Broadway Place Vanishes

By Steve Crise

Los Angeles Railways’ Line 5 was the systems longest route covering almost 22 miles from its northern most point in Eagle Rock to its southern terminus at Hawthorne Blvd and West Broadway in the city of Hawthorne. During its lengthy run, the 5 Line cars traversed one of the city’s shortest main drags that was right in the middle of downtown Los Angeles, a street less than 500 feet long named Broadway Place.

Broadway Place ran from the intersection of Olympic Blvd at South Broadway in a southeasterly direction to join South Main Street just north of 11th Street. As far as I have been able to figure out, the 5 Line was the only Los Angeles Railway or Los Angeles Transit Lines route to use this trackage making it an interesting adnominal within the vast system.

The Don Sims photo seen above that was shot around 1950, shows LATL car # 1532 on the 5 Line making a gentle left turn off of N. Broadway, crossing West Olympic Blvd in a southeasterly direction onto the tracks on Broadway Place.

This excellent photo was a very good candidate for the inclusion of our latest book on the Los Angeles Railway titled “Los Angeles Railway Past & Preset”, however during the lengthy process of choosing locations, shooting and editing photos for the book, Broadway Place had vanished! It disappeared under a massive new apartment complex appropriately named the Broadway Place Apartments.

A contemporary view of Broadway Place by Steve Crise
A contemporary view of Broadway Place by Steve CriseCorner of Olympic Blvd and Broadway in Los Angeles CA to match a Don Sims shot of the same area shot in the 1950s.

In this photo which I made in 2013, the site was still just a parking lot as it had been for decades. I was still able to create a rather decent homage to Don’s photo of 1532. However with the site so drastically redeveloped and there being no chance whatsoever of anyone visiting the exact spot where either photo was made, we opted for a different view of Olympic and Broadway looking south toward Olympic Blvd. So consequently, we did not use Don’s wonderful image.

If Broadway Place had to disappear underneath a new development, the Broadway Place Apartments was a worthy project for its replacement. The structure nicely compliments the surrounding historic building in its Renaissance Revival style. If I didn’t know better I would think that it had been around just as long as all the other neighboring buildings.

Incidentally, the old Los Angeles Railway Building, which is just south of the Broadway Place Apartments at 1060 S. Broadway, has been revamped into the Hoxton Hotel. If you ever find yourself in the area, the Hoxton Hotel deserves a good long glance at the fantastic repurposing effort that was also made on this historic building.

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Showing 2 comments
  • Yorkman Lowe

    According to Google Maps, the bldg that was built over Broadway Place is now the Broadway PALACE Apts.

  • Robert Bardell

    About a hour into the 1949 film D.O.A. a #5 car turns from Broadway onto Broadway Place. It’s nighttime and Bigelow and Chester are driving north on neon-lit Broadway when the #5 passes them heading south. Great footage. Dorn’s neon sign clinches the connection to the Don Sims photo above. After the #5 car disappears from view the boys pass the Orpheum whose brightly lit marquee advertises its vaudeville revival–“8 big acts”. D.O.A. is chock full of images from transit worlds gone by, including SF’s Iron Monsters and 1st generation trolley coaches and LA’s PCC cars in action.

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Don Sims Photograph. Image taken at Los Angeles Union Passenger Terminal. Date: 11- 1953