Most Popular History Articles of 2017

With so much change to southern California in 2017, it was an ideal year to look back at our region's past. From terrifying floods to sleek new freeways, KCET unearthed a trove of stories that reflected who we were, and perhaps will offer a glimpse of where we're heading. Follow the links below to our most read history articles of 2017.

A Walk Along Long Beach's Gaudy, Tawdry, Bawdy Pike

The Long Beach Pike, 1910

The Pike was one of southern California's largest playgrounds by the sea.


An Aeronaut's View Of Los Angeles, 1887 

The first aerial photograph of Los Angeles (1887)

Taken from a hot air balloon, it was probably the first aerial photo of L.A.


Concrete Fantasy: When Southern California's Freeways Were New (And Empty)

A view of US-101's "Downtown Slot" segment shortly after its 1951 opening

Freeways once represented L.A.'s best hope for the future, as these photos illustrate.

Story continues below


How Baxter Became One of L.A.'s Steepest Streets

Baxter Street, circa 1937

With its 32 percent grade, how did Baxter Street ever get built?


How Sepulveda Canyon Became the 405

Grading work on section of San Diego Freeway running across Santa Monica Mountains, Calif., 1961

L.A.'s most hated stretch of freeway began as a bucolic country road through the Santa Monica Mountains.


Segregation in the City of Angels: A 1939 Map of Housing Inequality in L.A.

​  1939 HOLC "redlining" map of south Los Angeles

Endorsed by New Deal-era federal housing policy, "redlining" encouraged housing inequality in U.S. cities.


The Mt. Lowe Railway's Thrilling, Terrifying Circular Bridge

Circular Bridge, circa 1910

Call it 19th-century L.A.’s idea of a thrill ride.


The Southern California Deluge of 1938

Downtown Anaheim during the flood of 1938

It was the flood that convinced southern California to dam and channelize its untrustworthy rivers.


When Knott's Berry Farm Was an Actual Farm

Replica of Knott's Berry Farm roadside stand

 The Orange County amusement park started as a roadside fruit stand.

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