From Above The Air...
Pacific Electric Subway - Toluca
1925 - 1955 - 2009
By the early 1920's,
downtown Los Angeles traffic was already seriously congested. The
4300-foot "Hollywood Subway" was opened in 1925 in order to get PE's "Big Red Cars" out of the central city more quickly. Busses
gradually replaced the trolleys, and the last train through the subway ran
on June 19, 1955. The subway ran from Hill Street near 4th, to "Toluca Yard" near the intersection of Glendale Blvd and Second Street.
For a detailed history of the subway, see the Electric
Railway Historical Society's
"Morning, noon, and night at Toluca
1940: The Peak Years Are
Note the Beverly Blvd Viaduct under construction
1959: Night Has
Preparing retired "PCC" cars to go to Buenos Aires
After Ira passed away in 1975, I began making trips to "his" Emerald Street photo-spot
1980: Not much has changed
Toluca Yard is pretty much ignored by everyone
In 2000, the Subway's 75th Anniversary, I returned yet again
A rainy December Day, and but one hearty soul visits to look at the graffiti and "graf-art" that now adorns old Toluca Substation No. 51
2004: "The End is VERY Near?"
Suddenly, in early 2004, word spreads that a low-income apartment complex is about to be built on the site. Such housing is desperately needed in the area... but will all vestiges of the Hollywood Subway and Toluca Yard be obliterated?
April 10, 2004
That same day, April 10, 2004, a small group of diehard Pacific Electric buffs had made what
turned out to be the final "pilgrimage" to Toluca Yard as we knew it.
December 26, 2006
After the end
Construction has now obliterated the right of way and
blocked all access to the substation and portal
October 27, 2007
Now apparently at its full height, the building blocks any view
at all of the roadbed or the Beverly Blvd viaduct.
Or the sky, for that matter
Photo by, and courtesy of, Sergio Guerrero
With construction nearing completion, the owners have cleaned up the exterior of the substation, and stylized the subway portal. It's not 1925 or 1955 anymore, but it's something
Photos by, and courtesy of, Michael Ontiveros
My friend, artist Amy McKenzie's March 2004 Photos of the Tunnel, inside and out
Copyright © 1998, 2013 Harry Marnell