The collection consists of 3396 black and
white photographs (many with corresponding original and copy negatives), 116 unprinted glass
plate negatives, memos, correspondence, press releases, and notes related to the Pacific
Electric Railway, ca. 1870s-1950s. The collection provides a comprehensive overview of the
routes and areas served by the Railway during the years of its operation, and thus a picture of
the growth of Southern California during the first half of the twentieth century.
The Pacific Electric Railway was established by railroad and real estate tycoon Henry E.
Huntington in 1901; it grew out of Huntington’s early ventures in both real estate and
transportation in the Los Angeles area. In 1898, Huntington and a group of investors purchased
the financially strapped Los Angeles and Pasadena Electric Railway; this company operated the
first interurban rail line in Los Angeles, running between Central Los Angeles and Pasadena.
Huntington, seeing an opportunity to invest in the still small public transportation market in
Southern California, began buying land in growing areas not yet reached by existing public
transportation. The Pacific Electric was designed to serve these areas.
boxes (21.59 linear ft.)
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