’35.

Tell us what cars interests you in the photos courtesy of the USC Libraries.

Traffic at Wilshire and Vermont 1934

13 responses to “1930s Rush Hour Traffic on Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles

  1. The street lamps in the first photo are tall, elegant, and probably cast iron. My Grandfather, a Boston contractor, removed hundreds of similar, though smaller, lights from Boston city streets many years ago. I remember them stockpiled in his equipment yard infested with wasps. He later sold most of them for scrap, but I managed to dig up one and salvage it . I keep it as a reminder of my Grandfather and of old Boston. I wonder if any of the lamps in the photos survive?

  2. It is unusual to see a 1929 Ford Model A Taxi Cab that is in the top photograph. It is the four door Ford in the front with a coupe pillar which only the Taxi Cab model had.I believe there are less than 10 in existence now. Most went the way of most cabs, driven in to the ground.

    • It appears that the 1929 Model A Taxi has 1930-31 wheels and tires. Makes sense from a fleet maintenance perspective if this is a 1930 or 1931 photo.

      One of the surviving ’29 Taxi Cabs is in the Model A Ford Foundation (MAFFI) Museum collection at Gilmore.

  3. The two buses visible, one in each photo are interesting. The top one looks very boxy and the second one looks like an open air double-decker.

  4. Unlike the NYC pictures earlier the lanes are marked, does anyone know if they are individual inserts like Bott’s Dots, or just painted?

  5. Egads, tailgating like that surely wrought a number of rear-enders in that era, brakes being what they were. Guess things couldn’t have been too bad since the cars were a bit slower, though without seat belts I imagine a few vampires out for a midnight drive were impaled by a steering column or two.

  6. It’s interesting that the vast majority of the cars in these photos do not have side mount spares or white walls, yet almost every car of this era you see now does have them.

  7. Interesting, the second car over, a ’28-’29 Fordor Ford: don’t know that I have seen a fordor of that type. The ones I have seen have a different cowl, more like a ’30.

    Guys? s’plain.
    I will go get some Popcorn..

  8. The Model A cab, a unique body with coupe pillar and no visor is shown in the Galloping Ghost 59:09 and continuation and again at 1:24:44 and continuation. The one in the above photo is a Red Top cab and the other fleet in the film is Mogul Cab Co. This serial is on You Tube. I suspect this body style was continued in the first months of 1930 explaining the wheels. The early 1930 commercials had carry over 1929 sheet metal such as the station wagon, pickup truck, etc. The taxi was a commercial vehicle.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *