Occidental In Transit
Occidental College was established, and rebuilt, in three Los Angeles communities between 1887 and 1914. Using this 1947 "Official Route Map of Los Angeles," we see that the northward progress of Occidental can be connected to the transit system.
In 1887, the College was situated east of the Los Angeles River in Boyle Heights near the heart of the original pueblo of Los Angeles. The rails of the Los Angeles & Aliso Avenue Horse Car Line - later the Cable Railways Line - ran east to west on First Street. There were no rail lines direct to the campus. The College was one mile beyond the last stop at the Evergreen Cemetery. From there, a college "shuttle" transported commuters to the campus. After the disastrous fire of 1896, the College reconsidered its location and moved north.
In 1898, the College rebuilt in Highland Park at Pasadena Avenue (now Figueroa) and Avenue 50 on land acquired from Sarah Judson, wife of Albert H. Judson, one of the original founders of Highland Park. The "W" Line of the Los Angeles Railway and Pacific Electric trolley cars travelled along Pasadena Avenue, connecting northeast Los Angeles with downtown. At the same time the Santa Fe Rail Line bisected the campus along Monte Vista Street, not only dictating the school's size but also the scheduling of classes around the passing trains. These circumstances inhibited the growth of the College.
In 1909, the Trustees identified a new location that allowed the College to stay close to its civic supporters in the northeast as well as to the Los Angeles city center. The new campus was a trolley ride away via the "W" line, going west on York Boulevard close to the young city of Eagle Rock in the York Valley.