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Our 17 Favorite Southern California History Posts Of 2015

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One of our favorite things to do is to delve back into our region's past, whether it's a light-hearted look at the novelty architecture of our restaurants, to the more serious subject matter of Los Angeles during the Depression or WWII. Here are some of our favorite history posts from the past year.

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People in theatre lobby decorated with "Empire Strikes Back" banner in Los Angeles, Calif., 1980 (Photo courtesy of UCLA)

Here's What Los Angeles Looked Like In The 1980sWe took a look back at the '80s courtesy of UCLA's fantastic archive. And look, people are waiting in line for a Star Wars movie, just like modern times.

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Mmmm...Hawaiian BBQ. (Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Public Library Photo Collection)

Photos: Vintage Menu Exhibition Explores L.A.'s Restaurant HistorySome vintage menus show a simpler dining scene where you could get two Sazeracs for less than a buck or a hamburger for $1.30.

This 1940s Traffic Training Video Offers A Vintage Look At Downtown L.A.

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A traffic training video from the 1940s showed officers what not to do.

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Tower in 2004 (Photo by John Lopez via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr)
Photos, Videos: The History Of Tower Records On The Sunset Strip

Here we took a look at the history of the Sunset Strip's Tower Records. The iconic store had been sewn into the fabric of Los Angeles' history since it first opened in the '70s to when it closed in 2006, serving as the "it" place to get your hands on a new record, 8-track or CD.

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Llano Del Rio (Photo by Juliet Bennett Rylah/LAist)
Photos: The Ruins Of A 1910s Socialist Commune In The Desert

We took a trip out to Llano del Rio, which although is now nothing more than desert ruins, was once meant to be a thriving Socialist commune. There's a fascinating story behind the history of this commune involving the "crime of the century" and one man's failed mayoral campaign that begins in early 1900s Los Angeles.

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(Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Public Library Photo Collection)
Relive Echo Park Lake's History With These Old School Photos

Echo Park Lake has been around since the 1860s, and there are plenty of old-timey, black-and-white photos that take us way back to a simpler time when we'd see more people fish there instead of doing yoga headstands.

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Damaged storefronts in the 1965 Watts riots included this former campaign office of mayoral candidate James Roosevelt. (Photo courtesy of City of Los Angeles archives)
40 Rare Photos Of The Watts Riots Uncovered By City Interns

These photos, taken by the Los Angeles Fire Department of the 1965 Watts Rebellion, documented the devastation that occurred during and after the civil unrest. They were unearthed last year when an intern stumbled upon unmarked boxes full of negatives.

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(Photos from the Herald-Examiner Collection, via Los Angeles Public Library Photo Collection)

Photos: The Pioneering Newspaperwoman Who Covered The 'Grisliest' Crimes
Agness Underwood was a pioneer newspaperwoman who spent years reporting on grisly murders like the infamous Black Dahlia case. She would become the first woman to be city editor of a major American newspaper.

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(Photo courtesy of the Los Angeles Public Library Photo Collection)

Photos: Cruise Down The 1980s Sunset Strip Of 'Wicked City'
Take a trip down memory lane, or the Sunset Strip of the 1980s, with these photos we dug up of famous billboards and marquees on Sunset Boulevard, as well as inside the seedy clubs, and of hair-metal rockers.

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(Photo by John Brian King)

Photos: The Weary And Harried Travelers Of LAX In The Early 1980sGet a peek into LAX back in the '80s, with these black-and-white photos taken by L.A. native John Brian King who grew up near the airport. He managed to capture the fast-pace energy of the airport and the tired expressions from the travelers.

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(Photo by David Bransby)

Thousands Of Old LA Photos Have Just Been ReleasedIn October, Yale released a treasure trove of of old photos that give a glimpse into America during the Great Depression and World War II, with many of the photos taken in Los Angeles.

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Cars at The Track in 1949 (Photo from The Everett Collection via Shutterstock)

Photos: This 1950s Drive-In Used Conveyor Belts To Serve FoodWhile drive-thrus are something on every corner now, something we don't see very much anymore that made getting food easier are "Motormats," a 1950s restaurant design that let you order and get your food delivered pretty much by conveyor belt.

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(Illustration by Bill Robles)

Captivating Courtroom Art From O.J. Simpson To Michael JacksonThe courtroom artists who sit in trials, from O.J. Simpson's to Michael Jackson's, give us a closer look into the criminals, jurors and witnesses through their detailed artwork, sometimes capturing moments we otherwise would not normally get a chance to see.

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Punk rockers Tony Adolescent and Black Flag's Henry Rollins and Dez Cadena (Photo by Spot)

These Photos Perfectly Capture SoCal's Old School Skate & Punk SceneSpot was not only the album producer and sound engineer for punk bands like the Misfits and Black Flag, but he's also a photographer who snapped photos that succinctly captured SoCal beach and punk rock life during the late 1960s to the early 1980s.

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(Photo by Hugh Holland, courtesy of M + B Photo)

The Dreamy Photos Of Skateboarding In SoCal In The 1970sHugh Holland's epic photos takes us on a trip back to the 1970s of kids and teens skateboarding in empty swimming pools and boardwalks in Southern California.

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(Photo courtesy of the Los Angeles Public Library Photo Collection)

Photos: How Venice Beach Celebrated Mardi Gras In The 1930sMardi Gras celebrations at Venice Beach in the 1930s were a bit different than we're used to seeing now (like beads being thrown and drunken debauchery). Back then, it was quirky, with parades and swimsuit beauty pageants.

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(Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Public Library Photo Collection)

22 Old-Timey Los Angeles Restaurants With Wacky ShapesLos Angeles used to be filled with fun restaurant architecture that took on the shape of food like hot dogs and planes.

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