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A Look Back at L.A.'s 1924 Plague

By Eric Richardson
Published: Tuesday, May 10, 2011, at 10:46AM
1924 Plague Photos The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley

Residence at 323 S. Hewitt, in today's Arts District

Thirty-three people died in late 1924 as pneumonic plague swept through run-down residential neighborhoods around Downtown Los Angeles. A swift response stopped the outbreak in just a few weeks, but the resulting campaign against the rats that spread the disease would spell the end for many of the rundown buildings that were still in use not far away from the heart of the growing city.

The business district was blossoming in the early 1920's. On Broadway, Spring and Main, tall new buildings were rising.

Not far away, though, wooden shacks and old cottages in today's Chinatown, Arts District and Industrial District still pointed to an earlier time in the city's growth.

An amazing collection of images from the time can be found online courtesy of The Bancroft Library at U.C. Berkeley.


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