The above video, a little more than six minutes long and recorded without sound, at first glance seems pretty mundane–just an afternoon drive through an urban area–but it’s actually a very rare and fascinating record of a vanished age. Sometime in the late 1940s, from the look of the cars and fashions I’d say about 1947 or 1948, somebody mounted a movie camera in the back window of their car and drove around Los Angeles, specifically the Bunker Hill neighborhood and downtown. The reason why somebody would do this is anyone’s guess, but the footage has survived and recently surfaced in several Internet historical archives. This is a rare slice-of-life, seeing L.A. as it really was more than 60 years ago. It’s a pretty interesting video.

Preservation of records like this is especially important for cities like Los Angeles which change so rapidly due to economic and social factors. As you can see, with the exception of a few landmarks like the famous zigurrat of Los Angeles City Hall visible in the hazy background of some shots, the city in 1947 is virtually unrecognizable from what it looks like today. We can only preserve so much and for specific reasons, so a you-are-there glimpse of the past is almost impossible in a place like this.

Very cool video!

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