xHgGrtG-show-poster2x3-aXpIxNN.png

Artbound

Start watching
Tending Nature poster 2021

Tending Nature

Start watching
IYhnPQZ-show-poster2x3-Ytk6YwX.png

Southland Sessions

Start watching
RYQ2PZQ-show-poster2x3-OGargou.jpg

Earth Focus

Start watching
5LQmQJY-show-poster2x3-MRWBpAK.jpg

Reporter Roundup

Start watching
E5VnHdZ-show-poster2x3-PrXshoo.png

City Rising

Start watching
QraE2nW-show-poster2x3-uY3aHve.jpg

Lost LA

Start watching
Member
Your donation supports our high-quality, inspiring and commercial-free programming.
Support Icon
Learn about the many ways to support KCET.
Support Icon
Contact our Leadership, Advancement, Membership and Special Events teams.

Photos: When the Red Car Rolled Through Orange County

A trolley car along the Pacific Electric's Newport-Balboa Line. Courtesy of the Orange County Archives.
A trolley car along the Pacific Electric's Newport-Balboa Line. Courtesy of the Orange County Archives

How important was the Pacific Electric's arrival to Orange County? When its red cars first rolled into Pacific City in 1904, a small beachside community renamed itself after the railway's owner. We know it today as Huntington Beach. But Henry Huntington's influence was felt far beyond the coastal settlements. His railway served as a catalyst for real estate development all along its three intra-county lines that pierced the Orange Curtain. A new line to the county seat, Santa Ana, gave rise to the towns of Stanton and Cypress. The extension of the Whittier line to Yorba Linda spurred the early growth of Brea (then known as Randolph). Later, the railway's Santa Ana line would become one of its most successful, as its straight, diagonal path across the Los Angeles Basin provided a more direct route between Los Angeles and Orange counties than the highways that meandered from town to town. Nearly 2.5 million passengers rode that line in 1945. But the Orange County's red cars ultimately suffered the same fate as the rest of the system, which after World War II suffered from aging equipment and a steep decline in ridership. Regular passenger rail service to Orange County ended in 1950.

A 1925 map of the Pacific Electric interurban system. The railway also stretched into Riverside and San Bernardino counties. Courtesy of the Map Collection - Los Angeles Public Library.
A 1925 map of the Pacific Electric interurban system. The railway also stretched into  Riverside and San Bernardino counties. Courtesy of the Map Collection - Los Angeles Public Library
Pacific Electric trolley tracks through Huntington Beach, circa 1908. Courtesy of the Orange County Archives.
Pacific Electric trolley tracks through Huntington Beach, circa 1908.  Courtesy of the Orange County Archives.
A Pacific Electric trolley at Fourth and Main in downtown Santa Ana in 1910. Courtesy of the Orange County Archives.
A Pacific Electric trolley at Fourth and Main in downtown Santa Ana in 1910.  Courtesy of the Orange County Archives.
A Santa Ana-bound car at the Pacific Electric's downtown L.A. terminal. Courtesy of the Metro Transportation Library and Archive.
A Santa Ana-bound car at the Pacific Electric's downtown L.A. terminal.  Courtesy of the Metro Transportation Library and Archive.
A Pacific Electric car in downtown Santa Ana, circa 1940s. Courtesy of the Orange County Archives.
A Pacific Electric car in downtown Santa Ana, circa 1940s.  Courtesy of the Orange County Archives.
A July 1927 train derailment along the branch line from Santa Ana to Orange. Courtesy of the Orange County Archives.
A July 1927 train derailment along the branch line from Santa Ana to Orange.  Courtesy of the Orange County Archives.
The Pacific Electric's Newport Beach depot. The railroad's arrival in 1906 spurred the three towns of Balboa, Newport Beach, and East Newport to incorporate as the City of Newport Beach in 1906. Courtesy of the Orange County Archives.
The Pacific Electric's Newport Beach depot. The railroad's arrival in 1906 spurred the three towns of Balboa,  Newport Beach, and East Newport to incorporate as the City of Newport Beach in 1906.  Courtesy of the Orange County Archives.
A Pacific Electric red car in Santa Ana in 1948, shortly before rail service to Orange County ended. Courtesy of the Metro Transportation Library and Archive.
A Pacific Electric red car in Santa Ana in 1948, shortly before rail service to Orange County ended.  Courtesy of the Metro Transportation Library and Archive.

Support Provided By
Support Provided By
Read More
Exterior of Venice West, a beat generation coffee house | Austin Anton from the Lawrence Lipton papers, USC Libraries

Lawrence Lipton and Venice, California’s Claim to Beat Fame

Lawrence Lipton's book “The Holy Barbarians” was a celebration and canonization of the “Venice West” scene. It also became the biggest hit of his career, around which he revolved on for much of his life.
Broadside for Teatro Principal, Los Angeles, printed by Imprenta Jalisco, Boyle Heights, 1929 January 10. | University of Southern California Libraries, Workman and Temple Family Homestead Museum Collection, 1830-1930

Broadsides Reveal L.A.’s Once-Booming Hispanic Vaudeville Scene

There was a time that Los Angeles powered a lively Hispanic vaudeville scene, and its legacy still lives on in many performers today.
Pacifico Dance Company gives audiences a glimpse into the dance of Yucatan. Dancers wearing large flowers on their hair and dresses. | Courtesy of Pacifico Dance Company

Pacifico Dance Company: Sharing the Love of Traditional Mexican Dance Around the World

Traditional Mexican dances (aka baile folklórico) are the forte of the Pacifico Dance Company, and they’ve helped train hundreds, performing in venues around the country and the world.