Old Los Angeles

Angels Flight: 1901 through 2019

Back in 1901, Angels Flight was a godsend to the wealthy residents of Los Angeles that lived on Bunker Hill.  The hike up Bunker Hill is anything but easy!

Thus the “world’s shortest railway” began it’s life ferrying the rich and famous of early Los Angeles from the street car lines and shops on the streets below to their magnificent mansions above.  Technically it’s a funicular, meaning the upward and downward bound cars counter balance each other as it makes it runs.

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Originally, Angels Flight was located directly beside the Third Street Tunnel under Bunker Hill.  The two cars were named Olivet and Sinai and the names haven’t changed.  Though owners changed several times, it remained at that location until 1969 when a controversial re-development changed Bunker Hill from the home of magnificent mansions, to the home of the tallest skyscrapers in LA (watch for our post on that coming soon).

Angelenos wanted Angels Flight back and eventually got their way in 1996.  It was moved a half a block south to its current location at 351 S Hill Street on the bottom or 350 S Grand Ave on the top (where you have to walk through California Plaza to board it).

Although the revival of Angels Flight was done as a tourist attraction, it is used heavily by the people that work on Bunker Hill.  Once you go there you’ll understand why!  While it is the shortest railway in the world, it’s said to have transported more passengers per mile than any other railway.

Angels Flight was designated Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument #4 in 1962 and in October 2000 it was added to the National Historic Register.  The popular incline railway has appeared in over a hundred movies and countless TV shows including Perry Mason.

We wrote about Angel’s Flight in this earlier post.  You might want to check it out for more photos. Also see our category of fun things to do in downtown Los Angeles for more things to check out while in DTLA.  But you do want to put taking a ride on Angels Flight on your Bucket List of things to do when visiting Los Angeles.  For a fare of just a dollar, you’re transported back in time 118 years to the early days of LA.  Trust me.  It’s worth it!

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Historical Los Angeles photos are courtesy of the University of Southern California, California Historical Society Collection.

More photos after the break….

Photo on right was taken in 1903 and one of the mansions on Bunker Hill is visible. The one on the left was taken at an unknown later date and the mansion is no longer there.


Trolly tracks turn from HIll Street onto Third Street, circa 1905

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