A vanished city lives again...

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Southwest from City Hall: Then & Now

I'm not quite done with the special project I've been working on of late, but I just got this old postcard and I can't wait to do a quick "Then & Now" with it.

As usual, I can't be absolutely certain about the date of this photo, but I'm thinking it's probably around 1962. The buildings around Angels Flight have been razed by this time, but The Dome is still alive and well at the corner of Second and Grand (upper right), so I think this is a good ballpark guess.





Taken by me from the observation deck of City Hall during my visit on July 10, 2009. I have to say – when I first saw that block-square open pit at First and Broadway, I had mixed feelings about it, but now that I see the building that was there before (The California State Office Building?), I have to say the current open space is a significant improvement.


Photo by J Scott Shannon.



It's interesting to me to think that the old photo is from a time that is actually within my living memory. This Then & Now comparison illustrates pretty much exactly the extent to which downtown Los Angeles has changed in the short space of my own lifetime...

 

8 comments:

Duncan said...

What am amazing change these two views present--the huge wall of buildings now on Bunker Hill really makes an impact. Guess which L.A. I like better? I know they were pretty much gone even by 1962, but give me my Bunker Hill flophouses!

Nathan said...

Boy, you really got the then-and-now spot-on! I mean, look at the way the Million Dollar rises over the Times... What a great shot. I think your date of '62 is on the money too.

There's that tiny bit of Angels Flight with the foliage 'round her -- above and to the left is the Casa Alta and the big red building further down Olive, at 4th, is the Mutual Garage. Other salient buildings on the hill, just to the right of AF, the white skinny building descending from Olive to Clay, is the Blackstone Apts, and the big blocky white building nearest what was known as the "State Office Building Number Two" (official name, I swear!) (went up in 1960, became that vacant lot just a couple years ago) was the Hotel Northern. Just up from teh Norther, the Mission-looking building is, no surprise, the Mission Apts. The "two-tone" burgundy with the white back & front building above the Northern is the Alto, near 3rd and Grand.

The only things that would dare be as tall as City Hall of course would be the Pacific Bell microwave tower, and the Richfield Building...and the tall one in the far distance is Luckman's Signal Oil & Gas bldg, which also went up in '60. It's at Wilshire and Beaudry, though you wouldn't know it, because in 1973 it got tarted up with a new facade.

Sorry for going on and on...I get excited...I'm sure instead I should be worked up about our getting a new football stadium...or something...

chuckvideo said...

What an excellent Before and After set of photos. A couple things catch my eye, the first is the building in the foreground on the right in the first image, as now all which remains is part of the foundation which you can see just east of 2nd. St across from the Times Building. I also notice the addition to the Times Building itself on the left of the building near the roof, which I know became Dorothy Chandler's personal apartment in the mid 60s to the mid to late 70s.

Los Angeles Past said...

@chuckvideo: I did not know about the Chandler apartment! That's really interesting. I wonder who or what occupies that space today...

Nathan said...

Chuckvideo, there's an interesting tale about that corner you mention, because that corner is this corner http://digitallibrary.usc.edu/assetserver/controller/view/search/CHS-5728 ...the Times rebuilt, but a bunch of other structures had to come down in '29-30, including the Schumacher Block which fronted Spring http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/thedailymirror/2008/07/spring-street-2.html which was especially disheartening because that plot had been in the Schumacher name since deeded from the pueblo in 1855. But the State took it and in 30-31 they built the State Building (John C. Austin, arch): http://digitallibrary.usc.edu/assetserver/controller/view/search/DW-M5-7-1-ISLA
which as you can see exactly mirrors the concrete slab sitting there...The Times Bldg was left until 1937 after it was built (the State argued about paying for its demolition, which took forever, because HG Otis made it demolition-proof after the bombing)... http://jpg2.lapl.org/pics04/00011946.jpg ...it was deemed unsafe after the '71 quake and razed in August of '75...there was lots of talk about the lovely park they were gonna put there. Which I guess is true if you like to skate.

Honda Dealer Los Angeles said...

What a drastic difference. I have to say I prefer the current view of the city; I like the skyscrapers. I like being stuck on the 101 freeway because of the view I get of all the tall buildings in DTLA.

Mario Castillo said...

I think this might be around 1964 or 65 due to the fact of the lack of rail on 1st St and Broadway. Last trolly to operate was the P car and was taken out of service in 1963

Mario Castillo said...

I think this might be around 1964 or 65 due to the fact of the lack of rail on 1st St and Broadway. Last trolly to operate was the P car and was taken out of service in 1963

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