Saturday, November 21, 2015

Los Angeles, March 1961

Here are two 1961 photos featuring some iconic Los Angeles buildings. Hooray!

First up is the picture of the Los Angeles Central Library building as seen from South Hope Street. This lovely structure is the third-largest public library in the nation. It was built in 1926, and designed by Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue (now that's a name) borrowing elements from ancient Egyptian and  "Mediterranean Revival"  motifs. According to Wikipedia, the library (which has been expanded over the years) now has nearly 89 miles of shelves. ZOIKS! 

To the right you can see the sign for the "Church of the Open Door", which is described as non-denominational, but Evangelical. Locals are probably most familiar with its large "Jesus Saves" sign (now atop the nearby Ace Hotel). The church relocated to Glendora in 1985; in 1987, the building seen in this photo was damaged in the Whittier Narrows earthquake, and subsequently razed.

This next photo shows the wonderful Richfield Tower, which was the headquarters for Richfield Oil, naturally. They sponsored stuff at Disneyland! Like the Autopias, don'tcha know. The Tower was built in 1928/29 and was notable for its striking black and gold Art Deco fa├žade. There were rows of terra cotta angels encircling the top. 

Richfield outgrew these headquarters, the building was destroyed in 1969, in spite of the efforts of local preservationists. Such a shame!


TokyoMagic! said...

♫ ♪ I LOVE L.A.! ♪ ♫ ♪

Nanook said...


I can't remember the last time I was in the LA Library, but it's definitely one nice building.

Car-wise, from what I can tell, we have a 1952 or '53, or '54, Ford, Country Squire "woodie" station wagon. At this point in time, the "look of wood was achieved with the use of 'imitation mahogany panel decals', framed with real maple or birch trim". To its left, is a 1957 or '58 (possibly a 1959) DeSoto station wagon. Sorry, no wood panels - real, or otherwise. And almost facing us is a 1954 or '55 two-toned Ford. It appears to be almost running into a red, 1959 Buick. Then a car I just can't make out. But in front of it is a Renault Dauphine "... with the city horn - and the country horn..."

It truly is a shame the Richfield Tower was ultimately torn down. Such a wonderful and striking-looking building. And I'm gonna take a wild guess and say the sign in the lower right-hand corner reading "Stiles & Robert..." continues to read "Clements" - as in Stiles O. Clements, architect. (Robert O. was his son). Stiles O. Clements designed such wonderful buildings including: El Capitan Theatre building; Mayan Theatre; Samson Uniroyal Tire Factory (present day Citadel Outlet Mall); Pellissier building & Wiltern Theatre; Coulter's Department Store; Mullen & Bluett building -both on the Miracle Mile; Swim Gym @ Beverly Hills High School; and... oh yeah - the Richfield Tower.

Thanks, Major, for sharing these nice Los Angeles views.

Unknown said...

Boy, I almost thought that first shot was city hall before I saw the enlarged image. Both their towers have similar designs: I guess you could call it Ancient Civilization Revival. I love seeing pics of old LA, town of my birth.

Good stuff, and thanks.

K. Martinez said...

Major, even non-locals like myself are familiar with that "Jesus Saves" sign you mention. Los Angeles has lost a lot of great buildings to "progress". It really is a shame more wasn't preserved.

Mark H. Besotted said...

I see they remodeled the Gates Motel since I visited. The room was nice enough, but the lady who runs that place is some kinda psycho!

Anonymous said...

For those Googling go to 6th and Hope St.

Major Pepperidge said...

TokyoMagic!, I do love L.A.! Especially old L.A.

Nanook, ha ha, I didn’t even think about the cars this time, maybe because I was in such a hurry to write the darn post. I also didn’t notice the sign reading “Stiles & Robert…”. Thanks for the nice info!

Patrick Devlin, I suppose the top of L.A.’s City Hall looks like an ancient ziggurat, which I had never thought of before!

K. Martinez, apparently Jesus doesn’t save old buildings. Now I am going to hell.

Mark H. Besotted, what happened to that nice blonde lady who stayed there that one night?

Anonymous, you are correct!

Anonymous said...

Some years back, in my last visit to downtown LA, we had dinner in a restaurant in the (then new) Library Tower, across the street from the old library, looking right out at the tile roof of this original Library. Quite a view. There was an odd addition, new at the time, a sort of greenish, modular looking thing. thankfully, it's now hard to see in street view. Making me wonder what they were thinking to design something like that.

LA was blessed with some excellent design in the early years of the new century, but it went downhill after the War. Sic transit gloria mundi or some such...

Thanks for the pictures, Major. Other viewers of this post might enjoy the Twitter account of Lost Los Angeles (@LostLA01) which you can view without twitter, just Google the account name(@LostLA01)and scroll the time line.

The pics repeat after a while, but they are interesting to see off and on. The poster knows the neighborhoods and gives directions, dates and other pertinent info that helps orient to the photos. Sometimes celebrity pics related to holidays or other events, etc. Gives me a twinge of memory some days.