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54 Years Ago: Tree Planting Advocated for Downtown

By Eric Richardson
Published: Monday, May 17, 2010, at 04:07PM
Olive Street - 1938 USC Digital Archives / Dick Whittington Studio [digitallibrary.usc.edu]

A woman walks down a treeless stretch of Olive street in 1938.



On May 17, 1956, the Men's Garden Club of Los Angeles used its annual spring luncheon to advocate "a program of sidewalk greenery for the downtown sector."

While tree plantings are still a topic today, old photos of Downtown make it clear just how barren the streets of Downtown were in the first half of the century.

The Los Angeles Times ran the club's endorsement on page 32 of the following day's issue.

"Trees are the most enduring assets of a city," said club vice-president Franklin S. Wade, chairman of the board of directors for the Southern California Gas Co. "They make life more pleasant for those who work and shop in a community. Where trees have been planted in business areas, they have broken the cold monotony of masonry and concrete with sunlit leaves and shadows."

Apparently, the club's encouragement was well-received. A November 14, 1960, Times story reported that 228 street trees had been planted in the Downtown area over the previous five years.

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