Los Angeles County
1946 to 1962

Hollywood Freeway over the Four-Level Interchange ("The Stack"), 1953. Courtesy of the California Dept. of Transportation.


The Los Angeles Air Pollution Control Board is established to fight the worsening smog. Commercial airlines move their operations from Lockheed Air Terminal in Burbank to Los Angeles Airport. Located in Downey, Los Angeles County opens its first publicly-funded animal shelter.


The Cleveland Rams professional football team begins playing in Los Angeles. About 1,500 war veterans camp out in MacArthur Park to protest the housing shortage in Los Angeles. The Los Angeles State and County Arboretum opens. The "Hollywood Ten," seven writers, two directors, and one producer, are charged with contempt of Congress for their refusal to state whether they are Communists. The Los Angeles County Air Pollution Control District is established. The Hollywood Freeway (101) opens. One of the most infamous crimes in Los Angeles history occurs, the "Black Dahlia" murder. Mobster "Bugsy" Siegel is gunned down. Plans are revealed for the world's first "four-level grade separation" near downtown Los Angeles, connecting the 101 (Hollywood) and 110 (Harbor and Pasadena) freeways. Los Angeles County begins using telephone area code 213.


The Los Angeles City government fires 17 city workers when they refuse to sign loyalty pledges.


The Pacific Electric Railway Company asks the Public Utilities Commission for permission to replace its famous "Red Cars" with buses on 11 of its 17 lines. Ed Roybal becomes the first Mexican American to be elected to the Los Angeles City Council since 1881. The Los Angeles Airport is officially renamed Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).


Louis H. Boyer begins the largest private land development in the nation with a plan for the 17,000-home community of Lakewood. Los Angeles area Congressman (and future President) Richard Nixon wins a U.S. Senate seat in a campaign against Congresswoman Helen Gahagin Douglas.


Backyard incinerators are banned in an attempt to reduce smog. Seven Mexican-American youths are arrested and beaten by Los Angeles police officers in an incident that becomes known as "Bloody Christmas." Eight officers are later indicted and 36 others are disciplined. The Metropolitan Transit Authority is established. The Los Angeles Rams win their first NFL championship in Los Angeles.


A major earthquake jolts Los Angeles. At least five people are killed. Professor Arie J. Haagen-Smit of the California Institute of Technology first explains conclusively the origins of smog. The Los Angeles City Housing Authority comes under investigation by the California State Un-American Activities Committee. Local congressman Richard Nixon is elected Vice President. U.S. Air Force Plant 52 is established in Palmdale.


The El Pueblo de los Angeles State Monument is dedicated. The Pacific Electric Railway cedes control of its bus and red car lines to Metropolitan Coach Lines. The "Four Level" interchange near downtown Los Angeles is completed. The Sepulveda Boulevard underpass running beneath the LAX runways is opened. It is the first tunnel of its kind.


Los Angeles is hit by its worst ever smog attack, causing air traffic to be diverted from LAX to Burbank and preventing ships from entering the harbor. The J. Paul Getty Museum opens. Simon Rodia completes the Watts Towers.


African-Americans begin serving in the Los Angeles police and fire departments. The Walt Disney Company opens Disneyland in Anaheim.


Los Angeles City lifts its ordinance limiting building heights to 150 feet. California State University at Northridge is established.


After colliding midair with a military jet aircraft, a new DC7B airliner on its first test flight out of Santa Monica Airport crashes into Pacoima Congregational Church in Pacoima with large portions of the wreckage falling into the adjacent playground of Junior High School in Pacoima. The crew of both aircraft are killed, as are two school children on the ground. A third seriously injured child dies a few days later. At least 75 other children at the school are injured. The Brooklyn Dodgers move to Los Angeles. Northern Los Angeles County begins using telephone area code 805. The Whittier Narrows Dam is completed.


78,672 people pack the Los Angeles Coliseum to see the new Los Angeles Dodgers play the San Francisco Giants. The Dodgers win 6-5 (April 18). The remnants of the former Pacific Electric Railway (including the Red Cars) are placed under the control of the newly created Los Angeles Metropolitan Transit Authority. KTLA Channel 5 introduces the first TV news helicopter in the nation in Los Angeles. It is known as the "Telecopter."


Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev visits Los Angeles. Local real estate agents attempt to sell him a home. The Los Angeles Dodgers win their first World Series pennant. The first jet service from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) begins (between Los Angeles and New York). The Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena opens.


The Democratic National Convention is held in Los Angeles. John F. Kennedy is nominated as the Democratic candidate for President The Lakers professional basketball team moves from Minneapolis to Los Angeles.


The Great Bel Air-Brentwood Fire destroys 484 homes in the worst brush fire in Los Angeles history. The Theme Building is built at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). The L.A. City Council later designates it in 1992 as a cultural and historical monument. The last of the old Red Car trolley lines, the Los Angeles to Long Beach line, ceases operations.


The Los Angeles Examiner joins the Herald to become the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner. Dodger Stadium is opened in Chavez Ravine.