Metro 417 (The Subway Terminal Building)
A shot of the building from 2008.
A historic shot of the Old Subway Terminal.
A black and white shot of a train on the subway.
Backstory and Context
The L.A. downtown subway was constructed in response to the large increase in car traffic volume across the city. Pacific Electric Railway embarked on a project to create a dedicated right of way into downtown L.A. through a subway connected to the existing terminal in the Pacific Electric Building. They were called upon by the California Railroad Commission in 1922 to construct a subway that would bypass downtown's busy streets. It became known as the Hollywood Subway, and plans were drafted in 1924.
18 months later and at a cost of $1.25 million the Subway officially opened to the public on December 1, 1925. During its early years, the Subway was a huge success and it emerged as one of Los Angeles's most popular modes of public transit throughout the 1920s and 1930s. Ridership hit an all-time high during the World War II-era when trains carried an estimated 65,000 passengers through the tunnel each day.
Ridership began to decline in the 1950s as the state's freeway systems began to emerge, forcing Pacific Electric to close the Subway in 1955. The last train to carry passengers, carrying a banner reading "To Oblivion", was on the morning of June 19, 1955. The trains and tracks were removed and the station was closed. The building itself continued to operate as an office for many years and the tunnel remained intact until it was filled in in 1967.
In 2007, the Subway Terminal Building was renovated and reopened as Metro 417, a luxury apartment building owned by Forest City.
Walker, Alissa. 90 Years Ago, the Los Angeles Subway Was Born in This Lost Tunnel. Gizmodo. November 25, 2015. Accessed July 21, 2017. http://gizmodo.com/90-years-ago-the-los-angeles-subway-was-born-in-this-l-1744653992.
Masters, Nathan. Inside L.A.’s Dark Network of Deserted Underground Tunnels. LA Mag. February 03, 2015. Accessed July 21, 2017. http://www.lamag.com/citythinkblog/inside-l-s-dark-deserted-network-railways/.
Metro 417. LA Conservancy. Accessed July 21, 2017. https://www.laconservancy.org/locations/metro-417.