Mystery History Answers (July 2015)

(1927)^^ - View shows the construction of City Hall with its steel framing nearly completed. Early model cars and a streetcar are seen in the foreground.  


Historical Notes

After authorizing a bond issue on June 5, 1923, the city commissioned John Parkinson, Albert C. Martin, and John C. Austin as architects in August, 1925.  Parkinson was responsible for the concept and architectural design of the building; Martin, the structural design; and Austin, the working drawings and general administration of the project.^#

Ground was broken on March 4, 1926.



(1927)* - View of the new Los Angeles City Hall more than halfway completed.


Historical Notes

City Hall's distinctive tower was based on the purported shape of the Mausoleum of Mausolus and shows the influence of the Los Angeles Central Library, completed soon before the structure was started.*^



(1928)^^ - View of Los Angeles City Hall decorated with banners for its opening ceremony. A crowd of people are gathered at the curb, bleachers are full of spectators, and a parade is in progress on Spring Street.  


Historical Notes

Prior to the late 1950s the Charter of the City of Los Angeles did not permit any portion of any building other than a purely decorative tower to be more than 150 feet. Therefore, from its completion in 1928 until 1964, the City Hall was the tallest building in Los Angeles, and shared the skyline with only a few structures having decorative towers, including the Richfield Tower and the Eastern Columbia Building.*^



(ca. 1889)* - Exterior view of the Old City Hall , located at 226 Broadway. It stood from 1888 until 1928. This was Los Angeles' third City Hall.  


Historical Notes

LA City Council has occupied various buildings prior to 1928 (current City Hall):

1850s - used rented hotel and other buildings for City meetings

1860s - rented adobe house on Spring Street - across from current City Hall (now parking lot for Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center)

1860s-1884 - relocated to Los Angeles County Court House

1884-1888 - moved to building at South Spring Street and West 2nd Street (site of current Los Angeles Times Building)

1888-1928 - moved to new Romanesque Revival building on 226-238 South Broadway between 2nd Street and 3rd Street; demolished in 1928 and now site of parking lot between LA Times Parking structure and 240 Broadway.

1928- Present - Current City Hall located at 200 N. Spring Street (Techinically this is LA's 4th City Hall Building).*^




(1928)* - View of the demolition of the Old City Hall building which stood at 226 S. Broadway between 1888 and 1928. The governmental offices moved into the new City Hall, seen in the background, earlier in the year.  




(2013)*^ - View looking northeast showing City Hall at sunset. Photo by Michael J Fromholtz  


Historical Notes

City Hall underwent a seismic retrofit from 1998 to 2001. It is designed to sustain minimal damage and remain functional after a magnitude 8.2 earthquake.*^

In 1976, Los Angeles City Hall was designated LA Historic-Cultural Monument No. 150 (Click HERE for complete listing).



(2013)*^ – View looking northeast showing downtown Los Angeles with snow-capped San Gabriel Mountains in the background.  City Hall is seen at lower center-right. Once the tallest building in Los Angeles (1928 thru 1964), City Hall is now dwarfed by scores of other high-rise buildings.   


Historical Notes

Los Angeles went through a large building boom that lasted from the early 1960s to the early 1990s, during which time the city saw the completion of 30 of its 32 tallest buildings, including the U.S. Bank Tower, the Aon Center, and Two California Plaza. The city is the site of 25 skyscrapers at least 492 feet (150 m) in height, more than any other city in the Pacific coast region. As of July 2011, there were 505 completed high-rises in the city.

As of May 2011, there were 60 high-rise buildings under construction, approved for construction, and proposed for construction in Los Angeles. 37 of these 60 buildings are over 100 meters tall.*^



Click HERE to see more of Los Angeles City Hall




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References and Credits

* LA Public Library Image Archive

^^USC Digital Archive

^#Los Angeles Conservancy: Los Angeles City Hall

*^Wikipedia: Los Angeles City Hall; List of tallest buildings in Los Angeles




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