Early Los Angeles Historical Buildings (1925 +)

Historical Photos of Early Los Angeles

(1926)* - Artist's conception of the beautiful new Carthay Circle Theatre in Carthay Center in the heart of the exlusive Wilshire residential district of Los Angeles.  


Historical Notes

Architect Archibald Gibbs designed the 1926 Carthay Circle Theatre, located at 6316 San Vicente Boulevard, in the Spanish Colonial Revival Style with Streamline Moderne influences. Fox-West Coast Theatres took over operation of the theatre in 1929.




(ca. 1930s)* - Premiere night at the Carthay Circle Theater located at 6316 San Vicente Boulevard.


Historical Notes

The Carthay Circle Theatre was one of the most famous movie palaces of Hollywood's Golden Age. It opened in 1926 and was considered developer J. Harvey McCarthy's most successful monument, a stroke of shrewd thinking that made a famous name of the newly developed Carthay residential district in the Mid-City West district of Los Angeles.*^




(1936)^^* - The premiere of “Lloyds of London” at the Carthay Circle Theater, formerly located near the intersection of Wilshire and San Vicente boulevards. Los Angeles Times photo date Nov. 25, 1936  


Historical Notes

The Carthay Circle Theatre hosted the official premieres of some of the more notable films of the 1930s including: The Life of Emile Zola (1937), Romeo and Juliet (1936), Walt Disney's first animated feature length film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) and Gone with the Wind (1939), among many others.

For Disney's Fantasia (1940), the most elaborate audio system in use at the time, Fantasound, a pioneering stereophonic process, was installed at this theatre.*^




(1937)^^* - Fans gather outside the Carthay Circle Theater for the premiere of “The Life of Emile Zola.”  Photo date: Sept. 9. 1937  





(ca. 1937)^^ - Crowds are overflowing in the stands as celebrities pull up for the premier of "Wee Willie Winkie".  




(1937)^x^ – Flood light illuminates the arrivals at premiere of “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”, December 21, 1937.  


Historical Notes

“Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” was laso known as “Disney’s Folly” because everyone thought Walt was mad for making a feature-length cartoon.



(1930s)*^*^* - Another premier night at the Carthay Circle Theater. Flood lights fill the sky.  


Historical Notes

Initially developed by Fox, it was called the Fox Carthay Circle Theater. The theater became better known than the development in which it was located, and this has led to confusion in the name of the area. The theater's name meant "the Circle Theater, by Fox, located in Carthay", but became incorrectly interpreted as "The Fox Theater, located in Carthay Circle." The misinterpretation has stuck, and now the region is more or less officially known as Carthay Circle, even as its theater namesake has been gone for half a century.*^




(1939)^.^ - Preparations for the December 28, 1939 west coast premiere of "Gone With the Wind."  Photo by Virgil Morris.  





(ca. 1930)*# – View looking northeast on McCarthy Vista toward the Hollywood Hills as seen from the top of the Carthay Circle Theater.  Wilshire Boulevard is two blocks away.  Oil derricks can be seen in the distance (upper-right). San Vicente Boulevard runs from left to right in the foreground.  





(1930)* - Looking south from McCarthy Vista towards Henry Lion's 'Pioneer Fountain Group' statue; just beyond it, across San Vicente Boulevard, is the Carthay Circle Theatre.  





(1930s)^*^# - A postcard image of the Carthay Circle Theatre with Henry Lion's sculpture of a prospector in the foreground.






Historical Notes

Also known as the Daniel O. McCarthy Pioneer Fountain, or the Miner's Statue, this work, located in Carthay Circle across from the Carthay Theatre, honors the memory of the California Pioneers of '49.' The plaque reads, "This fountain is a memorial to the gallant pioneers of '49 of whom Daniel O. McCarthy, patriot, miner, leader, was an outstanding example. He was born Raleigh, N.C., August 24, 1830. Died Los Angeles, August 13, 1919. Through his newspaper The American Flag, San Francisco, he helped preserve California to the Union. This long useful life is a heritage of which the Golden State is justly proud.” Dedicated by Ramona Parlor 109 NSGW. Signature on miner: Henry Lion 1924,25.*




(ca. 1939)* - Daylight view of Carthay Circle Theatre showing part of its front parking lot as seen from across the street.  


Historical Notes

The Carthay Circle Theater provided the "circle" for which Carthay Circle has come to be named.The auditorium itself was shaped in the form of a perfect circle, extended vertically into a cylinder, set inside a square that fleshed out the remainder of the building. McCarthy's development was called Carthay—an anglicized version of his last name. The theater was called the Circle Theater for its unique floor plan.*^




(1926)* - Proscenium of the Carthay Circle Theatre with asbestos down. Architect Archibald Gibbs designed the theater in the Spanish Colonial Revival Style with Streamline Moderne influences.  





(n.d.)* - Auditorium ceiling partially lighted inside the Carthay Circle Theatre.  





(1939)^.^“Looks Expensive, But it Isn’t!” - Advertizing for a 1939 4-Door DeSoto with a “World Premier” at Carthay Circle Theatre seen the background.  





(ca. 1939)^x^ - Postcard view showing a premiere night at Carthay Circle Theatre with premiere lights, cars and many people. Carthay Circle Theatre, scene of many a gala Premiere, where throngs of movie fans collect to see the celebrities attending.  





(1940)+^^ – Overhead view as seen from what appears to be the top of Carthay Circle’s tower showing hundreds of fans at the premier of “All This, and Heaven Too”. Note the long shadows.  


Historical Notes

All This, and Heaven Too is a 1940 drama film made by Warner Bros.-First National Pictures.  The film stars Bette Davis and Charles Boyer with Barbara O'Neil, Jeffrey Lynn, Virginia Weidler, Helen Westley, Walter Hampden, Henry Daniell, Harry Davenport, George Coulouris, Montagu Love, Janet Beecher and June Lockhart.*^



(1943)* - Huge arc lights flash against the dark background of the sky above the Carthay Circle Theater for the invitational preview of "The Song of Bernadette," 20th Century-Fox production.  


Historical Notes

By the 1960s the Carthay was considered obsolete, overshadowed by modern cinemas; its customer base had also been sapped by suburbanization. The theater was demolished in 1969; today, two low-rise office buildings and a city park occupy its former site. *^

Click HERE to see contemporary view.



(ca. 1994)^.^ - View showing the Once Upon A Time merchandise shop, which is themed after Carthay Circle Theatre, located at Disney's Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World in Florida.  


Historical Notes

In July 1994, a smaller-scale pastiche of the facade of the theatre (primarily the octagonal tower) was opened as the "Once Upon a Time" gift shop on the Sunset Boulevard section in Disney's Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. The store now sells clothing items for men and women.




(2012)^.^ – View showing the Carthay Circle Restaurant and Lounge – a replica of the Carthay Circle Theatre located at Disney California Adventure Park in Anaheim.  


Historical Notes

In June 2012, a fanciful larger-scale replica of the theater building was opened in the Buena Vista Street section of Disney California Adventure Park at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim. Although this replica is larger than the Orlando version, it is still slightly smaller than the 1926 original building.*^



(2012)^.^ – Night view showing the Carthay Circle Restaurant and Lounge at Disney California Adventure Park – a replica of the Carthay Circle Theatre, where “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” premiered on December 21, 1937.  



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Academy Theatre

(1939)**# - Exterior view of the Academy Theatre at 3141 West Manchester Boulevard, Inglewood.  


Historical Notes

Opened on November 7, 1939 and designed by architect S. Charles Lee, the Academy Theater, a classic Art Moderne style structure, was originally designed to house the Academy Awards. Sadly, however, the Academy Theater never did host the ‘Oscars’, but it was often the location of film premieres and served as a major suburban theater for the Fox West Coast Theatres chain.^^#




(1939)**# - Academy Theatre, Inglewood. Art Moderne design ticket booth and entry doors.  


Historical Notes

Architect S. Charles Lee was an early proponent of Art Deco and Moderne style theaters. The Bruin Theater (1937) and Academy Theatre (1939) are among his most characteristic. The latter, located in Inglewood, California, is a prime example of Lee's successful response to the automobile.

After World War II, Lee recognized that the grand theater building had become a thing of the past, and began to focus on new technologies in industrial architecture. His work in the field of tilt-up building systems was published in Architectural Record in 1952.*^




(1940)*++ – Interior view of the Academy Theatre as seen from the rear.  





(1940)*++ – View showing the projection room at the Academy Theatre.  





(1940)*++ – Exterior side view of the Academy Theatre showing its unique Art Moderne style design as seen from the parking lot. Photo by Julius Shulman  


Historical Notes

The Academy Theatre is noted for a streamlined aesthetic, circular forms and glass block.  The exterior naming spire, is circled by a helical light illuminating the ‘Academy’ name. 




(1939)**# - Night view of the Academy Award Theatre in Inglewood. The tower is illuminated to draw customers into the theatre. The indirect illumination of the pylon creates a glowing tower that can be seen from afar. Glass block walls make the building glow from within.  


Historical Notes

Architect S. Charles Lee is credited with designing over 400 theaters throughout California and Mexico.




(n.d.)***^ - Night view of the front of the Academy Theater. The double header billing reads: James Stewart and Jean Arthur in "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington". Also, "To Busy to Work" - Jones Family.  


Historical Notes

The Academy served as a location for film premiers through the 1970s. It continued to show movies until 1976, when it became a church.*^




(2015)^ – Google Street View showing the Academy Theatre (now used as a church) as it appears today.  Location: 3141 W. Manchester Boulevard, Inglewood  





(2021)* - Close-up view of the 1939-built Academy Theatre, now a church (Academy Cathedral), located at 3141 West Manchester Boulevard, Inglewood.  Photo by Don Saban  



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Carpenter's Drive-in

(1932)^^#* - Carpenter’s Drive-in Restaurant located near the northeast corner of Sunset and Vine, Hollywood, Los Angeles. Photo by ‘Dick’ Whittington   


Historical Notes

Carpenter’s Sandwiches drive-in was located at 6285 Sunset Boulevard between Vine Street and Argyle in Hollywood. For 30 cents you could enjoy a hamburger and wash it down with a cup of beer while sitting behind the wheel of your car (5 cents more for the premium beer).



(1933)* - Exterior view of Carpenter's Sandwich drive-in restaurant, with the carhops posing for the photo, in 1933. The drive-in was located on the N/E corner of Sunset and Vine.  


Historical Notes

Harry B. Carpenter founded the Carpenter's chain with his brother Charles and operated many locations in Los Angeles including: Sunset and Vine, Wilshire and Western, Wilshire and La Cienega, Wilshire and Vine, Pico and Vermont, Silver Lake and Glendale and Sunset and Virgil.*



(ca. 1930s)^^ - View looking north showing Carpenter's Sandwich drive-in near Sunset and Vine, with the Hollywood Hills in the background. Two carhops are posing for the camera by the counter while another to the right appears to be serving food.  




(1930s)+#+ - Nighttime view looking south toward Sunset Boulevard showing Carpenter's Sandwich Drive-in as seen from the auto mechanic shop next door.  




(1930s)^^^^* – Close-up view from Sunset Boulevard of Carpenter’s Sandwiches Drive-in, near the N/E corner Sunset and Vine.  Signs read:  Ben Hur Delicious Drip Coffee, Sirloin Steak Sandwich - 25 Cents, Fried Oyster Sandwich - 20 Cents, Hot Fudge Sundae - 25 Cents, and “A Real Hamburger Sandwich” - 15 Cents.  


Historical Notes

Originally located near the northeast corner of Sunset and Vine (6265 Sunset Blvd), Carpenter’s would be torn down to make room for the new NBC Radio City building, constructed in 1938. Shortly thereafter, Carpenter’s was reincarnated across the street on the southeast corner of Sunset and Vine (6290 Sunset Blvd).




(1930s)+#+ – View looking north from behind a neon sign for Eastside Beer located on the SE corner of Sunset and Vine.  Carpenter’s Sandwiches Drive-in can be seen across the street at a location that would become NBC Radio City.  A new Carpenter's would be built right here on the SE corner, where this picture was taken from.  In the distance can also be seen the neon signs for The Broadway-Hollywood and the Hollywood Plaza Hotel.  




Harry Carpenter's Drive-in Restaurant (Sunset and Vine, SE corner)

(ca. 1938)^** – View looking south showing the newly built Carpenter’s Drive-in Restaurant located on the southeast corner of Sunset Boulevard and Vine Street in Hollywood.  

Historical Notes

This Carpenter's Drive-in replaced the one located near the northeast corner of Sunset and Vine (6265 Sunset Blvd), which was torn down in 1938 to make room for the new NBC Radio City building.

Between 1931 and 1961, three different drive-in restaurants occupied the southeast corner of Sunset and Vine:
•    1931 the Pig Stand BBQ Sandwich Drive-in restaurant goes up.
•    1937 Sept. Carpenter’s demolishes their existing building across the street, builds a new Carpenter's here
•    1951 Carpenter’s becomes a Stan's Drive-in
•    1961 Drive-in demolished for 20-story Sunset Vine Tower



(1940s)#*## – View showing cars parked at Harry Carpenter's Drive-in Restaurant on the southeast corner of Sunset and Vine, 6290 Sunset Boulevard.  




Carpenter's (Wilshire and Western)

(1938)#* - View of the stylish Carpenter's Sandwich drive-in located at Wilshire and Western. The art deco style Wilshire Professional Building stands in the background.  


Historical Notes

Harry B. Carpenter founded the Carpenter's chain with his brother Charles and operated many locations in Los Angeles including: Sunset and Vine, Wilshire and Western, Wilshire and La Cienega, Wilshire and Vine, Pico and Vermont, Silver Lake and Glendale and Sunset and Virgil.*



Carpenter's Drive-in (606 E. Colorado)

(ca. 1938)* - According to signage this Carpenter's drive-in restaurant features fried chicken, sandwiches, year round fresh fruit pies, breakfast, hamburgers and fountain service, but no cocktails. The Rite Spot Cafe pylon is seen in the background.  


Historical Notes

In 1936, after separating from his brother, Charles E. Carpenter opened three Carpenter's Cafes. A transitional project Carpenter's Village (606 E. Colorado) combined a Rite Spot Cafe and Carpenter's drive-in. Next he opened the Rite Spot Cafe in Pasadena, located at 1500 West Colorado Street (now considered Eagle Rock) and the Santa Anitan Cafe at Huntington and Colorado.*


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McDonnell's Drive-in

(1930s)* - View showing McDonnell's Drive-in located on the northwest corner of Sunset and La Brea ( (Not to be confused with McDonald's fast food restaurants of today). Tiny Naylor's Dirve-in would be built on this corner in 1949.  


Historical Notes

"Rusty" McDonnell operated a chain of drive-ins in the Los Angeles area during the 30s and 40s, long before the fast food behemoth McDonalds came on the scene. His restaurants, designed by the revered architect Wayne McAllister, were fabulously kitsch and garish and customers could spot their huge neon signs from miles away.++^




(1930s)#*#* – Night view showing a carhop serving food at McDonnell’s Drive-in.  




(1931)*^^ - The staff of the McDonnell’s Ever Eat Drive In at Beverly and La Brea stand at attention, waiting for customers.  


Historical Notes

McDonnell employed a local artist to sketch whimsical interpretations of the car-hops or waiters that served cokes, hamburgers and fries to customers for its menus.++^




(ca. 1931)^*# – Close-up view showing Mc Donnell’s Drive-in on the corner of Beverly and La Brea.  Sign above the counter reads:  “17 Other Places to Serve You”.  


Historical Notes

McDonnell's "Drive-Ins" were located at Beverly Boulevard & Western Avenue, Wilshire and Robertson Boulevards, Yucca Street and Cahuenga Boulevard, Wilshire Boulevard and Fairfax Avenue, and Sunset Boulevard and La Brea Avenue. The McDonnell's restaurants throughout Los Angeles were: McDonnell's Monterey (7312 Robertson Boulevard); McDonnell's Wilshire (Wilshire Boulevard and La Brea Avenue); McDonnell's Fairfax (Fairfax Avenue and Wilshire Boulevard); McDonnell's Gates Hotel (Sixth and Figueroa streets); McDonnell's Hill Street (454 S. Hill Street); McDonnell's Figueroa (4012 S. Figueroa Street); McDonnell's Adams and Figueroa (2626 S. Figueroa Street); and McDonnell's Pico Street (Pico and Hope streets).*




(1935)##+ - View showing cars parked in front of McDonnell's Drive-in. Large sign reads: EAT IN CAR - Fried Chickn, Mc Donnells Style 40 cents - with Shoestring Potatoes, Honey & Toast; Chicken Broth with Noodles - Cup 10 cents, Bowl 15 cents.  


Historical Notes

The restaurant served some of the best fried chicken in the state, raising its own chickens on a 200 acre ranch at Daggett, California. McDonnell's survived until the 50s before sadly closing down. ++^



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Herbert's Drive-in

(ca. 1940)* - The exterior of Herbert's Drive-In is built so that customers in cars can park all around it. Waiters/waitresses are seen serving food for people to eat in their cars. It was located at the southeast corner of Beverly Boulevard and Fairfax Avenue. Gilmore Stadium is in view behind the restaurant, on the left. Click HERE to see more of Gilmore Stadium in Baseball in Early L.A.  


Historical Notes

L.A. restauranteur Sydney Hoedemaker opened Herbert's Drive-In in the early 1930s. It was designed by architect Wayne McAllister in circular Streamline Moderne style with a neon-ringed roofline and advertising pylon.*



(1945)^^^^ – View of Herbert's Drive-in, located on the southeast corner of Beverly and Fairfax.  Photo by Nina Leen  


Historical Notes

CBS Television broadcasting studios (CBS Television City), built in 1952, currently stands at this site.


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"The Track" Drive-in

(1949)+## – View showing The Track Drive-in which utilized a horizontal dumbwaiter to serve the food. The restaurant was located at 8201 Beverly Boulevard (SW corner of Beverly Blvd and La Jolla Ave). Large sign above window reads:  NO TIPPING  


Historical Notes

Patented by Kenneth C. Purdy in 1948, the Motormat was designed to eliminate the need for carhops to take your order and deliver your food by having everything done via conveyor belt. The Track restaurant, originally at 8201 Beverly Boulevard, had 20 stalls utilizing this technology that were arranged around the central building like the spokes on a wheel. A metal bin on a conveyor belt served as the waiter, busboy, and server.

A customer would drive up to a window-high bin, mounted on rails, containing glasses of water, menu, pencil, and pad. He or she would then fill out the order, push a button, and send the bin scooting back to the kitchen, which lay at the center of the circular structure. While the order was being prepared, the bin would be sent back with the bill. After the bin was returned with payment, the food and change would be sent back down the rails, with no need to tip a waitress.+##


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Stan's Drive-in

(1958)^^*** - View showing Stan’s Drive-in Coffee Shop on the corner of Sunset and Highland.  



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Simon's Drive-in

(1939)^^ - View showing Simons Drive-in Restaurant on the northwest corner of Fairfax Avenue and Wilshire Boulevard.  This is an engineering notebook photoprint taken from top deck of Wilshire Boulevard Bus.  


Historical Notes

Simon's Drive-In Restaurant was built in 1935 and looks very similar to the Herberts Drive-In as seen in previous photos. Both were designed by architect Wayne McAllister.^##



(1939)* - A daytime view of Simon's Drive-In Restaurant located on the northwest corner of Fairfax and Wilshire. Through the glass floor-to-ceiling windows, patrons can be seen sitting at the circular counter having their meals. "Spaghetti", "Chili", "Fountain", "Hamburgers" and "Barbecue" can be seen above the windows. A carhop is standing at front, holding food in her hand.


Historical Notes

At one time Simon's Drive-Ins dominated the Southern California drive-in restaurant craze. The Simon brothers had operated a chain of successful dairy lunch counters in downtown Los Angeles, and in 1935 decided to capitalize on the growing car culture of Los Angeles by opening auto friendly locations in the emerging commercial centers of Wilshire Boulevard, Sunset and Ventura Boulevards.^##



(1939)* - A daytime view of Simon's Drive-In Restaurant located on the northwest corner of Fairfax and Wilshire. Through the glass floor-to-ceiling windows, patrons can be seen sitting at the circular counter having their meals. "Spaghetti", "Chili", "Fountain", "Hamburgers" and "Barbecue" can be seen above the windows. A carhop is standing at front, holding food in her hand.


Historical Notes

At one time Simon's Drive-Ins dominated the Southern California drive-in restaurant craze. The Simon brothers had operated a chain of successful dairy lunch counters in downtown Los Angeles, and in 1935 decided to capitalize on the growing car culture of Los Angeles by opening auto friendly locations in the emerging commercial centers of Wilshire Boulevard, Sunset and Ventura Boulevards.^##

In the 1930s, Wayne McAllister, the originator of the circular drive-in, designed circular Simon's Drive-in Restaurants in the Streamline Moderne style with a three-layer roof and neon advertising pylon; this style was copied throughout the country.*




(ca. 1948)#* - Couple of jitter-bugs down at Simon's Drive-In wowing the waitress with their tiger-stripe upholstery. Ah, those were the days!  





(ca. 1940s)##** - Night view of Simon's drive-in located on the northwest corner of Fairfax and Wilshire.  


Historical Notes

This is the same corner where the 1950s Johnie's Coffee Shop now stands. Across the street is the old May Company department store building which is now a part of LACMA/the Hollywood Museum.

Going back further to the early 1900s, this is where the Chaplin Airfield was once located (Click HERE to see more in Aviation in Early L.A.).


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May Company (Wilshire)

(1939)**^ - View looking toward the northeast corner of Wishire and Fairfax in the early stages of construction for the Wilshire May Company Building. Simon's Drive-in is seen on the northwest corner.  




(1939)* - View looking across Fairfax Avenue toward the northeast corner of Fairfax and Wilshire showing cranes and scaffolding surrounding the Wilshire May Company store still under construction.  


Historical Notes

Albert C. Martin and Samuel A. Marx designed the 1939 Streamline Moderne style May Company department store, located at 6067 Wilshire Boulevard.*

Martin also designed the Million Dollar Theatre and Los Angeles City Hall.



(1940)##**– Aerial view showing the May Company department store shortly after its opening. To the left of it in this photo, we can see the popular Simon's Drive-in restaurant where the Googie-influenced Johnie's Coffee Shop now stands.  





(ca. 1940)* - Exterior view of the May Co. Department Store, located on the northeast corner of Wilshire and Fairfax.  A man appears to be standing on top of the May Co. sign. A sign across the street reads: Simon's Sandwiches  


Historical Notes

When it opened, the gleaming May Company building was instantly heralded as the western gateway to the Miracle Mile, beckoning to motorists with an enormous gold-tiled cylinder at the corner of Fairfax Avenue.




(1940s)**^ - View looking toward the northeast corner of Wilshire and Fairfax where the beautiful May Company Department Store Building stands.  


Historical Notes

May Company California was established in 1923 when May acquired A. Hamburger & Sons Co.(founded in 1881 by Asher Hamburger). The company operated exclusively in Southern California until 1989 when May Department Stores had dissolved Goldwater's, based in Scottsdale, Arizona and transferred its Las Vegas, Nevada store to May Company California.*^



(ca. 1940)* - Intersection of Wilshire Boulevard (foreground) and Fairfax Avenue, facing the distinctive corner gold tower of the Streamline Moderne May Co. department store. The store was built shortly before this photograph was taken.  




(ca. 1960)^^ - View of the May Co. Department Store Building at the northeast corner of Wilshire and Fairfax.  


Historical Notes

The Los Angeles Conservancy calls the May Co. Wilshire Building "the grandest example of Streamline Moderne remaining in Los Angeles". It is especially noted for its gold-tiled cylindrical section that faces the intersection of Wilshire Boulevard at Fairfax Avenue, of which it occupies the northeast corner.*^

In 1992, the building was designated LA Historic-Cultural Monument No. 566 (Click HERE to see complete listing).




(1947)* - Postcard of the beginning of the 'Miracle Mile', at Fairfax and Wilshire, with the May Co. store prominently seen in the background (6067 Wilshire Blvd).  


Historical Notes

This striking building marks the western end of the 'Miracle Mile' in Los Angeles, a brand new concept in city planning for the 1920s that centered around the automobile as opposed to the pedestrian.^#^^




(1940s)##** – Aerial view of Wilshire Blvd facing east at the Fairfax Ave corner showing the new May Company department store. This intersection was referred to as the western gateway to the Miracle Mile.  


Historical Notes

On the other side of Fairfax, in the bottom left corner of the photo, we can see the popular Simon's Drive-in restaurant which was later replaced by Johnie's Coffee Shop which originally opened in 1956 as Romeo’s Times Square and was recently declared a historical landmark. ##**



(ca. 1953)**^ – View looking southwest from the intersection of 6th Street and Ogden Drive showing the May Co. and its multi-story parking structure.  Photo by Julius Shulman via Getty Collection.  




(1948)^^ - View of the Miracle Mile and the May Co. building, looking east down Wilshire Boulevard.  


Historical Notes

The Miracle Mile is an area in the Mid-Wilshire and Mid-City West regions consisting of a 1.5-mile stretch of Wilshire Boulevard between Fairfax and Highland Avenues. It sometimes also refers to the surrounding neighborhoods (including Park La Brea).  The old May Co. building, now LACMA West, marks the western border of Miracle Mile's "Museum Row".

Developer A. W. Ross saw potential for the area and developed Wilshire as a commercial district to rival downtown Los Angeles. Ross's insight was that the form and scale of his Wilshire strip should attract and serve automobile traffic rather than pedestrian shoppers. He applied this design both to the street itself and to the buildings lining it.

Ross gave Wilshire various "firsts," including dedicated left-turn lanes and the first timed traffic lights in the United States; he also required merchants to provide automobile parking lots, all to aid traffic flow. Major retailers such as Desmonds, Silverwood's, May Co., Coulter's, Mullen & Bluett, Myer Siegel, and Seibu eventually spread across Wilshire Boulevard from Fairfax to La Brea. Ross ordered that all building facades along Wilshire be engineered so as to be best seen through a windshield. This meant larger, bolder, simpler signage; longer buildings in a larger scale, oriented toward the boulevard; and architectural ornament and massing perceptible at 30 MPH instead of at walking speed. These simplified building forms were driven by practical requirements but contributed to the stylistic language of Art Deco and Streamline Moderne.

A sculptural bust of Ross stands at 5800 Wilshire, with the inscription, "A. W. Ross, founder and developer of the Miracle Mile. Vision to see, wisdom to know, courage to do."*^



(1954)##** - View showing the May Co. Department store at the corner of Wilshire Blvd and Fairfax Ave along with signs for Simon's Drive-in and the Miracle Mile.  




(2009)*^ – View showing the former 1930s May Company department store - now part of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Photo by Carol Highsmith  


Historical Notes

In 1994 the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) acquired the building and, as "LACMA West", used it as exhibition space for the museum.*^



(ca. 2010)^#^ - May Company/LACMA West with Johnie's Coffee Shop across the street.  Photo by Tim Street-Porter  


Historical Notes

The May Company/LACMA West Building is scheduled to be repurposed by 2017, at which time The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures is planning to move in.*^


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Sontag Drug Store (Wilshire)

(1939)* - View of the Art Deco building housing a Sontag Drug Store at 5401 Wilshire Blvd.  


Historical Notes

Built in 1935, this Art Deco structure has stood the test of time. It was originally the Sontag Drug Store, one of the largest drug stores in America at the time.  It was also one of the first to allow customers to browse and choose their own products rather than requesting them from a clerk behind a counter.*#*#



(1941)^^ - Exterior view of the Sontag Drug Store, located at the northwest corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Cloverdale Avenue.  


Historical Notes

The above building still stands today, housing “Wilshire Beauty” and looking much like it did more than seven decades ago.*#*#


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Mid-City Cut Rate Drug Store

(ca. 1941)^^#* - A view from the sidewalk of the Mid-City Cut Rate Drug Store at 3773 South Western in Los Angeles. The display windows are full of merchandise and signs advertising deals on soap, tooth paste, rubbing alcohol, whiskey, and candy bars, among other things. Outside of the building there are two mailboxes and a coin operated scale. A billboard on the left side of the building advertises for Old Guide Whiskey.  Photo by Dick Whittington.   


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El Coyote Mexican Cafe (1st Location)

(1940s)* - Looking across the street towards the exterior of the original El Coyote Cafe, located at 105 N. La Brea Avenue. A costumed woman is standing near the restaurant's entrance and signs identify that "Spanish Food" is served. The restaurant, which opened at this La Brea location in 1931, later moved to 7312 Beverly Boulevard and continues to be a popular dining destination. The Spanish style building seen here is no longer standing.  


Historical Notes

Opened in 1931 by Blanche and George March, the tiny cafe was originally located at First and La Brea. In 1951 El Coyote moved to its present location on Beverly Blvd.*^



El Coyote Mexican Cafe (Current Location)

(1974)^.^ - View looking east showing El Coyote from parking lot with phone booth seen at left.  


Historical Notes

Autographed photographs of Hollywood stars line one wall just inside the entrance. John Wayne, Loretta Young and Ricardo Montalban ate there. A young Drew Barrymore spent many an evening tearing around the restaurant while family members dined. And one day even royalty came calling when Princess Grace and Prince Rainier of Monaco walked in unannounced.




(2012)^ - Exterior view of the El Coyote Mexican Cafe at its current location, 7312 Beverly Blvd. Phone booth no longer there.  


Historical Notes

In the notoriety category, Sharon Tate, Jay Sebring, Abigail Folger and Wojciech Frykowski ate their last meal at the El Coyote, the night they were later murdered by the Manson Family.^




(2019)^.^ – Sidewalk view showing the front entrance to the El Coyote.  


Historical Notes

The list of celebrities is long, and you need only look to the wall of autographed head shots to spy one of your favorites. Back in the early years cowboy tough man John Wayne, and Star Trek and Fantasy Island star Ricardo Montalbán could be found here, and even Grace Kelly visited after becoming Princess of Monaco. In more recent years the likes of Kevin Spacey, Cuba Gooding Jr., Seth Rogan, and many more have dinned in the kitschy but warm atmosphere. Quentin Tarantino frequents this place either, even after coming out with the Manson inspired film Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.*




(ca. 2012)^^ - View of the neon sign above the El Coyote Mexican Cafe.  


Historical Notes

El Coyote celebrated its 80th anniversary on March 13, 2011, with 75¢ dinner specials.^


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Clifton's Pacific Seas Cafeteria (originally Clifton's Golden Rule)

(ca. 1940)* - Clifton's "Pacific Seas" Cafeteria, done up in Polynesian themes, with palm trees and waterfalls. The signs say "Visitors welcome" and "Pay what you wish." What appears to be a take-out counter is at left.


Historical Notes

In 1931, Clifford Clinton leased a "distressed" cafeteria location at 618 South Olive Street in Los Angeles and founded what his customers referred to as "The Cafeteria of the Golden Rule". Patrons were obliged to pay only what they felt was fair, according to a neon sign that flashed "PAY WHAT YOU WISH."

Clifton’s restaurant chain was noted for each facility having its own theme, and for aiding those who could not afford to pay. This approach to business reflected the owner's Christian ethos—he never turned anyone away hungry and maintained a precedent set by the first restaurant on Olive Street, known as "Clifton's Golden Rule".

In 1939, Cafeteria of the Golden Rule was transformed into the Pacific Seas and redecorated in the Polynesian motif shown above. The exterior was decorated with waterfalls, geysers and tropical foliage. Brightly illuminated in the evening, it became a mecca for tourists and Angelenos alike, often being referred to in the same category as other prominent landmarks of downtown Los Angeles, such as Angels Flight, Olvera Street, and Pershing Square.*^




(ca. 1939)* - Interior view of Clifton's, located at 618 South Olive St. A few diners are seen at tables and the cafeteria's tropical theme is recognizable with all of the palm trees and the nautical stained glass window in the background. Photo taken before the drastic 1939 remodeling.


Historical Notes

In 1960, although the three-story structure with its cascading waterfall facade had become a landmark over the preceding 29 years, the original Clifton's Pacific Seas was closed, the building was razed, and the location turned into a parking lot, which it has remained since then.*^



(ca. 1935)^^* - View showing the front of Clifton's Brookdale Cafeteria located at 648 South Broadway.  


Historical Notes

Clifford Clinton, founder of the Clifton's chain, opened a second cafeteria in 1935 in the former circa 1916 restaurant owned by Boos Brothers at 648 South Broadway. Inspired by the coastal redwoods of Northern California, this cafeteria was remodeled to include mountain-themed motifs and design elements, such as a forest scene mural painted by Einar Petersen, large redwood trees used to conceal steel columns, and a 20-foot waterfall designed by sculptor François Scotti. The cafeteria was named Brookdale, in honor of the Brookdale Lodge in the Santa Cruz Mountains. The 4-story brick building with arched windows was listed on the National Register of Historic Places as a contributor to the Broadway Theater and Commercial District in 1979.*^



(1935)^^*^* – View showing Clifton’s Brookdale Cafeteria – “World’s Largest”.  Photo by Dick Whittington  


Historical Notes

Clifton's Brookdale Cafeteria, once part of a chain of 8 Clifton's restaurants founded in 1931 by Clifford Clinton.  The name was created by combining "Clifford" and "Clinton" to produce "Clifton's". The design of the restaurants included exotic decor and facades that were "kitschy and theatrical". *^



(ca. 1939)* - View showing crowds of people shopping on Broadway at Christmas as they walk past Clifton's Brookdale.  Signs on the facade call this cafeteria the "worlds largest" and indicate that it is open "6 am to midnight" The first and second floor facades are open with diners visible past decorative wooden pieces. A Salvation Army bell ringer has set up in front of the restaurant.   


Historical Notes

Clifton's Brookdale Cafeteria, once part of a chain of 8 Clifton's restaurants founded in 1931 by Clifford Clinton.  The name was created by combining "Clifford" and "Clinton" to produce "Clifton's". The design of the restaurants included exotic decor and facades that were "kitschy and theatrical".

"Clifton's Brookdale" is the sole survivor of the multiple branches over 79 years. It is now known as "Clifton's Cafeteria" or more familiarly simply as "Clifton's". *^



(2005)*^ - View of Clifton's Cafeteria with its 1963 installed aluminum façade (the aluminum façade was removed in a renovation that is scheduled for completion in 2015).  


Historical Notes

In 1946, Clifford and his wife Nelda sold their cafeteria interests to their three younger Clinton children, and retired to devote their attentions to a Meals for Millions, a non-profit charitable organization he founded in the wake of World War II to distribute food to millions of starving and malnourished people throughout the world.*^



(2009)*^ - Interior view of Clifton's Brookdale Cafeteria.  


Historical Notes

Clifton's Brookdale was sold to nightclub operator Andrew Meieran in 2010. Meieran began renovating the building in 2012. *^



(2015)^*^* - Clifton's Cafeteria finally reopened on October 1, 2015.  


Historical Notes

The revamped restaurant has multiple eating and drinking establishments inside the building, including a bakery, a version of the original 1935 classic cafeterias on the ground and second floors, an old-school steakhouse on the third floor, and a Polynesian-themed tiki bar on the fourth floor, named "South Seas" in honor of the original 1931 facility. The combined-use building also includes a museum called "Clifton’s Cabinet of Curiosities". *^


* * * * *



The Hollywood Palladium

(1940)**^# - Exterior view of the Hollywood Palladium, located at 6215 West Sunset Boulevard.  


Historical Notes

Los Angeles Times publisher Norman Chandler funded the construction of the art deco Hollywood Palladium at a cost of $1.6 million in 1940. It was built where the original Paramount lot once stood by film producer Maurice Cohen and is located between Argyle and El Centro avenues. The style dance hall was designed by Gordon Kaufmann, architect of the Greystone Mansion, the Los Angeles Times building and the Santa Anita Racetrack in Arcadia. He was also the architect for the Hoover Dam and early Caltech dorms.*^



(1947)*^ - Exterior view of the Hollywood Palladium with Opie Cates and his Orchestra on the bill.  




(1940)* - Marquee at the Palladium shows premiere opening of Tommy Dorsey and his orchestra. The Palladium is located at 6215 W Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood.  


Historical Notes

The ballroom opened October 31, 1940 with a dance featuring Tommy Dorsey and his Orchestra and band vocalist Frank Sinatra.  It had six bars serving liquor and two more serving soft drinks and a $1 cover charge and a $3 charge for dinner.*^



(1940s)#^* - Hollywood Palladium during WWII. The dance floor is fiilled to capacity.  


Historical Notes

During WWII, the Palladium hosted radio broadcasts featuring Betty Grable greeting servicemen’s' song requests. Big Band acts began losing popularity in the 1950s, causing the Palladium to hold charity balls, political events, auto shows, and rock concerts. In 1961, it became the home of the long-running Lawrence Welk Show.*^



(1942)^.^ – Close-up view of the ticket window and marquee of the Hollywood Palladium.   Now playing Claude Thornhill with Sonny Dunham & His Orchestra the coming attraction.  In the distance can be seen CBS Columbia Square.  




(ca. 1959)^.^ – View looking east toward the Palladium showing an oversized Bilboard for Lawrence Welk and his Champagne Music Makers on the west face of the building.  Mark C. Bloome can be seen across the street (south side of Sunset).  





(1950s)^^ - Night view of the Palladium Theater located in Hollywood at the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Argyle Avenue.  Marquee reads:  Tonight and Saturday – The Lawrence Welk Champagne Music Makers  





(ca. 1950s)**^# - View of Lawrence Welk at the Palladium conducting his 'Polka Music' orchestra.  


Historical Notes

The Lawrence Welk Show started in 1951 as a local program on KTLA-TV in Los Angeles. The original show was broadcast from the since-demolished Aragon Ballroom at Venice Beach. The show made its national TV debut on July 2, 1955, and was initially produced at the Hollywood Palladium, moving to the ABC studios at Prospect and Talmadge in Hollywood shortly afterwards. For 23 of its 27 years on the air, the show would originate there. The only seasons not produced there were 1965–66, 1976–77 at the Hollywood Palace and CBS Television City from 1977 to 1979.*^



(2005)*^ - View showing the Hollywood Palladium, prior to 2008 renovation.  Click HERE for contemporary view.  


Historical Notes

In 2007, the owners agreed to a long-term lease to operate, manage and exclusively book the Hollywood Palladium with Live Nation, a Los Angeles-based company.

The Palladium reopened with a Jay-Z concert on October 15, 2008 after a year-long, multimillion-dollar renovation by Live Nation. The renovation included an overhaul of the venue's interior and exterior, a new dance floor, expanded concessions, upgraded restrooms and improvements to the stage infrastructure. Jay-Z performed for nearly an hour-and-half, backed by an eight-piece band and DJ AM, who played his first show after surviving a plane crash in South Carolina. The Hollywood Palladium was also used as the memorial service site for DJ AM on September 3, 2009.

An expansion of the Palladium property parking lot was approved by the Los Angeles City council on March 2016. The plan consists of two 28 story residential towers that surrounds the historic music venue. Each tower will stand 350 feet tall and create 731 condominiums, 24,000 sq ft store front retail space and a below grade parking garage. The Towers were designed by Stanley Saitowits of Natoma Architects. The "L" shaped design resembles and echoes the Streamline Moderne - art deco design of the Palladium. The firm intends to break ground in 2018 as the site is prepped and lawsuits are settled.*^


* * * * *



Vine Street Theatre

(1940)* - Crowds of people line the sidewalk outside the Vine Street Theatre located at 1615 N. Vine St. Banner hanging reads, "Texaco Town", every Sunday. Above the entrance of the theatre, neon sign reads, "KNX, CBS Radio Playhouse."  


Historical Notes

This Beaux Arts live-performance theater was built in 1926-1927. The premier performance was “An American Tragedy” by Theodore Dreiser. The theater also had a memorable run of the play “Philadelphia” during its early years. The theater features orchestra, mezzanine, loge and balcony seating.

During the depression of the 1930’s, the theater was renamed the Lux Radio Playhouse and became a cinema. The theater was then purchased by the Columbia Broadcasting (CBS) for local affiliate KNX radio and was used as a live performance radio auditorium and local radio station.^^#



(1954)* - Photograph caption dated September 28, 1954 reads, "A crowd of over 2000 lined up on Vine Street waiting to catch a glimpse of the many notables attending the opening night at the Huntington Hartford Theatre, located at 1615 North Vine Street. The million dollar theater is the first legitimate live theater venue to open in America in 27 years."  


Historical Notes

In 1954, Mr. Huntington Hartford bought the building for $200,000 from Columbia Broadcasting and extensively remodeled and “modernized” the theater at an additional cost of $750,000. He streamlined the building from the facade, to the lobby and through the auditorium. Hartford ran the theater successfully for ten years.^^#



(1954)^^ – Interior view of the Huntington Hartford Theater during the opening of "What Every Woman Knows" with Helen Hayes. Location: 1615 North Vine Street  


Historical Notes

In 1964 Hartford sold the theater to James Doolittle (owner of the Greek Theater in the Hollywood Hills) for $850,000. Cary Grant had tried to buy the building, but lost over Doolittle. The theater was (not surprisingly) renamed the Doolittle Theater.

Eventually, the theater would run down into disrepair. Until bought in 2000 by the U.C.L.A. performing arts group “Nosotros”, an organization founded in 1970 by actor Ricardo Montalban “to help fulfill the goals of persons of Spanish-speaking origin in the motion picture and television industry”. The founding board included members Desi Arnaz, Vicki Carr and Anthony Quinn.

This theater is often mistaken for other Hollywood theaters, most often with the Hollywood Playhouse at 1735 Vine Street, which in the 1960’s became famous as the Hollywood Palace TV show venue. That theater still stands one block to the north. The Ricardo Montalban Theater has even been confused with the former Jerry Lewis Theater and the El Capitan Theater, which are blocks away.^^#



Click HERE to see more in Early Views of Hollywood (1920 +)


* * * * *



Bell and Howell Building

(1940s)* - View of the Bell and Howell Building located at 716 N. La Brea Avenue.  


Historical Notes

Bell and Howell were manufacturers of motion picture equipment and machinery. The company started in 1917 and for years made 8mm, 16mm and 35mm motion picture cameras and projectors. By 1919,  nearly 100% of the equipment used to make motion pictures was manufactured by Bell and Howell. It also produced cameras and projectors for personal home movies. Most families growing up in the '50's and '60's had a super 8 Bell & Howell movie camera to make home movies.

However the firm dropped making movie cameras in the early 1970's. Today the company is primarily an information management business and provides micrographic and digital services.

In 1957 the 716 N. La Brea building was purchased by Cinema Research for their special effects and title service center. In the 1960's it is where Magnetic Recorders Corporation worked out of.

Today Aaron Brothers continues to sell picture frames on La Brea from the old Bell & Howell building.*##^


* * * * *



Pink's Hot Dogs

(ca. 1939)* - View of Paul Pink's first hot dog push cart stand on La Brea. HOT DOG went for 10 Cents. You could also get a 'DOUBLE COLA'.  


Historical Notes

Pink's was founded by Paul and Betty Pink in 1939 as a pushcart near the corner of La Brea and Melrose. The Great Depression was still having an impact on the country, and money was scarce. People could purchase a chili dog made with Betty's own chili recipe accompanied by mustard and onions on a steamed bun for 10 cents each.^




(1946)** - View of the newly built Pink's Hot Dog building at 709 N. La Brea Avenue.  


Historical Notes

In 1946 Paul Pink traded his hot dog wagon in for a small building (constructed on the very same spot where the wagon had stood).




(1992)^^ – View showing people enjoying a late night meal at PINK'S HOT DOGS on La Brea north of Melrose.  





(2015)^.^ - View showing long lines in front of Pink’s on La Brea.  


Historical Notes

Today, there is usually a long line of customers in front despite the lack of parking in the area. The often slow-moving line is viewed by some as part of the attraction at Pink's, especially on Friday and Saturday nights when the stand becomes packed with club and concert goers.

In September 2009, a location opened on the Las Vegas Strip at the Planet Hollywood Hotel & Casino.

In April 2010, another location opened in Universal City Walk and introduced "The Betty White Naked Dog" (no condiments or toppings). In November 2010, a location opened at Harrah's Rincon in Valley Center.

Pink's hot dogs are also sold at amusement parks, including Knott's Berry Farm in Southern California, and starting in 2011, Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio, the first Pink's location east of Las Vegas.^




(ca. 2014)^.^ - Night view showing a long line of customers in front of Pink’s Hot Dogs.  



* * * * *



Bob's Big Boy

(1940)* - Bob's Big Boy Restaurant opened in Burbank 1940 and was located at 624 S. San Fernando Boulevard. From left to right: Arnold Peterson, car hops, and Bob Wian.  


Historical Notes

Bob's Big Boy restaurant chain was founded by Bob Wian in Southern California in 1936, originally named Bob's Pantry.

The chain is best known for its trademark chubby boy in red-and-white checkered overalls holding a Big Boy sandwich (double-decker cheeseburger). The inspiration for Big Boy's name, as well as the model for its mascot, was Richard Woodruff (1936–1986), of Glendale, California. When he was six years old, he walked into the diner Bob's Pantry as Bob Wian was attempting to name his new hamburger. Wian said, "Hello, Big Boy" to Woodruff, and the name stuck.^




(1940s)^ – View showing the original Bob’s Big Boy located at 624 San Fernando Road, Burbank.  


Historical Notes

The signature Big Boy hamburger is the original double deck hamburger.

The novel hamburger started as a joke. In February 1937, members of an area big band, who were regular customers, visited Bob's Pantry, one asking, "How about something different, something special?" Bob Wian improvised, creating the first (then unnamed) Big Boy, intending the thing "look ridiculous, like a leaning tower". Demand for "the special" soared but Wian sought a "snappy" name, which became Big Boy. In 1938, the Big Boy hamburger cost 15¢ ($2.65 in 2018).

The Big Boy hamburger inspired and was the model for other double deck hamburgers. This includes McDonald's Big Mac, Burger Chef's Big Shef and Burger King's Big King.^




(ca. 1940s)^ - A carhop serving two customers sitting in an early model roadster at Bob's Big Boy at 4211 W. Riverside Drive, Burbank.  


Historical Notes

Click HERE to see more Early LA Drive-in Restaurants.




(1958)^ - Bob's Big Boy No. 6, 4211 W Riverside Drive, Burbank. Sign reads: Original Double Deck Hamburger  





(ca. 1955)* - Debbie Reynolds and her 1955 T-Bird at Bob's Big Boy Drive-in.  


Historical Notes

The restaurant was honored in 1993, receiving the designation as a "STATE POINT OF HISTORICAL INTEREST" by the State of California. The current owner (the MacDonald Family) acquired control of the restaurant in 1993 and began to restore it to its past glory.

Click HERE to see contemporary view.




(2019)^ - Bob's Big Boy, 4211 W Riverside Drive, Burbank. Built in 1949, it is the oldest remaining Bob’s Big Boy in America.  


Historical Notes

In his design, Architect Wayne McAllister mixed the practical with the eye-popping. The 70-foot-tall neon sign, which made it easy for drivers to see the coffee shop from the road, was so distinctive it helped build the Bob's Big Boy brand. McAllister designed many popular restaurants including The Smoke House in Burbank and several circular drive-ins, all of which are now gone. He was also responsible for several early Las Vegas casinos including The Sands, The Desert Inn and The Fremont.^


* * * * *



Thrifty Drug Store and A&P Market

(ca. 1940s)^^ - Photograph of an exterior view of Thrifty Drug Store and A&P Market. The one-story Art Deco-style building is pictured on the southwest corner of Sunset Boulevard and Fairfax Avenue. At left, the sidewalk is lined by palm trees. In the right foreground, a motorcyclist makes his way past two parked automobiles.  


Historical Notes

Today, a Rite Aid occupies the building on the southwest corner of Fairfax and Sunset.

Thrifty PayLess Holdings, Inc. was a pharmacy holding company that owned the Thrifty Drugs and PayLess Drug Stores chains in the western United States. The combined company was formed in April 1994 when Los Angeles-based TCH Corporation, the parent company of Thrifty Corporation and Thrifty Drug Stores, Inc., acquired the Kmart subsidiary PayLess Northwest, Inc.  At the time of the merger, TCH Corporation was renamed Thrifty PayLess Holdings, Inc. and Thrifty operated 495 stores, PayLess operated 543 stores.

In 1996, Rite Aid acquired 1,000 West Coast stores from Thrifty PayLess Holdings, creating a chain with over 3,500 drug stores.*^




(ca. 1940)^^ -  Exterior view of the A & P Market and Thrifty Drug Store at Sunset and Fairfax as seen from across the street. This light-colored art deco building has a small overhang with rounded edges below a sign that shows a large "A & P" inside a circle. Above, another large sign faces toward the left with the same A & P sign accompanied by a Thrifty Drug Store sign. At center, the inside of the market is barely visible through the large opening.  


Historical Notes

The A&P stores evolved from the Great Atlantic and Pacific (A&P) Tea Company, founded in the 1800s in New York by George Hartford and George Gilman. In 1912, John Hartford, son of the co-founder, came up with the idea of expanding and forming the A&P Econonmy Store chain which would rely on a business model that included standarization of layout and elmination of credit accounts and delivery.

The format was wildly successful, and the chain had grown from 585 stores in 1913 to more than 4500 stores by 1920, and to over 15,000 stores all over the east coast and Midwest by 1930. In the early 1930s, the first California stores were opened, adding some credibility to the company name.

By the 1960s, A&P stores were stale, sales were flat, and the midwestern and west coast divisions were struggling. A well-publicized corporate reorganization in 1968 and 1969 did little to stem the decline, and the next two decades were defined by declining sales, closing stores, and failed format changes. Among the stores closed were the entire Southern California operation, in 1969, which eliminated A&P as a contender in the fastest-growing market in the country. #*#^




Then and Now

(1940s) vs. (2018) - Sunset and Fairfax looking southwest.  




* * * * *



Chateau Marmont Hotel

(1940s)^*# – Photo showing the Chateau Marmont Hotel located at 8221 Sunset Boulevard.  


Historical Notes

In 1926 Fred Horowitz, a prominent Los Angeles attorney, chose the site at Marmont Lane and Sunset Boulevard to construct an apartment building. Horowitz had recently traveled to Europe for inspiration and returned to California with photos of a Gothic Chateau along the Loire River. In 1927 Horowitz commissioned his brother-in-law, European-trained architect Arnold A. Weitzman, to design the seven-story, L-shaped building based on his French photos. When deciding upon a name for the building, Chateau Sunset and Chateau Hollywood were rejected in favor of Chateau Marmont, a name conceived by the small street running across the front of the property.

On February 1, 1929, Chateau Marmont opened its doors to the public as the newest residence of Hollywood. Local newspapers described the Chateau as “Los Angeles’s newest, finest and most exclusive apartment house ... superbly situated, close enough to active businesses to be accessible and far enough away to insure quiet and privacy.”

Due to the high rents and inability to keep tenants for long-term commitments during the depression, Fred Horowitz chose to sell the apartment building to Albert E. Smith for $750,000 in cash. The following year, Chateau Marmont was converted into a hotel. The apartments became suites with kitchens and living rooms. The property was also refurbished with antiques from depression-era estate sales.*^



(ca. 1995)* – View of the Chateau Marmont Hotel as seen from the Hollywood Hills.  


Historical Notes

Designed and constructed to be earthquake proof, Chateau Marmont survived major earthquakes in 1933, 1953, 1971, 1987 and 1994 without sustaining any major structural damage. Nine Spanish cottages were built next to the hotel in the 1930s and were acquired by the hotel in the 1940s. Craig Ellwood designed two of the four bungalows in 1956, after he completed Case Study Houses.*^

In 1976, Chateau Marmont was dedicated LA Historic-Cultural Monument No. 151 (Click HERE to see complete listing).

Click HERE to see more Early Views of Chateau Marmont Hotel.


* * * * *



Municipal Power and Light

(1940)** - View showing the illuminated entrance to Distribution Station No. 8 located at 4858 San Vicente Boulevard, corner of Longwood Avenue. The sign on the top front face of this Art Deco building reads: Municipal Power and Light.


Historical Notes

This Art Deco building was built in 1937-38 by the L.A. Municipal Power and Light. During its construction, the name of the electric utility was changed to Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (DWP). Click HERE to see more in Name Change Chronology of DWP.

The front of the building is particularly noteworthy because of its modernistic treatment. A wide panel rises over the doorway which is fabricated of glass building brick to a height of about 37 ft. The entrance is trimmed with polished black granite.^



Click HERE to see more in Early L.A. Power Distribution Stations.


* * * * *



Van de Kamp's Bakery

(1941)* - Van de Kamp's Beverly Hills and the Beverly Vons Market located on the corner of Wilshire and S. Crescent Heights.  


Historical Notes

Van de Kamp's Holland Dutch Bakeries was a bakery founded in 1915 and headquartered in the Van de Kamp Bakery Building in Los Angeles. The company's trademark blue windmills featured on their grocery store signs and atop their chain of famous restaurants that were known throughout the region.*^



(1940s)**^# - View of Van De Kamps/Vons Market at 8104 Beverly Blvd.  


Historical Notes

The Van de Kamp family sold the bakery to General Baking Co. in 1956. The company was then sold to private investors in 1979, and closed in bankruptcy in 1990.

The Van de Kamp's brand is now owned by Ralphs supermarket chain and used for their line of private-label baked goods.*^



(ca. 1945)* - Van de Kamp's Bakery and Coffee Shop with Drive-In service, located on the corner of Fletcher Drive and San Fernando Road in Atwater. Numerous cars are parked at the drive-in and other business and product signs are visible in the background: Knudsen's, Coca Cola and Carnation ice cream.  


* * * * *



Hermosa Beach Pier / Pier Ave Plaza

(1914)^*# – Postcard view of Hermosa Beach and Pier as seen from Summit Avenue. This was Hermosa Beach's 2nd pier, built in 1914 and made of concrete.  

Historical Notes

In 1900, a group of real estate developers purchased 1,500 acres of land and established the Hermosa Beach Land and Water Company. The investors were anticipating the continued growth of Los Angeles to the east, and the continued success of coastal resorts. The area's first official survey was completed in 1901, for the purpose of laying out a boardwalk along the beach. The Hermosa Beach pier, which was made entirely of wood and extended 500 feet out over the ocean, was built in 1904.

In 1913, much of the original wooden pier was washed away by high tides, and in 1914 the city built a new concrete structure to replace it (seen above). The boardwalk suffered from similar problems, and was replaced by a new concrete walkway that same year. The new pier extended 1,000 feet over the water, and included small pavilions along the sides to provide shade for visitors. On the land end, an auditorium was built, which would later house the county library, Chamber of Commerce, and county lifeguard.**#**




(1920s)##^^ – View looking west across Hermosa Avenue showing the entrance to Hermosa Beach Pier. This is currently the Pier Avenue Plaza. Click HERE for contemporary view.  


Historical Notes

Note the electric lines at the top of the photo that provided power to the Pacific Electric trains, or "Red Cars," that ran along Hermosa Avenue from Los Angeles to Redondo Beach. The Bank of America building is now at the corner where The National Bank of Hermosa Beach once stood. The building at the end of Pier Avenue (at the foot of the pier) housed a public library and a lifeguard station.  The Hermosa Hotel is the taller building on the left.




(ca. 1940)**#** - A daytime view from Pier Avenue at Hermosa Avenue, looking towards the ocean. There are several small shops and a hotel along the street, and at the end of the block is the entrance to Hermosa Beach Pier. A flagpole stands in the middle of the street.  





(ca. 1947)* - Postcard view of the entrance to the Hermosa Beach pier. A Public Library is on the left and the Chamber of Commerce is on the right.


Historical Notes

The first Hermosa Beach election for city officers was held December 24, 1906. On January 14, 1907, Hermosa Beach became the nineteenth incorporated city of Los Angeles County.*^

The name Hermosa comes from Spanish and means "beautiful."

Click HERE to see more Early Views of Hermosa Beach (1904 +)..


* * * * *


Bay Theatre (Pacific Palisades)

(1948)*^^ - The grand opening of the Bay Theater searchlights and all located at 15140 W. Sunset Boulevard, Pacific Palisades.  


Historical Notes

Opened in 1948, the S. Charles Lee-designed Bay Theatre was twinned in the mid-1970’s. The Bay Theatre was closed in late-1978 and was converted into a hardware store by 1980.^^#



(n.d.)^^# - Interior view of the Bay Theater in Pacific Palisades.  


* * * * *



Silent Movie Theatre

(1942)#^# - View of the "Silent Movie Theatre" located at 611 N. Fairfax Avenue shortly before it opened.  


Historical Notes

John Hampton and his brother Gilbert began collecting silent films when they were boys in Oklahoma City. Throughout the mid-1920’s, he and his brother held movie nights at their home for family and friends.

In 1940, John Hampton and his wife Dorothy moved from Oklahoma to Los Angeles. A year later, they bought an empty lot on Fairfax Ave, near Melrose Ave. On this empty lot, Mr. Hampton built his version of an ideal theater – one with “staggered seating, bowl-shaped floor, acoustical sound, and silent pictures.” #^#



(1940s)#^# - View looking south on Farifax Avenue from Melrose Avenue. The Silent Movie Theatre is one of the few buildings standing on the west side of Fairfax Ave. Fairfax High School is directly across the street from the theater.  


Historical Notes

The theater opened for business in February, 1942. The marquee simply said “Old Time Movies” with “Movie” painted in script between the two windows on the upper floor. The theater had 250 seats. A child’s ticket cost five cents; an adult’s ticket cost ten cents.

After World War II, patrons were nostalgic to see the silent film stars from their childhood and celebrities like Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford, and D.W. Griffith would sometimes sit in the back rows to watch their own silent films. #^#



(1980)* - Exterior view of the Silent Movie Theatre in its 30th year of showing films on Fairfax Avenue, also offers L.A.'s bargain movie price of $1.50 admission.  


Historical Notes

By the 1950’s, the theater’s audiences grew smaller as television’s popularity grew. Other silent film theaters folded while the Hamptons were able to keep their theater afloat until 1980 when they had to shut it down. The theater was to stay closed for the next ten years until after the death of Mr. Hampton.

The theater reopened 1991 under new management and has since seen a sucession of owners. #^#



(n.d.)#^# - A crowd of people waiting to see Charlie Chaplin's "Modern Times" at the Silent Movie Theatre.  


Historical Notes

Today, the name of the theater remains “Silent Movie Theatre.” It is run by a non-profit organization aptly called “the Cinefamily” and has become the premier site for vintage and experimental film. #^#


* * * * *



Gilmore Drive-In

  (ca. 1948)^^# - View of the Gilmore Drive-In Theatre located at 6201 W. 3rd Street. The Marquis reads: GRAND OPENING - SILVIER LINING w/ Errol Flynn and Ann Sheridan.



Historical Notes

The Gilmore Drive-In was located near the Farmers Market in the Fairfax area in Los Angeles. It opened in 1948 with a capacity for 650 cars and lasted until the mid-1970’s. The drive-in sat for the next 5 years, before being razed.





(1949)^ - View showing a packed house at the Gilmore Drive-In Theatre. The Gilmore Field is seen in the background with lights on, possible a baseball game. The Hollywood Stars played at Gilmore Field (Click HERE to see more in Baseball in Early L.A.)  





(1948)**^ – Aerial view of the area bounded by Beverly, Fairfax, 3rd Street, and Gardner Avenue. Gilmore Drive-in stands in the foregrond surrounded by Farmers Market, Gilmore Stadium, Gilmore Field, and the Pan Pacific Auditorium  


Historical Notes

The Gilmore Drive-in site today is occupied by the south end of Gardner Park just east of the Grove-Farmers Market Shopping Mall.




(1951)* – Aerial view looking southeast showing construction of the new CBS Television City at center.  In the foreground on the southeast corner of Beverly and Fairfax is Herbert's Drive-In Restaurant.  Further in the distance can be seen (L to R):  Gilmore Field, Gilmore Drive-In, Park La Brea Towers, and Farmers Market. Credit: CBS Photo Archive.    





(ca. 1950s)^ - At the drive-in, or as some called it....."passion pits."  






(n.d.)^ - Window-mounted drive-in speakers...one for your car...one for the car on the other side of you. Later systems would transmit the signal through your AM radio.




Historical Notes

The outdoor theaters reached the zenith of their popularity during the 1950s.  Piling the kids in the car made for a cheap family night out, and drive-ins were a favorite hangout for teens who'd recently gotten driver's licenses.

The activities of the teenagers prompted another nickname for drive-in theaters — "passion pits".





(ca. 1970s)* – Daytime aerial view showing Gilmore Drive-in with part of Farmer’s Market seen at top (to the west).  3rd Street is on the left and Stanley Avenue (The Grove Drive) runs horizaontal at bottom.  Today, the Grove Shopping Center stands at this location.  







(ca. 1958)* - View showing the front marquis of Gilmore Drive-in located at the northwest corner of 3rd Street and Stanley Avenue (later The Grove Dr.) with an electric trolley bus and a 1958 Chevrolet in the foreground.







(1978)^ – Looking across 3rd Street toward the Gilmore Drive-in the year it closed. It sat for the next 5 years before being razed to make way for the Grove and the south end of Pan Pacific Park.  



* * * * *




Canter Bros. Delicatessen

(1939)+#+ - Exterior view of Canter Brothers Delicatessen located at 2323 Brooklyn Avenue in Boyle Heights.  


Historical Notes

It all began in Jersey City, New Jersey in 1924. After losing a deli in the 1929 stock market crash, Ben Canter and his two brothers moved to California with just $500 in their pockets.  Eager to succeed, they opened up a Canter Brother’s Delicatessen in 1931 in Boyle Heights, the Jewish center of Los Angeles.*




(ca. 1930s)#^* - “Canter’s Brothers Delicatessen” with the founders at their 2323 Brooklyn Ave in Boyle Heights.  


Historical Notes

When the character of the neighborhood changed, Ben Canter’s daughter, Selma Udko, and her then husband, Harold Price, partnered with Ben Canter and his wife, Jennie, to purchase a prime location at 439 N. Farifax Avenue in 1948. Instead of calling it Canter’s Brothers they called it Canter’s Fairfax. *



Canter's Deli (Fairfax)

(1948)***^ - Canter's Deli when it first came to Fairfax in 1948, it was at 439 N. Fairfax where Supreme is now. 5 years later Canter's moved a few doors down to where it still is today, 419 N. Fairfax.  


Historical Notes

After World War II, the Jewish population of Boyle Heights left en masse for the Fairfax District, West Hollywood, and other West Side neighborhoods (as well as the San Fernando Valley) and Canter's followed the influx of Jewish businesses west, converting a movie theater which had previously shown Yiddish-language films to a delicatessen much larger than its previous spaces.*^




(ca. 1937)* - Canter's purchased Esquire Theatre in 1953, and relocated to their current location at 419 N. Fairfax.  


Historical Notes

The Esquire Theatre was opened in 1937. It was converted into the second home of Canter’s Deli in 1953 after it moved from its original location. The deli’s tall ceiling is one of the few clues visitors can find of its original use.^^#




(ca. 1970)#*## - Crowds of people hanging out in front of Canter's Deli in the Fairfax District.  


Historical Notes

Since it opened on Fairfax in 1948, Canter's quickly became a hangout for show business personalities, given its location and its late hours. It has remained such ever since. In the 1960s, Canter's became a late night hang out for hippies, rock musicians, and other countercultural types, partially for the same reasons. Also, many rock musicians had grown up in Fairfax and West Hollywood, and the Sunset Strip was only a half-mile away.*^




(2005)*^ - Night view of Canter's Deli located at 419 N. Fairfax Avenue.  


Historical Notes

Canter's has remained a favorite of rock musicians to the present day, and is still open 24 hours as always.




(2010s)^v^ - View looking southwest toward Oakwood Ave showing a palm tree-line Fairfax Ave with Canter’s Deli in the background.  At center-right can be seen Schwartz Bakery, LA's oldest Jewish bakery (1954). Click HERE for contemporary view.  





(2020)^.^ - Closer view of Canter’s Deli as seen from across a tree-lined Fairfax Avenue.  





(2010s)^v^ - Sunset view looking northwest toward the iconic Canter’s Deli on Fairfax Avenue - Open 24 Hours. Click HERE for contemporary view.  





(2014)^.^ - President Barack Obama greets patrons at Canter’s Delicatessen, July 24, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)  





(2015)#^* – Canter's Deli - "The Authentic Deli Experience". Hot pastrami and rye please.  





(2020)^.^ - Canter’s Deli under a full moon.  Open 24 Hours  


Historical Notes

Canter's is open every day of the year except for the Jewish holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.


* * * * *



Fisher's Hamburgers

(1959)^.^ – Interior view of Fisher’s Hamburgers located at 350 S. Fairfax Avenue in the old Town and Country Village.  Picture was taken on Graduation Day from Laurel School. Photo courtesy of Robert Maslen, seen in picture (patterned shirt in middle, smiling at camera).  


Historical Notes

Originally located in the old Town and Country Village, with the street address 350 S. Fairfax, in 1961 it had moved to temporary headquarters on the west side of Fairfax (141 S. Fairfax) during demolition of the village. It subsequently settled into its new home at 6332 W Third when the food court of the existing shopping center opened in 1964.  It was located next to Andre's Italian Restaurant (still there).

It should be noted that over the years students from both Bancroft Jr. High and Fairfax High schools would also swarm Fisher's on Graduation Day.

The above picture, along with several others, was hung on the wall inside the new Fisher's for many years.




(ca. 1950s)^.^ – View showing eating area outside of Fisher’s Hamburgers in the old Town and Country Village, 350 S. Fairfax Avenue.  


Historical Notes

The picture above is the OLD Fisher's, before it moved to 141 S. Fairfax Ave and then again to its final location at 6332 W. Third Street.


* * * * *



Andre's Italian Restaurant

(1963)** - Interior view of Andre’s Italian Restaurnat located in the old Town and Country Village, 6332 W. 3rd Street, lcoated adjacent to Fisher's Hamburgers.  


Historical Notes

Chef Andreone was born in northern Italy and received his formal training at the famed Le Cordon Bleu culinary school in Paris, France.  As a young chef, Mr. Andreone immigrated to the United States and worked for many of the top rated dining establishments of the time.  In 1959 Chef Andreone opened a full service restaurant named Andre’s of Beverly Hills that quickly came to define what is now known as “Continental Cuisine.”  His eponymous restaurant was a big hit and he quickly developed a reputation for having the most reasonably priced full service restaurant in Beverly Hills!

Chef Andreone’s philosophy of providing his customers with value played a big part in his opening Andre’s Italian Restaurant in 1963.*




(2019)^ - View showing the outdoor courtyard in front of Andre’s Italian Restaurant at Town & Country Shopping Center at Fairfax Avenue and Third Street.  


Historical Notes

Andre’s Italian Restaurant is well known among L.A.’s longtime foodies for its made-on-site lasagna and ravioli pasta, spaghetti imported from Italy, garlic bread and house salad dressing, which the eatery also sells by the bottle. A fixture at Fairfax since its 1963 opening, the cafeteria-style venue in more recent years expanded by taking over an adjacent restaurant space and adding a gelato station.

Urbanize.LA reported in May 2018 that architecture firm MVE + Partners unveiled plans for a proposed mixed-use development at Town & Country — located across Third Street from the Farmer's Market and Caruso’s The Grove town center — where Andre’s is flanked by a K-Mart and a Whole Foods.  Andre’s owner partner and manager, Aron Celnik, said that the restaurant has no plan to leave its long-time location, but that even in the best-case scenario, it will have to shutter temporarily.^^


* * * * *



Myer Siegel (Westwood)

(1937)* - View of the newly opened Myer Siegel and Company Store at 1025 Westwood Boulevard.  The store opened just in time for Christmas.  


Historical Notes

In 1886, Myer Siegel opened his first store at Second and Main in Los Angeles. Designed by architect Allen G. Siple, the Westwood Village store opened in December 1937 and was the fifth store in the chain following Downtown, Pasadena, Wilshire and Beverly Hills. These stores offered better women’s apparel.*



(1940s)* - Front view of the Myer Siegel Department Store on Westwood Boulevard. Several late model automobiles are parked along the street.  


Historical Notes

The large glass brick panel above the marquee allowed light to enter the mezzanine, and marble wainscoting flanked the entrance which was paved in travertine. The company closed in the late 1950's but the building is still standing today.*


* * * * *



Tropical Ice Gardens (Westwood)

(1938)#* – Postcard view looking west showing the Tropical Ice Gardens ice skating rink, which opened in 1938 at the corner of Gayley Avenue and Weyburn Avenue in Westwood.  Writing on photo reads:  “The Tropical Ice Gardens, Westwood Village.  The Only All-Year-Round Outdoor Ice Skating Rink in the World”.  


Historical Notes

The Tropical Ice Gardens in Westwood Village opened in November 1938. It had a seating capacity for 10,000 spectators and could accommodate 2,000 ice skaters on its year-round outdoor rink. There were conflicting reports that Norwegian ice champion Sonja Henie had acquired the arena sometime in the 1940s and renamed it Sonja Henie's Ice Palace, but her actual affiliation with the establishment remains uncertain.*





(ca. 1939)#^ - Postcard view of the Tropical Ice Gardens in Westwood Village. The Fox Theatre Tower can be seen in the background.  


Historical Notes

The Tropical Ice Gardens also hosted hockey games, ice dancing shows, comedy and animal ice shows, as well as skating clubs. In 1945 the Tropical Ice Garden merged with the Mercury Figure Skating Club to become the All-Year Mercury AFC. *#*




(1930s)^^#* – Postcard image showing a full house at the year-round Westwood Village ice skating rink.  





(1939)* - Postcard photo of Tropical Ice Gardens looking southeast, showing an almost filled-to-capacity ice rink.  





(ca. 1940s)* - View from high up in the bleachers, where large crowds can be seen enjoying the large outdoor ice skating rink at Tropical Ice Gardens, located in Westwood Village. The towers of both the Holmby Building and the Fox Westwood Village Theatre can be seen in the background.  




(1949)* - View showing the Alpine-style buildings and parking lot of the Tropical Ice Gardens in Westwood Village. A line of early model cars are parked in front of the main building.  


Historical Notes

Tropical Ice Gardens appeared in so many films starring Norwegian Olympic champion Sonja Henie that people referred to it as her rink, though she never actually owned it.  By 1949 the Tropical Ice Gardens was called the Sonja Henie Ice Palace, but it was soon torn down to accommodate UCLA and Westwood Village expansion.*#^



Click HERE to see more in Early Views of Westwood


* * * * *


Picwood Theatre

(1949)*++ – View of the Picwood Theatre located at 10872 W Pico Boulevard in West Los Angeles. Photo by Julius Schulman  


Historical Notes

This S. Charles Lee-built theater opened in 1946 at the intersection of Westwood and Pico Boulevards.

After four decades of delighting West LA crowds, the Picwood Theatre was closed in 1985, and demolished to make way for an extension to the Westside Pavillion mall. The buildings on the entire block (a bowling alley, a bank, and a video arcade were among them) were torn down and replaced by the Westside Pavilion, a huge shopping mall, that takes up two blocks.^^#



(1946)#^*^ - Stage view looking back toward the theatre seating showing balcony and palm tree decor on walls.  


Historical Notes

The Picwood originally seated 1100 but later was reseated for 950.  It got a remodel in 1966 that obliterated most of the original tropical themed decor. ^**#



(1946)#^*^ - View looking down from the back of the balcony toward the stage at the Picwood Theatre.  


Historical Notes

The Picwood was run until 1985 by Pacific Theatres, often with exclusive runs. The theatre was equipped for 70mm presentation. 70mm runs included "Apocalypse Now" (1979-80 - 26 weeks), "Raiders of the Lost Arc" (1981), "E.T." (1982), "Amadeus" (1985) and many more. ^**#


* * * * *



El Rey Theatre

(1937)^.^ – View showing the newly built El Rey Theatre located at 5515 Wilshire Boulevard.  Marquee reads Claudette Colbert, Maid of Salem, and Wings of Morning. Stevens' Fancy Ice Creams is seen on the left.  


Historical Notes

El Rey was built in 1936 as a single-screen movie theatre and functioned as a cinema for nearly 50 years.



(1970s)^.^ - Night view of the El Rey Theatre when it was a revival house.  Now showing:  “Fiddler on the Roof”. Photo by Tom Zimmerman  


Historical Notes

The El Rey began its life as an independent neighborhood theatre. With a succession of owners and tenants over the decades, the theatre has run the gamut from hosting spiritual services to showing adult films. It stopped showing movies in the 1980s.

From the 1980s to the early 1990s El Rey Theatre was a dance-music club called Wall Street, but since 1994 this theatre has been a live music venue which is now exclusively booked through Golden Voice. The capacity is 771 and it also has a VIP balcony in the back.*^




(2013)^.^ - Contemporary view of the El Rey Theatre. The popular music venue is managed by Golden Voice, a division of AEG.  


Historical Notes

The El Rey Theatre was designated as Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument No. 520 on February 26, 1991.




(2010s)^.^ – Contemporary view of the El Rey Theatre ticket booth, 5515 Wilshire Boulevard.  


Historical Notes

This Miracle Mile landmark combines Art Deco and Streamline Moderne styles and retains many original design elements, including its lobby, façade, terrazzo, and brilliant neon sign. The box office might have been recreated.^


* * * * *



Arthur Murray Dance Studio

(1944)^#^ - View looking at the Arthur Murray Dance Studio located at the SE corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Stanley Avenue.  


Historical Notes

Arthur Murray himself appeared at the 1941 opening of his “ultramodern” Los Angeles office and studio. The Late Moderne-style building by Stiles O. Clements prominently advertised the Murray studio with simple lettering on a freestanding wall that soared several stories above Wilshire Boulevard. The front façade is nearly transparent above the ground story, a precursor to the floor-to-ceiling glass curtain walls that would dominate the mid- and high-rise office buildings that would pop up along Wilshire in the following decades. The studio featured sixty air-conditioned dance studios, with smaller spaces for private lessons where the more timid could learn to dance away from judgmental eyes.

Dance maestro Arthur Murray grew up on New York’s Lower East Side. He could not afford admission at the city’s dance halls and instead learned popular dances by crashing weddings at hotels on the Upper East Side. He taught dance classes to pay for business classes at Georgia Tech and was so successful that he returned to New York and opened his own studio. Murray’s business expanded across the country, first through mail order dance instructions and then through classes at the Statler Hotel chain. Business boomed in the 1940s when returning GIs (with the help of Murray’s lawyer) realized they could use GI Bill funds to pay for lessons. By 1946, Murray operated seventy-two dance studios across the United States and generated $20 million per year in revenue.^


* * * * *



Mullen Bluett (Wilshire)

(ca. 1949)^^^* - Exterior view of the Mullen Bluett Building located at Wilshire Boulevard and Ridgeley Drive on the Miracle Mile.  


Historical Notes

With a brick facade balanced by first-floor flagstone, the store featured men's furnishings on the first floor and a women's section on the second. "This was the first architectural style after World War II, a 'late Moderne.'

The Mullen Bluett structure is believed to have been designed by Stiles Clements, who was also behind the famed Wiltern Theatre, as well as several classic Los Angeles buildings that are sadly long gone: The Miracle Mile's Coulter's Department Store, built in 1938 and razed in 1980 (and still just a pit today); the 1929 Richfield Building downtown, razed in 1969; and the 1936 KFI studios, torn down by the LAUSD in 2003.*^#*

The Mullen & Bluett Building was built in 1949 and demolished in 2006 to make room for an apartment complex.


* * * * *



Prudential Building (aka Museum Square - today, SAG-AFTRA Plaza)

(1948)^.^ - View showing the newly-built Prudential Building, located at 5757 Wilshire Boulevard, north side of Wilshire between Curson and Masselin avenues.  


Historical Notes

The eleven-floor building was designed by architects Wurdeman and Becket in 1948 for the Prudential Insurance Company. Famous architectural photographer Julius Shulman (1910-2009), whose vast library of images reside at the Getty Center in L.A., took this image just as the structure had been finished. **




(1949)**# - Closer view of the Prudential Building at Wilshire Boulevard and Curson Avenue.  


Historical Notes

Designed by the renowned Los Angeles firm of Wurdeman and Becket, this building spanned two city blocks and held 517,000 square feet of office and retail space, making it the tallest and largest privately owned structure in the city when it opened.

The building altered the character of the Miracle Mile from a shopping destination to a white-collar office district. Its International Style design also marked a stylistic change for its architects.^

After Walter Wurdeman's death, Welton Becket continued as Welton Becket and Associates. He designed more than twenty buildings along Wilshire Boulevard and helped shape L.A.'s distinct style of corporate modernism.




(1950)*++ - Rooftop view from across Wilshire looking northwest showing the Prudential Building. Photo by Julius Shulman  


Historical Notes

The building's tower originally held the western headquarters of Prudential Insurance. A portion of the east wing housed Ohrbach's department store until 1965, when the store relocated to another Becket design down the street, the former Seibu Department Store (now the Petersen Automotive Museum).^




(1950)*++ – Street view looking northwest from Masselin Ave across Wilshire Boulevard showing the Prudential Building.  A sign over one of the building’s entrances reads “Orbach’s”. Photo by Julius Shulman. Click HERE for contemporary view.  





(1950)*++ – Rooftop view looking northeast across Wilshire Boulevard showing the Prudential Building. Photo by Julius Shulman  


Historical Notes

Completed in 1948, this notable modernist building was famous for its "eyebrows" (extruded aluminum canopies over the south-facing facade) designed to provide some shading without breaking the clean minimalism of the design of the exterior.




(ca. 1950)* - Exterior view of the Prudential Building on Wilshire Boulevard in the Miracle Mile. View is of the south facade of the building on the Miracle Mile section of Wilshire Blvd.  


Historical Notes

The Prudential building is composed of two asymmetrical wings flanking a central, windowless shaft. The shaft contains electrical and mechanical services, which are often underground but were placed above ground here due to the site's proximity to the La Brea Tar Pits. ^




(1954)^^ - View looking east showing an Interesting juxtaposition, the ultra-clean, mid-century modern Prudential Building as seen from the ramshackle caretakers cabin at the La Brea Tar Pits.  





(ca. 1956)^^## – Nighttime view of a well-lit Prudential Building, 5757 Wilshire Boulevard. Photo Source: Huntington Library  


Historical Notes

Prudential eventually left its namesake building, leaving behind a memento in the cornerstone of the main lobby: an actual piece of the Rock of Gibraltar, the company's corporate symbol. The building has been altered over time but still retains its basic shape and form, as well as one unique aspect. At night, it becomes an illuminated negative of itself. ^

Over the years, 5757 Wilshire has housed a department store and an AFTRA-signatory classical music station, KFAC. A piece of the Rock of Gibraltar — the symbol of Prudential — is located in the ground floor lobby.

In 1982, Prudential moved to a larger location and 5757 became known as Museum Square.

In 1993, Screen Actors Guild moved its national headquarters into the building and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artist’s followed in 1997.

In 2015, the historic Miracle Mile building at 5757 Wilshire Blvd. was renamed SAG-AFTRA Plaza.*

Click HERE for contemporary view of the SAG-AFTRA Plaza.


* * * * *



Carnation Company Building and Coffee Shop

(ca. 1951)^.^ – View looking east on Wilshire Boulevard from Orange Drive showing the Carnation Building in the distance.  At right, the Four Star Theatre can be seen behind the Richfield sign.  


Historical Notes

This stretch of the eastern end of the Miracle Mile has seen dramatic change with building construction. Click HERE to see this same view in 2009. HERE's the same view in 2017.




(ca. 1949)^ – View looking at the northwest corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Citrus Avenue showing the newly constructed Carnation Company Building at 5045 Wislhire Blvd.  


Historical Notes

In 1948, the Carnation Company hired Beaux-Arts educated architect Stiles O. Clements (1883-1966) to design its new corporate headquarters on Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles. The company decided to maximize on the high percentage (30%) of its employees living in California. Staff in Seattle, Milwaukee and New York were relocated and former branch operations such as accounting, advertising and purchasing were centralized. ^



(ca. 1949)^# – View showing the Carnation Building and adjacent Carnation Coffee Shop located on the north side of Wislhire between Mansfield and Citrus. Bob's Big Boy was on the south side of Wilshire, right across the street from Carnation. The former Big Boy is now the home of Beverly Hills BMW and the adjacent movie theater was the Four Star, which became a church.  


Historical Notes

The new reinforced concrete structure was built on 645 tapered steel piles, each extending thirty feet below grade. Most building materials were acquired in California. The color scheme reflected the corporate identity:  the elevator penthouse's mammoth (17 x 57') "Carnation Milk" sign appeared in solid red letters during the day, and as flashing red and white neon at night. The red granite facing stone on the lower facade could not be acquired locally and was shipped from Sweden on the maiden voyage of the Grace Line Motorship named Los Angeles. ^




(1949)#* – View looking northwesterly showing the Carnation Coffee Shop located just west of the 9-story main Carnation Building. In the distance can be seen part of the E. Clem Wilson Building (NE corner of Wilshrie and La Brea). Architect Stiles Oliver Clements. Photo by Julius Shulman  





(ca. 1949)#* – Interior view of the Carnation Coffee Shop at 5075 Wilshire Blvd.  




(1980)* - Looking east from a neighboring parking lot towards the Carnation Company 9-story office building, which contains the company headquarters and a restaurant (lower center), located at 5045 Wilshire Boulevard. Built in 1949, the building was later extensively remodeled and doubled in size.  




(1980)* – Looking up at the west side of 9-story Carnation Company Building, located at 5045 Wilshire Boulevard.  





(ca. 1985)^x^ - Former Carnation Building at 5055 Wilshire Boulevard. After the Carnation Company moved from this location in 1989, the original building (on right of entrance) was extensively remodeled and a matching addition was constructed (left of entrance) where the coffee shop once stood.  


Historical Notes

In 1980s Carnation Company moved its headquarters to Glendale. The orginal building was extensively remodeled and doubled in size.

Carnation was acquired by Nestlé  in 1984.


* * * * *



Widney Hall (USC)

(n.d.)* - Exterior view of Widney Hall also known as 'Alumni House.' This was the first building erected on the campus of U.S.C. and the oldest college building in Southern California, having been in continuous use since 1880.  


Historical Notes

The first library at USC started during the first school year, 1880-1881. The collection was stored in what was then the only building on campus, located near Founders Park, close to the present Annenberg School of Communcations. Over the years, this building came to be known as Widney Hall, its facade was painted and altered, and it was moved to different parts of the campus. It survived, though, and is the Alumni House, now located across the way from Doheny Library.^^^#

Location: Widney Hall Alumni House, University of Southern CA, Childs Way, between Hoover Blvd and University Avenue.

Widney Hall is a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument (No. 70) and has also been designated California Historical Landmark No. 536 (Click HERE to see more in California Historical Landmarks in LA).



(1950s)* - View of Widney Hall. The building moved several times throughout the years but still stands today. It was built in 1879-80 in a Italianate style, and later remodeled into a Colonial Revival style in 1958.  



Click HERE to see more in Early Views of U.S.C.


* * * * *



Tiny Naylor's Restaurant

(1949)* - View of several customers parked at Tiny Naylor's Restaurant and Drive-in, located on the northwest corner of Sunset and La Brea. This is the same corner where McDonnell's Drive-in once stood in the 1930s and early 1940s.  


Historical Notes

Tiny Naylors was one of California's original family-style restaurants founded by W.W. "Tiny" Naylor. Naylor got the nick name "Tiny" because he was 6'4" and weighted 320 lbs. ###*



(1980)* - Night view of Tiny Naylor's restaurant, located at Sunset Boulevard (left) and La Brea Avenue (foreground). Photo by Roy Hankey  


Historical Notes

Designed by Douglas Honnold in 1949, this establishment remained open until 1984 when it was demolished to make room for a shopping center.*


* * * * *



Biff's Coffee Shop

(ca. 1949)*#^* – View of Biff’s Coffee Shop on the corner of Cahuenga Blvd. and Yucca Street.  


Historical Notes

Although Tiny Naylor was best known for his Tiny Naylors restaurant chains, his first restaurant was Biff’s – named after his son, in 1948.  It was located on the corner of Cahuenga and Yucca in Hollywood.

Tiny Naylor died in 1959. The Naylor family also founded Du Par's which it still owns and operates. ###*


* * * * *



Pantages Theatre

(1951)* - The Acadamy Awards at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood.  


Historical Notes

From 1949 through 1959, the Pantages Theatre hosted the American motion picture industry's annual Academy Award Ceremonies. Click HERE to see more in Early Views of Hollywood.




(1958)* - 30th Annual Academy Awards at the Pantages Theatre.  


Historical Notes

30th Academy Awards (March 26, 1958):

Best Picture: Bridge on the River Kwai;

Best Actor: Alec Guinness – The Bridge on the River Kwai

Best Actress: Joanne Woodward – The Three Faces of Eve



Click HERE to see more in Early Views of Hollywood (1920 +)


* * * * *


Baldwin Theatre

(1949)* - Crowds have gathered for the ‘Gala Opening’ of the Baldwin Theatre at 3741 La Brea in Baldwin Hills. The marquis reads:  THE SHOWPACE OF THE SOUTHLAND – GALA OPENING TONIGHT  


Historical Notes

The Baldwin Theatre opened on August 10, 1949 with a Paramount sneak preview plus "Sorrowful Jones" with Lucille Ball and Bob Hope. Roy Rogers and Dale Evans were among the stars at the opening.




(1949)* - Crowds line up to see a special preview of “Sorrowful Jones” with Bob Hope and Lucille Ball at the Baldwin Theatre's grand opening.  


Historical Notes

The Baldwin was operated by Fanchon & Marco. The firm had a string of theatres in south Los Angeles. They also managed the two Paramounts: Downtown (the former Metropolitan) and the Hollywood Paramount, now back to its original El Capitan name.

The theatre was later operated by Statewide, Century, Loew's and General Cinema. In the 80s it was triplexed and operated by Inner City Cinemas, a local African-American owned chain that had AMC as a partner. They soon ran into financial difficulties and the partnership was dissolved.




(1949)^** - View of the Baldwin Theatre located at 3741 S. La Brea Avenue in Baldwin Hills Village.  Now playing: "You're My Everything", Starring Dan Dailey, Anne Baxter, Anne Revere. Photo by Julius Shulman  


Historical Notes

Architect Lewis Eugene Wilson designed the innovative structure which was supported by laminated wood arches.




(1949)^** – Profile view of the Baldwin Theatre, 3741 S. La Brea Ave. Photo by Julius Shulman  


Historical Notes

In the 1960s, Dorsey High School graduations were held there as were numerous St. Paul’s church Easter Sunday services.




(ca. 1949)^** - Interior view of the Baldwin Hills Theatre. Photo by Julius Shulman  


Historical Notes

The theatre originally had 1,800 seats and later 970 as a triplex.




(1949)^.^ – Life Magazine photo showing a line in front of the Baldwin Theatre to see a movie starring Alan Ladd.  





(2014) – Google street view showing the redeveloped Baldwin Theatre.  


Historical Notes

The Baldwin Theatre was closed as a theatre in 1994. The front has been demolished and replaced by a branch of Chase Bank and some restaurants (seen above).  The auditorium remains but was converted into office space.^**#


* * * * *



Food Giant Market

(1951)**^ - The grand opening of FOOD GIANT in Lynwood, Los Angeles County, located near the intersection of Century and Imperial. Note the band entertaining the crowd in the parking lot on the left.  





(1951)**^ - Promotional shot of company executive standing on roof in front of the FOOD GIANT sign.  



* * * * *



Olympic Drive-In

(1956)* – Aerial view looking northwesterly showing the Olympic Drive-In Theatre located at the intersection of Olympic Blvd (left) and S. Bundy Drive (right).  Note how much land is still undeveloped behind the theatre.  


Historical Notes

This former drive-in originally opened as the Pico Drive-In (the first drive-in in California) at Pico Boulevard and Westwood Boulevard in 1934, but moved from that location to Olympic Boulevard in the late-1940’s and was renamed the Olympic Drive-In.^




(ca. 1945)^ – View showing the front entrance to the Olympic Drive-In Theatre located at 12109 W. Olympic.  Now playing twin features:  “The Dolly Sisters” with Betty Grable and John Payne, also, “Dark Mountain” with Robert Lowery and Ellen Drew.  


Historical Notes

This former drive-in originally opened as the Pico Drive-In (the first drive-in in California) at Pico Boulevard and Westwood Boulevard in 1934, but moved from that location to Olympic Boulevard in the late-1940’s and was renamed the Olympic Drive-In.^




(ca. 1947)* – A couple driving in what appears to be a 1947 Buick Convertible in front of the Olympic Drive-in Theatre.  





(1973)^ – View showing the entrance to the Olympic Theatre the year it closed.  The marquis reads:  “LA’s Oldest Drive-In Yields to Progress.  Now Closed Forever.”  


Historical Notes

Despite the marquis indicating that this is LA's oldest drive-in, that distinction truly belongs to the Pico Drive-In built in 1934. The Olympic Drive-In was built as a replacement for the Pico Drive-In in the 1940s.


* * * * *



LDS Church Temple (Los Angeles)

(1957)* - Aerial view looking north showing the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Temple located at 10777 Santa Monica Boulevard.  Santa Monica Boulevard runs from bottom left to middle right; Wilshire Boulevard is seen at upper left, curving to upper right; a portion of the UCLA campus is at upper left; the Los Angeles Country Club is at upper right.  



Historical Notes

When it was dedicated in 1956, it was the largest of the church's temples, though it has since been surpassed by the Salt Lake Temple due to later expansions. The temple serves 41 stakes in Los Angeles, Ventura, Kern, Santa Barbara, and San Luis Obispo counties.

The Los Angeles Temple was announced on March 23, 1937 by church president Heber J. Grant, when the church purchased 24.23 acres from the Harold Lloyd Motion Picture Company. Construction was to begin soon thereafter, but financial difficulties relating to the Great Depression and World War II delayed the groundbreaking until 1951.

The temple plans were revised at this time to include a priesthood assembly room, an unusual feature in temples built after the Salt Lake Temple. It was also expanded to accommodate an unprecedented 300 patrons per session.*^




(1955)^^ – Closer view of the Los Angeles Mormon Temple as seen from a blimp. Santa Monica Boulevard is seen at lower-left, Selby Avenue at left, and Manning Avenue at lower-right.  


Historical Notes

Much of the land along Manning Avenue was subdivided for residential lots, the sale of which considerably offset the expense of constructing the temple. Along with the Bern Switzerland Temple, dedicated a few months before, these were the church's first temples built outside of an LDS-dominated area. The Los Angeles Temple was the first temple explicitly designed for automobile accessibility: with its parking facilities being larger than those of any temple built previously and with no direct pedestrian connection between the front doors and Santa Monica Boulevard.*^




(1958)^^ - Front view of the Mormon Church of LDS Temple as seen from Santa Monica Boulevard.  Photo by Dick Whittington  


Historical Notes

The temple's architecture is generally Modernist, an aesthetic that extends to the choice of exterior cladding: 146,000 square feet of Mo-Sai pre-cast concrete facing, a mixture of crushed quartz and white Portland cement quarried in Utah and Nevada. The very light brown pigmentation of the Mo-Sai blend has the advantage of concealing the thin layer of soot that accumulates on most buildings in Los Angeles. The temple is 369 feet long, 269 feet wide and has an overall height of 257 feet. Atop the temple stands a 15-foot tall statue of the angel Moroni. The building's architect, Edward O. Anderson, patterned it after Mayan architecture.*^




(1956)* - Millard F. Malin works on a sculpture for the Mormon Temple located at 10777 Santa Monica Boulevard in Westwood. Photograph caption reads, "Statue of Angel Moroni atop Mormon Temple seen at far distances; shown with sculptor M. F. Malin."  


Historical Notes

This was the first temple with an angel Moroni statue since the Salt Lake Temple. When the statue was installed it faced southeast, as the temple does. It was later turned to face due east at the request of church president David O. McKay.*^




(ca. 2017)^x^ - Close-up view of the Los Angeles LDS Temple as it appears today.  


Historical Notes

The well manicured grounds are open to the public and are filled with various plants, including Canary Island Pine trees, several varieties of palm trees, Bird of Paradise trees, olive trees, and rare Chinese Ginkgo trees. At the left and right of the temple are two fountains, and at the front is a large reflection pool. Several family-themed statues further beautify the grounds. In December, the temple grounds are decorated with thousands of multi-colored lights in celebration of Christmas.

While not as regionally prominent as the temples in Oakland, San Diego, and Washington D.C., the temple is still a distinctive feature of the westside of Los Angeles.*^


* * * * *



City Hall and Lindbergh Beacon

(1951)^^ - The rotating beacon (The 'Lindbergh Beacon') is visible atop City Hall, and a portion of Bunker Hill can be seen on the lower left.  


Historical Notes

The Lindbergh beacon was installed on top of City Hall in 1928. Originally white, the light was replaced with a red light in 1931 after the U.S. Department of Commerce deemed the bright beacon a hazard to air safety. During WWII the light was turned off, and relit just a few of times more before being removed in the early 1950s.*^




(1930s)^.^ – Postcard view showing City Hall and the Civic Center with the Lindbergh Beacon shining high into the sky.  


Historical Notes

The Lindbergh beacon was rediscovered in the early 1990s. After restoration, it was put on display in the Tom Bradley International Terminal at LAX and relit for the first time in 45 years on April 22, 1992. The beacon was reinstalled on top of City Hall in 2001 and is lit on special occasions.*^


* * * * *



Mercantile Arcade Building (Mercantile Place)

(ca. 1920)* - Mercantile Place, looking west from Spring Street, south of 5th Street. This was the site of Los Angeles' 1st elementary school, Spring Street Elementary School.  


Historical Notes

Mercantile Place was planned to be "something entirely new in Los Angeles development"—a private shopping street under the aegis of C. Westley Roberts, who secured a ten-year lease from the Los Angeles School Board and bought the material of the old brick school building, which was to be demolished.

This walkway between two sets of buildings was razed in 1923, and the Arcade Building was built in its place. The Arcade Building has entrances from Spring Street and from Broadway, and retains the feel of a passageway.



(1953)* - The Broadway exterior of the Mercantile Arcade Building, located on Broadway between Fifth Street and Sixth Street. Designed by Kenneth MacDonald and built in 1924, the Mercantile Arcade Building consists of two twelve-story towers connected by a three-story shopping arcade.  


Historical Notes

One of downtown's most distinctive buildings, this 12-story building, constructed in 1924, was originally called the Mercantile Arcade Building.  An Architectural competition was held to find a design suitable to replace the famed Mercantile Place, which in 1924 had been a Los Angeles landmark for 40 years.  The San Francisco firm of McDonald and Couchot was selected and patterned the new building after London’s Burlington Arcade.  Originally the Arcade included space for 350 offices and 61 shops.^^##




(1953)**^ - The Spring Arcade Building (left) and the Hotel Alexandria are both visible in this view looking north on Spring Street towards 5th, downtown Los Angeles.  





(n.d.)**## - Looking up at the face of the Spring Arcade Building with its ornate arch over the front entry.  


Historical Notes

The Mercantile Arcade Building has an open, glass-roofed shopping arcade running from Broadway to Spring Street.  The mezzanine levels of the arcade are accessed via interior bridges.  The building consists of two 12-story towers, one facing Broadway and the other Spring Street, with both elevations having similar terra cotta detailing.  There are two radio towers, one on each tower roof, that once broadcast signal of radio station KRKD.^^##


* * * * *


Richfield Oil Company Building

(ca. 1937)* - View of Richfield Building from a short distance away. The art deco gem, designed by Morgan, Walls & Clements and built in 1928.  


Historical Notes

Richfield Tower, also known as the Richfield Oil Company Building, was constructed between 1928 and 1929 and served as the headquarters of Richfield Oil. It was designed by Stiles O. Clements and featured a black and gold Art Deco façade. The unusual color scheme was meant to symbolize the "black gold" that was Richfield's business. Haig Patigian did the exterior sculptures.*^



(ca. 1950s)^^ - A low-angle view of the Richfield Tower atop the Richfield Oil Corporation Building.  


Historical Notes

The 12-floor building was 372 feet tall, including a 130-foot tower atop the building, emblazoned vertically with the name "Richfield". Lighting on the tower was made to simulate an oil well gusher and the motif was reused at some Richfield service stations.*^



(n.d.)*^^ - Front view looking up at the Richfield Oil Corporation Building and tower.  




(n.d.)*^^ - Front lobby of the ornate Art Deco Richfield Oil Corporation Building.  




(1930s)**^ – View looking from the top of the Richfield Building tower down to toward the main building’s roof.  




(n.d.)* - Richfield Building, located at the northwest corner of Sixth and Flower streets, across form the California Club (right).  




(1955)^^ - Night view of the 146-foot tower sign atop the Richfield Building, 6th & Flower St.  




(n.d.)**^ – View looking up at the Richfield tower from 6th Street.  Note the ornate streetlight. Click HERE to see more Early LA Streetlights.   


Historical Notes

The company quickly outgrew the building, and it was demolished in 1969 to make way for the present ARCO Plaza skyscraper complex. The elaborate black-and-gold elevator doors were salvaged from the building and now reside in the lobby of the new ARCO building (now City National Tower).*^


Click HERE to see more Early Views of the Richifield Oil Corp. Building and tower.


* * * * *



Seymour Apartments

(1953)* – View looking at the southeast corner of 1st and Olive streets showing the Seymour Apartments.  





(1955)* - View looking southwest across W. First and Olive streets towards the Seymour Apartments, located at 502 W. First Street. This Mission Revival structure with Queen Anne Revival elements would be demolished in 1957.  





(1957)^^#* – View looking west on 1st Street at Olive Street with the Seymour Apartments on the southwest corner.  All the buildings on the south side of 1st Street will be demolished within a year.  





(1957)^^#* – View looking northwest showing the Seymour Apartments (S/W corner of 1st and Olive) shortly before the building was demolished.  Across 1st Street can be seen the County Courthouse under construction.  


* * * * *



Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena

(1959)##* - Exterior view of the new Los Angeles Sports Arena located at 3911 S. Figueroa Street as it appears under construction, Jan. 20, 1959. (AP Photo/Harold Filan)  


Historical Notes

The Sports Arena was opened in 1959 by Vice President Richard Nixon on July 4 and its first event followed four days later, a bantamweight title fight between José Becerra and Alphonse Halimi on July 8. It became a companion facility to the adjacent Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.*^



(1959)##* -  Aerial view showing the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena, still under construction (right -center) in close proximity to the Civic Center on March 3, 1959. At left of the arena is the 101,528 seat Memorial Coliseum. (AP Photo)  


Historical Notes

The Sports Arena was home court to the Los Angeles Lakers of the NBA from October 1960 to December 1967, the Los Angeles Clippers also of the NBA from 1984 to 1999, and the Los Angeles Kings of the NHL from October to December 1967 during their inaugural 1967–68 season. It was the home for college basketball for the USC Trojans from 1959 to 2006 and the UCLA Bruins from 1959 to 1965 and again as a temporary home in the 2011–2012 season. It also hosted the Los Angeles Aztecs of the NASL played one season of indoor soccer (1980–81), the Los Angeles Blades of the Western Hockey League from 1961 to 1967, the Los Angeles Sharks of the WHA from 1972 to 1974, the Los Angeles Cobras of the AFL in 1988, and the original Los Angeles Stars of the ABA from 1968 to 1970.*^



(1959)##* – Aerial view looking northwest showing the Memorial Sports Arena (not yet completed) and its larger companion, the Memorial Coliseum (built in 1923).  Figueroa Street can be seen from bottom left corner to middle right; the Harbor (110) Freeway runs across bottom right corner; Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard is seen from middle left to bottom right corner. Photo date:  June 12, 1959.  


Historical Notes

The arena also played host to the top indoor track meet on the West Coast, the annual Los Angeles Invitational track meet (frequently called the "Sunkist Invitational", with title sponsorship by Sunkist Growers, Incorporated), from 1960 until the event's demise in 2004.



(1960)* - Aerial view of both the Memorial Sports Arena and the Memorial Coliseum.  


Historical Notes

Note the baseball diamond inside the Colisieum. Between 1958 and 1961 the Coliseum was home to the Los Angeles Dodgers. In 1962 the Dodgers would play their first season in a new stadium built just for them - Dodger Stadium.



(1960)##* – U.S. Sen. John F. Kennedy addresses delegates in the spotlight on the rostrum during the Democratic convention at the Los Angeles Sports Arena. AP Photo date: July 14, 1960  


Historical Notes

Since its opening day, the arena has hosted the 1960 Democratic National Convention, the 1968 and 1972 NCAA Men's Basketball Final Four, the 1992 NCAA Women's Basketball Final Four, the 1963 NBA All-Star Game, and the boxing competitions during the 1984 Summer Olympics.  In addition to hosting the final portion of WrestleMania 2 in 1986, the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena has also hosted WrestleMania VII in 1991 as well as other WWE events.*^



(1971)* - View showing the Sports Arena during an event with parking lot full of cars.  


Historical Notes

Concerts held at the Sports Arena:

Pink Floyd performed 5 shows at Memorial Sports Arena during their Wish You Were Here tour April 23–27, 1975. They would open The Wall Tour at the same venue February 7–13, 1980 and would perform three more nights in November, 1987 on the A Momentary Lapse of Reason Tour.

U2 performed 5 shows at Memorial Sports Arena during The Joshua Tree Tour on April 17, 18, 20, 21 and 22, 1987.
Michael Jackson performed 6 sold-out shows at Memorial Sports Arena, during his Bad World Tour on November 13, 1988 and January 16–18, 26-27, 1989.

Madonna performed 5 shows at Memorial Sports Arena during her Blond Ambition World Tour on May 11–13 and 15-16, 1990.

The Grateful Dead performed at the Sports Arena on December 8–10 in 1993, and December 15–16 and 18-19 in 1994.

Bruce Springsteen was a popular act at arena, having played there 35 times between 1980 and 2016. Springsteen humorously refers to the arena as "the dump that jumps" due to its age, poor infrastructure, and its lack of VIP suites, which Springsteen particularly enjoys.*^



(1989)* - Exterior of the Memorial Sport Arena. The Sports Arena was designed by Welton Becket and Associates.  


Historical Notes

One of the last events held at the Sports Arena was a campaign rally for Bernie Sanders held on August 10, 2015 that was attended by over 27,500 people.

Developers plan to tear down the arena in order to replace it with a more in demand facility — a soccer-specific stadium that would house an MLS team.  On May 18, 2015, Los Angeles Football Club announced its intentions to build a privately funded 22,000-seat soccer-specific stadium at the site for $250 million. The stadium is scheduled to be completed by 2018.*^


* * * * *


CBS Television City

(1960)**^ – Aerial view showing CBS Television City near the intersection of Beverly and Fairfax (lower-right).  In the distance can be seen (L to R): Park La Brea Towers, Gilmore Drive-In and Farmers Market. Credit: CBS Photo Archive.    


Historical Notes

CBS Television City opened on November 16, 1952. It was built on the site of a former football field and race track, Gilmore Stadium. Before the stadium, it was an oil field.*^




(1956)* - Exterior view of the CBS Television broadcasting studios located at Television City. Located on the southeast corner of Beverly Blvd. & Fairfax; built in 1952 in the low modern cube style. Architects: Pereira & Luckman.  


Historical Notes

While New York City and Chicago were the dominant production centers during television's early years, networks gradually saw the potential of Hollywood as a locale to make programs.  CBS initially used the facilities of its Columbia Square radio and television (KNX-AM, KNXT/KCBS-TV) complex on Sunset Boulevard, as well as some other locations scattered throughout Los Angeles, for West Coast network program origination. They then moved to the TV City facility once it was completed.*^*^




(1950s)^#*# - View of the latest in camera technology at CBS Television City.  


Historical Notes

Are there really 10 lenses on each of these 4 cameras? At first glance, it looks like it, but there are actually 6 rim lights on each camera. This is quite an impressive image and shows that not only were the CBS Television City guys good at creating custom viewfinder hoods, but had a good idea on adding face lighting on close ups with these rim light clusters.^#*#



(ca. 1955)*#^ - View of the front entrance to CBS Television City at the corner of Fairfax and Beverly Blvd.  


Historical Notes

Some of the more notable shows (there are too many to list all) that have come from TV City: "Playhouse 90," "The Jack Benny Program," "Burns and Allen," "The Judy Garland Show," "The Red Skelton Show," "Art Linkletter's House Party," "The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour," "All in the Family," "The Carol Burnett Show," "The (New) Price Is Right," "Match Game '7x" and "The Young and the Restless." Television City also was home to "The Ed Sullivan Show" when it visited California, and even to non-CBS shows such as ABC's "Three's Company" and numerous syndicated and cable series. It is considered by many in the business to be the best television production facility on the West Coast.*^^^



(1979)*++ - View of CBS Television City as seen from Beverly Boulevard through the lens of Julius Shulman.  


* * * * *



Castle of Enchantment

(1965)**# - "Castle of Enchantment" - View of a castle-like residence located at 4857 Melrose Avenue, just east of Western Avenue.  


Historical Notes

Created by property owner Milton Hopkins as a gift to his wife, Josie in 1947. It's still there, but boarded up and in bad shape. It later went on to become a Thai restaurant called, "The Siamese Castle", then a French place called, "La Bastille", and finally the "Ko Kung Club".**^#



(1953)^^ – Closer view showing the Castle of Enchantment on Melrose Avenue with pathway under consturction.  Caption reads:  “Milton S. Hopkins, 64, works cement on tower of dream” castle."  



* * * * *


Taix French Restaurant

(ca. 1954)* - View showing Taix French Restaurant in its downtown location near Alameda Street at 321 Commercial Street.  


Historical Notes

The Taix families (pronounced ‘Tex’) are the third and fourth generations of a family of sheepherders and bakers from the Hautes-Alpes in southwestern France who immigrated to Los Angeles around 1870. In 1912, Marius Taix built a hotel called Champ d’Or in the Los Angeles French quarter. In 1927, Marius Taix Jr. opened Taix French Restaurant within the hotel, serving the “famous chicken dinners” for 50 cents at long tables “family style”.




(ca. 1956)** – Postcard view looking southwest toward downtown showing Taix French Restaurant on Commercial Street with City Hall in the background and the newly construct 101 Freeway at lower-right.  





(ca. 1956)* - Side exterior view of Taix French Restaurant located at 321 Commercial Street. The parking lot is filled with vehicles, and City Hall is visible in the background.  


Historical Notes

In 1962 Taix French Restaurant would move to its current location at 1911 Sunset Boulevard.




(2015)^^ - Google street view showing Taix French Restaurant located at 1911 W. Sunset Boulevard  



* * * * *



Van de Kamp's Bakery and Coffee Shop

(ca. 1954)* - Van de Kamp's Bakery and Coffee Shop with Drive-In service, seen here at night with a row of cars parked around the lighted building, located on the corner of Fletcher Drive and San Fernando Road in Atwater. Its architect was Wayne McAllister, using Streamline Moderne style with neon trimmed rooflines and pylon.  


Historical Notes

Van de Kamp's Holland Dutch Bakeries was sold by the Van de Kamp family and acquired by General Baking Co. in 1956. The company was sold to private investors in 1979, and closed in bankruptcy in 1990. The Van de Kamp's brand is now owned by Ralphs supermarket chain and used for their line of private-label baked goods.*^



(ca. 1960s)* - Exterior view of Van de Kamp's Coffee Shop and Bakery at 5665 Wilshire Boulevard.  


* * * * *



Schwab’s Pharmacy and Googie’s Coffee Shop

(1950s)**^ - View showing Schwab’s Pharmacy and Googie’s Coffee Shop near the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Crescent Heights.  


Historical Notes

The origin of the name Googie dates to 1949, when architect John Lautner designed the West Hollywood coffee shop Googies, which had distinct architectural characteristics.  The name "Googie" had been a family nickname of Lillian K. Burton, the wife of the original owner, Mortimer C. Burton.*^




(1952)#*## - Closer view showing Schwab’s Pharmacy and Googie’s Coffee Shop near the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Crescent Heights.  


The Origins of Googie Architecture

Googies was located at the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Crescent Heights in Los Angeles but was demolished in 1989. The name Googie became a rubric for the architectural style when editor Douglas Haskell of House and Home magazine and architectural photographer Julius Shulman were driving through Los Angeles one day. Haskell insisted on stopping the car upon seeing Googies and proclaimed "This is Googie architecture."  He popularized the name after an article he wrote appeared in a 1952 edition of House and Home magazine.

Though Haskell coined the term Googie and was an advocate of modernism, he did not appreciate the Googie aesthetic. In his article he used the fictional Professor Thugg’s overly-effusive praise to mock Googie, at the same time lampooning Hollywood, which he felt informed the aesthetic.*^


* * * * *


Coffee Dan's (Van Nuys)

(ca. 1957)**^ - View looking at the southeast corner of Van Nuys Boulevard and Kittridge Street showing Coffee Dan's. Photograph by Julius Shulman  


Historical Notes

Built in 1957, Coffee Dan's was designed by Architect William Krisel of the firm Palmer and Krisel.**^



(ca. 1957)^** - View of Coffee Dan's located at 6576 Van Nuys Boulevard, SE corner of Van Nuys and Kittridge. Photograph by Julius Shulman  


Historical Notes

Today, the SE corner of Van Nuys and Kittridge is occupied by a mini mall with a 7-11 and an El Pollo Loco. Click HERE for contemporary view.



(ca. 1957)^.^ - Interior view of Coffee Dan's in Van Nuys. I'll have the apple pie and a cup of coffee. Photograph by Julius Shulman  


* * * * *



Epiphany Lutheran Church (Today, Garden Chapel)

(1959)*^*^^ - View showing the Epiphany Lutheran Church the year it was built, located at 7769 Topanga Cyn Blvd, Canoga Park.  


Historical Notes

This excellent example of a Mid-Century Modern ecclesiastical structure, designed by architect Edward Davies, with a soaring A-frame chapel sits south of Elkwood St, and is surrounded by the Green Thumb growing grounds.

Epiphany Lutheran Church held its first service Dec 5, 1959 in the Canoga Park Elementary School auditorium. Five months later, the congregation moved to the Canoga Park Women's Club auditorium at 7401 Jordan Avenue. Ground was broken in May 1958 for the church’s own building, and the first service was held April 12, 1959.

Over the years, the congregation grew, until the 1990’s, when membership began to decline. In 2000, a decision was made to merge Epiphany Lutheran with Evangelical Church of the Resurrection, also in Canoga Park. After the merger, the combined church was renamed Faith Lutheran, with church services being held at the Evangelical Church site. The Epiphany Lutheran site was renamed The Garden Chapel, and is used for weddings and other special events. *^*^^

Click HERE to see contemporary view.


* * * * *


Johnie's Coffee Shop (originally Romeo's Time Square and Ram's)

(ca. 1956)+#+ – View showing Romeo’s Times Square Coffee Shop (later Rams and then Johnie's Coffee Shop) located on the northwest corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Fairfax Avenue.  The Googie-style coffee shop was built on the same site where Simon's Drive-in once stood.  


Historical Notes

Romeo’s Times Square opened in 1956.  It was in business only a few years, becoming Rams in the early 1960s, and Johnie’s shortly thereafter.*^




(2007)*^ - Johnie's Coffee Shop Restaurant on Miracle Mile in Los Angeles, famous for being used as a location for many movies.  


Historical Notes

Architects Louis Armét and Eldon Davis of Armét & Davis designed the building, contributing to their reputation as the premier designers of Space Age or Googie coffee shops—including the landmark Pann's Coffee Shop in Ladera Heights, Norms Restaurant on La Cienega Boulevard, and several Bob's Big Boy restaurants.*^




(n.d.)### – Interior view showing the counter at Johnie’s Coffee Shop.  


Historical Notes

The restaurant is perhaps best known as the setting for much of the first act of the 1988 cult film Miracle Mile, in which a patron learns that a nuclear war is about to begin. The restaurant also appeared in a 1999 Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers music video, "Swingin';" in a 2003 Reba McEntire music video, "Somebody;" and extensively in Sean Kingston's music video "Beautiful Girls." The restaurant is seen in several movies, including Volcano, starring Tommy Lee Jones; The Big Lebowski, starring Jeff Bridges and John Goodman; Reservoir Dogs starring Harvey Keitel and Tim Roth; and American History X, starring Edward Norton. Johnie's was also featured in the 2000 film Gone in 60 Seconds with Nicolas Cage.*^




(2009)*^ – View looking at Johnie's Coffee Shop with its Googie-style Architecture, located on the NW corner of Wilshire and Fairfax.  




(2020)^.^ - Night view showing Johnie’s Coffee Shop and Restaurant on the NW corner of Wilshire and Fairfax. Photo by Don Saban  


Historical Notes

Johnie's was declared a historical landmark by the Los Angeles City Council on November 27, 2013.


* * * * *



Wich Stand Coffee Shop

(1957)^.^ - Night view of the Googie-style Wich Stand Coffee Shop on Slauson Ave.  


Historical Notes

Wich Stand was a 1950s style coffee shop with a tilting blue roof and a 35-foot spire. It housed a cocktail lounge and featured carhop service. In the early 1960’s, the Wich Stand was “the place” to be on a Friday or Saturday night. “The Stand” was the hot rodders paradise. If you had a cool car with loud pipes and wanted to show it off, then you went to the Wich Stand. Located on Slauson at Overhill in the Ladera Heights area, young people came from the South Bay, from the Valley, Pasadena, literally all over Southern California to cruise the Wich Stand.

The Beach Boys lived in the area and wrote an unreleased song called "Wich Stand". *




(1957)^.^ - Night view of the Googie-style Wich Stand Coffee Shop on Slauson Ave.  


Historical Notes

The Wich Stand Restaurant was a classic example of the Googie-style of coffee shop architecture. Designed by Armet and Davis in 1958, the firm that is said to have “defined ‘50s Googie Architecture”, and who also designed Pann’s, the first Norms Restaurant, the Holiday Bowl and many other iconic locations.^




(2014)^ - Google street view showing the Simply Wholesome Health Food Restaurant (previously Wich Stand Coffee Shop) at 4508 W. Slauson Ave.  


Historical Notes

The Googie-style building was declared a landmak by Los Angeles County in 1989.


* * * * *


Fish Shanty Restaurant

(ca. 1960s)+*+ - View showing Smith Bros. Fish Shanty restaurant on La Cienega Blvd.  


Historical Notes

The Fish Shanty, owned by the Smith Bros, was established on La Cienega in 1950.  It was known to Los Angeles residents as "that place where you walked through the whale's mouth."  The popular fish restaurant was anchored at the southwest corner of the La Cienega Boulevard, Burton Way, and San Vicente intersection in an area known as Restaurant Row.




(1965)+*+ – View showing an early model car in front of the whale-mouth entryway of The Fish Shanty.   


Historical Notes

The above clip was taken from the British black comedy called The Loved One, starring: Robert Morse, Anjanette Comer,  Rod Steiger,  John Gielgud, and Liberace.

The jaws of the Shanty’s whale façade was made out of thousands of tiny, ocean-blue, midcentury mosaic tiles that sparkled during sundown like the crest of an effervescent wave. +*+




(1980s)* - Exterior view of the entrance of the Smith Bros. Fish Shanty restaurant, showing a whale's mouth around the doors. The former seafood restaurant was located near the intersection of La Cienega Boulevard, San Vicente Boulevard and Burton Way in Los Angeles.  


Historical Notes

The Fish Shanty was demolished after a fire during the early 90s and was replaced by a car dealership. Today a new apartment building has taken its place built by Rick Caruso that also includes a Trader Joe's.

Buildings that featured eye-catching architectural depictions of the goods and services sold were common in early Los Angeles.  This is known as Programmatic-style Architecture


* * * * *


Tail o' the Pup

(1957)***^ - View of Tail o' the Pup hot dog stand at its original location at 311 North La Cienega Boulevard.  


Historical Notes

Designed by architect Milton Black, the stand opened at La Cienega and Beverly boulevards in June 1946 to luminary-studded, searchlight-lit fanfare. Eddie Blake purchased the Pup in the early 1970s from its celebrity owners, the dance team of Veloz and Yolanda.*^




(ca. 1963)^.^ - Close-up view of the iconic Tail o' the Pup hot dog stand on La Cienega Boulevard.  


Historical Notes

The Tail o' the Pup falls in the category of Programmatic-style Architecture, common in the 1920s and 1930s. These type of “hey-you-can’t miss-me!” buildings were made to pull automobile drivers right off the road.




(ca. 1970s)* - Eddie Blake's Tail o' the Pup, famous hot dog stand at 301 N. La Cienega Boulevard in West Hollywood.  





(1983)* - Sigourney Weaver eating a hot dog at Tail o’ the Pup. "There's no ladylike way of eating a hotdog."  


Historical Notes

Despite its appearance in countless movies and commercials, the stand faced demolition in the mid-1980s, creating an outcry that resulted in the stand being moved a few yards from its original location at 311 North La Cienega Boulevard, to 329 North San Vicente Boulevard.




(2005)*^ - Busy day for the Tail o' the Pup hot dog stand. This would be one of the last photos taken of the LA cultural landmark.  


Historical Notes

In December 2005, the Pup was evicted and it moved into a Torrance warehouse after Regent Properties, a development company, purchased the Pup's site from landlord Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, and announced plans to build 152 condominium and apartment units. As of December 2012, construction had not started and the site remained a parking lot.

Owners Dennis and Eddie Blake plan to reopen the Tail o' the Pup once a suitable location is found, possibly in West Hollywood.

The City of Los Angeles has since declared Tail o’ the Pup to be a cultural landmark.

Click HERE to see more examples of Programmatic Architecture in Los Angeles.


* * * * *



Original Spanish Kitchen

(1977)#^^^# – View of a girl running by the front of the Original Spanish Kitchen located at 7373 W. Beverly Blvd.  Photo courtesy of Michael Varhol  


Historical Notes

The Original Spanish Kitchen was a restaurant on Beverly Boulevard in the Fairfax District of Los Angeles that became the subject of an urban legend starting in the early 1960s. The restaurant, which opened in the mid-1940s, was a popular eating spot until it closed in September 1961.*^




(1979)*^ – Interior view of the Original Spanish Kitchen showing chairs positioned on tables and everything else intact even though the restaurant had been closed since 1961.  


Historical Notes

Following its closure in 1961, the building's contents were left intact for years afterward, with the lunch counter fully stocked with coffeemakers and cooking utensils. The restaurant's sudden closure gave rise to speculation and the subsequent urban legend that the owners, who lived in an apartment above the restaurant, were murdered at the hands of organized crime. The truth was more prosaic, according to a 1986 article in Tables magazine by reporter Don Ray. He determined that the owner had been diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease and the restaurant had been shuttered by his wife after she found that she was not up to the task of running it.*^




(1970s)^.^ – Original Spanish Kitchen located at 7373 W. Beverly Blvd. Opened in 1930, closed for vacation in 1961 and never reopened. Tables and booths were set for decades.  


Historical Notes

After nearly forty years in limbo, the building became the site of an upscale beauty salon in 2005. Click HERE for contemporary view.






(1977)*^ – View of the Spanish Kitchen Sign attached to the corner of the building at 7373 W. Beverly Blvd..








Historical Notes

The Original Spanish Kitchen's original vertical electric sign, which had become a Los Angeles landmark over the years, was modified to read simply "SPA", a reference to the new business on the location. Another Spanish Kitchen on the Restaurant Row section of nearby La Cienega Boulevard had a replica of the Original Spanish Kitchen sign on the side of its building, although this is not the original building. The replica of the Spanish Kitchen closed in July 2012.*^


* * * * *



Ptomaine Tommy's

(1940s)^.^ – View looking at Ptomaine Tommy’s located at 2420 N. Broadway in Lincoln Heights. It’s a discount clothing store today.  Click HERE for contemporary view.  


Historical Notes

Ptomaine Tommy's invented the chili size, a burger patty smothered in chili (chili burger), in the 1920s. His real name was Tommy DeForest, and from 1913 to 1958, he was the major-domo of local burgerdom and popularized the ladling of a masa-thickened, beanless chili on a burger.

Ptomaine Tommy served straight chili and a Southwestern variation, a hamburger smothered with chili. He had two ladles, a large and a small. When a customer ordered straight chili, he got out the large ladle. When he wanted the other, he usually said 'Hamburger size.' So Ptomaine Tommy put up one sign that read HAMBURGER SIZE 15¢, and another that read CHILI SIZE 20¢. Other chili joints followed suit and before long chili was known throughout Los Angeles as 'size'. They'd say, 'Just gimme a bowl of size'.




(ca. 1940s)^^ – Matchbook cover depicting Ptomaine Tommy’s original and last location since it first opened in 1913.  


Historical Notes

In 1913 Tommy DeForest bought a lunch wagon for $75 and 'Texas Tamale Tommy's Ptomaine Tabernacle' could soon be seen around Ave. 22 and N. Broadway. He moved to the 2420 location in 1929 and this became the mecca to which all walks of life flocked to get their chili size fix. To stay humble Tommy kept a model of his original cart in a bottle in the window. Tommy leased the business to Berkeley W. Batchelor from 1946 to 1954 and took it over again after Batchelor's death. Unfortunately Tommy's health declined and the business had trouble staying afloat, succumbing to its creditors Ptomaine Tommy's closed its doors on August 10, 1958.

Tommy De Forest died August 18, 1958.*


* * * * *



Original Tommy's Hamburgers

(ca. 1960)** – View showing the Original Tommy’s Hamburgers located on the NE corner of Beverly and Rampart boulevards. A 1960 Corvair is seen in the No. 1 parking space at lower-left.  


Historical Notes

The original Tommy's location was opened on May 15, 1946, by Tom Koulax, the son of Greek immigrants, on the northeast corner of Beverly and Rampart boulevards west of downtown Los Angeles. The stand, which still stands today, sold hamburgers and hot dogs topped with chili. At first business was slow, but started to pick up. During the 1960s, the entire lot at this intersection was purchased. Soon after, the northwest corner was acquired for expanded parking and storage of goods. Not long after that, a second service counter occupying the building at the perimeter of the northeast lot was set up. The food was essentially the same from both locations, except for longer lines at the original shack counter, perhaps for nostalgic reasons.^




(1970s)* - The Original Tommy's location at Beverly and Rampart in Los Angeles. Known for its world famous chiliburgers and chilidogs. A long line of customers wait to be served. Photograph by Tom LaBonge.  


Historical Notes

Koulax credited the students, both as workers and customers, from nearby Belmont High School for making Tommy's a success. He supported the school by placing advertisements in the school newspaper and yearbooks. In his last will and testament, he left a scholarship fund for Belmont.^




(2014)* – View of Tommy’s Hamburgers Stand at its original location on the corner of Beverly and Rampart. Sign reads: Open 24 Hours  


Historical Notes

In the 1970s, Tommy's initiated a conservative expansion plan, growing from the original location to 30 locations in 2006.^




(2020)^.^ - Close-up view of the iconic Tommy’s neon sign, Beverly and Rampart.  


Historical Notes

As of 2020 there are 34 Original Tommy's locations across Southern California & Las Vegas.


* * * * *



Philippe's the Original

(1986)* - Sign marks the spot of "Philippe the Original" restaurant, at 1001 North Alameda Street in downtown Los Angeles, it's third location.  


Historical Notes

Philippe Mathieu emigrated from France to Buffalo, New York in 1901, moving to Los Angeles in 1903. He opened a deli with his brother, Arbin, shortly after arriving. In 1908 he opened his first Philippe restaurant at 300 N. Alameda Ave., where he served roast beef, roast pork, roast lamb, liver pâté and blood sausage. Mathieu's restaurants were in L.A.'s traditional Frenchtown neighborhood, which was razed to build Los Angeles City Hall and a freeway section of U.S. Route 101. In 1918, Philippe Mathieu moved the restaurant to 246 Aliso St., where he first served his French dipped sandwiches.

in 1927, Mathieu sold the restaurant to brothers David and Harry Martin. The Martins and their in-laws the Binders have run Philippe’s ever since. John and Richard Binder took over running the restaurant following the retirement of their father William "Bill" Binder in 1985.*^



(1935)**^ - Group photo of Philippe's staff at the restaurant's 2nd location, 246 Aliso Street.  


Historical Notes

In 1951, Philippe's moved to its present location at 1001 N. Alameda Avenue due to the construction of the Hollywood Freeway.*^




  (ca. 1960)*#^^ - View of Philippe's (also known as 'Philippe's the Original" located on the northwest corner of Alameda and Ord streets, its current location.  


Historical Notes

Cole's Pacific Electric Buffet claims to have existed before Philippe's, but Cole's closed for renovations in March 2007 and reopened in December 2008. Philippe's lays claim to the longest continuously operating restaurant in Los Angeles.*^




(n.d.)#* - Interior view showing eating area and front cashier at current Philippe's current location on Alameda.  




(1986)* - Owner Richard Binder holds a typical Philippe lunch--iced tea, a roast beef sandwich and pickled spears--prepared by the "girls" behind him to the left.  


Historical Notes

The origins of the French dip sandwich have been debated for many years. Cole's Pacific Electric Buffet also claims to have invented the sandwich in 1908. There are three versions of how Philippe's French dipped sandwich originated:

In 1951, Mathieu told a Los Angeles Times reporter, "One day a customer saw some gravy in the bottom of a large pan of roast meat. He asked me if I would mind dipping one side of the French roll in that gravy. I did, and right away five or six others wanted the same." He quickly ran out of gravy. "But," he said, "it put me wise." The next day he had a gallon of gravy ready, but so many people wanted dip sandwiches that he still ran out.

An alternative explanation bases the invention in frugality. A fireman came into the restaurant when there were leftover rolls. Mathieu would use them up although they were stale. The fireman complained that the roll was dry, so Philippe dipped it in jus, basically to get rid of the guy. This alternative is likely since Mathieu may have preferred to credit a customer rather than waste a stale roll.

The most common story is that Mathieu accidentally dropped a roll in pan drippings, and the police officer who had ordered the sandwich agreed to eat it anyway. This is less likely since the "happy accident" theory of food origins is typically used where there is no alternative explanation.

Originally, Mathieu referred to this as a dip sandwich. The restaurant was colloquially known as Frenchy's, which eventually developed into a French dip sandwich.*^




(n.d.)^*^# – Painting of Philippe's the Original located at 1001 N. Alameda Avenue.  


Historical Notes

Philippe's "French Dipped Sandwich" continues to be the specialty of the house and consists of either roast beef, roast pork, leg of lamb, turkey or ham served on a lightly textured, freshly baked French roll which has been dipped in the natural gravy of the roasts.*#^^




(2018)^.^ - View of “Philippe's the Original" located on the northwest corner of Alameda and Ord streets as it appears today.  



* * * * *



Velvet Turtle

(2019)^.^ – View looking at the sign in front of the Velvet Turtle located in Chinatown on the NE corner of Hill and Ord streets.  


Historical Notes

Velvet Turtle was a chain of fine-dining restaurants founded by Wally Botello based in Menlo Park, California, that at its height had 20 locations in California, plus a location in Washington state, and Arizona.

In 1986, Marriott Corp. sold the chain to a private investor group. The semi-formal restaurant chain closed down in the early 90's when the popularity of casual dining was on the rise.*




(2009)^.^ – View looking south toward Ord Street with Hill Street to the right.  The empty shell of what remains of the Velvet Turtle sits on an abandoned lot surrounded by a chain linked fence.  Address - 420 Ord Street. City Hall and the Federal Courhouse can be seen in the distance on the right.  


Historical Notes

The Velvet Turtle, once a popular eatery, has been closed for nearly two decades (early 1990s). The original building was just razed in 2014. 

As of 2017, a mixed-use seven-story building is planned for the now-vacant Velvet Turtle lot.  The new structure will rise 89 feet high and hold 162 apartments.

Click HERE for contemporary view.


* * * * *



Original Pantry Café

(1982)* - Original Pantry Café, at 9th & Figueroa Streets, on a Saturday morning with the ever-present line in front.  


Historical Notes

The Original Pantry Cafe is an iconic coffee shop and restaurant in Los Angeles. Located at the corner of 9th and Figueroa in Downtown L.A.'s South Park district, The Pantry (as it is known by locals) claims to never have closed or been without a customer since it opened in 1924, including when it changed locations in 1950 to make room for a freeway off-ramp. It served lunch in the original location and served dinner at the new location the same day. It was, however, closed briefly at the order of health inspectors on November 26, 1997, and reopened the next day.*^




(2011)*^ - View showing The Original Pantry Café, N/W corner of 9th & Figueroa Streets, on a Saturday morning with the ever-present line in front.  


Historical Notes

The restaurant is known for serving coleslaw to all patrons in the evening hours, even if they ultimately decide to order breakfast. It claims to serve 90 tons of bread (or 461 loaves per day) and 10.5 tons (20,000-tree harvest) of coffee per year.

The restaurant is currently owned by former Los Angeles mayor Richard Riordan and has served many celebrities and politicians.*^




(n.d.)^.^ - Night view showing a man standing in front of the entrance to The Original Pantry Café, N/W corner of 9th & Figueroa Streets. Photo courtesy of Don Saban  


Historical Notes

In 1982, The Original Pantry was designated LA Historic-Cultural Monument No. 255 (Click HERE to see complete listing).



El Tepeyac Café

(1972 vs. 2020)^.^ - El Tepeyac Café located at 1812 N. Evergreen Ave in Boyle Heights.  


Historical Notes

El Tepeyac Café was founded in 1942 by the Rojas family. It was originally named El Tupinamba Café and was located near downtown Los Angeles. The family later relocated to the Lincoln Heights area, just north of Boyle Heights, and opened a restaurant, La Villa Café. In 1952, the Rojas family relocated the restaurant to Boyle Heights, the current location of El Tepeyac Café.

After the death of his grandfather, Salvador Rojas, Manuel Rojas took over El Tepeyac Café and built it into the historic Boyle Heights landmark it is today. Manuel was known to his loyal customers as “Manny” or “Don Manuel” and is the well known creator of El Tepeyac’s most famous dishes, “Manuel’s Special Burrito” and the “Hollenbeck Burrito.”

The restaurant also boasts other authentic Mexican dishes including chile verde, fajitas, tacos, rice, beans, and many more. However, the “Manuel’s Special Burrito” and the “Hollenbeck Burrito” are the most well known additions to the El Tepeyac Menu^




(2021)^ - El Tepeyac Café, 1812 N. Evergreen Ave in Boyle Heights.  


Historical Notes

El Tepeyac Cafe has become a Boyle Heights staple in the years since its original conception in 1952. In 2011, the El Tepeyac craze grew as the Rojas family opened a second location near the City of Industry.

In September 2020, Manuel's grandson Carlos Thome opened a second El Tepeyac Cafe location in Pasadena. He introduced the Pasadena area to the "Pasadena Bowl" that has quickly become a fan favorite.^


* * * * *



First A.M.E. Church of Los Angeles

(2009)*^ - View showing the First African Methodist Episcopal Church of Los Angeles, located at 2270 S. Harvard Blvd.  


Historical Notes

The First AME Church was established in 1872 under the sponsorship of Biddy Mason, an African American nurse and a California real estate entrepreneur and philanthropist, and her son-in-law Charles Owens. The organizing meetings were held in Mason's home on Spring Street and she donated the land on which the first church was built.

The former location of this church was 8th & Towne from 1902 to 1968 & its site was dedicated as Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument No. 71 in 1971. The location prior to that was on Azusa Street, a building that was rented to the Azusa Street mission. The 8th & Towne building was burned down July 4, 1972, and was razed.

The current church is located in the Jefferson Park neighborhood of the West Adams district. It was designed by the renowned African American architect Paul R. Williams in 1968.*^

* * * * *



Stahl House

(1960)++# - View showing two well-dressed women sitting in the living room of the Stahl House in the Hollywood Hills with the city lights below. Photo by Julius Shulman  


Historical Notes

The Stahl House (also called Case Study House #22) was built by architect Pierre Koenig in 1960. It was originally part of the esteemed Case Study House program and is considered one of the more historic buildings in Los Angeles’ 20th Century modernist architecture.  The Stahl Family commissioned design and construction of the house back in the 50’s and continues to own and operate it. One of the original owners (Carlotta Stahl) lived in the house until just recently, vacating it on occasion when the home was rented out for special events and movies and TV filming. #++



(2009)#++ - Daytime view showing the Stahl House perched high on a hill overlooking West Hollywood. There is a clear view of downtown Los Angeles through the house's floor-to-ceiling windows.  


Historical Notes

Original owners Buck and Carlotta Stahl found a perfect partner in Pierre Koenig, who was the only architect to see the precarious site as an advantage rather than an impediment. The soaring effect was achieved using dramatic roof overhangs and the largest pieces of commercially available glass at the time.^#^



(2009)#++ - View looking southeast toward downtown Los Angeles as seen from inside the Stahl House. The house, located at 1635 Woods Drive, overlooks Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood.  


Historical Notes

Case Study houses were a high point in modern American architecture. Between the mid-1940s and the mid-1960s, major architects of the day were invited to design affordable and efficient model homes, and some thirty of them were built, mostly in Southern California. The sponsor of this ambitious project was the Californian magazine Arts & Architecture, which engaged an architectural photographer named Julius Shulman to dutifully record them. The iconic Stahl House remains one of the most famous examples of the program's principles and aesthetics.^#^



(2005)*^ - View showing the Stahl House and swimming pool.  


Historical Notes

The L-shaped house consists almost entirely of steel and glass set on a concrete pad, with a rectangular swimming pool occupying the space within the L. Twenty foot wide modules allow for large expanses of glass to face the swimming pool. Situated atop a promontory overlooking Los Angeles, the living room cantilevers over a dramatic precipice. The two bedrooms occupy one wing of the house with the master bathroom tucked into the inside corner of the L behind the kitchen. The kitchen, dining room, and living room are surrounded by glass with the appliances “floating” on steel legs and a freestanding fireplace centering the living room. Deep overhangs shelter the interiors from the harshest sunlight.^#^



(2009)#++ - View looking southwest from the deck of the Stahl House swimming pool showing West Hollywood (directly below). The skyscrapers of Century City and the Santa Monica Bay can be seen in the distance.  


Historical Notes

In 1999, the house was declared a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument (No. 670). In 2007, the American Institute of Architects listed the Stahl House (No. 140) as one of the top 150 structures on its "America's Favorite Architecture" list, one of only eleven in Southern California, and the only privately owned home on the list.*^




(2013)++++ – View showing the Stahl House displaying a modern Christmas tree during the holidays with the twinkling city lights below.  


Historical Notes

The Stahl house was included among the ten best houses in Los Angeles in a Los Angeles Times survey of experts in December 2008.  It was also listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2013.*^


* * * * *



The Garcia House (aka Rainbow House)

(1964)* – View looking up toward the Garcia House (aka Rainbow House).  Photograph caption reads, "In the air! - Designed by Hollywood architect John Lautner, this home at 7436 Mulholland Dr. is perched on the mountain side suspended on air by caissons resting on rocks."  The man in the lower-right appears to be a neighbor sweeping his driveway.  



Historical Notes

The Garcia House (also known as The Rainbow House) is a private home in the Hollywood Hills of Los Angeles, designed by architect John Lautner. Located on Mulholland Drive, it sits on stilts 60 feet above the canyon below.*^



(ca. 2000s)^** – View showing the Garcia House, designed by John Lautner in 1962.  


Historical Notes

Also known as the "Rainbow House" for its parabolic roof over colored stained glass windows and a curved ceiling that rises to 30 feet in height, it has been described as "one of the 10 most important residences from the midcentury period in Los Angeles." *^



(ca. 2002)^x^ – View looking at the “Russ” and Gina Garcia Home located at 7436 Mulholland Drive.  


Historical Notes

The building was originally designed in 1962 for Russell Garcia. By 2002 it had undergone many changes from its original design and was in need of renovation. In 2002, actor Vincent Gallo sold the house for $1.3 million to Bill Damaschke, a Dreamworks executive, and his partner, business manager John McIlwee. Damaschke and McIlwee then invested another $1 million on an extensive renovation, supervised by the Marmol Radziner design firm. They ultimately also added a fence to obstruct public views from the street into the glass-sided, transparent house. *^




(2016)** - Panoramic view of the Garcia House with newly added pool.  


Historical Notes

The pool added a few years ago was actually in the original plans, but the first owners ran out of money to build it. It sits on a concrete terrace below the house.




(2015)^xx – View of the Garcia House from pool level.  


Historical Notes

The house was prominently used as a location for the film Lethal Weapon 2, as well as in a 2011 commercial for Oliver Peoples eyewear featuring singer Devendra Banhart and his girlfriend Rebecca Schwartz. *^

Click HERE for contemporary view.



(2015)^xx – Side view of the Garcia Home, designed by John Lautner, as it appears today.  


Historical Notes

Once inside the house, the inhabitant or guest is treated to panoramic views of Hollywood through the vast walls of clear and colored glass.

2011 marked the 100th birthday of John Lautner, who was as an apprentice to Frank Lloyd Wright at Taliesen West. His brillaince was evident early on and even Wright himself boldly claimed that Lautner was “the world’s second greatest architect”.  Like Wright, Lautner is recognized for creating dramatic architecture that blends naturally into the surrounding landscape and he does so while working with powerful geometric designs. “I love lakes, mountains,” Lautner is quoted as saying, “and none of them are square”.

With designs that are completely unlike anyone else’s (in fact, his designs are unique even among themselves), it’s no wonder at all that several of his houses have been made prominent appearances in Hollywood films. For instance, the Garcia Residence (seen above) was featured in Lethal Weapon 2, where Mel Gibson used cables to attach the house to a pick-up truck and pull it down the side of the mountain.^^


* * * * *



Norms Restaurant (La Cienega)

(1962)^.^ – View showing Norms Restaurant located at 462 N. La Cienega Boulevard.  Photo by Jack Laxer  


Historical Notes

The Norms Restaurants chain of diner-style restaurants was founded in 1949 by used-car salesman Norm Roybark when he opened his first restaurant on Sunset Boulevard near Vine Street. The oldest surviving Norms opened on La Cienega Boulevard in 1957 (seen above), featuring a distinctive angular and brightly colored style that came to be known as Googie Architecture. Key characteristics include concrete walls, large glass windows, jutting roof, and a neon marquee.*^




(ca. 1960s)* - Interior view of the Norm's flagship restaurant on La Cienega.  


Historical Notes

Many Norms restaurants, including the 1957 La Cienega Boulevard location, were designed by Louis Armét and Eldon Davis of Armét & Davis to look like automobile showrooms with booths resembling bucket seats. Their unique appearance has made them the subject of exhibitions curated by the Getty Center.

Armét and Davis also designed the landmark Pann's Coffee Shop in Ladera Heights, Johnie's Coffee Shop at Fairfax and Wilshire, Penguin Coffee Shop in Santa Monica, nd several Bob's Big Boy restaurants.*^




(2014) - Google street view showing Norms Restaurant on La Cienega Boulevard. It is the oldest surviving Norms in the restaurant chain.  


Historical Notes

There are currently seventeen locations of Norms Restaurants in Los Angeles, Orange and Riverside counties.*^




(2015)^^* – Profile view of Norms Restaruant at dusk, 462 N. La Cienega Blvd.  


Historical Notes

On, May 20, 2015, the Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously to designate Norms La Cienega as an Historic-Cultural Monument (HCM).




(2019)** – Looking up at the Googie-style features of Norms, La Cienega.  


Historical Notes

One of Armet and Davis’s most well-known works, this Norms location is the oldest still in operation. “The elongated diamond-shaped trusses, the sloping roof, the long open stretch of glass that looks out onto the boulevard.

Click HERE to see more on the origin of Googie Architecture.



* * * * *




Pann's Coffee Shop

(2019)^.^ - Pann's Coffee Shop located on La Cienega and La Tijera boulevards in, Los Angeles.  Painting by Carlos G Groppa  


Historical Notes

Pann's coffee shop is considered an institution in Los Angeles, for its history, role in movies, and distinctive architecture. The restaurant was opened by husband and wife George and Rena Poulos in 1958 and is still operated by the Poulos family as of 2020.  It is also known for its neon sign, Googie architecture, and 1950s decor.*




(2009)** – Pann’s Coffee Shop, located at 6710 La Tijera Blvd. Photo by Ashok Sinha  


Historical Notes

Louis Armet and Eldon Davis started their practice in 1947. In the period before 1970, they designed thousands of buildings in their distinct style—not just coffee shops, but private homes, markets, shopping centers, country clubs, even churches and cemeteries. Most of Armet & Davis' projects of this period contained custom-designed artwork, many in new materials such as plastics and resins.

Pann's includes an angular edifice and large plate glass windows and has been described as having "the classic coffee shop architecture". It was designed by Helen Liu Fong, who also designed the Holiday Bowl, Johnie's coffee shop, and the original Norms Restaurant.  She included tropical landscaping in the design, and was part of the firm of Armet & Davis that one commentator refers to as "the Frank Lloyd Wright of 1950s coffee shops."




(ca. 2010s)^ - Close-up view showing the landscaping in front of Pann’s Coffee Shop. Photo by Sebastian Schlueter  


Historical Notes

Pann's is one of the last and best of the iconic futuristic coffee shops designed by the prolific firm of Armet & Davis. Its traffic island is an oasis of subtropical planting beneath an immense, hovering "tortoise shell" roof. An offkilter, animated neon sign bursts skyward.




(2009)^ - Neon sign above Pann's Coffee Shop reads: Pan's - Real Food - Since 1958  


Historical Notes

Pann's was featured in a story in the Los Angeles Times, "Going on a hunt for Googie architecture," which noted the restaurant's tilted roof and sign, tropical plants and exposed stone walls indoors and out, and glass windows wrapping around the restaurant.

Click HERE to see more on the Origins of Googie Architecture.






(2020)^.^ - Looking through Pann's large plate windows showing the 1950s style décor.  Photo by Stephen D. Schafer  


Historical Notes

Inside, the restaurant boasts all of the hallmarks of the California coffee shop style—terrazzo floors, massive sheets of plate glass, a soaring roofline, flagstone walls, and planters rising out of the ground. Alan Hess writes in Googie: Fifties Coffee Shop Architecture that "these were places where George Jetson and Fred Flintstone could meet over a cup of coffee."^

In addition to being a feast for the eyes, Pann's is notable for still being owned and lovingly cared for by family members of its original owners. There is an illustrated history of the owners' migration from Greece, across the U.S. to Los Angeles, near the Pann's entrance. In 1993, second-generation owner Jim Poulos completely restored Pann's to its 1958 glory, receiving a Conservancy Preservation Award for his efforts.^


Winner of the Los Angeles Conservancy Preservation Award

Pann's has operated under a number of snappy mottoes, including "Just Food, Service and Rock & Roll."

The restaurant has been featured in films such as xXx and Bewitched and Pulp Fiction.

Contrary to popular belief, Pulp Fiction was not filmed at Pann's; it was filmed at Pann's other location, Holly’s, in Hawthorne.*



* * * * *




Penguin Coffee Shop

(1959)^x^ – View showing the front of the Googie-style Penguin Coffee Shop located on the corner of Lincoln and Olympic boulevards in Santa Monica.  


Historical Notes

Penguin Coffee Shop was first constructed in 1959. The coffee shop was designed by architects Armét and Davis, who are also responsible for the appearance of La Cienega Boulevard’s Norms Restaurant, which is the oldest Norm’s establishment that is still standing today.

Googie architecture has a futuristic Space Age look, that was popular in the 1950s and 1960s. Its name comes from the defunct West Hollywood Googie's Coffee Shop.




(1959)^x^ - Booths and counter in the Penguin Coffee Shop on Lincoln Blvd. in Santa Monica, designed by Architects Armét and Davis.  


Historical Notes

Armét and Davis also designed the landmark Pann's coffee shop in Ladera Heights, Johnie's Coffee Shop at Fairfax and Wilshire, Norms Restaurant on La Cienega, and several Bob's Big Boy restaurants.*^




(1959)^x^ – Profile view of the Penguin Coffee Shop on Lincoln Blvd. in Santa Monica.  


Historical Notes

When Penguin Coffee Shop closed, the building became a dentist’s office in 1991. The establishment closed in 2016.  Mel’s Drive-in owner Steven Weiss recently signed a long-term lease for the Googie-style building and plans to add it to his chain of restaurants.

Click HERE to see contemporary view.


* * * * *



Ralphs Market

(ca. 1964)*#*#* – View of Ralphs Market located on the southwest corner of Buena Vista and Victory Boulevard in Burbank.  


Historical Notes

Designed by Stiles O. Clements and with its sweep of windows and arched roof, this Ralphs was a great example of 60's architecture. Clements was a partner of Hearst Castle designer Julia Morgan and did several local Ralphs and the North Hollywood Sears.*#*#*

Click HERE to see an 1886 photo of George Ralphs standing in front of his original store in the Early LA Buildings (1800s) Section.


* * * * *



Valley Unitarian Universalist Church ("The Onion")

(1964)* – View showing The Valley Unitarian Universalist Church (as it was called in the 1960s) shortly before it was completed, located at 9550 Haskell Avenue in North Hills.  


Historical Notes

Designed by acclaimed architect Frank Ehrenthal, the building was completed in 1964. Its bizarre shape led to the nickname "The Onion." In addition to its church service, the building also operated as a nursery school, and held small theatrical performances.



(2015)#+ – View showing the “Onion” as it appears today.  The building is currently home to the Sepulveda Unitarian-Universalist Society – A Liberal Religious Congregation.  


Historical Notes

In 2010, the Sepulveda Unitarian Universalist Society Sanctuary was dedicated Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument No. 975. Click HERE to see complete listing.


* * * * *


Valley Music Theatre

(ca. 1964)*^*^^ - Aerial view showing the Valley Music Theatre on Ventura Boulevard between Winnetka and Canoga.  


Historical Notes

The Valley Music Theater was built in 1963, as a concrete shell structure, by pouring a concrete 'dome' over a rounded hill of soil, then excavating the soil away. The theater project was backed by entertainers Bob Hope and Art Linkletter, along with Cy Warner. *^



(1964)^x^ - Woodland Hills Honorary Mayor, Buster Keaton "hitching a ride" in front of the Valley Music Theater. Photo Credit: Steve Young-Valley Times - Los Angeles Public Library Collection  


Historical Notes

The little girl is Melody Holland, the daughter of David Holland, who was the Director of Public Relations for the theater. This photo was taken in 1964 before the opening of "The Sound of Music." Mr. Keaton's last home was in Woodland Hills at 22612 Sylvan Street. ^x^



(1964)* - Theater debut.  Photograph caption dated July 8, 1964 partially reads, "Above, the setting sun catches members of the opening-night audience as they head for entrance of new Valley Music Theater."  – Valley Times Collection  


Historical Notes

The 2865-seat facility opened July 6, 1964 with The Sound of Music. The first year saw the theater mount 18 musicals, three comedies, a drama, as well as concerts with a combined audience of over 600,000.*^



(1965)* -   Concert-in-round  - Photograph caption dated February 25, 1965 reads, "The Valley Symphony's huge orchestra fills stage at Valley Music Theater as musical director James Swift, center, conducts and Steve Allen plays piano at rehearsal for nation's first theater-in-round concert tomorrow night."  - Valley Times Collection  




(ca. 1960s)#^# - View showing the Valley Music Theatre located at 20600 Ventura Boulevard in Woodland Hills.  


Historical Notes

Among the performers who appeared at the Valley Music Theater were Sammy Davis Jr., Johnny Carson, Don Rickles, Woody Allen, Ray Charles, Art Linkletter, Robert Goulet, Mitzi Gaynor, Ike & Tina Turner, Peter, Paul & Mary, B.B. King, Lou Rawls, Three Dog Night, Jim Croce, and the Spiral Staircase. The Byrds, Buffalo Springfield, and The Doors appeared there together on February 22, 1967.*^




(2004)*^ - The Valley Music Theater — formerly on Ventura Boulevard and Chalk Hill, in Woodland Hills.  Photographed when it was an Assembly Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses.  Photo by Scott Mayoral     


Historical Notes

By 1966 the theater began to fall on hard times. Over the years, the fare changed from legitimate theater, to rock concerts, to boxing matches, until in 1980 it became a Jehovah's Witness Regional Assembly Hall. By 2004, the church had outgrown the facility and sold the property, which it had bought for $1 million. *^

The Valley Music Center site at 20600 Ventura Blvd. now consists of an apartment complex and live + work lofts called "The Boulevard". Click HERE for contemprorary view.


* * * * *



Fotomat Kiosks

(1970s)*^#^* – Postcard view of a Fotomat kiosk. This was a common sight in the parking lots of shopping centers throughout Southern California during the 1960s, 70s, and 80s.  


Historical Notes

Fotomat was a retail chain of photo development drive-through kiosks located in shopping center parking lots. Fotomat Corporation was founded by Preston Fleet in San Diego in the 1960s, with the first kiosk opening in Point Loma, California in 1965. At its peak around 1980 there were over 4,000 Fotomats throughout the United States, primarily in suburban areas. Fotomats were distinctive for their pyramid-shaped gold-colored roofs and signs with red lettering, usually positioned in a large parking area such as a supermarket or strip mall, as the Fotomat huts required a minimal amount of land and were able to accommodate cars driving up to drop off or pick up film.*^



(1970s)#*## – View showing a 1969 Volvo 142 at a Fotomat kiosk drive-thru.  Note the 1971 Gremlin parked in the background.  


Historical Notes

Photomat sold Kodak-brand film and other photography-related products, and offered one day photo finishing. They often hired female employees to work in the small buildings and called them "Fotomates." The Fotomate uniform was a royal blue and yellow smock top. Male employees were called "Fotomacs" and their uniform was a light blue polo shirt.

The company's main product, overnight film development, was rendered noncompetitive by the late 1980s development of the minilab, which provided one-hour photo development and could be installed on-site without a large capital investment.*^


* * * * *


Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)

(1964)* - Statues of prehistoric beasts graze on banks of pool in Hancock Park with the construction of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) seen in the background.  


Historical Notes

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art was established as a museum in 1961. Prior to this, LACMA was part of the Los Angeles Museum of History, Science and Art, founded in 1910 in Exposition Park near the University of Southern California. Howard F. Ahmanson, Sr., Anna Bing Arnold and Bart Lytton were the first principal patrons of the museum.




(1965)* - Fireworks over LACMA during Opening Ceremony.  


Historical Notes

Ahmanson made the lead donation of $2 million, convincing the museum board that sufficient funds could be raised to establish the new museum.  In 1965 the museum moved to a new Wilshire Boulevard complex (seen above) as an independent, art-focused institution, the largest new museum to be built in the United States after the National Gallery of Art.*^




(1965)*^ – View showing automobile traffic and people waiting to cross Wilshire Boulevard in front of the new Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Photo by George Garrigues  


Historical Notes

Designed by LA architect William Pereira, the museum was built in a style similar to Lincoln Center and the Los Angeles Music Center, consisted of three buildings: the Ahmanson Building, the Bing Center, and the Lytton Gallery (renamed the Frances and Armand Hammer Building in 1968).




(1965)^ - View showing the original central plaza, which hovered above shallow pools.  


Historical Notes

When the museum opened, the buildings were surrounded by reflecting pools, but they were filled in and covered over when tar from the adjacent La Brea Tar Pits began seeping in.




(1965)* – Visitors check out the landscaping and water art mobiles in front of LACMA.  





(ca. 1965)* - Aerial view looking east showing the Miracle Mile (Wilshire Blvd.) with the LA County Museum of Art and the La Brea Tar Pits seen in the foreground.  





(ca. 1965)* - Aerial view of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. In the background are the Park La Brea Towers appartments. The La Brea Tar Pits can be seen to the right of the museum. The museum was built in 1964 at Wilshire & Genesee (lower center-left).  





(1965)#* – Aerial view looking north showing the Los Angeles County Museum of Art located at 5905 Wilshire Boulevard.  On the right is the La Brea Tar Pits.  To the left is the parking structure for May Company Department Store.  





(1965)* - Exterior view of the L.A. County Museum of Art building and its fountains. Building was built in 1964, and designed by architects Pereira Associates.  





(1965)* – View showing a man and two children on the walkway between the jet-propelled water feature hitting the three art mobiles called the “Three Quintains”.   On a windy day visitors could get drenched.  


Historical Notes

To house its growing collections of modern and contemporary art and to provide more space for exhibitions, the museum hired the architectural firm of Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer Associates to design its $35.3-million, 115,000-square-foot Robert O. Anderson Building for 20th-century art, which opened in 1986 (renamed the Art of the Americas Building in 2007).  Museum-goers would now enter through the new partially roofed central court, nearly an acre of space bounded by the museum's four buildings.

In 1994 LACMA purchased the adjacent former May Company Department Store Buiolding, an impressive example of streamline moderne architecture designed by Albert C. Martin Sr. LACMA West increased the museum's size by 30 percent when the building opened in 1998.




(1968)* - Three life-sized replicas of giant Imperial Mammoths, sculpted by artist Howard Ball, are shown on the shore at the tar pits adjacent to the east wing of Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Click HERE to see more early views of the La Brea Tar Pits.  


Historical Notes

In June 2014, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved $5 million for LACMA to continue its proposed plans to tear down the structures on the east end of its campus for a single museum building.  Later that year, they approved in concept a plan that would provide public financing and $125 million toward the $600-million project.

The museum received a $500 million donation of art from businessman Jerry Perenchio in 2014. The 47-piece collection contains works by Paul Cézanne, Edgar Degas, René Magritte, Édouard Manet, Claude Monet, and Pablo Picasso. LACMA executive director Michael Govan said it was the biggest gift in the museum's history, and The Washington Post called it "conceivably one of the greatest art gifts ever, to any museum." Perenchio's donation, which becomes effective upon his death, occurs only if the museum completes construction of the new building designed by Peter Zumthor.*^




(2020)* – Rendering of the new LACMA building which will straddle Wilshire Boulevard. Photo courtesy of Atelier Peter Zumthor & Partner  


Historical Notes

Peter Zumthor has designed a new building for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art that he believes will give context to displaced art objects from around the world. The building project entails the construction of one modern and efficient building to replace four aging buildings (Ahmanson, Art of the Americas, Bing, Hammer), as well as the construction of a parking structure on Ogden Drive to replace the spaces on the existing Spaulding Avenue parking lot.




(2020)^ - Rendering of LACMA’s Peter Zumthor–designed building crossing Wilshire Boulevard. Courtesy of Atelier Peter Zumthor & Partners/The Boundary.  


Historical Notes

The proposed new museum is an amoeba-shaped concrete form that will bridge Wilshire Boulevard from LACMA’s current site to what was a parking lot opposite, with all the new galleries flowing together on one floor. Functions such as education, retail, and restaurants will be housed in the seven pavilions holding up the floating gallery space nearly 30 feet in the air.




(2020)^ - View west down Wilshire Boulevard, rendering of David Geffen Galleries at LACMA, courtesy of Atelier Peter Zumthor & Partner/The Boundary.  


Historical Notes

The new building spans Wilshire in order to provide 3.5 acres of new park and outdoor space for visitors in Hancock Park and the Natural History Museum’s research. This public outdoor space will be home to even more public sculptures .


* * * * *



Getty Villa Museum

(1980)* - View of the main courtyard (peristyle) and guests at the Getty Villa Museum, located at 17985 West Pacific Coast Highway in Pacific Palisades. The peristyle is adorned with hedge-lined pathways and stone benches and plants such as bay laurel, boxwood, myrtle, ivy, and oleander, are planted around a spectacular 220-foot-long reflecting pool.  


Historical Notes

The Villa, modeled after a first-century Roman country house, the Villa dei Papiri in Herculaneum, was constructed in the early 1970s by the architectural firm of Langdon and Wilson. Architectural consultant Norman Neuerburg worked closely with J. Paul Getty to develop the interior and exterior details, based on elements from ancient Roman houses in the towns of Pompeii, Herculaneum, and Stabiae.*




(1980)* - A museum visitor walks past Roman busts located on one side of the peristyle at the Getty Villa Museum.  


Historical Notes

Between 1997 and 2006, the Getty Villa underwent a major renovation by architects Rodolfo Machado and Jorge Silvetti, seeing modifications to its site plan, landscaping, and buildings. The museum now houses only Greek, Roman, and Etruscan art, with the rest of Getty’s collection now housed at the massive Getty Center in Brentwood.*




(2021)* – The Getty Villa, known for its art, gardens, and architecture.  


Historical Notes

The Getty Villa consists of a two-story building with a 300-foot-long peristyle of Doric and Corinthian columns surrounding a landscaped courtyard with a reflecting pool, Roman-style plantings, and bronze statues.


* * * * *



Crocker-Citizens Plaza (611 Place)

(1968)* - Aerial view looking northeast showing the Crocker-Citizens Plaza and surrounding buildings in downtown Los Angeles. This building was completed in 1967/68 and is located on Sixth St. between Hope St. and Grand Ave.  


Historical Notes

The Crocker-Citizens Plaza was  designed by William L. Pereira & Associates and completed in 1968. The building was commissioned by the now-defunct Crocker Citizen's Bank, and served as its headquarters for many years before being bought by AT&T. It was the tallest building in Los Angeles upon completion, and the first building to surpass Los Angeles City Hall in terms of structural height (many buildings had surpassed City Hall with decorative spires, the first being Richfield Tower).*^



(1968)* - Aerial view looking southwest showing the 42-story Crocker-Citizens Plaza and the surrounding buildings in downtown Los Angeles.  


Historical Notes

The Crocker-Citizens Building (now known as 611 Place) consists of a cross-shaped tower clad in vertical aluminum beams, and supported on its west side by an immense, blank slab of concrete running the entire height of the building, which is used to display corporate logos.*^



(1968)* - Close-up of the lettering and towering structure above the lettering on the front of the Crocker-Citizens Plaza that opened for business on Sept. 11, 1968, address: 611 W. 6th Street.  


Historical Notes

The bank traces its history to the Woolworth National Bank in San Francisco. Charles Crocker, who was one of The Big Four of the Central Pacific Railroad and who constructed America's First Transcontinental Railroad, acquired a controlling interest in Woolworth for his son William Henry Crocker. The bank was renamed Crocker Woolworth National Bank, later Crocker-Anglo Bank, Crocker-Citizens National Bank, then Crocker First National Bank and finally Crocker National Bank. It had many branches, mostly in the northern half of California. In 1963, Crocker-Anglo Bank later merged with Los Angeles' Citizens National Bank, to become Crocker-Citizens Bank and later, Crocker Bank.*^



(1971)^*# – View looking southeast from the intersection of 5th and flower streets showing the Central Library with the high-rise Crocker Citizen Bank building in the background and the California Club to the right.  


Historical Notes

The building appeared in several movies: it appeared twice in 2004, first in The Day After Tomorrow where it mysteriously appeared in shots of Manhattan, and later in Along Came Polly, where it was the starting point of an ill-fated BASE jump. 611 Place is also destroyed by an earthquake in the 2000 movie Epicenter.*^



(n.d.) - View of Crocker Bank on 6th Street in downtown Los Angeles, with the "Jesus Saves" sign below it, on the roof of the Church of the Open Door on Hope Street.  Photo by Tom LaBonge  


Historical Notes

The Crocker Bank Building was bought by AT&T and is now known as 611 Place.*^

The iconic neon "Jesus Saves" sign in downtown L.A. has quite the story. It was once part of the Church of the Open Door, then moved to the United Artists Theater, which served as the Los Angeles University Cathedral. Now the building that the sign sits on houses the Ace Hotel.


* * * * *



LA County Hall of Records

(1962)* - View of the new LA County Hall of Records located at 320 W. Temple Street. In the foreground on the left is a bronze statue of George Washington.  It is a 1933 copy of the 1796 original by Jean-Antoine Houdon.  


Historical Notes

The new Hall of Records building was co-designed by Richard Neutra and Robert Alexander and built in 1962.  Originally envisioned as two separate buildings, one for storing records and the other for workers, Neutra and Alexander combined the buildings into one. The T-shaped building has odd number floors on the north side, with double high ceilings and tall windows. The records block on the south side, has floors at 8-ft intervals.

The building was designed to be energy efficient, with large aluminum louvers on the south face running the height of the building. Originally, they turned with the angle of the sun throughout the day to allow more indirect light into the building. No longer operable, they are now locked in one position.

The Temple Street side of the building is covered with a Mosaic Mural titled Water Sources in Los Angeles County by Joseph Young. The mural and reflecting pool were restored in 2007.*^


* * * * *




Department of Water and Power Building (GOB)

(ca. 1960)* - Looking east from a neighborhood west of the Harbor Freeway (foreground) showing the construction of the 17-story General Office Building of the Department of Water and Power, located at 111 N. Hope Street, and the Music Center. First Street is seen on the right side, and the Civic Center is partially visible in the background.  


Historical Notes

The 17-story Department of Water & Power Office Building (GOB) was constructed on Bunker Hill with the purpose of consolidating 11 building offices scattered across Downtown LA and was formally dedicated in June 1965.




(ca. 1963)* - Aerial view of the yet to be completed DWP General Office Building and Dorothy Chandler Pavilion with City Hall in the background.  


Historical Notes

The A.C. Martin and Associates designed building offered some unique high-technology features in that It was designed to utilize the pool surrounding the structure as part of the air conditioning system and to heat the building without the use of a boiler.




(1965)***^^ – Sketch rendering of the new LA Department of Water and Power General Office Building, designed by A.C. Martin and Associates.  


Historical Notes

The first occupants moved into the DWP General Office Building on May 14, 1965. One month later the building was formally dedicated in a ceremony attended by civic officials and business leaders. The eight fountains outside the building were turned on by Elizabeth Scattergood and Rose Mulholland, granddaughters of the two men who were DWP's first chief engineers. ##^*




(1966)* - Night view of a well lit Department of Water and Power building, including fountains, as seen from the Dorothy Chandler Pavillion across the street.  





(1965)+# - View lookng northeast showing the Water and Power Office Building standing tall on Bunker Hill. Photo by Julius Shulman.  


Historical Notes

On September 21, 2011, the DWP Building was designated Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument No. 1022. One of Los Angeles' most notable examples of Corporate International architecture, the DWP Building (John Ferraro Office Building) opened in 1965 and has been an L.A. icon ever since.




(1965)#* - Interior view of the GOB showing the main spiral staircase.  



Click HERE to see more in Construction of the DWP's General Office Building.


* * * * *



Dorothy Chandler Pavilion (Music Center)

(1965)* - A record 7,000 fans wait in line at the Los Angeles Music Center on August 30, 1965, to buy tickets of the musical, "Hello Dolly." The show opened September 14 at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.  


Historical Notes

Construction of the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion started on March 9, 1962, and it was dedicated September 27, 1964. The Pavilion was named for Dorothy Buffum Chandler who led the effort to build a suitable home for the Los Angeles Philharmonic and rejuvenate the performing arts in Los Angeles.*^




(1969)^*^* - View of the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, the first unit of the Los Angeles Music Center, designed by Welton Becket and Associates.  


Historical Notes

In April 1955, Dorothy Chandler, wife of Los Angeles Times publisher Norman Chandler, began fundraising toward a permanent home for the Philharmonic. Ultimately Mrs. Chandler raised almost $20 million in private donations; the County provided the site and raised the remaining $14 million using mortgage revenue bonds.

The rest of the complex was completed in April 1967. The additional venues, the Mark Taper Forum and Ahmanson Theatre, were dedicated on April 19 and 12, 1967, respectively.*^




(1965)+# - View looking south toward the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion with fountain in the foreground. Photo by Julius Shulman  





(2018)^ - View looking at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion as seen from the Mark Taper Forum with the DTLA skyline in the background. Note the sculpture in the center of the fountain.  


Historical Notes

In 1969 a sculpture designed by Jaque Lipchitzwas was placed in the center of the plaza surrounded by water-jet fountains. The mammoth bronze sculpture shows a dove descending to Earth as a spirit of peace, further symbolized by a Madonna standing inside a tear-shaped canopy, supported by reclining lambs.  In 2018 it was moved and re-installed 100 feet to the west in order to open up the center of the plaza and provide greater accessibility.*




(2020)^.^ - Dorothy Chandler Pavilion as seen through the dancing fountains in courtyard.  Photo by Tom Awai  


Historical Notes

The Plaza re-opened in 2019 after a $41 million renovation.  It marked the return of The Music Center Plaza fountain, a centerpiece of the space, while the Jacques Lipchitz-designed “Peace on Earth” sculpture was relocated to a more prominent position within The Music Center complex.*




(1960s)^x^ - Patrons arrive at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion for a concert by Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra. Photo Source: Life Magazine  





(1960s)^x^ - Looking down at the lobby from one of the many staircases at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. Photo credit: Life Magazine  





(ca. 1965)* - Interior close-up view of the beautiful chandeliers hanging inside the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.  


Historical Notes

The interior of the theater is an elegant five-story space draped in honey-toned onyx and features 78 crystal light fixtures including three stunning chandeliers each made with 24,000 individual pieces of hand-polished crystal from Munich. #*^*




(1964)^x^ – Life Magazine photo showing Zubin Mehta conducting the Los Angeles Philharmonic as seen from the top balcony of Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.  


Historical Notes

The opening concert was held on December 6, 1964 with Zubin Mehta conducting the Los Angeles Philharmonic with soloist Jascha Heifetz. The program included Fanfare by Richard Strauss, American Festival Overture by William Schuman, Roman Festivals by Ottorino Respighi, Beethoven's Violin Concerto.*^




(1965)* - Civic center buildings at night; left to right, the Department of Water and Power GOB, Music Center and City Hall, seen from across the Harbor Freeway.  






(1967)* - View of Department of Water and Power building on the left and Dorothy Chandler Music Center on the right from a parking lot across First Street.  


Historical Notes

The parking lot seen above is the current site of the Walt Disney Concert Hall, built in 2003.




(1966)^.^ - View looking south on Grand Avenue showing a line of people waiting to see the new Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.  The Mark Taper Forum, seen on right, is still under construction.  




Mark Taper Forum

(1966)^.^ - View looking south on Grand Avenue showing a line of people waiting to see the new Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.  The Mark Taper Forum, seen on right, is still under construction.  


Historical Notes

The Mark Taper Forum opened in 1967 as part of the Los Angeles Music Center, the West Coast’s equivalent of Lincoln Center. The smallest of the three, the Taper sits between the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion and the Ahmanson Theater at opposite ends of a plaza. The three buildings of the Music Center were designed by Los Angeles architect Welton Becket.

The building bears an architectural resemblance to Carousel Theatre at Disneyland, also built by Welton Becket and Associates in 1967. It is similar in design concept and size to the Dallas Theatre Center, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and the original Tyrone Guthrie Theatre, in Minneapolis.

In 1969, a sculpture, "Peace on Earth" by Jacques Lipchitz, was dedicated. It portrays a dove descending to earth with the spirit of peace, symbolized by the Madonna standing inside a tear shaped canopy, supported by a base of reclining lambs. Lawrence E. Deutsch and Lloyd Rigler donated $250,000 to commission a work for the fountain.

The architects of The Music Center, Welton Becket and Associates, opposed placing sculpture in the plaza between the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion and the Mark Taper Forum. However after a two-year search, the Art Committee of The Music Center commissioned Lipchitz. Today, no work of public art in Los Angeles is more photographed.*^




(1967)* - View is toward the east, toward the Los Angeles County Hall of Administration, the Hall of Records, and City Hall.  


Historical Notes

S. (Sydney) Mark Taper was a real estate developer, financier and philanthropist in Southern California. His 1962 gift to the Los Angeles Music Center resulted in the Mark Taper Forum being named for him in 1967.

Mr. Taper was born in Poland, moving to England at a year old, where he opened five shoe stores. In 1929, he began successfully investing in real estate and by the late 1930s, had retired and moved his family to Long Beach.*^




(n.d.)^.^ - View looking NW from the Mark Taper Forum.  In the distance, across the moat, can be seen the DWP building (left) and the LA County Dept. of Health Services building.  


Historical Notes

A $30-million renovation of the Taper led by the Los Angeles firm Rios Clementi Hale Studios began in July 2007 after the 2006/2007 season. The theater reopened on August 30, 2008.

The Taper, as originally designed, was a case study in what happens when a theater is built without a tenant in mind. Fitting the auditorium into the circular building left a tiny backstage and only a narrow, curved hallway for a lobby.

The renovation updated nearly everything that was not concrete and did not disrupt the building’s circular shape. To create a larger main lobby, the designers reduced the ticket booth and removed about 30 parking spaces from the lower-level garage to move the restrooms below ground as part of a stylized lounge with gold, curved couches and mosaics of mirrored tiles that fit the era in which the building was designed. The theater seats are wider and total capacity was reduced from 745 to 739. The entrance was moved to the plaza level and an elevator added to increase the accessibility of the theater.*^




(2021)* – Looking toward the Water and Power Building fron under the colonnade in front of the Mark Taper Forum. Photo by Shellie Winkler  





(2020)^.^ - The Mark Taper Forum opened on the The Music Center: Performing Arts Center of Los Angeles plaza in 1967 and was designed by noted Los Angeles architect Welton Becket.  



* * * * *




(ca. 1970)* - An aerial shot of the Music Center and the Department of Water and Power Building. At center-right stands the Hall of Administration (now Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration). At lower-right can be seen part of the LA County Courthouse (now Stanley Mosk Courthouse).





(1970)* - Aerial view of the Dorothy Chandler Music Center (middle left), Department of Water and Power building behind, and County Courthouse lower-right. The DWP was built 1963-64, the Music Center was built 1964-69 and the County Courthouse was built 1956-59. Architects: Albert C. Martin & Assocaites (DWP), Welton Becket (Music Center), and Paul Williams (County Courthouse).  



* * * * *



Los Angeles County Courthouse (Stanley Mosk County Courthouse)

(1956)* – View looking northwest from above Hill Street towards Grand Avenue and Bunker Hill showing the early stages of construction on the Los Angeles County Courthouse.  1st Street is on the left and the building with the turret in the upper-left is the Seymour Apartments.  


Historical Notes

Los Angeles County had gone nearly twenty-six years without a dedicated courthouse structure after the previous 1891 sandstone courthouse was damaged in the 1933 Long Beach earthquake. The Los Angeles Times noted that the architects of the present courthouse, which is home to both municipal courts and superior courts, designed it to last 250 years.^#^




(1956)**^ – View looking northeast showing the steel framing of the new County Courthouse located on the north side of First Street between Grand Avenue and Hill Street. In the distance (upper-right) can be seen the Hall of Justice, Federal Building, and the Hall of Records. In the foreground is a row of apartment buildings on the south side of First Street. The building with the turret in the right foreground is the Seymour Apartments (S/W corner of First and Olive).  





(ca. 1959)^^ – Birdseye view showing the Los Angeles County Courthouse on the northwest corner of First Street and Hill Street. A statue of Justice can be seen on the side of the building at right.  Renowned architect Paul R. Williams lead the Late Moderne style building's design team.  


Historical Notes

The $24 million Los Angeles County Courthouse was dedicated on October 31, 1958, and opened for public business at 9 a.m. on January 5, 1959. With 850,000 square feet of space, it was the largest courthouse in the United States. Its entrances featured mosaic tile columns. The marble floors were quarried in Italy and polished in Vermont. White oak paneling lined the 110 courtrooms. The courthouse included eight large courtrooms, with prominent slabs of Tennessee Rosemont marble on the walls behind each bench.**#^^



(n.d.)#^#^# - Close-up of clock on exterior of Los Angeles County Courthouse.  


Historical Notes

The clock on its eastern facade links the current courthouse to its predecessors. The hands and numerals of the clock were also on the Clocktower Courthouse, which was used from 1861 to 1891, and the Red Sandstone Courthouse, in use from 1891 to 1933. When the Red Sandstone Courthouse was demolished, the clock was preserved and later incorporated into the current courthouse, which opened in 1959.**#^^




(2015)##^^^ – Google street view looking at the northwest corner of 1st and Hill streets showing the Stanley Mosk Courthouse, the main civil courthouse of the Superior Court of Los Angeles County.  


Historical Notes

The County Courthouse was renamed in 2002 in honor of Stanley Mosk, who was the longest serving justice on the California Supreme Court and earlier served as Attorney General of California.^#^




(2015)##^^^ – Google street view showing the Hill Street entrance to the Stanley Mosk County Courthouse, 111 N. Hill Street. The bas-relief "Justice" sculpture is seen on the building facade.  


Historical Notes

Donal Hood designed the “Justice” sculpture on the Hill Street façade.  The terra cotta work was manufactured by Gladding McBean at its Lincoln, California, factory.**#^^



(2005)*^ – View of the Stanley Mosk County Courthouse showing the Grand Avenue entrance facade with three bas-relief statues on the building facade. Photo by Carol M. Highsmith  


Historical Notes

Albert Stewart created the three “Foundations of the Law” figures on the Grand Avenue side, to represent the legal traditions upon which America was founded.

Through more than 150 years the county has used at least eight buildings as its county courthouse. All have been situated within a mile of each other in downtown Los Angeles south of the original plaza in what has for the past 80 years been called the Civic Center.

◆ The first county courthouse was in the adobe Bella Union Hotel, where court was held in rented rooms from 1850 to 1852.
◆ From January 1852 until November 1853, the county rented the home of county attorney (and later judge) Benjamin Hayes on Main Street.
◆ The Roche (or Rocha) House, an adobe on the corner of Spring and Court Streets, which the county and city jointly purchased from Jonathan “Don Juan” Temple, was used from November 1853 to March 1860.
◆ From 1860 to 1861 the county rented a building, probably a two-story brick house on Main Street, from John Nichols, former mayor of Los Angeles.
◆ The Temple Market Block — where City Hall now stands — was rented by the county in May 1861, purchased in 1867 and used until 1891. This was the Clocktower Courthouse, known for its rectangular tower with a clock on all four sides.
◆ The Red Sandstone Courthouse on Pound Cake Hill, completed in 1891, was damaged beyond repair by the Long Beach earthquake of 1933 and demolished in 1936. It is now the site of the Foltz Criminal Justice Center, constructed in 1972.
◆ The Hall of Records, built next door to the Red Sandstone Courthouse in 1911, was used along with other buildings as the courthouse from 1934 until 1959, when the current courthouse was occupied. It was demolished in 1973.
◆ The current courthouse, the Stanley Mosk County Courthouse, is located at 111 N. Hill Street.  Dedicated in 1959, it was the largest courthouse in the United States. **#^^


* * * * *



Parker Center

(ca. 1955)* - View looking northwest showing the Los Angeles Police Department's Parker Center, with City Hall and other Civic Center buildings in the background. First Street is seen at lower-left and North Los Angeles Street is at center, running between City Hall and the Parker Center.  


Historical Notes

Parker Center was the headquarters for the Los Angeles Police Department from 1954 until October 2009 and is located in downtown LA at 150 N. Los Angeles Street.  Often called "The Glass House", the building was named for former LAPD chief William H. Parker. Originally called the Police Administration Building (PAB) (or Police Facilities Building), groundbreaking for the center began on December 30, 1952, and construction was completed in 1955. The architect was Welton Becket. The building combined police facilities that had been located throughout the Civic Center area. The location was previously home to the Olympic Hotel. *^




(1955)* - Parker Center, the headquarters of the Los Angeles Police Department, with the L.A. City Hall in the background; view is from Union Street.  


Historical Notes

Designed by Welton Becket, the 7-story, Modernist structure includes a horizontal slab with bands of windows on the long east and west sides, and glazed terra cotta panels on the short north and south sides. Horizontal 2-story wings extend out into the surrounding parking lots, defining an entrance plaza and a visual base for the building.



(1955)* - View showing the newly completed Parker Center, as seen from the NW corner of 1st and Los Angeles streets.  


Historical Notes

Parker Center appears in many episodes of the television drama Dragnet, beginning with the fifth season in 1955. It also appears in several establishing shots for the Perry Mason TV series between 1958 and 1966. It appeared in several episodes (seasons 3, 4 & 10) of Columbo. The popular NBC drama Hunter also used the Parker Center in the sixth and seventh seasons. Parker Center is also the location of the Priority Homicide Division, and later, Major Crimes on the television series The Closer. *^



(1955)^^* - Close-up view of the Los Angeles Police Department Police Facilities Building, renamed Parker Center in 1956.  




(2005)* - Parker Center seen from across N. Los Angeles Street from the garden level terrace of South City Hall looking southeast. A row of planters lines the front of the building and a group of three palm trees casts a decorative shadow on the building's facade. A lamp post and a median strip can be seen in the foreground.  




(2015)^.^ – View showing the Parker Center after it was permanently closed.  


Historical Notes

With time, the Parker Center became outdated and was in need of expensive seismic retrofits. After considering a number of downtown sites for a new facility, the city council selected a property directly south of City Hall, Caltrans' former Los Angeles headquarters. Ground was broken for the new building in January 2007, which was dedicated on October 24, 2009.

On January 15, 2013, the City of Los Angeles permanently closed Parker Center.  In 2014 the City Department of Public Works and the Bureau of Engineering recommended razing the now vacant Parker Center in favor of building a 27-story tower in its place.

The LA City Council, on March 24, 2017, voted unanimously to approve a proposal to demolish Parker Center, and replace it with an office tower that would consolidate offices of city employees.*^



(2019)^.^ – Demolition of Parker Center – Photo date: May 4, 2019.  



* * * * *



New LAPD Headquarters Building

(2012)*^ - New LAPD Headquarters, at the SW corner of E 1st Street and S Main Street. The building was completed in 2009.  


Historical Notes

The new headquarters building was designed by the architectural firm Daniel, Mann, Johnson & Mendenhall (DMJM) - Roth Sheppard Designs and was constructed by Tutor-Saliba Corporation. 

The Headquarters is a 500,000 square-foot structure that features 10 floors, a Café called LA Reflections, both underground parking and a parking structure, and a 400 seat civic auditorium.  The building received the Silver Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Certification.  The new building utilizes energy efficient mechanical systems, day-lighting, high-performance glass and recycled or renewable building materials.

A significant feature of the facility is a new Police Memorial to be dedicated to the 202 Los Angeles Police Officers who gave their lives while serving the people of this City.  The Los Angeles Police Foundation has championed the beautiful Memorial Sculpture and garden area which stands on the top tier of the plaza.  All architectural work for the Police Memorial was provided pro bono by the distinguished firm of Gensler.


* * * * *




Memorial Coliseum and Sports Arena

(1959)* - Aerial view shows the Memorial Sports Arena (center) sitting adjacent to the Memorial Coliseum (left). The Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena, located at 3939 S. Figueroa Street, was officially opened on July 4, 1959 and was designed by Welton Becket; general contractor was L.E. Dixon Company.


Historical Notes

The Sports Arena became a companion facility to the adjacent Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and home court to the Los Angeles Lakers of the NBA from October 1960 to December 1967, the Los Angeles Clippers also of the NBA from 1984–1999, the Los Angeles Kings of the NHL from October to December 1967 during their inaugural 1967-68 season, the USC Trojans basketball team of the NCAA from 1959–2006, the UCLA Bruins Basketball team of the NCAA from 1959–1965 and again as a temporary home in 2011-2012, the Los Angeles Blades of the Western Hockey League from 1961 to 1967, the Los Angeles Sharks of the WHA from 1972–1974, the Los Angeles Cobras of the AFL in 1988, and the original Los Angeles Stars of the ABA from 1968–1970. The arena played host to the top indoor track meet on the West Coast, the annual Los Angeles Invitational track meet (frequently called the "Sunkist Invitational", with title sponsorship by Sunkist Growers, Incorporated), from 1960 until the event's demise in 2004.

Since the Trojans left, the arena has taken on a lower profile. The arena still holds high school basketball championships, as well as concerts and conventions. The UCLA men's basketball team played the majority of their home games at the Sports Arena during the 2011-12 season while Pauley Pavilion underwent renovations.*^



(1960)* - Blimps-eye view shows both the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena. A baseball diamond can be seen inside the Coliseum. Note the baseball diamond in the Coliseum where the LA Dodgers played (1958-1961).  


Historical Notes

While Dodger Stadium was under construction, the Dodgers played in the league's largest capacity venue from 1958 through 1961 at their temporary home, the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, which could seat in excess of 90,000 people.

Despite their inept play and seventh-place finish, the Dodgers drew a record 1,845,556 fans in their first year in Los Angeles when they played at the Coliseum.*


* * * * *



Dodger Stadium

(1960)* - Construction of Dodger Stadium, built for $23 million, the first privately financed Major League Baseball stadium since Yankee Stadium was built in the 1920s. According to the Herald-Examiner's Morton Moss, Chavez Ravine had turned into a "vast monument of multi-colored steel concrete and terraced asphalt surrounding a barbered acreage of scalloped greenery." Photograph dated May 4, 1960.  


Historical Notes

The land for Dodger Stadium was purchased from local owners and inhabitants in the early 1950s by the city of Los Angeles using eminent domain with funds from the Federal Housing Act of 1949. The city had planned to develop the Elysian Park Heights public housing project, which included two dozen 13-story buildings and more than 160 two-story townhouses, in addition to newly rebuilt playgrounds and schools.

Before construction could begin on the housing project, the local political climate changed greatly when Norris Poulson was elected mayor of Los Angeles in 1953. By then, the proposed public housing projects like Elysian Park Heights lost most of their support. Following protracted negotiations, the city purchased the Chavez Ravine property back from the Federal Housing Authority at a drastically reduced price, with the stipulation that the land be used for a public purpose. It was not until June 3, 1958, when Los Angeles voters approved a "Taxpayers Committee for Yes on Baseball" referendum, that the Dodgers were able to acquire 352 acres of Chavez Ravine from the city.*^




(ca. 1960)* - Aerial view of downtown Los Angeles, showing Dodger Stadium during the final stages of its construction in the foreground.


Historical Notes

Dodger Stadium has been the home ballpark of the Los Angeles Dodgers team since 1962. It was constructed from 1959 to 1962 at a cost of $23 million ($177 million in 2012 dollars) and financed by private sources.*^




(1960s)* - Aerial view of Dodger Stadium and parking lot filled to capacity.  



Dodger Stadium is currently the third oldest ballpark in Major League Baseball (behind Fenway Park in Boston and Wrigley Field in Chicago) and is the largest ballpark by seating capacity. It has always held 56,000 fans, due to a conditional-use permit limiting its capacity. Every time the Dodgers add seats, they always remove an equal number of seats in the upper deck or in the pavilion to keep the capacity the same.*^




Click HERE to see more in Baseball in Early L.A.


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(1967)* - Jack Kent Cooke (right), with architect Charles Luckman, during construction of the Forum in Inglewood.  


Hisorical Notes

A former door-to-door encyclopedia salesman, the Canadian-born Cooke bought the Lakers in 1965 for $5.2 million. After acquiring the rights to an NHL expansion team, Cooke couldn't reach a deal with the Sports Arena (where the Lakers played). He then built the 17,000-seat, $16 million Forum across the street from Hollywood Park; the Kings debuted there on December 30, 1967. In 1979, Cooke sold the Lakers, the Kings, the Forum (and his California ranch) to Jerry Buss for a reported $67.5 million.*




(1960s)* - Aerial and closeup view of the Forum and part of its parking area. Location: 3900 West Manchester Boulevard, Inglewood.  


Historical Notes

The circular structure was designed by renowned Los Angeles architect Charles Luckman and was intended to evoke the Roman Forum.

The Forum was the site of the 1972 and 1983 NBA All-Star Games, the 1981 NHL All-Star Game, Basketball at the 1984 Summer Olympics and hosted the Big West Conference men's basketball tournament from 1983–1988 and also the 1989 Pacific-10 Conference men's basketball tournament.

In 2000, it was acquired by the Faithful Central Bible Church, which used it for occasional church services, while also leasing the building for sporting events, concerts and other events.

In 2012, Madison Square Garden, Inc. bought the facility for $23.5 million and announced plans to renovate the arena for use as a top-niche concert venue.*^


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Theme Building

(1960)^* - View of the new 'Theme Building' as last steel girder is put in place.  


Historical Notes

The distinctive white building resembles a flying saucer that has landed on its four legs. It was designed by a team of architects and engineers headed by William Pereira and Charles Luckman, that also included Paul Williams and Welton Becket. The initial design of the building was created by James Langenheim, of Pereira & Luckman.*^



(1961)^^ - Photograph of a close-up of the parabolic arches at the Los Angeles International Airport, in November 1961 shortly after the building was completed. The arches sweep over a large circular restaurant at center, and a round area lined with windows sprouts from an unseen base.  


Historical Notes

Originally the the restaurant on top rotated slowly giving the visitors a 360-degree dining experience, however, it is now stationary.*^



(1960s)* - Theme Building at the Los Angeles International Airport illuminated at night.  


Historical Notes

In 1992, the Los Angeles City Council designated the Theme Building as LA Historic-Cultural Monument No. 570 (Click HERE to see complete listing).



(1961)^^ – View showing a 707 Continental Airlines Jetliner taxiing along the south ramp of Los Angeles International Airport's new jet age passenger terminal. The newly completed Theme Building stands in the background.  




(1973)* - View showing the Theme Building surrounding by a full parking lot. In the foreground stands the old control tower.  




(2007)*^ - View showing the Theme Building and new control tower (built in 1996) at LAX.  



Click HERE to see more of the Theme Building in Aviation in Early LA.


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Century Plaza Hotel

(1966)**^ - View of the elegant Century Plaza Hotel before its grand opening in 1966.  


Historical Notes

The Century Plaza Hotel opened its doors on June 1, 1966 in the Los Angeles district of Century City on a former backlot of 20th Century Fox Studios. Fox still has its backlot in the district as well as its headquarters, Fox Plaza. Century City was dominated for much of its early history by the Century Plaza Hotel, as it was the highest building on the hill, where the Presidential Suite looked all the way to the Pacific Ocean.*^




(1969)^*^* - View looking north on Avenue of the Stars with the Century Plaza Hotel on the left.  


Historical Notes

In 1961, developer William Zeckendorf and Alcoa bought about 180 acres from 20th Century Fox after the studio had suffered a string of expensive flops, culminating in the box-office disaster Cleopatra. The new owners conceived Century City as "a city within a city" with the arc-shaped, 19-story, 726-room Minoru Yamasaki-designed Century Plaza as the centerpiece of the new city.*^




(1960s)^.^ – Large signs read: “Century Plaza Hotel – Here in 1966”.  





(1960s)^^ – Cars are parked by the front entrance to the Century Plaza Hotel.  


Historical Notes

Apart from its architectural significance, the Century Plaza Hotel is linked to countless events of historic importance as the Hotel immediately became the City’s preferred prestige site for awards presentations, presidential press conferences, political fundraisers, peace rallies and protests, inaugural celebrations, and all types of social gatherings, including charity balls, galas, and annual awards presentations.  Of all the events in the Hotel’s history, the most important occurred in August 1969 when one of only a small handful of Presidential state dinners ever held outside the White House honored the Apollo 11 Mission.   This state dinner was the first ever to have been nationally televised live and was reported to have been “one of the largest, most prestigious, and most publicized state dinners in history.”1    Popular with U.S. presidents, the Hotel is perhaps most closely associated with the political career of President Ronald Reagan who stayed at the Hotel for long stretches and was among the first guests of the Hotel’s tower addition (Tower).  The 30‐story Tower was constructed adjacent to the Hotel (to the south) in 1984 as part of a 322‐room expansion of the Century Plaza.  The Tower was demolished circa 2006.*




(1980)* - Looking up towards the top of the 19-story Century Plaza Hotel.  


Historical Notes

On June 1, 2008, Next Century Associates bought the Century Plaza Hotel from Sunstone Hotel Investors Inc. for $366.5 million. The sale price of $505,000 per room is one of the highest-paid for a hotel in California. Sunstone bought the Century Plaza for $293 million in 2005 and then spent $22 million upgrading the guest rooms and common areas.

On December 18, 2008, the new owners announced plans to demolish the hotel and build a pair of fifty-story towers in its place.

On April 28, 2009, The Century Plaza Hotel was added to The National Trust for Historic Preservation's list of the 11 most endangered historic places in America.

In February 2010, the developer announced that it would renovate the hotel and convert some of the floors to condominiums, rather than demolishing and replacing the building as previously proposed.*^

Click HERE to see more Early Views of Century City.


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Century Towers

(1964)#*## - View showing the Century Towers under Construction in Century City.  


Historical Notes

The Century Towers is the first residential project constructed in Century City. The buildings were developed under the aegis of Alcoa Properties, and they are located along the southern boundary of Century City on the Avenue of the Stars.

Built in 1964 by Alcoa, William Zeckendorf and Welton Becket Associates, the Century Towers was originally designed as apartments by architect I.M. Pei. Perhaps best known for the “Pyramide du Louvre,” his landmark glass pyramid addition to the Louvre Museum (Paris, France) Pei brought his signature styling to the creation of the mid-century towers. The towers were converted to condominiums in 1973 by S. Jon Kreedman & Company. Located on 6 acres of land (making it the largest luxury condominium property in Los Angeles), the towers are made up of one-, two-, and three-bedroom single-story (and a few double-story) residences on 28 floors. The development also includes a swimming pool, gymnasium, putting green, and tennis courts.*^



(ca. 2015)^^^# – View looking south showing the twin Century Towers located at 2220 & 2222 Avenue of the Stars in Century City, with townhouses in the foreground.  


Historical Notes

The Century Towers has been home to many celebrities and notables over the years. Those include Michael Douglas, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Burt Lancaster, David Janssen, Jack Benny, Sebastian Siegel, Diana Ross, Karen Carpenter who purchased two condos & converted them into her own duplex in 1976, Josh Flagg, Ruth Handler (founder of Mattel), Edith Flagg and Berry Gordy. David Janssen's widow Dani is known for an annual Oscar party thrown in her penthouse.*^

Click HERE to see more Early Views of Century City.


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Capitol Records Building

(1955)+#+ - View looking southeast showing the Capitol Records Building in the early stages of construction, located near the corner of Yucca and Vine streets.  





(1955)^ - View looking north showing the Capitol Records Building under construction as seen from Hollywood and Vine.  





(1955)#^* – View looking north on Vine Street showing the Capitol Records Building under construction. At lower right-center can be seen Du-par's Restaurant.  


Historical Notes

Designed by Louis Naidorf of Welton Becket and Associates, the tower was the world’s first circular office building, constructed of reinforced concrete and punctuated by a series of porcelain enamel sun shades stepping down each floor of the building.




(1956)#* - View showing the Capitol Records Building nearing completion with sign advertising rental space.  





(1956)+#+ - View showing the newly completed Capitol Records Building located at 1750 N. Vine Street. Du-par's Restaurant is seen in the foreground.  


Historical Notes

The 13-story Capitol Records Building, also known as the Capitol Records Tower, became one of Hollywood's Landmark (also LA). Construction was contracted by British company EMI soon after its 1955 acquisition of Capitol Records, with completion in April 1956. Located just north of the intersection of Hollywood and Vine and consolidating the West Coast operations of Capitol Records, the structure is home to the recording studios and echo chambers of Capitol Studios.*^




(1956)* - Aerial view of Hollywood showing the Capitol Records Building in the center surrounded by other buildings near Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street; view is looking southeast. The visible streets are (diagonally, r to l): Vine Street, Argyle Avenue, Gower Street, and Bronson Avenue and (l to r): Yucca Street, Hollywood Boulevard, and Sunset Boulevard. Other visible buildings are Yucca Vine Building (corner of Yucca and Vine), Equitable Building (corner of Vine and Hollywood), Pantages Theatre (corner of Hollywood and Argyle), and Charles E. Skinner Studios (corner of Argyle and Yucca).  





(1950s)^ - Ground view looking NW showing the Capitol Records Building.  





(ca. 1958)**^# - Nighttime view, looking south, of the intersection of Vine and Yucca streets at 1750 N. Vine Street. The Capitol Records Building stands tall near the southeast corner.  


Historical Notes

The wide curved awnings over the windows of each floor and the tall spike emerging from the top of the building combine to give it the appearance of a stack of vinyl 45s on a turntable, although it was not originally designed with that idea in mind.




(1960)#* – View looking north on Vine Street showing the Capitol Records Building in the background with The Red Fox Restaurant in the foreground.  Du-par's Restaurant is located behind the Red Fox Restaurant out of view.  





(1960s)^*#* - View looking north on Vine St. just north of Hollywood Blvd. Du-par's Restaurant is open for business: Breakfast ALL HOURS. In the background stands the Capitol Records Building. Note that the streetlights have been changed-out to a new 3-bulb design.  


Historical Notes

The first Du-par's was founded in 1938 at the Los Angeles Farmers Market by James Dunn and Edward Parsons, who combined their surnames to create the restaurant's name. The chain was purchased in 2004 by an investor group led by W.W. "Biff" Naylor, the son of noted California restaurateur Tiny Naylor. Du-par's expanded in 2009 to include several locations from the bankrupt Bakers Square chain.*^




(1960s)^^^^ - Daytime holiday view of Hollywood and Vine with the Capitol Records Building in background.  





(ca. 1956)*^^ - View looking north from the intersection of Hollywood and Vine.  


Historical Notes

The blinking light atop the tower spells out the word "Hollywood" in Morse code, and has done so since the building's opening in 1956. This was an idea of Capitol's then president, Alan Livingston, who wanted to subtly advertise Capitol's status as the first record label with a base on the west coast. The switch was initially activated by Leila Morse, the granddaughter of Samuel Morse.  In 1992 it was changed to read "Capitol 50" in honor of the label's fiftieth anniversary. It has since returned to spelling "Hollywood". A black and white graphic image of the building appeared on the albums of many Capitol recording artists, with the phrase, "From the Sound Capitol of the World".*^



(ca. 1960)* - View looking south on Vine St. shows the Capitol Records Building at 1750 N. Vine Street. It is truly a Hollywood landmark.  





(1967)* - View looking south on Vine Street from across the Hollywood Freeway showing the Capitol Records Building and Broadway-Hollywood Building.  





(ca. 1961)#* – View looking south on Vine Street from Yucca Street with the Capitol Records Building on the left.  





(ca. 1960s)#*## – Night view looking north showing the Capitol Records Building with the Hollywood Sign in the background.  





(1962)*^*^^ – View looking northwest from the intersection of Hollywood and Argyle showing the Capitol Records Building in the background with the Pantages Theatre on the left and a hamburger stand in the foreground.  


Historical Notes

Designed by Stewart Romans of Ollsen Lighting and featuring 4,373 bulbs (at 25 watts each), the Christmas tree on top of the Capitol Records Building was the first of its kind, and it has been a part of the Hollywood skyline each December since 1958, save for 1973, when L.A. experienced an energy crisis.^^*^^




(1960)**^# - Life is Good! Cruising down Hollywood Boulevard on a Saturday night in a shining new 1959 Pontiac Coupe. The Capitol Records building stands in the background.  





(1965)#* - View looking north on Vine Street at Hollywood Boulevard with the Capitol Records building in the background. A beautiful two-tone 1963 Thunderbird is seen at mid-intersection.  


Historical Notes

In 2006, the Capitol Records Building and Rooftop Sign were dedicated as LA Historic-Cultural Monument No. 857 (Click HERE to see complete listing).




(1970)#*## - Aerial view looking southwest showing a helicopter hovering over Hollywood. The intersection of Hollywood and Vine is at upper center-left and the Capitol Records Building stands tall at center-right.  





(1978)*- A view taken from the west side of Vine St., looking north toward the Capitol Records Building. A sign over the Howard Johnsons on the northwest corner advertises Universal Studios Tour and the film Airport '77. Also visible are stars on a portion of the Hollywood Walk of Fame.  





(2006)*^ - Capitol Records building photographed in black and white on an overcast day. Photo by Kevin D. Hartnell  





(1999)* - Detail of the awnings of the Capitol Records Building in Hollywood.  


Historical Notes

The wide curved awnings over windows on each story and the tall spike emerging from the top of the building coincidentally resembling a stack of records on a turntable. The rectangular ground floor is a separate structure, joined to the tower after completion. The tower incorporates 13 stories, to conform to the 150-foot zoning height limit that was in place at the time of its construction. Earthquake height restrictions were later lifted in 1964.*^




(ca. 2019)^.^ - View looking up toward the top of the Capitol Building framed by two palm trees.  Completed: 1956.  Architect: Louis Naidorf.  





(2014)++^ – Aerial view of the Capitol Records Building shot from a Drone.  Photo by Clay Folden  



Click HERE to see more in Early Views of Hollywood.


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Hollywood Bowl

(1968)* - View of the Hollywood Bowl where an orchestra plays their music on stage. Photo caption reads: "Reflection of the past: Where now there are box seats once lay a pool that gave the bowl visual resonance in addition to the aural kind."  


Historical Notes

The Hollywood Bowl reflecting pool in front of the stage was installed in 1953 and removed only 19 years later in 1972.*^



(ca. 1970)* - View of the Hollywood Bowl, as seen from the hillside looking towards the shell.  


Historical Notes

Between 1926 and 1929 the Hollywood Bowl shell went through a series of four design modifications all in an effort to improve the acoustics. The 1929 shell stood until 2003.



(2005)*^ - View of the Hollywood Bowl amphitheater and stage. The Hollywood sign is seen in the background mountains.  


Historical Notes

The Hollywood Bowl is known for its band shell, a distinctive set of concentric arches that graced the site from 1929 through 2003, before being replaced with a somewhat larger one beginning in the 2004 season. The shell is set against the backdrop of the Hollywood Hills and the famous Hollywood Sign to the Northeast.*^



Click HERE to see more Early Views of the Hollywood Bowl.


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Union Bank Building

(1966)^^ – View showing the Union Bank Square Building under construction located at 455 South Figueroa Street.  


Historical Notes

The 42-story Union Bank office building was designed by Albert C. Martin and completed in 1967.



(1968)^^ - Aerial view of the Union Bank Square on Bunker Hill in Downtown Los Angeles. To the right is the Central Library of the Los Angeles Public Library system.  


Historical Notes

The Union Bank Building was the first high-rise built in the Central Business District after the 1920s. It was one of the first skyscrapers erected after the 150’ height limit was repealed in 1957 and the first building taller than City Hall. It was also the first structure to be completed as part of the Bunker Hill redevelopment project that began an era of skyscraper building in the Central Business District.^#^



(1967)^*# – View showing the Union Bank Building towering over the last remaining houses on Bunker Hill (The Castle and Salt Box houses).  


Historical Notes

By 1968, all of the residences on Bunker Hill had been razed, except "The Castle" and its neighbor, "The Salt Box". The two buildings were relocated to their new home, Heritage Square in Highland Park.*

Click HERE to see more on "The Castle" and "The Salt Box".



(ca. 1968)* - In the foreground is 4th Street being cut through Bunker Hill in its redevelopment program. In the background is the 42-story Union Bank building.  


Historical Notes

As the first structure completed as part of the Bunker Hill redevelopment project, the Union Bank Building was an important step in making the area attractive to new development.^#^




(1968)^^ - Aerial view looking northeast showing the Union Bank Square on Bunker Hill in Downtown Los Angeles.  The building under construction in the upper left is Bunker Hill Tower. The Harbor Freeway is seen at lower left.  


Historical Notes

The developers of the Union Bank Building were the Connecticut General Life Insurance Company, which purchased the land in 1965. Placed on a sloped site, the forty-story tower rises uninterrupted from a plaza, which itself is set back above a two-story retail court which is at street level. The tower’s recessed windows are heavily framed with a grid of concrete panels. The effect of the panels is to give the building the sense of a monolithic skyscraper from a distance, but close up it looks as if a net or cage of concrete has been lowered over a glass tower.^#^




(1980s)#*## – View looking east across the Harbor Freeway showing the Union Bank Building, first downtown high rise, with the Civic Center skyline behind it. City Hall can be seen at far left.  


Historical Notes

To the north of the Union Bank Building is a garden plaza designed by important modernist architect Garret Eckbo of Eckbo, Dean, Austin, and Williams).^#^


* * * * *



Tishman Plaza (later Central Plaza)

(1951)^^ - Construction and window installation on the Tishman Building on Wilshire Boulevard between Normandie Avenue and Mariposa Avenue in Koreatown / Wilshire Center.  


Historical Notes

In 1950, New York developer Norman Tishman stopped in Los Angeles on the way to a Palm Springs vacation and stayed overnight at the Ambassador Hotel. When he looked out his window, he saw a golf driving range west of the hotel and considered it a waste of prime Wilshire Boulevard frontage.

Tishman Realty and Construction bought the driving range and by 1958 had constructed five major office buildings on the boulevard. The first entries in 'Tishmanville' were the three small towers built at Mariposa Avenue. These buildings heralded Wilshire Center's transition into a home for Fortune 500 companies.

When asked to explain why his company invested so heavily in postwar Wilshire Boulevard, Tishman explained: "We think Wilshire will be the New York of the West Coast." ^




(1955)^^ – View looking north showing the construction of a new 3-level garage for the Tishman Plaza.   Mariposa Avenue is seen at lower-right.  





(1955)^^ – View looking east on Wilshire Boulevard at Ardmore Avenue showing the Tishman Building at 3440 Wilshire Boulevard.  The Wilshire Christian Church and Gaylord Apartments are seen on the left.  





(ca. 1960s)* - Night photograph of the three 12-story office buildings of Tishman Plaza (later Central Plaza), located at 3440, 3450, and 3460 Wilshire Boulevard. A Foster and Kleiser billboard is seen advertising Bullock's Downtown.  





(ca. 2017)^#^ - View looking toward the SE corner of Wilshire and Normandie showing the Central Plaza (previously Tishman Plaza).  


Historical Notes

In 1952, on the driving range on the south side of Wilshire between Mariposa and Normandie, the first three 12-story Tishman Plaza buildings were built in 1952 (they're now known as Central Plaza), designed by Claude Beelman.

Insurance companies began locating their West Coast headquarters in Wilshire Center because of tax incentives provided by the State. Some 22 high-rise office buildings were erected on Wilshire Boulevard from 1966 to 1976 to provide office space for such companies as Getty Oil Co., Ahmanson Financial Co., Beneficial Standard Life Insurance, Wausau, and Equitable Life Insurance. The Chapman Park Hotel, built in 1936, was torn down to make way for the 34-story Equitable Plaza office building erected in 1969. By 1970, firms such as CNA, Pacific Indemnity, and Pierce National Life were starting construction of their own high-rise buildings. Southwestern University School of Law moved from its downtown location of 50 years to a four-story campus just south of Wilshire Boulevard on Westmoreland in 1973.

In the 1970s and 1980s, commerce moved to the city's less congested Westside as well as the San Fernando Valley, and businesses and affluent residents eventually followed. I. Magnin closed, while Bullocks Wilshire held out until 1993. Rental rates in office buildings plummeted from an average of $1.65/sq ft to a dollar between 1991 and 1996; property values dropped from a high of $120/sq ft to $30 or $40 per foot in 1998
Wilshire Center lost most of its remaining original glitter following the 1992 Los Angeles riots and the 1994 Northridge earthquake.

Subsequently, the Wilshire Center Streetscape Project used federal funds to rejuvenate Wilshire Boulevard. It was one of the most ambitious and significant urban rehabilitation projects found anywhere in America and in 1999 was awarded the Lady Bird Johnson Award from The National Arbor Day Foundation. New buildings include the Aroma Center on Wilshire, which is topped by a large digital billboard, and a modern retail building facing 6th Street on the former parking lot of the Equitable Building.*^


* * * * *


Equitable Building

(1969)* – View of the 34-story Equitable Building located at 3435 Wilshire Boulevard between Alexandria and Mariposa avenues.  


Historical Notes

When dedicated, June 16, 1969, the Equitable Building was the tallest (454 feet) structure on Wilshire Boulevard.*

The site encompasses the original address of the Brown Derby cafe, and also was the location of the Chapman Park Hotel. In the above photo you can make out the 2nd Derby-Shaped Brown Derby (NE corner of Wilshire and Alexandria) and the Gaylord Apartments (both at center-right). Also, at center-left, can be seen the Chapman Park Studio Building, located on the NW corner of 6th and Alexandria).



(ca. 2008)**^ - View looking north on Mariposa Avenue toward Wilshire Boulevard with the Equitable Building in the background.  


Historical Notes

The thirty-four story Equitable tower was designed by Welton Becket & Associates and was the twenty-fifth major building along the boulevard designed by Becket's firm. It was finished in 1969, the year of Becket's death.



(2008)*^ - Equitable Life Building, viewed from 6th Street.  


Historical Notes

The Equitable Life Building is the tallest skyscraper in Koreatown LA. It is 454 feet (138 meters) high and has 34 floors. It is tied with the Los Angeles City Hall for the 26th tallest building in Los Angeles.*^



(2008)^** – View looking up toward the top of the Equitable Building on Wilshire Boulevard.   


Historical Notes

The building's facade is made of precast concrete that was sandblasted to expose the beige Texas limestone aggregate.*^



(2011)+^^ – View looking southwest showing the Equitable Building with the Wilshire Christian Church in the foreground.  The sides of the building's top now bear the Center Bank logo. Photo by Michele Canonico  


* * * * *



California Federal Bank Building

(ca. 1970s)* - The California Federal Plaza building is in the center of an aerial shot showing surrounding commercial and residential areas. Signage on some of the commercial buildings include Van de Kamp's, and Prudential, later renamed Museum Square.  


Historical Notes

California Federal Bank's historic building, opened in 1965, on Wilshire was one of the original bank corporate headquarters in the Miracle Mile area. It was designed by Charles Luckman Associates.*^



(1972)**^ - View looking west on Wilshire Boulevard. The Broadway (originally Coulter’s) Department Store is at 5600 Wilshire Boulevard. The 27-story California Federal Bank Building stands to the right.  


Historical Notes

California Federal Bank, often abbreviated to "Cal Fed", was a savings and loan bank in California with the corporate headquarters being located at 5670 Wilshire Boulevard. It existed from 1926 until 2002, when its parent company, Golden State Bancorp, was acquired by Citigroup, resulting in the bank being merged into Citibank.*^



(2010s)^*^*^ - View of the California Federal Savings Building as it appears today, located on the south side of Wilshire between Hauser Boulevard and Masselin Avenue.  


Historical Notes

Cal Fed first ceased to be an independent banking company after its acquisition in 1997 by First Nationwide Bank of San Francisco, California. First Nationwide Bank changed the name of the new merged banking entity to CalFed Bank due to the appeal of the CalFed brand name. A few years later the bank was bought out by Citigroup.*^


* * * * *



Mutual Benefit Life Insurance Company Building (SBE Building)

(1971)*++ – View showing the Mutual Benefit Life Insurance Company Building (aka SBE Building) located at 5900 Wilshire Boulevard on the Miracle Mile.  Part of Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) can be seen on the left, across Wilshire Boulevard.  In the distance, on the right, stands the California Federal Bank Building.  Photo by Julius Shulman  


Historical Notes

The 32-story SBE Entertainment Group Building was built for the Mutual Benefit Life by the Shorenstein Co. of San Francisco and completed in 1971.  It is the tallest building in the Miracle Mile district, the second tallest in the Wilshire Area, and the 30th tallest in Los Angeles. The international-style building was designed by architect Gin Wong of William L. Pereira & Associates.*^



(1971)*++ – View showing the SBE Building as seen from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.  Photo by Julius Shulman  


Historical Notes

In the building's front lawn is a memorial to the Berlin Wall, containing ten original segments. Together, they form the longest stretch of the Berlin Wall in the United States. The segments were installed in 2009 by the Wende Museum.*^



(2008)*^ - View looking up toward the top of the 5900 Wilshire, SBE building, located in the heart of the Miracle Mile area.  


Historical Notes

The SBE Building was dubbed the Variety Building. It has the headquarters of Variety and Tokyopop.*^


* * * * *


ARCO Plaza Towers (now City National Plaza)

(ca. 1970)* – View looking at 6th at Flower streets showing the construction of the twin towers of ARCO Plaza with the Hotel Southland seen in the foreground.  


Historical Notes

Designed by Albert C. Martin and Associates, the twin tower high-rise complex located 515 South Flower Street was constructed between 1970 and 1972. In 2003, the towers became known as City National Plaza.

The skyscraper complex was built as the ARCO Plaza, with a pair of 700-ft, 52-story office towers. One became the new world headquarters for the Atlantic Richfield Company (ARCO), the present day The Paul Hastings Tower.  An underground shopping complex was accessed by open escalators from the street level plaza.*^.




(ca. 1970)* - The ARCO Towers rise half-finished into the air as seen from across 5th Street and the Central Library parking lot. The towers were designed by Albert C. Martin and Associates.  


Historical Notes

The ARCO Towers were built on the site of the Richfield Building (1928, demolished 1968), an Art Deco masterpiece. To the rear of the plaza, between the low building and the northern tower, are two bronze plinths. They are salvaged elevator doors and decoration from the original building.^




(1972)^^ - View looking SW at the intersection of 5th and Flower streets showing the newly completed Bank of America and Atlantic Richfield Towers, ARCO Plaza, 505-555 South Flower Street. The California Club can be seen at left and the  Central Library is at lower-left (mostly out of view).  


Historical Notes

Upon completion in 1972, the ARCO Plaza towers were the tallest buildings in the city for one year before being overtaken by Aon Center, and were the tallest twin towers in the world until the completion of the World Trade Center in New York City. The towers are the tallest twin buildings in the United States outside of New York City, where the 55-floor Time Warner Center stands at 750 ft.*^




(1972)^^ - View looking SE showing the twin towers of the ARCO Plaza with the Crocker-Citizens Bank Building (built 1968) seen on the left.  


Historical Notes

The ARCO Plaza Towers were built as the world headquarters for Atlantic Richfield Co. and the Southern California headquarters for Bank of America.

The towers, now known as City National Tower and Paul Hastings Tower, encompassing an entire city block, with two-level subterranean shopping and one-level parking located below ground. Both towers are physically the same, except that City National Tower does not have a helipad on its roof, which is rare for a high-rise of that size in Los Angeles.*




(1972)^^ – Looking up to the top of the Bank of America and Atlantic Richfield Towers with an Atlantic Richfield Plaza sign in the foreground.  


Historical Notes

In 1986, joint owners ARCO and Bank of America sold the buildings to Shuwa Investments Corp., the American subsidiary of Shuwa Co. of Tokyo, for $650 million while both remained tenants in their respective named towers. Shuwa later sold the property in 2003 to Thomas Properties Group and other investors for $270 million.*^




(1972)^^ – View looking up between the two ARCO Plaza towers with a newly planted tree in the foreground.  


Historical Notes

The ARCO Plaza complex was renamed City National Plaza in 2005, and the south and north towers, respectively, were renamed City National Tower and Paul Hastings Tower.  The low-rise building at the back of the plaza is known as the Jewel Box, and is occupied by the Gensler architectural firm.*^




(1972)^^ - View looking down at the foutnain sculpture in front of the ARCO Plaza.  


Historical Notes

At the center of the plaza is a low fountain with a striking orange sculpture at its center. Titled “Double Ascension,” it is by Herbert Bayer.



(1986)* - Profile view of the ARCO Plaza fountain sculpture, Double Ascension by Herbert Bayer.  




(ca. 1975)##^# – View looking west on 5th Street toward Grand Avenue showing the LA Central Library seemingly dwarfed by the the ARCO Plaza Towers. At left is a portion of the Biltmore Hotel. Photo Source: LAPL  


Historical Notes

Upon completion in 1972, the ARCO Plaza Towers were the tallest buildings in the city for one year before being overtaken by Aon Center (originally United California Bank Building), and were the tallest twin towers in the world until the completion of the World Trade Center in New York City. ^*



(2001)*^ – View looking SW showing the ARCO Plaza Towers with the LA Central Library in the left foreground.  A portion of the Library Tower can be seen on the right.  


Historical Notes

Rising fifty-two stories each, the two towers are nearly identical in their “glass box” design. Dark windows subtly contrast with greenish-black polished granite (quarried in Canada, cut and polished in Italy), emphasizing the massive yet sleek qualities of the building. The towers flank a two-story structure of the same polished granite, and the three buildings are tied together visually by a plaza, also of dark granite.^




(2008)*^ - Paul Hastings and City National twin towers (originally ARCO Towers) as they appear today.  


Historical Notes

City National Plaza (as of 2005), originally known as the ARCO Towers and Plaza, is a textbook example of the Corporate International style, which emerged in the 1970s and has since formed the basis of design for many office building in downtown L.A. and around the country.

The complex also includes an underground mall, which was reported to be the nation’s largest subterranean shopping mall at the time of its construction. Now primarily a food court, the mall was remodeled in 2004, and the lower level converted to parking. Interior escalator bays retain their original striped pattern of brightly colored subway tile and mirrors.^


* * * * *



Westin Bonaventure Hotel

(1976)**^ – Aerial view looking southwest showing the Westin Bonaventure Hotel under construction on the southeast corner of 4th and Figueroa streets.  

Historical Notes

The Westin Bonaventure Hotel was designed by architect John C. Portman, Jr. and constructed between 1974 and 1976. In no time at all the hotel became a Los Angeles landmark.  It is one of the most photographed buildings in Southern California.




(1977)* - The Bonaventure Hotel as seen from across 4th Street with Union Oil building in background.  


Historical Notes

At 35-stories tall, the Westin Bonaventure Hotel and Suites is the largest hotel in the city.  The top floor has a revolving restaurant and bar. It was originally owned by investors that included a subsidiary of Japanese conglomerate Mitsubishi Corporation and John Portman & Associates. The building is managed by Interstate Hotels & Resorts (IHR).^




(ca. 1980)^x^ - The Westin Bonaventure Hotel and its courtyard with modern-style streetlights seen in the foreground.  


Historical Notes

Although the top floor is numbered "35", there are no floors numbered "7" or "13"; so technically this is only a 33-story building. The four elevator banks (each containing three cars for a total of 12) are named by colors and symbols: Red Circle (the only one that goes to "35"; the other three only go to "32"), Yellow Diamond, Green Square, and Blue Triangle.^




(1980)* - The old and the new. The Bonaventure Hotel towers above the Engstrum Hotel Apartments in downtown Los Angeles.  


Historical Notes

Owner Fred E. Engstrum built the 220-room, six-story Engstrum Hotel at 623 Fifth Street. Its dedication in 1914 was reported as an evening of continual music and dancing without intermission. Residents of the hotel included film stars Charlie Chaplin and Rudolph Valentino. One of the last hotels to be razed as part of the redevelopment project, it was replaced by the 73-story Library Tower.




(1983)* - Close-up view of the Bonaventure Hotel located at 404 S. Figueroa Street. A Los Angeles landmark designed by Architect John C. Portman, Jr.  


Historical Notes

With 1,474 rooms, the 35-story Westin Bonaventure is the largest hotel in Los Angeles (574 more rooms than any other hotel in Downtown Los Angeles).

This unique structure evokes a 1970s vision of the future using circular shapes, massive forms, and the concept of space as experience.

The exterior of the hotel is comprised of four mirrored cylinders surrounding a slightly taller central tower. The towers sit atop a six story high concrete base, much like a rocket ship on a launch pad. Adding another futurist dimension to the hotel, pedestrian skywalks high above the city streets connect the second through sixth floors of the hotel to buildings in the surrounding area.^^




(1980)* - View looking southwest from the courtyard of the Security Pacific Tower showing the Westin Bonaventure Hotel.  In the background stands the ARCO Towers on the left and the Union Bank Building at center-right.  





(1981)** – Elevated view looking NW from Bank of America building showing three towers of Bonaventure Hotel at right, Union Bank Building at left; and the Harbor Freeway at center.  





(1989)* - View showing the Westin Bonaventure Hotel with the Union Bank Building standing behind it.  


Historical Notes

A revolving cocktail lounge which offers 360º views of Los Angeles is located on the 35th floor of the central tower.




(ca. 1980)^x^ - Interior view of the Westin Bonaventure looking down from one of its many circular walkways.  


Historical Notes

Inside, massive circular concrete forms rise seven stories from reflecting pools to connect with curved walkways that lead to lounging, dining, and shopping areas. In each quadrant of the atrium, dark glass elevators surrounded by reflecting pools shoot through the glass roof to climb up the exterior of the building.^^




(ca. 1980)^x^ - Interior view of the Westin Bonaventure Hotel showing its maze-like structure of half loops and symmetrical concrete.  





(2018)^.^ - Looking up toward the top of the Westin Bonaventure Hotel.  One of the two towers of the City National Plaza (Paul Hastings Tower) can be seen on the left.  


Historical Notes

The hotel and its architect John Portman have been the subject of documentaries and academic analysis.
In his book Postmodern Geographies: The Reassertion of Space in Critical Social Theory (1989), Edward Soja describes the hotel as:

...a concentrated representation of the restructured spatiality of the late capitalist city: fragmented and fragmenting, homogeneous and homogenizing, divertingly packaged yet curiously incomprehensible, seemingly open in presenting itself to view but constantly pressing to enclose, to compartmentalize, to circumscribe, to incarcerate. Everything imaginable appears to be available in this micro-urb but real places are difficult to find, its spaces confuse an effective cognitive mapping, its pastiche of superficial reflections bewilder co-ordination and encourage submission instead. Entry by land is forbidding to those who carelessly walk but entrance is nevertheless encouraged at many different levels. Once inside, however, it becomes daunting to get out again without bureaucratic assistance. In so many ways, its architecture recapitulates and reflects the sprawling manufactured spaces of Los Angeles.*^




(1984)* - Aerial view looking down at the top of the Westin Bonaventure Hotel.  






(1977)^^ - Looking up to the top of the Westin Bonaventure Hotel.  






(2020)^.^ – Detailed close-up view showing the contours of the Westin Bonaventure Hotel.  Photo by Howard Gray  






(2021)* – A man relaxes on one of the oval-shaped balconys located in the atrium of the Westin Bonaventure Hotel.  


Historical Notes

The Westin Bonaventure’s futuristic atrium, a signature element of John Portman, Jr.'s 1970s buildings, rises 7 stories. The hotel has been the scene for a number of motion pictures, most notably Wolfgang Petersen's "In the Line of Fire," (1993). In 2004, the Bonaventure Brewing Company occupied Suite #418A in the Westin Bonaventure Hotel; in 2010, the Bonaventure contained 1,354 rooms, 19 restaurants and lounges, 110,000 square feet of conference space, a 15,000-square-foot spa, a small shopping mall, a health club and indoor jogging track. Architect Michael Bednar observed of the Bonaventure in 1989: "Five cylindrical guest towers, containing 1,318 rooms and 150 suites, rise from a four-story, fortresslike podium containing the atrium. The space is exciting, but is also extremely disorienting."*


* * * * *




Cinerama Dome

(1963)* - View shows the exterior of this domed-shaped theater and the crowds of people at the entranceway awaiting for celebrities to arrive for the premiere of "Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World."  


Historical Notes

In February 1963, Cinerama Inc. unveiled a radically new design for theaters which would show its movies. They would be based on the geodesic dome developed by R. Buckminster Fuller, would cost half as much as conventional theaters of comparable size, and could be built in half the time. Cinerama's goal was to see at least 600 built worldwide within two years. The following April, Pacific Theatres Inc. announced plans to build the first theater based upon the design, and had begun razing existing buildings at the construction site.

Located on Sunset near Vine Street, it would be the first new major motion picture theater in Hollywood in 33 years, and would be completed in time for the scheduled November 2 press premiere of It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. The design was adapted by the noted architectural firm of Welton Becket and Associates.*^




(1988)* - Exterior view of the Cinerama Dome Theatre on Sunset Boulevard. This year (1988) is the 25th Anniversary of the Cinerama Dome.  


Historical Notes

In 1998, the Pacific Cinerama Dome Theater was designated Historic-Cultural Monument No. 659 (Click HERE to see complete listing).




(1988)^*^# - Inside the Cinerama Dome (6360 Sunset Blvd.) in 1988. Photographer: Chris Gulker  


Historical Notes

With its 86 feet (26 m) wide screen, advanced acoustics and 70mm film capability, the Cinerama Dome remained a favorite for film premieres and "event" showings.


* * * * *




Grauman's Chinese Theatre

(1964)^^ - View of the Grauman's Chinese Theatre (now TLC Chinese Theatre) on Hollywood Boulevard, showing Walt Disney's Mary Poppins.  


Historical Notes

Built in 1927, the theatre rises 90-feet high with two gigantic coral red columns topped by wrought iron masks holding aloft the bronze roof. Between the columns is a 30-foot high dragon carved from stone. Guarding the theatre entrance to this day are the two original giant Heaven Dogs brought from China. #^*#

In 1968, Grauman's Chinese Theatre was dedicated LA Historic-Cultural Monument No. 55 (Click HERE to see complete listing).



(2014)#**^ - Front view of the TCL Chinese Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard as it appears today.  


Historical Notes

In 2013, the world famous Chinese Theatre teamed up with one of China’s biggest electronics manufacturers, TCL, aka “The Creative Life” in a 10-year naming rights partnership. 



* * * * *



DWP Office Building

(1965)^^*^ - Evening view of the front of the DWP Office Building with lights and fountains on.  


Historical Notes

The DWP Building (John Ferraro Office Building) opened in 1965 and has been a Los Angeles icon ever since. The A.C. Martin and Associates designed building offered some unique high-technology features in that It was designed to utilize the pool surrounding the structure as part of the air conditioning system and to heat the building without the use of a boiler.



(1969)* - Air view of the DWP General Office Building. The office building is a 17-story multipurpose facility containing a 2,300 car subterranean parking structure. The building was constructed with a concrete and steel frame, which supports precast concrete exterior walls.


Historical Notes

In November 2000, in honor of longtime council member John Ferraro, the General Office Building (GOB) was renamed the John Ferraro Office Building (JFOB).

John Ferraro (1924–2001) was the longest-serving Los Angeles City Council member in the history of the city—thirty-five years, from 1966 until his death in 2001—and the president of the council for fourteen of them. He had been an all-American football player at the University of Southern California.



(1979)* - Boarded-up bungalow court apartments on Fremont near Temple Avenues. The Department of Water and Power general office building (GOB) is behind.


Historical Notes

On September 21, 2011, the John Ferraro Building was designated Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument No. 1022.



Click HERE to see more in Construction of the GOB


* * * * *



Echo Park "Tourist Cabins"

(1976)* – Stack of "tourist" cabins that later became low-rent apartments on Sunset Boulevard near Douglas Street in the Echo Park area. Photo by Roy Hankey  


Historical Notes

This may have been the place where Wyatt Earp lived while he was a consultant on two Tom Mix films.*


* * * * *



The Freeway Lady

(ca. 1974)+^# – View showing “The Freeway Lady” mural, painted on the side of a building at 1255 W. Temple Street and overlooking the Hollywood Freeway near downtown Los Angeles.  


Historical Notes

The Freeway Lady was painted by well-known muralist Kent Twitchell in 1974.  The mural was on the side of a building on Temple Street, overlooking the 101 Freeway.  The model for the "Lady" in the mural was Lillian Bronson, a character actress who resembled two of the artist's great-grandmothers. ##++



(ca. 1974)##++ – Closer view showing The Freeway Lady, seemingly pointing down to a convertible sports car. The Lady has a beautiful granny square afghan surrounding her and flying off into the wind.  


Historical Notes

The 30 ft. x 22 ft. mural shows an elderly woman standing with a granny-squared afghan wrapped around her. In 1981 a new structure built next door to the hotel obscured the mural's bottom half. In 1986 the mural was painted over, without informing the artist, in order to sell the space for advertising. Citing California Art Preservation Act (passed in 1980), Twitchell sued the building's owner. In March, 1992, a settlement was reached, providing $125,000 for restoration of the mural. ##++



(2015)##++ - View showing a man taking a picture of the almost completed Lady at her new home, Los Angeles Valley College.  


Historical Notes

Kent Twitchell re-painted The Freeway Lady on the side of the Student Services Building at L.A. Valley College (Fulton Ave., near Hatteras St., Van Nuys).


* * * * *



Bunker Hill Tower and Apartments

(1970)^^#^ - View from atop the Bank of California Building, looking north along Flower Street from 6th Street showing the newly built Bunker Hill Apartments and Tower. Also seen is the DWP Building and the Music Center.  


Historical Notes

The first major project on Bunker Hill was the residential, 32-story Bunker Hill Tower. Construction of the Robert Evans Alexander-designed towers began in 1966. Bunker Hill Tower, Bunker Hill West, and Bunker Hill South opened in 1968.





(1971)* – View looking north showing (L to R) Bunker Hill Apartments, Bunker Hill Tower, and the DWP Office Building rising up from a flattened Bunker Hill.  





(1974)* - Looking south from the water courtyard of the General Office Building of the Department of Water and Power. Bunker Hill Tower can be seen across the street (1st Street) with the Bunker Hill Apartments to its right. The large rocket ship-like tower at center-left is the microwave tower on top of the AT&T Madison Complex Tandem Office Building.  


Historical Notes

Built in 1968, the 32-story Bunker Hill Tower was one of the original buildings in the extensive Bunker Hill Redevelopment Project. The project was proposed by the City of Los Angeles in 1955 and is scheduled to end in 2015.




(1970s^^ - Overlooking Downtown Los Angeles and the Civic Center from an overpass above the Harbor Freeway. The Bunker Hill Towers are in the foreground, DWP's office building is on the left and City Hall is in the background on the right. West Second Street, West Third Street, General Thaddeus Kosciuszko Way can all be seen.  





(1980)*++ – Aerial view looking south on Flower Street from over 2nd Street showing how the Bunker Hill Redevelopment area is taking shape. At lower-right are the Bunker Hill Apartments and Tower. To the left is the 55-story Security Pacific Tower. The Westin Bonaventure Hotel is seen at upper-center, with the Union Bank Building to its right.  





(2010’s)## – Night view looking northeast showing the Bunker Hill Apartments and Tower with the DWP Building in the background.  



* * * * *



AT&T Madison Complex Tandem Office Building

(1981)^*# - Aerial view of the microwave tower on top of the Madison Complex in Downtown Los Angeles.  


Historical Notes

The 17-story AT&T Madison Complex Tandem Office Building is a 259 ft. skyscraper completed in 1961. With its microwave tower, used through 1993, bringing the overall height to 449 ft, it is the 29th tallest building in Los Angeles. The mixed-use building and tower was designed by architects Architects: C. Day Woodford and Leonard Bernard.

The building's official name is the AT&T Madison Complex Tandem Office but is also known as the AT&T Switching Station.  It formerly went by other names including the SBC Tower, the Pacific Bell Tower, and the Pacific Telephone Tower.





(2008)*^ - View looking up at the PacBell Tower (now the AT&T Tower) in downtown Los Angeles.  


Historical Notes

With today's World Wide Web and fiber optics, the AT&T tower is a relic that no longer is used in the way it was originally designed. It, however, is one of the better looking and better preserved communications relic that is found in most major cities. Its towers starts off as a solid four-sided rectangle, but gracefully unfolds as it gains height into an eight-sided platform for two levels of microwave horns. A much more complicated version of this architectural origami is performed at the building's roof where the middle of the platform has 52 sides as it transitions from one solid square into a catwalk lattice. +^+





(2019)^.^ - View looking up at the AT&T Switching Tower with a much taller One California Plaza behind it. Photo by Howard Gray  



* * * * *




Los Angeles Plaza Buildings

(2014)*^ - View showing the Vickrey-Brunswig Building as seen from the LA Plaza with the Pico House on the left and the Plaza House on the right.  


Historical Notes

The Victorian-era brick Vickrey Building was among the earliest five-story buildings in Los Angeles.  When it opened in 1888, the building housed ground floor retail with lodging on the upper floors.

The two-story Plaza House (built in 1883) was commissioned by Frenchman Philippe Garnier, whose name appears at the base of the decorative false gable parapet rising above the roofline. It was once the site of La Esperanza Bakery.*^

After enduring three decades of vacancy and deterioration, the County rehabilitated both buildings to house LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes, a Mexican and Mexican-American cultural center which opened in 2011.




(1977)* - View of the Pico House from the Plaza with City Hall in the background. Ornate 5-lamp streetlight sits in the foreground. Click HERE to see more in Early L.A. Streetlights.  


Historical Notes

In 1868, Pío de Jesús Pico constructed the three story, 33-room hotel, Pico House (Casa de Pico) on the old plaza of Los Angeles, opposite today's Olvera Street. At the time of its opening in 1869, it was the most lavish hotel in Southern California. Even before 1900, however, it began a slow decline along with the surrounding neighborhood, as the business center moved further south. After decades of serving as a shabby flop house, it was deeded to the State of California in 1953, and is now a part of El Pueblo de Los Angeles State Historic Monument. It is used on occasion for exhibits and special events.*^




(1977)**#^ - Facade of the Pico House looking up sides of the building's arches.  



Click HERE to see more in Early Los Angeles Plaza


* * * * *



Broadway Plaza (MCI Center)

(ca. 1980)* - Exterior of Broadway Plaza (later MCI Center) in Downtown Los Angeles, as seen from 7th Street.  


Historical Notes

Designed by Charles Luckman and opened in 1974, this shopping center later became Macy's Plaza.*



(2008)*^ - View of the MCI Center building in Downtown Los Angeles, located at 700 South Flower Street.  


Historical Notes

The MCI Center skyscraper was completed in 1973 and has 33 floors. It is the 32nd tallest building in Los Angeles. On March 21, 2005 Jamison Properties bought the building for $150 per square foot. This purchase included 925 West Eighth Street (originally known as the "Broadway Plaza", now known as Macy's Plaza) and the 3,000 space parking garage.*^


* * * * *



Port of Los Angeles

(2009)**^^^ - View of the former cruise ship terminal at Berth 153 and the Port of Los Angeles clock tower. Photo taken February 2, 2009.  


Historical Notes

The World Cruise Terminal at the Port of Los Angeles (passenger and cargo ternminals at Berth 93), opened in 1963. It was designed by AIA award-winning architect Edward H. Fickett, F.A.I.A. 

The terminal which hosted the original Love Boat TV series from 1977 to 1986 was modernized and expanded in 2010-11 to accommodate the most modern megaships.*^#^*




(2011)**^^^ - A busy day in San Pedro with four cruise ships docked at the World Cruise Center.  


Historical Notes

Located in the San Pedro District beneath the Vincent Thomas Bridge, the World Cruise Center is th largest cruise ship terminal on the West Coast.  It has three passenger ship berths and transports over 1 million passengers annually.*^

Cruise lines served: Carnival Cruise Lines, Celebrity Cruises, Crystal Cruises, Cunard Line, Disney Cruise Line, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean International, Seabourn Cruise Line, Silver Sea Cruises.*^#^*



Click HERE to see more in Early Views of San Pedro and Wilmington


* * * * *



Fleetwood Center (San Fernando Valley)

(ca. 2010)* – View of the Fleetwood Plaza located at 19611 Ventura Boulevard in Tarzana.  Photo by Jessica Hodgdon  


Historical Notes

Constructed in 1987, according to An Architectural Guidebook to Los Angeles, it was designed in the Programmatic style of architecture, although it's unclear if a Cadillac dealership ever actually occupied the space. Lee Oakes of architectural firm Matlin and Dvoretzky designed the two-story building for developer CBS Realcorp.




(2015)^ – View of the Fleetwood Square mini-mall on the north side Ventura Boulevard east of Corbin Avenue. It was designed to look like the front of a Cadillac Fleetwood.  


Historical Notes

The building has angular corner turrets like the jutting front fenders of a ca. 1970 Caddy, punctuated by four “headlights” of circular neon, central windows arranged like a radiator grill, and first-floor masonry walls painted black to look like tires. It was designed expressly to draw attention to the block, and that it does, in a way that could not be more weirdly appropriate to its Ventura Boulevard setting.*




(ca. 1987)* – “You forgot to turn off your headlights” – Fleetwood Center, 19611 Ventura Boulevard in Tarzana. Photo by Rene Burri  


Historical Notes

Tragically, the building's stucco finish is currently painted a subdued white, a far cry from its original shocking pink.*

Click HERE to see more examples of Programmatic Architecture in Los Angeles.


* * * * *


Staples Center

(1999)* - View looking north of Staples Center at 11th Street and Figueroa under construction. The LA Downtown skyline can be seen in the background.  


Historical Notes

Construction broke ground in 1998 and the Staples Center was opened a year later (October 17, 1999). It was financed privately at a cost of $375 million and is named for the office-supply company Staples, Inc., which was one of the center's corporate sponsors that paid for naming rights.

Staples Center is owned and operated by the L.A. Arena Company and Anschutz Entertainment Group.*^



(2012)*^ - Exterior view of Staples Center located at 1111 S. Figueroa St.  


Historical Notes

The Staples Center is home to the Los Angeles Lakers and the Los Angeles Clippers of the National Basketball Association (NBA), the Los Angeles Kings of the National Hockey League (NHL), and the Los Angeles Sparks of the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA). The tall building in the background is the 54-storey Ritz-Carlton, Los Angeles, part of the L.A. Live development.*^



(2011)^** - Interior view of Staples Center just before game six of the San Jose Sharks vs. Los Angeles Kings (NHL) playoff game.  


Historical Notes

The arena seats up to 19,060 for basketball, 18,118 for ice hockey and arena football, and around 20,000 for concerts or other sporting events.*^



(2018)^.^ – Aerial view looking down at the Staples Center, home of the LA Lakers, Clippers & Kings.  





(2011)^^^* - Silhouette view of Staples Center at sunset.  





(2014)+++ – Aerial night view looking down toward the Staples Center showing during an event.  


* * * * *



Aon Center Building (originally First Interstate Bank Building and First Interstate Tower)

(1974)* - View looking north on Hope Street from 9th Street toward the LA Central Library.  On the left is the recently completed 62-story United California Bank Building, tallest building constructed in Los Angeles during the 1970s.  


Historical Notes

Site excavation for the 62-story, 860 ft Modernist office skyscraper started in late 1970, and the tower was completed in 1973. Designed by Charles Luckman, the rectangular bronze-clad building with white trim is remarkably slender for a skyscraper in a seismically active area.*^




(2010s)#* – View looking south on Hope Street at 3rd Street toward the LA Central Library and Aon Center Building (originally United California Bank Building), 707 Wilshire Boulevard.  


Historical Notes

Aon Center was originally named the United California Bank Building from its completion in 1973 until 1981, when it became First Interstate Tower. During the 1984 Summer Olympics the 1984 Olympic logo was displayed on the north and south sides of the building's crown, as First Interstate Bank was a major sponsor of the games. It was the tallest building west of the Mississippi River when built, until 1982 when it was surpassed by the Texas Commerce Tower in Houston. It remained the tallest building in Los Angeles until 1989, when Library Tower (now U.S. Bank Tower) was completed. Between 1998 and 2005, there were no logos on the building.*^




(2018)^.^ – View looking up at an ornate Keystone "Broadway Rose" dual-lamp streetlight with the 860-foot tall AON Building behind it.  





(2011)^.^ - Close-up view of the 858', 62 stories Aon Center Building, finished in 1973.  In 2011 it was the 133rd-tallest building in the world, 31st-tallest building in the United States, and second tallest in Los Angeles.  


Historical Notes

On May 4, 1988, a fire began on the 12th floor just after 10:00 PM; it burned for about four hours. The fire destroyed five floors, injured 40 people, and left a maintenance worker dead because the elevator opened onto the burning 12th floor. The fire was so severe because the building was not equipped with a sprinkler system, which was not required for office towers at the time of its construction. A sprinkler system was 90 percent installed at the time of the fire; however, the system was inoperative, awaiting the installation of water flow alarms. The fire was eventually contained at 2:19 AM, and caused $400 million in damage. Repair work took four months. Because of the fire, building codes in Los Angeles were modified, requiring all high-rises to be equipped with fire sprinklers. This modified a 1974 ordinance that only required new buildings to contain fire sprinkler systems, grandfathering older buildings. Existing all-concrete construction high-rises are still exempt from this ordinance.*^




(2008)*^ – View looking up at the 62-story Aon Center Building located at 707 Wilshire Boulevard in downtown Los Angeles.  


Historical Notes

The 1988 fire was highlighted in a 1991 ABC TV-movie Fire: Trapped on the 37th Floor starring Lee Majors, Lisa Hartman-Black and Peter Scolari.

The building was featured in the 2015 disaster film San Andreas, where a massive earthquake destroys Los Angeles.




(ca. 2018)*# – Aerial view of the Aon Center Building, #3 Tallest in Los Angeles.  Photo Credit: Daniel Safarik  


Historical Notes

Aon Center Building Ranking as of 2018:

◆ Global Ranking          #310 Tallest in the World 

◆ Regional Ranking        #49 Tallest in North America 

◆ National Ranking         #44 Tallest in United States 

◆ City Ranking                  #3 Tallest in Los Angeles




(2020)^.^ - Height comparison for three of the tallest skyscrapers in Los Angeles.  


Historical Notes

Should a skyscraper's spire count towards its total height? It's a hotly contested issue amongst architects and designers. Does a building's height stop at the highest usable floor, or should the spire above it count, too? What's the difference between a spire and an antenna? Does it really matter?

Adding spire is a cheaper way to increase height of the building, the cost for a skinny mast is much cheaper than solid concrete core and habitable floors.

Developers build skyscrapers not only for its functionalities, they also want their buildings higher than others, so that to show prestige and draw more attention.*


* * * * *




Citigroup Center (formerly 444 Flower Building)

(2008)^^ – View looking north on Flower Street at 5th Street showing the 48-story Citigroup Center. The building at the end of Flower is Bunker Hill Tower with the DWP Building behind it.  


Historical Notes

The 48-story, 891,056-square-foot office tower is located at 444 South Flower Street in downtown Los Angeles. Designed by A.C. Martin & Associates and completed in 1981, the modern office tower - made famous as the backdrop of the 1980s television series LA Law - occupies a premier site on the corner of Flower and 5th Streets in the Bunker Hill/financial district.



(2008)^* – View looking at the NE corner of Flower and 5th streets showing the Citigroup Center Building with the U.S. Bank Tower behind it on the right.  


Historical Notes

The former Los Angeles headquarters building for Wells Fargo Bank (renamed Citigroup Center) is set back from the northeast corner of 5th and Flower Streets, in the heart of the central city. The stepped tower rises 48 stories above a four-level, tiered base interwoven with garden offices, plazas and pedestrian bridges. These bridges connect with the City National Plaza Garage on the north and the Westin Bonaventure Hotel across Flower Street. The site is handled as a transitional development, connecting upper Bunker Hill with the downtown financial community.



(ca. 2008)^^ – Looking up toward the top of Citigroup Plaza through the palm trees with the U.S. Bank Tower on the right.  


Historical Notes

Citigroup Center stands where the old Sunkist Building stood. Formerly known as 444 flower building and L.A. Law building, it was seen in the opening credits of the TV show for years.



(2006)*^ – The 48-story Citigroup Center (formerly the 444 Flower Building) as seen from the corner of Flower and 5th streets.  


Historical Notes

When completed in 1981, the tower was the 5th tallest in the city. In 2019 it was the 16th tallest.^



(ca. 2018)*# – View looking SW across the fountain and courtyard of the Citicorp Plaza toward the intersection of Flower and 5th street. From left to right can be seen the: Central Library, California Club, and City National Plaza (formerly the ARCO Plaza Towers).  


Historical Notes

Originally, the building’s entry plaza at the corner of 5th and Flower featured a grid of gray and white paving, planted with large palms. In 2011, the plaza was reconfigured, and terraced planters filled with drought-tolerant plants, fountains, and built-in benches were added. Partially blocking the corner from the street, it turned the plaza from a de facto grand entrance to the building into an urban park, fitted with tables, chairs, and umbrellas for cafés that front the plaza. The original palms were included in the redesign, as was the grid pattern.*


* * * * *



U.S. Bank Tower (formerly Library Tower and First Interstate Bank World Center)

(1989)* - View showing the Library Tower, under construction, center, which surpassed the First Interstate Building, left, as the tallest building in downtown Los Angeles. LA Times Photo Date: April 14, 1989.  


Historical Notes

As a crowd of steelworkers, engineers, architects, developers and politicians watched the ceremonial raising of the last girder to the top of the city's tallest building, the 73-story First Interstate World Center tower on 5th Street downtown, City Councilman Gilbert Lindsay said he wanted more.

"I thought I told them to build a 100-story building. What happened?" Lindsay, one of the shorter people present, asked jocularly. Lindsay has represented downtown Los Angeles for 26 years.

About 200 people gathered to watch the last girder go up. Many of them signed the beam. Some were moved to write more than their names. "Hail Library Tower. Stand tall and forever," said one. Another wrote, "We love LA. But we hate this building." …




(1989)^.^ – View showing the Library Tower under construction with the Central Library seen in the foreground.  


Historical Notes

The building was first known, and is alternatively known today, as the Library Tower because it was built as part of the $1 billion Los Angeles Central Library redevelopment area following two disastrous fires in 1986, and its location across the street. The City of Los Angeles sold air rights to the developers of the tower to help pay for the reconstruction of the library. The building was also known for a time as First Interstate Bank World Center but the name Library Tower was restored after First Interstate Bancorp merged with Wells Fargo Bank. In March 2003, the property was leased by U.S. Bancorp and the building was renamed U.S. Bank Tower. Residents, however, generally continue to refer to it as Library Tower.*^




(n.d.)^.^ - U.S. Bank Tower (aka Library Tower):  1,018 feet, 73 stories, 633 West Fifth Street.  


Historical Notes

U.S. Bank Tower, formerly Library Tower and First Interstate Bank World Center, is the third-tallest building in California (2018), the second-tallest building in Los Angeles, the fifteenth-tallest in the United States, the third-tallest west of the Mississippi River after the Salesforce Tower and the Wilshire Grand Center, and the 92nd-tallest building in the world, after being surpassed by the Wilshire Grand Center. Because local building codes required all high-rise buildings to have a helipad, it was known as the tallest building in the world with a roof-top heliport from its completion in 1989 to 2010 when the China World Trade Center Tower III opened. It is also the third-tallest building in a major active seismic region; its structure was designed to resist an earthquake of 8.3 on the Richter scale. It consists of 73 stories above ground and two parking levels below ground. Construction began in 1987 with completion in 1989. The building was designed by Henry N. Cobb of the architectural firm Pei Cobb Freed & Partners and cost $350 million to build. It is one of the most recognizable buildings in Los Angeles, and often appears in establishing shots for the city in films and television programs.*^




(2013)* - The U.S. Bank Tower (aka Library Buidling) stands tall between the Citibank Center, the AT&T Madison Complex Tandem Office Building, the Gas Company Tower, and the Central Library.  


Historical Notes

In 2013, Hines was hired as property manager for U.S. Bank Tower, the tallest building in the Western United States. The 75-story, 1,432,539-square-foot, Class A office building was completed in 1989 and was designed by Pei Cobb Freed & Partners.




(2012)*^ - From left to right: The Citibank Center (1981), The U.S. Bank Tower (1989), and the Gas Company Tower (1991).  


Historical Notes

U.S. Bank Tower was sold to Overseas Union Enterprise Ltd (OUE), a hotel and property group controlled by Indonesia's Lippo Group in 2013. OUE, a Singapore-based hotel and property company run by Indonesian billionaire Stephen Riady, acquired the tower and other related assets for $367.5 million. OUE acquired the 72-floor office building, the adjacent Maguire Gardens park, and a car park from a unit of Los Angeles-based real-estate investment trust MPG Office Trust Inc..*^




(2012)*^ - The U.S. Bank Tower towering over Central Library with the Gas Co. Tower on the right.  


Historical Notes

Designed by Henry N. Cobb of the internationally celebrated firm Pei Cobb Freed & Partners, the building was specifically designed to complement and not overpower the library. Based on concentric geometries, one circular and the other composed of right angles, the round high-rise features four soaring setbacks leading to a glass crown that shines like a beacon at night.*




(2017)^.^ - View looking up at both the Central Library and the U.S. Bank Building (aka Library Building).  


Historical Notes

The building was developed by Maguire Partners, who purchased the air rights above the historic library to add more height to the tower. This purchase also helped prevent the demolition of the library, helping to finance its rehabilitation and expansion.




(2018)^.^ – View as seen from Pershing Square showing the US Bank Tower towering over the Biltmore Hotel.  


Historical Notes

US Bank Tower: Opened 1989- Designed by Henry N. Cobb & Partners (1,018 feet/73 floors) Formerly called 'The Library Tower'.

Biltmore Hotel: Opened 1923- When built was the largest hotel west of Chicago (70,000 sq ft) Designed by Schultze & Weaver. The style is Spanish/Italian/Mediterranean Revival & Beaux Arts.




(2016)^ - High level view of the U.S. Bank Tower at sunset. Note the glass slide near the top of the tower.  


Historical Notes

In July 2014, OUE Ltd. (OUE), the new owners of the skyscraper, announced construction of an observation deck named OUE Skyspace  on the 69th and 70th floors and a restaurant named 71Above on the 71st floor. The facilities opened on June 24, 2016, following remodeling and construction costing $31 million that included a makeover of the ground floor lobby as well as a separate second floor entrance for tourists, and a skylobby and exhibit hall on the 54th floor. Access to the observation deck costs $25 per person.  For an additional $8 visitors can take a trip down a transparent glass slide affixed to the outside of the building between the 70th and 69th floors.*^




(2010s)^^ - Above it all! US Bank glass crown that shines like a beacon at night.  


Historical Notes

On February 28, 2004, two 75 ft “U.S. Bank” logo signs were installed on the crown, amid controversy for their effect on the aesthetic appearance of the building, much like the previous First Interstate Bank logos were placed on the crown between 1990 and 1998. First Interstate Bank's “I” logo on the crown was in the 1993 Guinness Book of World Records for highest-placed logo.

The tower's 69th floor and 70th floor have been renovated into a multi-layer observation deck, including outdoor space on 69th floor. And 71st floor serves as a 360 degree panoramic restaurant.*

The large glass crown at its top is illuminated at night, in the following colors:
◆ White (every day)
◆ Red and green during the Christmas holiday season
◆ Pink and red for Valentine's Day
◆ Red and gold for Chinese New Year
◆ Red, white, and blue for Independence Day and Veterans Day
◆ Orange for Halloween
◆ Red, green, gold, blue, and purple leading up to the 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games
◆ Blue and white when the Los Angeles Dodgers are playing in the postseason
◆ Purple and gold when the Los Angeles Lakers are playing in the NBA Finals
◆ Blue and gold for the return of the Los Angeles Rams
◆ Black and white when the Los Angeles Kings are playing in the Stanley Cup Final
◆ Purple for Alzheimer's Association and World Prematurity Day
◆ Red for Blood Cancer Awareness Month
◆ Pink for National Breast Cancer Awareness Month




(2020)^.^ - Height comparison for three of the tallest skyscrapers in Los Angeles.  


Historical Notes

Should a skyscraper's spire count towards its total height? It's a hotly contested issue amongst architects and designers. Does a building's height stop at the highest usable floor, or should the spire above it count, too? What's the difference between a spire and an antenna? Does it really matter?

Adding spire is a cheaper way to increase height of the building, the cost for a skinny mast is much cheaper than solid concrete core and habitable floors.

Developers build skyscrapers not only for its functionalities, they also want their buildings higher than others, so that to show prestige and draw more attention.*


* * * * *



777 Tower (originally known as Citicorp Center and aka Pelli Tower)

(2005)*^ - View showing the 777 Tower, award winning building designed by César Pelli and built in 1991. Citicorp Plaza's fifty-three-story 777 Tower, by Cesar Pelli and Associates, was completed on South Figueroa Street in Los Angeles in 1991. The building features a reflective white-metal skin and series of towers that seem to fold into one another.  


Historical Notes

Developed in 1991 by South Figueroa Plaza Associates as Citicorp Plaza, the building contains approximately 1,025,000 sq ft and a three-story Italian marble lobby. The exterior is clad with sculpted white metal and glass. The tower is adjacent to the 7+Fig Shopping Center (originally “Seventh Market Place” including Bullock's and May Co. department store branches) and was purchased from Maguire Properties by owner, Brookfield Office Properties.^




(2010s)^.^ – Closer view of the 777 Tower with Ernst and Young and the Aon Center Building seen on the left.  


Historical Notes

Designed by renowned architect Cesar Pelli, the fifty-three-story building was completed in 1990 and set a new standard for downtown’s commercial architecture.

It epitomizes the Postmodern use of a stretched skin style with reimagined classical details in a simple and elegant design. The tower is bowed on the east and west sides, and the piers between windows are wider at the center of these elevations than at the edges, emphasizing the curves and accentuating the vertical force of the design. Each pier, acting as an exaggerated mullion between windows, is made of a pair of round semi-cylinders divided by a sharp rectangular fin. The piers are nearly sculptural in nature and serve to manipulate the changing light, generating patterns of highlights and dark shadows along the length of the tower.

In 1990, Pelli said he tried to create “a poetry of precision” in the design, in homage to Southern California’s postwar tradition of high-tech industries like aerospace. The result is one of downtown Los Angeles’ most graceful high-rise office buildings.*




(2014)^.^ – Nighttime view of the 53-story 777 Tower lcoated at the corner of South Figueroa and West Eighth Streets.  


Historical Notes

The 777 Tower is located at 777 South Figueroa Street, where it is almost completely unobstructed by other buildings. This makes the building a very prominent landmark when viewed from the south.




(2020)^.^ – The 53-story, 725-ft tall 777 Tower bookended by two silhouetted high-rises as seen from 9th Street. Photo by Howard Gray  



* * * * *




Downtown Skyline

(2004)*^ - View of the Los Angeles skyline as seen from the Grand Central Market. Angels Flight terminal on Hill Street is seen at lower right.  





(2005)* - Aerial view of Downtown Los Angeles. Photo shows numerous tall buildings; among them are U.S. Bank Tower, Wells Fargo Plaza, Aon Center Building, One Wilshire, MCI, Ernst & Young, and the beautiful white 777 Tower building located in the Ernst & Young Plaza.  





(2007)*^ - View looking northwest from Pershing Square showing the  Downtown skyline.  The tallest building, the 73-story U.S. Bank Tower, is at upper-left.  The Biltmore Hotel is directly across Olive Street at lower-left.  


Historical Notes

As of 2015 the tallest building in Los Angeles is the 73-story U.S. Bank Tower, which rises 1,018 feet in Downtown Los Angeles and was completed in 1989. It also stands as the tallest building in the state of California, tallest building west of the Mississippi, and the 11th-tallest building in the United States. The second-tallest skyscraper in the city and the state is the Aon Center, which rises 858 feet.  Seven of the ten tallest buildings in California are located in Los Angeles.*^




(2019)^.^ – View looking up at the AT&T Switching Tower, once the tallest structure in Los Angeles, surrounded by skyscrapers including the Wells Fargo Building.  Photo Courtesy of Howard Gray  


Historical Notes

The 17-story AT&T Madison Complex Tandem Office Building is a 259 ft. skyscraper completed in 1961. With its microwave tower, used through 1993, bringing the overall height to 449 ft, it is the 29th tallest building in Los Angeles. The mixed-use building and tower was designed by architects John B. & Donald D. Parkinson.*

The complex is actually made up of three adjoining buildings built during different years as load growth warranted.  The original building is long gone but was built on the same site in the 1900s as part of the Home Telephone Company.  During 1907 this office had the capacity of 10,000 lines, quite a difference from today.  Two new offices were built at the site in 1925, the second office was enlarged in 1945 to allow for load growth.  The third office was constructed in 1961 and is 17 stories tall and 449 feet high.^



(2019)^.^ - AT&T Switching Tower: Opened 1965 (450 feet) / U.S. Bank Tower: Opened 1989 (1,018 feet) - View from 4th & Hill Street.  Photo Courtesy of Howard Gray  


* * * * *



Broad Museum

(2015)* – View looking west showing the newly constructed Broad Museum located at 221 S. Grand Ave. Photo by Kirk McKoy   


Historical Notes

The Broad Museum, an antic block-size box articulated by more than 2,500 concrete modules. It's the kind of building that demands attention and presses the imagination.  The locals in Los Angeles have taken to calling it a cheese grater, and its architects alternately describe it as a sponge and a piece of coral.  It’s hard to resist the impulse to label it.*




(2015) – View looking at the Broad Museum located on the SW corner of Grand Aveneu and 2nd Street..  


Historical Notes

Completed in 2015, The Broad contemporary art museum was named for philanthropist Eli Broad, who financed the $140 million building which houses the Broad art collections.*




(2017)* – View looking west on 2nd Street from Grand Avenue with the Broad Museum seen on the SW corner. The tall building in the distance is the 32-story Bunker Hill Tower.  


Historical Notes

The Broad is housed in a building designed by architecture firm Diller Scofidio + Renfro and structural engineering firm Leslie E. Robertson Associates.  With a location adjacent to Frank Gehry's iconic Walt Disney Concert Hall, the museum's design is intended to “contrast with its bright metallic perforated exterior while respecting its architectural presence by having a porous, "honeycomblike" exterior.”^




(2017)*^ - Corner view of the Broad Museum of contemporary art looking northwest.  


Historical Notes

The building design is based on a concept entitled "the veil and the vault". "The veil" is a porous envelope that wraps the whole building, filtering and transmitting daylight to the indoor space. This skin is made of 2,500 rhomboidal panels made in fiberglass reinforced concrete supported by a 650-ton steel substructure. "The vault" is a concrete body which forms the core of the building, dedicated to artworks storage, laboratories, curatorial spaces and offices.^




(2019)^ - The Broad Museum and its reflection looking southwest.  Photo by Dustin Kukuk  


Historical Notes

The 120,000-square-foot building features two floors of gallery space and is the headquarters of The Broad Art Foundation’s worldwide lending library, which has been loaning collection works to museums around the world since 1984.*




(2020)^ - Looking straight up the “honeycomblike” exterior of the Broad Museum.  Photo by Tom Awai  






(2021)* - View looking north on Grand with the Broad Museum in the foreground and the Walt Disney Concert Hall in the distance. Photo Courtesy of James J. Chun  




* * * * *



Walt Disney Concert Hall

(2009)* - View of the Walt Disney Concert Hall at 111 South Grand Avenue. Designed by architect Frank Gehry.  


Historical Notes

The Walt Disney Concert Hall is the fourth hall of the Los Angeles Music Center. Bounded by Hope Street, Grand Avenue, and 1st and 2nd Streets, it seats 2,265 people and serves (among other purposes) as the home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic orchestra and the Los Angeles Master Chorale.^




(2020)^.^ - Close-up view of the iconic Walt Disney Concert Hall. Photo by Carlos G. Lucero‎  


Historical Notes

Lillian Disney made an initial gift in 1987 to build a performance venue as a gift to the people of Los Angeles and a tribute to Walt Disney's devotion to the arts and to the city. The Frank Gehry-designed building opened on October 24, 2003. Both the architecture by Frank Gehry and the acoustics of the concert hall (designed by Yasuhisa Toyota) were praised in contrast to its predecessor, the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.^




(2013)^ - A view of the Walt Disney Concert Hall auditorium, as seen from the Balcony seating section.  


Historical Notes

The Disney Concert Hall with its Douglas fir-lined interior has 2,265 colorful seats that are steeply raked and surround the stage. The vineyard style seating brings the audience close to the orchestra, and offers an intimate view of the musicians and conductor from any seat.




(2007)*^ - A closer view of the Walt Disney Concert Hall stage and organ before a concert.  


Historical Notes

The organ's façade was designed by architect Frank Gehry in consultation with organ consultant and tonal designer Manuel Rosales and was was built by the German organ builder Caspar Glatter-Götz. The organ is a gift to the County of Los Angeles from Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.^




(2012)^* - Wide-angle view from near the corner of Grand Avenue and 2nd Street showing the Walt Disney Concert Hall, home to the Los Angeles Philharmonic.  Bunker Towers is in the background on the left and the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion is seen to the right.  Photo by John O’ Neill  


Historical Notes

Designed by architect Frank Gehry, Walt Disney Concert Hall is an internationally recognized architectural landmark and one of the most acoustically sophisticated concert halls in the world.^




(2011)^ - Disney Concert Hall, downtown Los Angeles. The inside was built for musicians...but, the outside was built for photographers!  






(2012)##^ - Space Shuttle Endeavour makes its final flight to LAX on September 21, 2012 as it passes over Disney Hall with the Hollywood Sign in the background.  






(2012)^** - A view of the Walt Disney Concert Hall from the Department of Water and Power fountain with the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion at far left.  






(2020)^.^ - View looking northwest showing top of entrance to Walt Disney Concert Hall with the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion seen across Temple Street.  Photo by Tom Awai  



* * * * *





Los Angeles City Hall

(2009)^** – View showing City Hall as seen from Disney Concert Hall.  Photo by Kansas Sebastian  





(2010s)^.^ – View of City Hall from (One Way) 4th Street as seen through a telephoto lens.  





(2013)**** - View of City Hall as seen from the Grand Park. City Hall...the most iconic building in the City of Los Angeles.  





(ca. 1929)^*# - Nighttime view looking northeast showing City Hall as seen from Bunker Hill.  





(2013)^* - View looking northeast showing City Hall at sunset. As beautiful today as it was in 1928 when it was constructed. Photo by Michael J Fromholtz  





* * * * *





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References and Credits

* LA Public Library Image Archive

^ LADWP Historic Archive

** DWP - LA Public Library Image Archive

^* Oviatt Library Digital Archives

^^USC Digital LIbrary

*# Blogdownton: State Building

+#San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

^# Online Archive of California: Barlow Library

#^Historic Hotels of Los Angeles and Hollywood (USC - California Historic Society)

#*Flickr.com: Michael Ryerson

#+Water and Power Associates

**#UCLA Library Digital Archive

^*#California State Library Image Archive

^^#Cinema Treasures: Academy Theatre; The Gilmore Drive-In; Bay Theater; Esquire Theatre; Olympic Drive-In; Picwood Theatre

+^#Mural Conservancy of Los Angeles: The Freeway Lady

^**Flickr:: Disney Hall: Jeffrey Bass; Disney Hall (2): Army.Arch; Steel and Sky: alanek4; Staples Center: jaubele1; Wilson Building - paulsp23; Bas Relief - LA Times Building; Equitable Building; Coffee Dan's - Van Nuys

^^^The Drive-In, the Supermarket, and the Transformation of Commercial Space in Los Angeles, Richard _Longstreth

^#^Los Angeles Conservancy: LA Stock Exchange Building; Stanley Mosk Courthouse / Los Angeles County Courthouse; Fleetwood Center; Stahl House; Union Bank Building

*#*Project Restore: Van Nuys City Hall


+##Walt Disney Concert Hall - 10th Anniversary

+^^Panoramio.com: Equitable Building

+^+SouthlandArchitecture.com: AT&T Tower

++^Coolculinaria.com: Mcdonnell's Drive-in

++#Iconic Photos: Stahl House

++^Pasadena Star News

+++NBC Los Angeles

+#+Facebook.com: Garden of Allah Novels, Martin Turnbull

^x^Facebook: SoCal Historic Architecture

+*+Los Angeles Magazine: The Fish Shanty

*++Getty Research Institute

*^#Historical Los Angeles Theatres: Downtown Theatres

*^^Big Orange Landmarks: Los Angeles City Hall; Drive-ins Roared into LA Country

^^*LA Times: Easter at the Hollywood Bowl; Clifton's Cafeteria

*#^historylosangeles.blogspot.com: Ice Skating in Westwood

*##LA Weekly - Warner Bros. Theatre

+##LAIST: The Track Drive-in Restaurant

^##This Moderne Life: Simon's Drive-In

##*Los Angeles Daily News

##^Pinterest.com: California and DailyBreeze.com

##+Pinterest.com: Diner Style

#++Ever In Transit: The Stahl House

#^*Facebook.com - Vintage LA: Canter's Deli (Interior); Cantor's Deli (Exterior); Capitol Records Building; Norms La Cienega

#^#Deadhistoryproject.com: Silent Movie Theater

###Eater Los Angeles: Johnie's Coffee Shop

**^Noirish Los Angeles - forum.skyscraperpage.com; Century Plaza Hotel; California Federal Plaza Building; Wich Stand; Gilmore Aerial; May Co. Building; Googie's; Bonaventure Hotel; Equitable Building; CBS Television City; Food Giant

***Los Angeles Historic - Cultural Monuments Listing

*^*California Historical Landmarks Listing (Los Angeles)

^*^LA Street Names - LA Times

^x^Pathways of the San Fernando Valley II - Shel Weisbach

^xx midcenturyhome.com

*#*#I Love Los Angeles But...: Sontag Drug Store

^#^^Twentieth Century Architecture and Interiors: The May Co. Wilshire Building

##*#Peacelovelunges.com: El Coyote Cafe

^#^*Elcoyotecafe.com: El Coyote Mexican Cafe History

^^*#Flickr.com: El Coyote Neon Sign

^^#* Huntington Digital Library Archive

****Gramfeed.com: Los Angeles City Hall

***^Pinterest.com: Bertrand Lacheze; La La Land: Canter's/Pup o' Tail; Thanks for the Memories/Drive-In 1950s; Drive-in Speakers

*^^Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles: losangelespast.com

^^^*Flickr.com - Debit72: Staples Center; Jerical Cat: Mullen Bluett Bldg.

^^^#Publicartinla.com: Building on the USC Campus

^^^+Century City Condos: Century Towers

*^^^Television City History

^*^*LAist.com: Century Plaza Hotel; Dorothy Chandler Pavilion; Clifton's Cafeteria

^**#Los Angeles Movie Palaces: Leimert / Vision Theatre; Fairfax Theatre; Fox Stadium Theatre; Baldwin Theatre; Picwood Theatre

^*^#Facebook.com - Bizarre Los Angeles


**##Spring Arcade Building - panoramio.com

*###World Travel List: Not Just a Hot Dog

^###Examiner.com - Taix French Restaurant

^^##Mercantile Arcade Building - laconservancy.com

*##^gogonotes.blogspot.com: Cool Places On La Brea

*#^^Philippes The Original Home Page

*#^*Martin.Turnbull.com: Biff's Coffee Shop

*^#*Franklinavenue.blogspot.com: Mullen and Bluett Bldg.

**#^LAPL-El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument Photo Archive

^#*#Eyes of a Generation: RCA Cameras

#***Canter's Deli: cantersdeli.com

#**^Starlinetours.com: TLC Chinese Theatre

#*#*Curbed LA

#*#^Groceteria.com: A&P History

#*##Facebook.com: Classic Hollywood-Los Angeles-SFV

#^*#Pinterest.com: Old Hollywood

#^*^Calisphere: University of California Image Archive

##^*blogdowntown 6/24/10 Article - 45 Years Ago: New Water and Power Headquarters Dedicated

##^^Hermosa Beach Pier / Pier Avenue Plaza

##++EllenBloom.blogspot.com: The Freeway Lady

###*The Go Go's: Local Coffee Shops and Diners


**^#Vintage Los Angeles: Facebook.com; Gilmore Stadium and Field; Castle of Enchantment; Palladium; Capitol Records; Vons - Van de Kamps; Philipe The Original; Cruising Hollywood Blvd

*^^*Los Angeles: Portrait of a City

++++Contemporist: Stahl House


*^*^^Facebook.com: West San Fernando Valley Then And Now

*#*#*WesClark.com: Burbankers Remember

^*^*^You-Are-Here.com: Los Angeles Architecture

^^*^^Los Angeles Magazine: Capitol Records Building Christmas

^^#^^Fotomat - Lost Laurel

*^^^*Vintage Everyday

**^^^Facebook.com - San Pedro's Original Website, San Pedro.com

***^^GOB Dedication Program

**#^^A House for Equal Justice - Judge Elizabeth R. Feffer

***##Googie Architecture

^^***Pinterest.com: Diners

^^*^*LA Magazine: Clifton's Cafeteria

^^^^*Pinterest.com: Tinseltown

*^#^*Port of Los Angeles: portoflosangeles.corg

^*#*^Whiteargyle.com: Tommy's Burgers

#^^^#Times Quotidian: Original Spanish Kitchen

#^#^#Los Angeles County Bar Association: Courthouse Clock

##*^*Ultraswank.net: Wich Stand

##***Facebook.com: Hidden LA

##^^^Google Street View

**#**LMU Digital Archive

*^ Wikipedia - Leonis. Adobe; Carthay Circle Theatre; Drive-in Theatres; Staples Center; Dorothy Chandler Pavilion; Hollywood Bowl; Los Angeles City Hall; Los Angeles Central Library; Ralphs; Hollywood Pacific Theatre; Hollywood Pantages Theatre; Pellissier Building and Wiltern Theatre; Adamson House and Adohr; Greek Theatre; Farmers Market; Hollywood Palladium; FOX Theatre, Westwood Village; Union Station; Westwood Village; Brown Derby; Big Boy Restaurant; CBS Television City; Spring Street Financial District; Gaylord Wilshire; Mark Taper Forum; an de Kamp's Holland Dutch Bakeries; Van de Kamp Bakery Building; Egyptian Theatre; Phineas Banning; Safeway Markets; Janss Investment Company; Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena; University of Southern California; Janss Investment Company; Westwood; Bullocks Wilshire; Terminal Annex; US Courthouse - Los Angeles; Shrine Auditorium; Walt Disney Concert Hall; LA Times Building; Westin Bonaventure Hotel; Wilshire Boulevard Temple; Hermosa Beach; Downtown, Los Angeles; Cinerama Dome; Broadway Theatre District - Los Angeles; S. Charles Lee; Los Angeles County Art Museum; Los Angeles City Hall Lindbergh Beacon; Richfield Tower; May Company California; Miracle Mile; El Coyote Cafe; Capitol Records Building; Crocker-Citizens Plaza (611 Place); Tail o' the Pup; Canter's Deli; Clifton's Cafeteria; Ricardo Montabaln Theater; Pink's Hot Dogs; Original Tommy's;The Forum (Inglewood); Century Plaza Hotel; Philippe's; Los Angeles Plaza Historic District; LA County Hall of Records; California Federal Bank; Du-Par's Restaurant; MCI Center (Broadway Plaza/Macy Plaza); Palladium; Lawrence Welk; AT&T Madison Complex Tandem Office; Wich Stand; 2004 Los Angeles Skyline; LA Music Center; Dodger Stadium; Theme Building; World Cruise Center; Thrifty Drug Stores; Original Spanish Kitchen; Spanish Kitchen Photos; The Original Pantry; Chateau Marmont Hotel; Norms Restaurants; Fotomat; Googie Architecture; Wikimapia: Vickrey-Brunswig Building; First A.M.E. Church of Los Angeles; Stahl House



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