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Then and Now: See Vintage Snaps of LA's Favorite Shopping Haunts

Now that we're getting all nostalgic over 2015, allow us to travel further back in time to a few more of LA's top retail therapy stretches. From the Beverly Center's Disneyland-esque days to what Melrose Avenue's Kitson looked like over 80 years ago, explore the City of Angels's shopping scenes from the past to the present below.


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Melrose Place & La Cienega Boulevard

1940 Photo: LA Public Library

What: A view of Melrose Place in looking southeast from across La Cienega Bouelvard, as seen on June 12, 1940. As LA Public Library notes, "seen are a Foster and Kleiser billboard for 76 gasoline, a few homes, and various businesses (right)."

The Beverly Center

1970 Photo: Water & Power

What: Before it entertained luxury retail therapy seekers and tourists, the Beverly Center's plot was home to Beverly Park. In true Tinseltown fashion, the amusement park — which ran from 1945 to 1974 — was a frequent film location (most notably, Alfred Hitchcock's Strangers on a Train, as KCET reveals) and celebrity haunt (Sonny and Cher, John Lennon, and Lana Turner, to name a few). Beverly Park: L.A.'s Kiddieland author Jay Jennings tells LAist that the Beverly Grove fun zone was the inspiration behind SoCal's very own Disneyland. See more throwback scenes in this YouTube vid, where one former visitor recalled that the family-friendly hangout "was really just a patch of green at the corner of Beverly and La Cienega." Oh, how times have changed.

North Beverly Drive & Dayton Way

1937 Photo: LA Public Library

What: Now buzzing with beauty buffs thanks to that massive Sephora, the corner of North Beverly Drive and Dayton Way was once the site of stylish children's outfitters Burdsals Boy Shop, as seen in this circa-1937 photo.

Abbot Kinney

Undated Photo: USC Digital Library

What: Westminster Avenue and Abbot Kinney Boulevard (originally West Washington Boulevard) in the early 1910s and in 2015.

Rodeo Drive & Wilshire Boulevard

1937 Photo: LA Public Library

What: Louis Vuitton now stands at the northwest corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Rodeo Drive, but back in the '30s it featured a swanky Streamline Moderne liquor store and the Petite Shop.

Melrose Avenue & Westbourne Drive

1930 Photo: USC Digital Library

What: These old-school signs were "reported as obstructing vision of traffic" — back in 1930, that is. It's now fine textiles store Mansour Rug, which is right across from soon-to-be-dunzo Kitson.

Hollywood & Highland

1926 Photo: LAPL Public Library; 2015 Photo: Google Street View

What: Not even Prohibition-era Hollywood and Highland was immune to traffic. Back then, pedestrians could hitch a ride on Pacific Electric's red streetcars and take a trolley from Downtown to Sunset Junction to Santa Monica. Come next spring, 2016 Angelenos can take nearly the same car-free journey when Metro's extended Expo line unveils its new tracks.

South Broadway in Downtown

1951 Photo: LA Public Library

What: A bustling scene outside of the Eastern Columbia building at South Broadway and Ninth Street, as seen in 1951 and 2015. Long before GQ crowned Downtown as America's next greatest city, the LA Times boasted that South Broadway was "the busiest block in the city," as we noted earlier this year when this image originally ran.