6HWbNHN-show-poster2x3-c7tgE2Y.png

Artbound

Start watching
MJ250sC-show-poster2x3-Bflky7i.png

Tending Nature

Start watching
Southland Sessions

Southland Sessions

Start watching
Earth Focus

Earth Focus

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

Reporter Roundup

Start watching
City Rising

City Rising

Start watching
Lost LA

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.

That Explains It: Answers to Things You've Always Wondered About L.A.

Support Provided By
'Hollywoodland' sign | Photo: LAPL
'Hollywoodland' sign | Photo: LAPL

Whether you grew up in the megalopolis of Los Angeles or you are a new resident, you've probably noticed landmarks, heard expressions, or seen something peculiar in this dynamic landscape that spiked your curiosity.

Well, look no further! Below are answers to some of your burning questions. Click on the links below for the full story.


1) Why did the Hollywood sign used to say "Hollywoodland"?

hollywoodlandstory_600


2) Why is a part of Wilshire Blvd. called the "Miracle Mile"?

miraclemile_600


3) Why is the L.A. River channelized?

lariver_downtownbridges_600


4) Why do Southern Californians say 'the' before freeway numbers?

freethe_600


5) What did L.A. look like before concrete?

dirtla_600


6) What are those cast metal bells along the 101?

el camino real
El Camino Real bell | Photo: Eric Chan /Flickr/Creative Commons License

 

7) Why is L.A. filled with palm trees?

palm-trees_600


8) Why is L.A. so spread out?

spreadout_600


9) Why is there a freeway bridge out of nowhere at First and Beverly?

beverlybridge_600


10) Who planted all those eucalyptus trees in SoCal?

eucal_600


11) Why are those California state highway markers shaped like a spade?

highway-one-shield_600


12) Why were there canals in Venice?

vcanals_600


13) What flattened the top of Mt. Lee (of Hollywood Sign fame)?

flat-topped-mount-lee_600


14) What is the story behind those tunnels in Elysian Park that the 110 runs through?

Tunnels_600


15) Why does L.A. have clashing street grids?

streetgrid_600


16) Why is there an annual parade featuring floats covered in roses?

roseparade_600


17) What is Christmas Tree Lane?

xmastree_600


18) Why is the L.A. skyline so bland?

laws_skyline_600


19) Why are those warm, fall winds called the "Santa Anas"?

santaanas_600


Have any other burning questions about why some things in L.A. are the way they are? Leave a question in the comments!

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.