Saturday, December 30, 2006

First Freeway in L A Opened to Great Fanfare

On Dec. 30, 1940, the Arroyo Seco Parkway, now known as the Pasadena Freeway, opened to great fanfare, with Sally Stanton, the 1941 Rose Queen, untying the red silk ceremonial ribbon.

"Six miles of six-lane highways important to traffic, history and national defense received official benediction of the men who built them and the people who will use them," the Los Angeles Times reported. "They are the glass-smooth miles from the Figueroa Street tunnels in Los Angeles to Glenarm Street, Pasadena."

The parkway cost $6 million, the newspaper said.

Gov. Culbert Olson, who attended the opening, said motorists would travel the new parkway "from one end to the other in seven, eight or perhaps nine minutes … from the very heart of Los Angeles, through Highland Park and South Pasadena, to the very heart of Pasadena … in easy, nerve-free comfort and safety."

And how did things turn out: See the picture below where the Pasadena, Santa Ana, Hollywood, Santa Monica and Harbor Freeways intersect.

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