By July 1905,
Chandler's L.A. Times began to warn the voters of Los Angeles that the county would soon dry up unless they voted bonds
for building the aqueduct. Artificial drought conditions were created
when water was run into the sewers to decrease the supply in the
reservoirs and residents were forbidden to water their lawns and
gardens. On election day, the people of Los Angeles voted for $22.5 million worth of bonds to build an
aqueduct from the Owens River and to defray other expenses of the
project. With this money, and with a special Act of Congress allowing
cities to own property outside their boundaries, the City acquired the
land that Eden had acquired from the Owens Valley farmers and started
to build the aqueduct. On the occasion of the opening of the Los
Angeles Aqueduct on November 5, 1913 Mullholland's entire speech
was five words: "There it is. Take it."
The City of Los Angeles mostly remained within its original 28 square-mile land
grant until the 1890s. The first large additions to the city were the
districts of Highland Park and Garvanza to the north, and the South
Central area. In 1906 the approval of the Port of Los Angeles and a change in state law allowed the city to annex the
Shoestring, a narrow and crooked strip of land leading from Los
Angeles south towards the port. The port cities of San Pedro and
Wilmington were added in 1909 and the city of
was added in 1910, bringing the city up to 90 square miles.
opening of the Los Angeles Aqueduct provided the city with four times as much water
as it required, and the offer of water service became a powerful lure
for neighboring communities. The City, saddled with a large bond and
excess water, locked in customers through annexation by refusing to
supply other communities. Otis Chandler, a major investor in San
Fernando Valley real estate, used his Los Angeles Times to promote development near the aqueduct's
outlet. By referendum of the residents, 170 square miles of the San
Fernando Valley, along with the Palms district, were added to the city
in 1915, almost tripling its area, mostly towards the northwest. Over
the next couple of decades dozens of additional annexations were made
to the city.
At about the same time,
motion picture production companies from New York and New Jersey started
moving to sunny
California because of the good weather. Although electric lights
existed at that time, none were powerful enough to adequately expose film;
the best source of illumination for movie production was natural sunlight.
Besides the moderate, dry climate, they were also drawn to the state
because of its open spaces and wide variety of natural scenery.
Another reason was the
distance of Southern California from New Jersey, which made it more difficult for Thomas
Edison to enforce his motion picture patents. At the time, Edison owned
almost all the patents relevant to motion picture production and, in the
East, movie producers acting independently of Edison's Motion Picture
Patents Company were often sued by Edison and his agents. Thus, movie
makers working on the West Coast could work independent of Edison's
control. If he sent agents to
California, word would usually reach
before the agents did and the movie makers could escape to nearby Mexico.
Before long, dozens of film studios were established in the
continued to spread out, particularly with the development of the San
Fernando Valley and the building of the freeways launched in the 1940s.
When the local street car system went out of business Los Angeles
became a city built around the automobile, with all of the social, health
and political problems that this dependence produces.
In the midst of all this
Route 66 was commissioned in 1926 and would change dozens
of times through the next several decades as Los Angeles
continued to grow and expand.
During World War II,
grew as a center for production of aircraft, war supplies and munitions.
Thousands of African Americans and white Southerners migrated to the area
to fill factory jobs.
By 1950 Los
was an industrial and financial giant created by war production and
migration. Los Angeles assembled more cars than any city other than Detroit, made
more tires than any city but Akron, made more furniture than Grand Rapids,
and stitched more clothes than any city except New York. In addition, it
was the national capital for the production of motion pictures, radio
programs and, within a few years, television shows. Construction boomed as
tract houses were built in ever expanding suburban communities financed
primarily by the Federal Housing Administration.
The famed urban sprawl of
became a notable feature of the city, and the pace of the growth
accelerated in the first decades of the 20th century. The San Fernando
Valley, sometimes called "America's Suburb," became a favorite site of
developers, and the city began growing past its roots downtown toward the
ocean and towards the east.
Today, the metropolitan area encompasses 469
square miles and five counties.
See Route 66
in Los Angeles Next Page