After a recent Eastsider story about store closures at a Silver Lake shopping center, blogger Diane Edwardson passed along a link to a website with vintage images of the same Glendale Boulevard property that is now the home of a Ralphs market and a strip of other retailers. Long before the strip mall was constructed, the same land at the bottom of a narrow valley was the site of the Silver Lake Auto Court, which was in business during the 1920s as roadside motels cropped up across the country to cater to the growing legions of motoring travelers.
The colorized postcard and black-and-white photo shown above come from Los Angeles Past, a website created by J. Scott Shannon. The photo dated July 1938 shows Shannon’s mother, Lillian, who lived in Westlake at the time, posing at the Silver Lake Auto Court with her “pride and joy,” a 1936 Pontiac Master Six Coupe, her first car. The back of the linen postcard reads:
A 67 unit Auto Court with Trailer Sites. Resort Atmosphere in the heart of the City, well known for its Hospitality and Service. Rates Most Reasonable.
The Silver Lake Auto Court (there are also some early photos and references to the Silver Lake Auto Rest) at 2500 Glendale Boulevard operated from the 1920s through at least the 1950s, based on a search of the L.A. Times online archives. A classified ad from January 1929 promoted the Silver Lake Auto Court as having “Low Winter Rates” ranging from $17.50 a month to $32 a month. Gas, light and water were included.
Visit Los Angeles Past to see old and new aerial images of what was once the Silver Lake Auto Court.