This is a view of downtown Los Angeles from the top of Angels Flight. This view is from the early 1900s. If it were possible to stand in the same spot today, your view would be much the same. Note the yellow building in the foreground on the left, and the reddish building behind, which is the Bradbury Building.
On September 4, 1781, Governor Neve and 11 families walked 8.5 miles from the San Gabriel Mission to a site near the Los Angeles River and founded Neustra Señora de los Angeles de la Porciüncula (Our Lady of the Angels of Porciüncula - porciüncula means "little portion").
The BIG industry in Los Angeles has, from the early 1900s, always been the Motion Picture industry, simply called "the business," as if no other business exists in LA. That would not be true. In fact, also in the early part of the 1900s, oil was a huge industry - the subject of movies. Much of the 400 square miles of Los Angeles was covered with wooden oil derricks and well pumps. Today those same areas, including Venice, the South Bay, Signal Hill, and Huntington Beach are covered with homes.
If you have ever seen Erik Estrada pitch land on TV, you can thank the oil industry in early Los Angeles for much of the process used in selling land today. Thanks to the Saturday Evening Post, the link below will take you to a fascinating 7/14/1923 Saturday Evening Post article about oil in early Los Angeles. As the article states:
"Speaking briefly, this method of salesmanship and financing may be summed up as consisting of free bus rides, free lunches and free lectures. With even greater brevity, it may be described as the chicken-dinner school of finance. In any case, it makes the oil well as an object of curiosity and investment even closer to the city than has been suggested. One does not need the price of a short interurban ride or of a noontime sandwich. These, too, are supplied. There is no obstacle, no inhibition whatever to making an investment in oil."
Since there is very little really new under the sun, I'm sure the ancient Greeks used the same techniques to sell home sites on the slopes of Mt. Olympus.
As you read, keep in mind that Raymond Chandler worked in the oil industry, for Dabney Oil, during this period. It was only after he was fired from Dabney Oil in 1932 that Chandler taught himself to write detective fiction and began a new career as a writer of detective fiction.
Mad From Oil (7/14/1923) As soon as I get it scanned, I'll post the 7/7/1923 companion article.