Powers Place: The Shortest Street in Los Angeles

Powers Place — Los Angeles Explorers Guild

Powers Place

The Shortest Street in Los Angeles

In Pico Union, next to a row of historic houses on Alvarado Terrace, you’ll find the shortest street in Los Angeles.

The Long and Short of Los Angeles Streets

Los Angeles has some long streets. Sepulveda, Mulholland, Sunset and Western immediately spring to mind. The longest, Sepulveda Boulevard, runs for more than 42 miles from Mission Hills to Long Beach.

So in a town full of long streets, how short can the shortest street be? As it turns out, pretty short.

Powers Place

Every city has its short streets, but not many can boast streets that are shorter than the width of a narrow avenue. But that’s the case with Powers Place, the shortest street in Los Angeles. It’s also one of the last streets in Los Angeles to remain paved with bricks.

The brick paving of Powers Place. Photo from the author’s collection.

On the books, Powers Place is only 13 feet long. I’m not quite sure how this 13 feet was measured, but it’s actually a bit longer than that. This is quite apparent when you visit the street in person.

Powers Place is as wide as a narrow city street, which is about 35 feet. As you can see in the image above, it’s a reasonably square patch or road, so it’s also about 35 feet long. This is easy to determine by walking the length and width of the street or by navigating to Powers Place on an online map and employing the built-in measuring tool.

Powers Place, the shortest street in Los Angeles is not a mere 13 feet long. It’s roughly as long as it is wide — approximately 35 feet.

History of Powers Place

This tiny street is named for Pomeroy W. Powers (1902 president of the City Council), the original owner of the Alvarado Terrace Tract. The street was officially named in 1911, and it’s not clear if Mr. Powers named such a dinky street after himself or if someone else did it as some sort of subdivision naming slight.

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Today, Powers Place, along with the adjacent Terrace Park (originally known as Summerland Park, named for Theodore J. Summerland, one of Powers’s contemporaries on the City Council) makes up Los Angeles Historic Cultural Monument No. 210 under the name “Terrace Park and Powers Place” on February 21, 1979.

When standing at Powers Place you can’t help but see the Gilbert Residence with its iconic “witch hat” at 1333 Alvarado Terrace. This is just one of six buildings granted Historic-Cultural Monument status (and all on the same day — July 7, 1971) for exhibiting “… Victorian architecture on a grand scale …”. But that’s an Exploration for another day.

The Gilbert Residence as seen from Powers Place. Photo from the author’s collection.

Powers Place

The Shortest Street in Los Angeles

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Tom Fassbender is a writer of things with a strong adventurous streak. When not exploring Los Angeles, he’s been known to enjoy a cup of coffee or two. You can find him at Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.


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