8 Ways Los Angeles Could Have Been Completely Different

Welcome to Hollyweird.

1. L.A. could have been a lot shorter.

General Photographic Agency/Hulton Archive / Getty Images

Up until 1957, the city enforced a strict height limit on buildings — they couldn’t be taller than 13 stories.
(Above: Hollywood in 1925.)

2. There could have been a highway-beach.

This plan proposed building a man-made beach off the Santa Monica coast with a highway.

3. Dodgers Stadium could have been a lake.

Courtesy USC Libraries Special Collections

In 1958, Assemblyman Don Anderson countered the Dodgers Stadium proposal with this idea — a public lake, which he said “would give people needed recreational facilities and help beautify downtown section.”

4. Los Feliz, Silver Lake, and Echo Park could have been the movie studio hub.

In the 1910s, these east side neighborhoods were known together as Edendale, and this was the first home to Keystone Films and several major movie companies. Now it’s home to hipsters and rich people.

5. There could have been a bicycle superhighway.

This 1897 project only had a first stretch of it built before the project failed — it was intended to provide a bike pathway between Pasadena and Downtown.

6. There could have been a crazy mansion above the Hollywood sign.

Mack Sennett, the founder of Keystone Studios, had plans to construct a palatial home in the Hills, above the Hollywood sign. Unfortunately, the stock market crash of 1929 wiped Sennett out, so it never got built. The space now hosts a communications tower and park station.

7. You could have gotten to LAX via flying busses.

Okay, so this one is kind of a stretch, but in the 1960s, there was actually a proposal to create helicopter-like busses that would take passengers from Downtown to LAX…all in nine minutes, supposedly. Clearly, this never happened. But kind of makes you wish it did!

8. And of course this.

Did you know that the iconic Hollywood sign was actually a marketing gimmick? Some clever folks in the real estate industry dubbed the land in the Hills “Hollywoodland,” and erected a huge sign to help attract housing developments.

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