DispL.A. Case #1: The Booster Poster
The history of Los Angeles as told through 232 objects.
Los Angeles was founded on September 4, 1781. Between now and the 232nd anniversary, we are gathering the stories behind iconic objects that help explain our city. Los Angeles is older than Chicago, Atlanta or Washington, D.C. In fact, when L.A.’s founders were gathering at El Pueblo, New York City was still occupied by the British army. We have a long story to tell, let’s take a look back and see where the city came from. Feel free to add to this exhibition. Email your ideas to [email protected]
Do you hear that whistle down the line? When the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe railroad first chugged into Los Angeles in 1885 it brought curious tourists, health refugees and adventurers. Two years later, when ticket prices plunged from $125 down to one dollar, the floodgates opened and a building boom took off to accommodate all the newcomers. Boosters built hotels, amusements and streetcars linking far flung development sites from Redlands to Redondo. Folks seeking to profit from the wide-open spaces printed up beautiful color posters promoting California’s bounty and pasted them up all over the country. They were so enticing that in the last two decades of the 19th century, the population of Los Angeles increased almost tenfold. While we may no longer have the abundance of land the poster promises, California is still the cornucopia of the world and we are still cyclone and blizzard free.