Broadway Historic Buildings, Ca, USA

The many buildings and myriad of architectural styles in the Broadway Theater and Commercial District reveal the exuberance of the early entertainment industry in Southern California. When commercial activity in Los Angeles turned south down Broadway early in the 20th century, it created a thoroughly modern environment for extravagant shopping and flamboyant theaters. As the western terminus of Route 66 between 1926 and 1936, the district was a portal to coastal California for a national audience ranging from Dust Bowl refugees to pleasure-seeking tourists.

Broadway is the ultimate example of the explosive growth of Los Angeles and Southern California between 1900 and 1910. Prior to the turn of the century, Los Angeles’ commercial center was the intersection of Spring and First Streets, and Broadway below Third Street was primarily residential. The construction of a new city hall between Second and Third Streets in the late 1800s was a catalyst in reorienting the commercial district south, along Broadway. The street’s most dramatic turning point, however, was the 1905 announcement that Hamburger’s would build a large department store at Broadway and Eighth Street. Despite concerns that its Eighth Street location was too far south, investors followed Hamburger’s to the area.

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