Subway Terminal

The Subway Terminal building is located at 417 South Hill Street. When it opened in 1925, the building contained 600 offices and was one of the largest office building in the city. The ground floor contained a waiting room and ticket office for the Pacific Electric. This is the southeast corner of the building.

To the left in the foreground where you can see the sign marked Entrance was the Hill Street surface station. At the time this photograph was taken the station area had become a parking lot. The Hill Street surface station was the terminal for the Venice Short Line and other Western District lines.

The first train departed the subway on December 1, 1925. The last departed June 19, 1955, just short of 30 years later. (Suplement 3 to Special 16, Interurbans, Febuary 1958 pages 42A – 66B) The negative has been mislaid.

The date is July 11, 1965.

Robert Gaddie Photo, Robert Gaddie Collection

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  • Ed Weiss

    There were actually two main entrances to the Subway Terminal Building. 417 was utilized to enter the office portion (now utilized by the Metro 417 Apartments). 425 was utilized to enter the waiting room , ticketing , and the actual Subway.

  • Caesar J. Milch

    Back in the late 1970’s, I and a friend were able to “talk” our way into the 425 Hill Street Veterans Administration that had taken over the station portion of the building. Much of the concourse had been “office-ified” by hiding the walls and dropping the ceiling in the concourse and waiting room area. The big spaces had been carved into smaller ones, much like a building inside a building. BUT, there were still area un-touched since abandonment including the trainmen’s room and a ramp downstairs. A kindly security guard gave us the tour and then took us into a modern (for the day) meeting room with a door at the back. Upon opening the door, the passenger platform, tower and a yawning black tube presented itself along with a blast of musty damp air. Most of the platform area had been built out into and the remaining track area between the platforms had been filled with dirt to level the floor. There were lights to switch on that revealed all of this and PILES of boxed VA documents and old Civil Defense supplies from the early 1960’s. Evidently, the tunnel was a designated shelter area in case of atomic attack as it had been interdicted in the center by the construction of the harbor freeway. Nothing was left behind after abandonment and rail removal. Our “guide” for the tour was a little perplexed about our interest, but accepted the explanation we were there to do a “historical survey” for spots of likely future preservation! I only wish I had a camera along that day, as this was one of those spur of the moment “Hey, what do you think the odds are that we can get into that place right now?” side trips. Sic transit Gloria mundi, indeed.

    • Pacific Electric

      Great story, Caesar! Thanks for sharing! – ed.


    Rode in/out of the Subway many times, but never had any reason to use the surface terminal. Can someone tell me if it was similar to 6 & Main trackage where tracks were exposed and platforms were on each side? Also where was access from main waiting room?

  • Robert Gaddie

    The correct date of this photograph is July 25, 1961.

  • SyBB

    The gates were on the south side of the waiting room. Walk through the gate, turn right to the west wall of the terminal and walk south – along the wall – to the assigned track. Then turn east along the tracks to board the car.

    In the photo, on the corner of the building below the “Subway Terminal” sign there was a three aspect signal pointing north on Hill Street. I guess that for cars running south on Hill Street it was difficult to see if a car was exiting the surface terminal.

  • SyBB

    The tunnel was deemed strong enough to support the Harbor Freeway. It was breached to support one of the new hotels.

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Robert Gaddie Photo, Robert Gaddie CollectionUnknown Photographer, Robert Gaddie Collection