Los Angeles, California epitomizes the auto-centered city that emerged in the United States starting in the 1920s. A contemporary to North Michigan Avenue, but on a larger scale, Wilshire Boulevard extends from downtown Los Angeles to Santa Monica. It passes through affluent neighborhoods such as Beverly Hills and Westwood. In 1920, developer A.W. Ross sought the opportunity to transform an unpaved farm road into an intensely developed commercial corridor. High-end department stores, such as Bullock’s and Desmond’s, opened up operations along the fashionable boulevard with flashy façades that attracted drivers whizzing down the road. Nicknamed the “Miracle Mile,” the commercial development that suddenly sprang up along Wilshire Boulevard was a major boost to the city’s economy. This boost came even though its construction contributed to the decline of the downtown shopping district. This postcard highlights the modernized thoroughfare with its stylish landscaping, many traffic lanes, and Art Deco buildings. Pedestrians are virtually absent from the image as automobiles dominate the scene.
Bottles, Scott L. Los Angeles and the Automobile: The Making of the Modern City. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1987.
Liebs, Chester H. Main Street to Miracle Mile: American Roadside Architecture.. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1985.
Roderick, Kevin and J. Eric Lynxwiler. Wilshire Boulevard: The Grand Concourse of Los Angeles. Los Angeles: Angel City Press, 2005.
Los Angeles Conservancy. “History of Wilshire Boulevard.” https://www.laconservancy.org/history-wilshire-boulevard
“Wilshire Boulevard’s New Skyline, Los Angeles, California.” Postcard. Private Collection