Welcome to Los Angeles

A Photo Blog by Chris Camargo

The stretch of Wilshire Boulevard between La Brea and Fairfax was developed in the 1920s as a commercial district that catered to motorists. Developer A.W. Ross, who purchased the former dairy farmland, is credited for implementing the first dedicated left-turn lanes and the first timed traffic lights in the United States here on the Miracle Mile. Ross even mandated that all commercial facades along the strip were designed with wide windows, big, bold signage, and long storefronts to ensure they were best viewed from passing cars.

Since the auto age was just in its infancy at the time, many doubted the success of the new shopping district, but Ross’ foresight paid off. The Miracle Mile quickly became one of Los Angeles’ most desirable areas to live in the 1930s, and was even referred to as “America’s Champs-Élysées.”

Today, the Miracle Mile is home to many art galleries, cafes, restaurants, and other commercial buildings, some of which (like the El Rey Theatre and former Bullocks Wilshire) are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Many buildings still retain their original art deco styling.