August 17th marked the 33rd anniversary of the first successful transatlantic flight of a balloon--the helium-filled Double Eagle II. Pilots Maxie Anderson, Ben Abruzzo, and Larry Newman rode the Atlantic winds from Maine to France in 1978, three years before the Double Eagle V would cross the Pacific, landing in California after taking off from Japan.
Long before the Double Eagle V touched down in the Mendocino National Forest, balloons, dirigibles, and their many variations took to the skies in service of sport, the military, advertising, and of course show business throughout Southern California. The images that follow document a small part of aviation-ballooning history in the Los Angeles region throughout the last 100 years.
Arcadia Bandini Stearns de Baker was rich, beautiful and connected. This savvy businesswoman would be an important player in early California and helped shape Santa Monica and the west side of Los Angeles.
In the early 1900s, Los Angeles’ temperate climate and natural attractions drew droves of tourists seeking an escape from crowded, industrial cities. But behind the pristine curtain of Mt. Lowe’s tourism industry was a harsh reality of labor exploitation that continues to disproportionately affect Los Angeles’ Latinx population today.
During the 1950s and 1960s, Los Angeles had its own Motown records — Dootone Records. The label's owner, Dootsie Williams, was a trailblazing Black music executive and entrepreneur who not only left an impact on the music industry, but also in his community.