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The five-globe Llewellyn? A photo history of L.A. streetlight design since 1882

A 1930 view looking north on Broadway from 10th Street. Ornamental streetlights illuminate the trolley tracks.
A 1930 view looking north on Broadway from 10th Street (now, Olympic Boulevard). Ornamental streetlights illuminate the trolley tracks.
(Water and Power Associates’ Mulholland-Scattergood Virtual Museum)

The city of Los Angeles on Thursday announced the winner of its design competition for a new standard streetlight to be rolled out next year. The design, an elegant entry named “Superbloom,” represents the first major revamp of the standard L.A. streetlight since the 1950s.

The city has more than 220,000 streetlights in more than 400 designs. Here is a brief photographic history of some of the classic and most interesting ones. The photos are courtesy of Water and Power Associates’ Mulholland-Scattergood Virtual Museum, whose “Early Los Angeles Streetlights” gallery features more than 300 images, including rare glimpses of a young L.A.

1882 photo showing one of the first seven electric street lights in Los Angeles, standing 150 feet tall.
An 1882 photo shows one of the first seven electric streetlights installed in Los Angeles, located on the east side of Main Street just north of Commercial Street. The light stood 150 feet tall.
(Water and Power Associates’ Mulholland-Scattergood Virtual Museum)
A 1905 view looking north on Main Street from Fifth Street showing five-globe standard Llewellyn streetlight.
(Water and Power Associates’ Mulholland-Scattergood Virtual Museum)

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A 1909 sampling of four ornamental streetlights featured in a report of the Municipal Art Commission
A 1909 sampling of ornamental streetlights featured in a report of the Municipal Art Commission for the city of Los Angeles.
(Water and Power Associates’ Mulholland-Scattergood Virtual Museum)
A 1914 view of a three-lamp electrolier on the corner of Wilshire and Windsor boulevards.
A 1914 view of a three-lamp electrolier on the corner of Wilshire and Windsor boulevards.
(Water and Power Associates’ Mulholland-Scattergood Virtual Museum)
Circa 1926, a single-bulb streetlight with the Hollywoodland sign in the distance.
Circa 1926, a single-bulb streetlight with the Hollywoodland sign in the distance. This lamp was typical for Hollywood’s residential streets at the time.
(Water and Power Associates’ Mulholland-Scattergood Virtual Museum)
Wilshire Specials light up the street in 1931, looking west on Wilshire Boulevard.
(Water and Power Associates’ Mulholland-Scattergood Virtual Museum)

Single-arm pendant electroliers watch over rush-hour traffic on the southbound Pasadena Freeway in 1956.
In 1956, the view from Park Row Drive overlooking the Pasadena Freeway near Civic Center. Single-arm pendant electroliers watch over rush-hour traffic traveling southbound.
(Water and Power Associates’ Mulholland-Scattergood Virtual Museum)
Davit-style streetlights on Sepulveda Boulevard in 1976.
Davit-style streetlights appear in this 1976 image taken with a telephoto lens looking north on Sepulveda Boulevard, with an American Airlines jet crossing the Sepulveda Tunnel.
(Rick Meyer / Water and Power Associates’ Mulholland-Scattergood Virtual Museum)
A 1976 photo of the streetlight design known as the Century City Special, combining streetlight with traffic signal.
The Century City Special, shown in this 1976 photo from Olympic Boulevard in Century City, combines streetlight with traffic signal.
(Water and Power Associates’ Mulholland-Scattergood Virtual Museum)
A 1964 photo captures an Atomic Age sunrise at Los Angeles International Airport, where streetlights had eight heads.
(Water and Power Associates’ Mulholland-Scattergood Virtual Museum)

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