Los Angeles

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Los Angeles

(lôs ăn`jələs, lŏs, ăn`jəlēz'), city (1990 pop. 3,485,398), seat of Los Angeles co., S Calif.; inc. 1850. A port of entry on the Pacific coast, with a fine harbor at San Pedro Bay, it is the second largest U.S. city in population and one of the largest in area. Two mountain ranges, the Santa Monica and Verdugo, cut across the center of the city.

Economy and Transportation

Los Angeles is a shipping, industrial, communication, financial, fashion, and distribution center for the W United States and much of the Pacific Rim. It is also the motion picture, television, radio, and recording capital of the United States, if not the world, housing numerous studios. Once an agricultural distribution center, Los Angeles is a leading producer of clothing and textiles, aircraft, computers and software, paper, toys, glass, furniture, wire, biomedical products, electrical and electronic machinery, pharmaceuticals, petrochemicals, and fabricated metal. Tourism, printing and publishing, food processing, and oil refining are also important.

Los Angeles has one of the busiest ports in the United States, with roughly half of its commerce coming from other nations, and its international airport is one of the world's busiest. The metropolitan area's vast freeway system has made Los Angeles the archetypal auto-dependent urban area. The huge number of motor vehicles, combined with the city's valley location, often creates dangerously high smog levels. A light-rail system (opened in 1990) and buses alleviate freeway congestion only a little; a new subway (completed 2000) also provides insignificant relief.

Maintaining an adequate water supply has long been a problem for Los Angeles. The city obtains most of its water from California's Central ValleyCentral Valley,
great trough of central Calif., c.450 mi (720 km) long and c.50 mi (80 km) wide, between the Sierra Nevada and the Coast Ranges. The Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers drain much of the valley before converging in a huge delta and flowing into San Francisco Bay;
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 to the north. In 1992 the city ended protracted litigation with environmentalists when it agreed to curtail water diversion in certain areas until ecological recovery had been achieved.

Communities of the Metropolitan Area

The vast Los Angeles metropolitan area covers five counties (Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, and Ventura) and encompasses 34,000 sq mi (88,000 sq km) with over 14.5 million people. As Los Angeles rapidly expanded throughout the 20th cent., it absorbed numerous communities and enclosed independent municipalities. Among the communities now part of Los Angeles are Central City, Hollywood, San Pedro, Sylmar, Watts, Westwood, Bel-Air, and Boyle Heights. Independent municipalities surrounded by Los Angeles include Santa MonicaSanta Monica
, city (1990 pop. 86,905), Los Angeles co., S Calif., on Santa Monica Bay; inc. 1886. Tourism and retailing are important, and the city has motion-picture, biotechnology, and software industries. The RAND Corp., the noted think-tank, has its headquarters there.
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, Beverly HillsBeverly Hills,
city (1990 pop. 31,971), Los Angeles co., S Calif., completely surrounded by the city of Los Angeles; inc. 1914. The largely residential city is home to many motion-picture and television personalities.
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, and San FernandoSan Fernando,
city (1990 pop. 22,580), Los Angeles co., S Calif., in the San Fernando valley; inc. 1911. Among its industries are clothing and electronics. The valley, first entered by Europeans in 1769, was early used for journeys to N California.
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. Incorporated cities in the broader metropolitan region with populations of 80,000 or more include AlhambraAlhambra
, city (1990 pop. 82,106), Los Angeles co., S Calif., a suburb E of Los Angeles; inc. 1903. It has iron and aluminum foundries and manufactures fabricated metal products, corrugated boxes, and electronic equipment. The San Gabriel Mts. and Mount Wilson Observatory are nearby.
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, AnaheimAnaheim
, city (1990 pop. 266,406), Orange co., S Calif., SE of Los Angeles; inc. 1870. Anaheim was founded by Germans in 1857 as an experiment in communal living. In an area once dominated by citrus and walnut groves, the city is now an industrial center, making electronic and
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, BurbankBurbank,
city (1990 pop. 93,643), Los Angeles co., S Calif.; inc. 1911. Tourism and the entertainment industry are central to its economy; several motion-picture studios and television headquarters are here. Burbank's aerospace industry collapsed with the end of the cold war.
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, DowneyDowney,
city (1990 pop. 91,444), Los Angeles co., S Calif., a residential and industrial suburb between Los Angeles and Long Beach; inc. 1957. Its many manufactures include metal products, rubber goods, communications equipment, and dairy products. There is aerospace manufacturing nearby.
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, El MonteEl Monte
, city (1990 pop. 106,209), Los Angeles co., S Calif.; inc. 1912. A residential, industrial, and commercial city in the San Gabriel Valley, El Monte manufactures furniture, electronic equipment, semiconductors, chemicals, and plastic and metal products.
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, FullertonFullerton,
city (1990 pop. 114,144), Orange co., S Calif., SE of Los Angeles; founded 1887, inc. 1904. The city is named for George H. Fullerton, head of a land company, who arranged to route the San Diego–Los Angeles–Santa Fe RR through the settlement in 1888.
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, Garden GroveGarden Grove,
city (1990 pop. 143,050), Orange co., S Calif., a suburb of Long Beach and Los Angeles, on the Santa Ana River; founded 1877, inc. 1956. Many of its residents work in nearby aerospace and defense installations, and there is light manufacturing.
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, GlendaleGlendale.
1 City (1990 pop. 148,134), Maricopa co., S central Ariz., adjacent to Phoenix; inc. 1910. It is located in a rich agricultural region irrigated by the Salt River project. Glendale has become one of the fastest-growing U.S.
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, Huntington BeachHuntington Beach,
city (1990 pop. 181,519), Orange co., S Calif., on the Pacific coast, across from Santa Catalina Island, in an oil-producing area; inc. 1909. It manufactures aerospace vehicles, aircraft parts, optical instruments, and heat transfer equipment.
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, IrvineIrvine
, city (1990 pop. 110,330), Orange co., SW Calif.; inc. 1971. Its industries include the research and development of high-technology electronics, especially computer products, and the manufacture of motor vehicles, pharmaceuticals, aerospace vehicles and aircraft parts,
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, InglewoodInglewood,
city (1990 pop. 109,602), Los Angeles co., S Calif., a residential and industrial suburb of Los Angeles, in an oil-producing area; founded 1873, inc. 1908. Its manufactures include motor-vehicle parts, furniture, processed food, plastics, and electronic equipment.
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, LakewoodLakewood.
1 City (1990 pop. 73,557), Los Angeles co., S Calif., a residential and industrial suburb of Long Beach; inc. 1954. Nearby are extensive aerospace, high-technology, and electronic industries.

2 City (1990 pop. 126,095), Jefferson co.
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, Long BeachLong Beach.
1 City (1990 pop. 429,433), Los Angeles co., S Calif., on San Pedro Bay; est. 1882 as Willmore City, inc. 1888 as Long Beach. Having an excellent harbor, it serves as one of Los Angeles's two ports—it is one of the world's largest container
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, Moreno ValleyMoreno Valley
, city (1990 pop. 118,779), Riverside co., S Calif., inc. 1984. In 1990, Moreno Valley was California's fastest-growing city, with a population increase of more than 300% between 1980 and 1990, but major reductions in the military and aerospace industries brought
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, NorwalkNorwalk
. 1 City (1990 pop. 94,279), Los Angeles co., S Calif.; settled in the 1850s, inc. 1957. With the arrival (1875) of the Southern Pacific RR, it became a center for the dairy and logging industries, but Norwalk's main growth occurred with the rapid
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, OceansideOceanside.
1 City (1990 pop. 128,398), San Diego co., S Calif., on the Gulf of Santa Catalina; inc. 1888. It is a commercial and trading center for an inland farm area and for nearby Camp Pendleton, a huge U.S. marine corps amphibious base.
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, OntarioOntario,
city (1990 pop. 133,179), San Bernardino co., S Calif., near Los Angeles, in a region of vineyards; inc. 1891. Manufactures include aircraft and aircraft parts, aerospace vehicle parts, sporting and leather goods, wine, electrical equipment, and plastics.
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, OrangeOrange.
1 City (1990 pop. 110,658), Orange co., S Calif.; inc. 1888. Citrus fruits and nuts are packed, processed, and shipped; rubber and plastic products, electronic components, aircraft parts, and industrial furnaces are manufactured.
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, OxnardOxnard
, city (1990 pop. 142,216), Ventura co., S Calif., on the Pacific coast; inc. 1903. Its economy, formerly based on agriculture, mining, and nearby military bases, has expanded as the city has grown.
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, PasadenaPasadena
. 1 City (1990 pop. 131,591), Los Angeles co., S Calif., at the base of the San Gabriel Mts.; inc. 1866. The city is a research and technological center with manufactures that include plastics, paints, paper, machinery parts, electronic equipment and systems,
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, PomonaPomona
, city (1990 pop. 131,723), Los Angeles co., S Calif. at the foot of the San Gabriel Mts.; inc. 1888. It is a residential, industrial, and commercial suburb of Los Angeles where citrus fruits and vegetables are canned and shipped.
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, Rancho CucamongaRancho Cucamonga
, city (1990 pop. 101,409), San Bernardino co., S Calif. Situated in a vast suburban corridor, it is part of San Bernardino's metropolitan area. A rapidly growing residential area, it almost doubled in population between 1980 and 1990.
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, RiversideRiverside.
1 City (1990 pop. 226,505), seat of Riverside co., S Calif.; inc. 1883. One of the fastest growing U.S. cities in the late 20th cent., it is famous for its orange industry.
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, San BernardinoSan Bernardino
, city (1990 pop. 164,164), seat of San Bernardino co., S Calif., at the foot of the San Bernardino Mts.; inc. 1854. It is the center of a thriving metropolitan area that includes the cities of Ontario and Riverside.
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, Santa AnaSanta Ana
, city (1990 pop. 293,742), seat of Orange co., S Calif., in the fertile Santa Ana valley; inc. 1886. It began as a farm trade and processing center for the surrounding region and was connected to Los Angeles in 1878 by the Southern Pacific RR.
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, Santa ClaritaSanta Clarita,
city (1990 pop. 110,642), Los Angeles co., S Calif., suburb 30 mi (48 km) NW of downtown Los Angeles, on the Santa Clara River; inc. 1987. Situated in the Santa Clara valley and nearby canyons, Santa Clarita includes the former towns of Canyon Country, Newhall,
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, Santa MonicaSanta Monica
, city (1990 pop. 86,905), Los Angeles co., S Calif., on Santa Monica Bay; inc. 1886. Tourism and retailing are important, and the city has motion-picture, biotechnology, and software industries. The RAND Corp., the noted think-tank, has its headquarters there.
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, Simi ValleySimi Valley
, city (1990 pop. 100,217), Ventura co., SW Calif. in an oil, fruit, and farm region; laid out 1887, inc. 1969. Highly residential, the city also produces a variety of light manufactures, including electrical, electronic, computer, and medical equipment; clothing;
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, Thousand OaksThousand Oaks,
residential city (1990 pop. 104,352), Ventura co., S Calif., in a farm area; inc. 1964. Avocados, citrus, vegetables, strawberries, and nursery products are grown.
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, and TorranceTorrance,
industrial and residential city (1990 pop. 133,107), Los Angeles co., SW Calif.; inc. 1921. It has large aircraft and electronics industries. Among its many manufactures are aircraft, electronics, communications equipment, aluminum products, steel, and construction
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, in addition to Los Angeles itself.

Points of Interest

In Los Angeles are the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and its Broad Contemporary Art Museum; the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA); the Broad (2015), which houses philanthropist Eli Broad's contemporary art collection; the J. Paul Getty Museum and Getty Museum Villa; the Hammer Museum at UCLA; and historical, film, industrial, and science museums. The large Music Center includes the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion (1964), with four theaters; the Ahmanson Theater; the Mark Taper Forum; and, across Grand Ave., Frank GehryGehry, Frank Owen
, 1929–, American architect, b. Toronto, Ont., as Frank Owen Goldberg. He is widely considered one of the finest and most artful of contemporary architects. In 1947, Gehry's family moved to Los Angeles, where he attended the Univ.
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's Walt Disney Concert Hall (2003), home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Also downtown is the monumental Our Lady of the Angels cathedral (2002), designed by Raphael MoneoMoneo, Rafael
(José Rafael Moneo), 1937–, Spanish architect, b. Tudela, Navarre. He received undergraduate (1961) and doctoral (1965) degrees from the Madrid School of Architecture, worked (1960–61) with Danish architect Jørn Utzon, and studied (1963–65)
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, and Caltrans District 7 headquarters, designed by Thom MayneMayne, Thom,
1944–, American architect, b. Waterbury, Conn., grad. Univ. of Southern California (B.A., 1968), Harvard (M.A., 1978). In 1972 Mayne cofounded the firm Morphosis in Santa Monica, Calif., where he is still principal.
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. Los Angeles has botanical gardens and many parks, including Griffith Park, with a zoo and an observatory (including a planetarium), and Angels Gate Park, with the massive Korean Bell of Friendship. The La Brea Tar Pits are famous for Ice Age fossils. Other area attractions include the Santa Anita racetrack, Knott's Berry Farm, and Disneyland (at Anaheim). The motion-picture and television industries, the proximity of many resorts, theme parks, and beaches, and a climate that encourages year-round outdoor recreation attract millions of tourists annually. Among the city's many educational institutions are the Univ. of Southern California; the Univ. of California, Los Angeles; the Los Angeles and Northridge California State Univ. campuses; Occidental College; Loyola Marymount Univ.; Pepperdine Univ.; and the Colburn School of Performing Arts.

The Los Angeles area currently has two professional football teams. The Rams moved to the area from Cleveland in 1946, but left for St. Louis, Mo., from 1995 to 2015, returning to the area in 2016. The NFL's Chargers moved to Los Angeles in 2017; although founded as an AFL Los Angeles team, they moved to San Diego after their first year. In baseball, the National League's Los Angeles Dodgers and the American League's Anaheim Angels represent the area. The metropolitan area also has two National Basketball Association teams (the Lakers and the Clippers) and two National Hockey League teams (the Kings and Anaheim's Mighty Ducks).


The site of the city was visited by the Spanish explorer Gaspar de PortoláPortolá, Gaspar de
, fl. 1734–84, Spanish explorer in the Far West. After serving in Italy and Portugal, he was sent (1767) to America as governor of the Californias to expel the Jesuits and to save Franciscan missions.
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 in 1769, and in 1781 El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora de los Angeles de Porciuncula (Town of Our Lady the Queen of the Angels of Porciuncula) was founded. Located on the Los Angeles River, the city served several times as the capital of the Spanish colonial province of Alta CaliforniaAlta California
, term used by the Spanish to refer to their possessions along the entire Pacific coast north of the Mexican state of Baja California. California was often represented on maps as an island some 3,000 mi (4,800 km) long until the 18th-century explorations of the
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 and was a cattle-ranching center. In 1846 Los Angeles was captured from the Mexicans by U.S. forces. The arrival of the railroads (Southern Pacific in 1876; Santa Fe in 1885) and the discovery of oil in the early 1890s stimulated expansion, as did the development of the motion-picture industry in the early 20th cent.

During World War II Los Angeles boomed as a center for the production of war supplies and munitions, and thousands of African Americans migrated to Los Angeles to fill factory jobs. After the war massive suburban growth made the city enormously prosperous, but also created or exacerbated a variety of urban problems. In 1965, the African-American community of WattsWatts,
residential section of south central Los Angeles. Named after C. H. Watts, a Pasadena realtor, the section became part of Los Angeles in 1926. Artist Simon Rodia's celebrated Watts Towers are there.
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 was the site of six days of race rioting that left 34 people dead and caused over $200 million in property damage. Tom BradleyBradley, Tom
(Thomas Bradley), 1917–98, African-American politician, b. Calvert, Tex. A sharecropper's son who became (1940) a Los Angeles police officer, he earned (1956) a law degree from Southwestern Law School and entered (1961) private practice.
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, the city's first black mayor, was first elected in 1973.

In the 1970s and 1980s Los Angeles experienced dramatic growth through immigration. In 1990 the Hispanic population of metropolitan Los Angeles was almost 5 million (almost 40% of the population) and the area's Asian population was over 1.3 million. In addition to an already well-established Japanese-American community, recent immigration has come from China, South Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, the Philippines, and other nations.

In the 1980s, violent gang warfare over the illegal drug (especially "crack" cocaine) trade became a serious problem for law enforcement officials. In Apr., 1992, the acquittal of four white Los Angeles police officers on charges of police brutality (they had been videotaped beating a black motorist) touched off race riots in south-central Los Angeles and other areas. Fifty-eight people died, thousands were arrested, and property damage totaled approximately $1 billion. Natural disasters have also taken their toll. Portions of Los Angeles are subject to wildfires and rockslides, and the 1994 earthquake centered in Northridge in N Los Angeles, which killed 72 and cost $25 billion, was only the latest to have caused damage to the city and surrounding areas. Attention was again riveted on Los Angeles during the O. J. SimpsonSimpson, O. J.
(Orenthal James Simpson), 1947–, American football player, b. San Francisco. As a running back for the Univ. of Southern California, he won the Heisman Trophy as the best college player of 1968.
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 trial, which ended in acquittal in 1995. In 2005, Antonio VillaraigosaVillaraigosa, Antonio
, 1953–, American politician, b. Los Angeles as Antonio Villar; he changed his name in 1987 when he married Corina Raigosa. A liberal Democrat and labor lawyer, he was elected to the California state assembly in 1994, becoming majority leader in 1996
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 was elected mayor, becoming the first Hispanic to hold the post since 1872; Eric Garcetti, elected in 2013 to succeed him, became the city's first Jewish mayor.


See R. M. Fogelson, The Fragmented Metropolis (1967); R. Banham, Los Angeles (1973); R. Steiner, Los Angeles: The Centrifugal City (1982); H. J. Nelson, The Los Angeles Metropolis (1982); S. L. Bottles, Los Angeles and the Automobile: The Making of the Modern City (1987); M. Davis, Los Angeles (1991) and Ecology of Fear: Los Angeles and the Imagination of Disaster (1998); B. Gumprecht, The Los Angeles River (1999); D. Kipen, Dear Los Angeles: The City in Diaries and Letters, 1542 to 2018 (2018).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved. www.cc.columbia.edu/cu/cup/
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Los Angeles


a city on the southern Pacific coast of the USA, in the state of California. Located on a narrow coastal lowland bordered by the San Gabriel, Santa Monica, and Santa Ana mountains, the city extends about 80 km from north to south and approximately 50 km from west to east. It is the main economic center of the American West. Population, 2.8 million (1970); with suburbs, more than 7 million (compared to 50,000 in 1890).

The gainfully employed population is about 3 million (1970), 30 percent of whom work in industry, 40 percent in trade and services, 5.7 percent in finance and insurance, 10 percent in construction, transportation, and the municipal economy, and 14 percent in government service. The number of people in manufacturing increased from 160,000 in 1939 to 879,000 in 1969, almost two-thirds of whom were employed in machine building and metalworking. Los Angeles is a major center for the war industry. It is a primary center for the production of air-planes, rockets, spacecraft (more than 200,000 workers), and radioelectronic equipment (primarily for military purposes). Also developed are other branches of machine building: automobile assembly, shipbuilding, electrical engineering, and the production of instruments and of industrial equipment, particularly equipment for the petroleum industry. Oil is refined there, and the city has chemical, rubber, furniture, garment, and food industries, the last concentrating on canning fish, fruits, and vegetables. There is a large metallurgical combine near the city. Los Angeles is also an important center for the petroleum industry (12,000 employees).

Los Angeles is the second most important port on the Pacific coast of the USA, with a freight turnover of about 20 million tons in 1970; combined with the neighboring port of Long Beach, the turnover was more than 35 million tons; it is also an important transportation junction and has an international airport. It is famous as a center for the film industry (Hollywood) and television. The University of California at Los Angeles, the University of Southern California, and other educational institutions are located there. It is a seaside health resort.


Los Angeles was founded by the Spanish in 1781 in the territory of Mexico, which belonged to the viceroyalty of New Spain. After Mexico achieved independence (1821), it became part of the Mexican state. During the Mexican-American War of 1846-48, it was seized by the USA. Today Los Angeles is an important center of the workers’ movement of the USA.

Distinguished by a very low building density, Los Angeles has a grid-like street plan. Because the pattern of urban planning is dominated by low private homes (mostly in Spanish style) surrounded by large gardens and open areas, the construction of numerous highways and complex bypasses has been necessary.

Examples of modern architecture in Los Angeles include the Banning House (1911) and the Dodge House (1916), both by the architect I. Gill; the Hollyhock House (1913; now the Municipal Art Gallery) and the Sturges House (1940), both by the architect F. L. Wright; the Jardinette Apartments (1927), the Corona Avenue School in the suburb of Bell (1935), and the Northwestern Insurance Offices (1952), all by the architect R. Neutra; the Bethlehem Baptist Church (1944, architect R. Shindler); the Tishman Building (1957, architect V. Gruen); the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (1965, architect W. Pereira); and the Music Center complex (1967, architect W. S. Beckett). The Southwest Museum (the art of the Indians) is located in Los Angeles.


Banham, L. Los Angeles: The Architecture of Four Ecologies. London, 1971.

Los Ángeles


a city in central Chile, administrative center of Bío-Bío Province. Population, 44,000 (1968). It has a railroad station. The city has food industry, primarily beet-sugar, and flour milling; vegetable oil (from rape) is also produced.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

Los Angeles

a city in SW California, on the Pacific: the second largest city in the US, having absorbed many adjacent townships; industrial centre and port, with several universities. Pop.: 3 819 951 (2003 est.)
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
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