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Old 06-09-2012, 09:39 PM
 
110 posts, read 256,083 times
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I'm sincerely looking for an answer to this question. I can pretty much understand why most cities grew as rapidly as they did

NYC: Immigrant destination
Chicago: Railroad Hub
Atlanta: Airport Hub
Miami: Immigrant hub and retiree hotspot
Houston: Oil and Natural gas hotspot

But what caused Los Angeles to grow into the behemoth that it is today? And when did it occur? Californians please help me out and give me your input!
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Old 06-09-2012, 09:43 PM
 
Location: Minneapolis (St. Louis Park)
5,991 posts, read 8,612,684 times
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Perfect weather
Fast money
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Old 06-09-2012, 10:45 PM
 
512 posts, read 693,315 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cope1989 View Post
I'm sincerely looking for an answer to this question. I can pretty much understand why most cities grew as rapidly as they did

NYC: Immigrant destination
Chicago: Railroad Hub
Atlanta: Airport Hub
Miami: Immigrant hub and retiree hotspot
Houston: Oil and Natural gas hotspot

But what caused Los Angeles to grow into the behemoth that it is today? And when did it occur? Californians please help me out and give me your input!

Los Angeles was a different animal because it was the first to rely on immigrants FROM other parts of the United States. The movie industry was starting to take off, which attracted the early movie conglomerates from the Northeast. With that news, many Americans living in the plains states felt that sunny California had to be better than snowy Nebraska or Kansas and so they moved there.

Some worked in the film industry but others were happy to work on the farms in pleasant weather. Others flocked to California to escape horrible conditions a la the Grapes of Wrath

The movie industry evolved and so did the city and eventually found itslef at the center of the Art Deco movement. Another thing that was instrumental in Los Angeles growth was the aeropplane and its industry. The synergy created in this city was really impressive in the 20's, 30's and 40's. One Los Angles icon who helped lead the charge was a Texan named Howard Hughes. I won't go into all the details about his contribution but watch the Aviator to get an idea of how exciting Los Angeles was a that time.
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Old 06-09-2012, 10:59 PM
 
Location: South Beach and DT Raleigh
12,040 posts, read 19,496,611 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Min-Chi-Cbus View Post
Perfect weather
Fast money
Okay...hate to burst the bubble here but LA doesn't have perfect weather. It may have perfect days within the year but NOWHERE is perfect day in and day out 365 days a year. Every single city in America is going to have perfect days and even stretches of days that could last for months. to suggest that someone's overall weather is perfect is hyperbole.
At the end of the day, the idea of perfect weather is also highly subjective.
A much fairer statement might be that LA grew as many Americans sought to escape brutal Winters. Frankly, the same could be said for most of the Sunbelt.
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Old 06-09-2012, 11:00 PM
 
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Haha, speaking of the 1930s, is anyone familiar with "The Onion". It's a fake newspaper and they have a book called "Our Dumb Century"

One fake article from the 1930s is titled "Soulless cultural wasteland on the grow in Southern California"
and the tag reads: "Los Angeles to be hellish megalopolis by 1950"

I thought it was pretty good
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Old 06-09-2012, 11:11 PM
 
110 posts, read 256,083 times
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I also think LA is a city that has attracted people based hugely on advertising, marketing and pop culture alone. California has always been seen as a promised land. Heck, even the name California comes from an imaginary Island that Spanish explorers tried to find. The legend comes from a Spanish romance novel written in 1510. Then, as explorers began to discover western North America, they believed they had found it. It jutted out into the Pacific Ocean right by the desert, and was a lush garden of eden that was populated by beautiful amazonian women.

Island of California - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

And throughout the 20th century, popular culture painted California as a paradise

The Grapes of Wrath
California Dreamin' Mamas and the Papas
California Dreamin The Beach Boys
California Here we Come!

And my personal favorite:

26 Miles to Santa Catalina - YouTube

It's such a dreamy song and it makes me want to move to Catalina today!

Bottom line: California has marketed itself well. Despite its well publicized problems, people still dream of moving there
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Old 06-10-2012, 01:57 AM
 
Location: Stillwater, Oklahoma
18,052 posts, read 14,354,605 times
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Getting water routed to Los Angeles surely helped spur it's growth.
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Old 06-10-2012, 03:10 AM
 
Location: Savannah GA
13,683 posts, read 17,774,398 times
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^^^^ Yes, without the very unethical and perhaps illegal WATER WARS of the 1920s and 30s, all of LA (and most of SoCal) would remain a desert wasteland. See "China Town" for a very vivid telling of this dark period of LA history. That said, if not for the mythical lure of Hollywood and the so-called "promised land" this unscrupulous quest for water would not have been necessary. And yet, despite what most people may assume, it was in fact the industrial build-up to WWII -- and the post-war boom -- that fueled the massive waves of SoCal growth which led to the eventual metropolis we see today. Hollywood has always represented just a very small fraction of employment in the LA region, ironically enough.
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Old 06-10-2012, 08:50 AM
 
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Don't forget that LA area had a major harbor & port, which was responsible for it's original location and very early economy. See: The Port of Los Angeles | History. Port cities tend to develop into transportation hubs with diversified economies, which was true for LA.

Early 20th century land speculation played a big part.

But those who mention the industrial development prior to and during WWII are right in that it was THIS that blew up LA's population and created the the overpopulated ecologically ruined place that it is today.
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Old 06-10-2012, 11:08 AM
 
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The LA basin/greater LA area was really destined to become a global city.

The Mediterranean environment of California, is very unique and covers a VERY small % of the earths surface. People who talk about how LA growth was fueled by speculation and Hollywood image, and would otherwise be a desert wasteland, forget that western civilization started in the very same environment as as southern California. From ancient Greece and Palestine/Israel to Italy/Rome to Spain and Portugal, the first to colonize lands abroad.

And of course the Spanish set up missions and brought the fundamentals of Mediterranean agriculture, (citrus, olives, etc.)

Obviously one major driver, yes was Hollywood, the variety of physical/natural environments meant that filmmakers could have chaparral/brushlands, higher mountains with snow and pines, desert with sand dunes, beaches, rocky coasts, you name it. Plus, early cameras needed A LOT of natural light. Griffith Park was a convenient place to film westerns. As studios/sets needed a lot of space, LA became very multicentric, very early on.

Although at first, you did have the Pacific Electric line, so not everyone had cars. Interesting enough, LA BECAME more sprawled BECAUSE of public transportation. Before everyone had cars, streetcars, allowed people to live FURTHER from work.

It also became an ideal place for R&D for aircraft. WWII against Japan fueled military aircraft industry, and the Cold War sustained it until 1990, when California was impacted by loss of defense contracts.

You also had the port. The port of LA/Long Beach, was destined to become a major point. Both LA and San Francisco were basically the Ellis Island of the west coast for Asia and Latin America. Where the port is today were mudflats/an estuary, the LA river alternately shifted between Ballona Creek and the main course to the port, as it shifted across the flat LA basin.

Synergized with all of the growth, LA (and SF to a certain extent) became what Ellis Island was from 1880-1920s for Italians, Jews, etc. California became for Asia, Latin America.

You put this all together, and it makes sense that the area became the powerhouse it is today. As far as "ecologically ruined", you really can't have 11 million people without major impact to the environment. But I will tell, I amazed by the natural beauty right in LA county. Was just as Malibu Creek state park yesterday (Griffith Park Friday) , and thought about how amazing it is, to have the second largest city and the Santa Monica mtns, cutting right through. (today I will be going to the beach, and usually see a harbor seal, and occassionally a few bottlenosed dolphins in the distance (more in winter though).
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