The City of the Angels: it’s famed as the land of the nation’s television and film industry. But there is more to LA than its trove of celebrities, beautiful beaches, horrible traffic, and amazing weather. As much as you may think you know about this city, here’s a list of fun facts about Los Angeles that you probably don’t.
1. Los Angeles was first named “El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de Los Angeles del Río de Porciuncula” by the first settlers, which translates to “The town of our Lady Queen of the Angels of the Porciuncula River.” Doesn’t quite roll off the tongue like “Los Angeles” or “LA,” does it.
2. There are more cars than there are people. No wonder it is impossible to find parking.
3. LAX is the second busiest airport in the U.S. So that’s why your car is constantly caught in that slow-moving carousel of hell.
4. The iconic Hollywood sign actually said “Hollywoodland” from 1923-1949. It was originally built as an illuminated advertisement for a real estate development of the same name, which is lightly less magical-feeling than a tribute to the glory of Hollywood.
5. Bougie Beverly Hills was originally a lima bean ranch.
6. The Getty Museum hires goats during the spring to keep their grounds well maintained.
7. The film industry ended up in Los Angeles for a hilarious reason—apparently, to get away from Thomas Edison. Since New Jersey resident Edison held the majority of the country’s film patents, anyone who wanted to get into the business of making movies went west to avoid Edison knowing and suing them for using his intellectual property. That is quite literally the only reason the movies are made out here—but the weather isn’t bad, either.
8. LA beats San Francisco on this one: Eldred Street in Highland Park is the steepest street in California, with a 33% elevation grade.
9. There are hidden tunnels under Los Angeles, at least 11 miles worth. They run from Spring and Temple streets to 1st Street and Grand Avenue, and have been used to transport prisoners, bodies, billions of dollars, and, during to Prohibition Era, liquor to underground speakeasies. Post earthquakes and most recently 9/11, the majority of them have been closed up, but rumor has it that a few openings still exist in certain locations.
What are some of your favorite secret facts about L.A.?