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-   -   noirish Los Angeles (https://skyscraperpage.com/forum//showthread.php?t=170279)

Johnny Socko Dec 3, 2009 8:09 PM

Talk about "LA Noir" -- there was an officer-involved shooting across the street this morning, and both Occidental Blvd and Hoover St are now blocked by LAPD. A local homeless guy told me that the suspect made it inside a building, and then it became a barricade situation. I've never seen so many cops in my life, and there are two LAPD helicopters circling! They NEVER call-in two choppers!

As of right now, there seems to be a news blackout on the whole situation. Nothing on KNX or any of the local media sites.

How ya like me NOW, Hammett?! :P

Los Angeles Past Dec 4, 2009 9:12 AM

Hotel Melrose
 
One of my favorite Bunker Hill landmarks: the old Hotel Melrose (1882-1957), 130 South Grand Avenue.

https://otters.net/img/lanoir/1946CHS-13064.jpg
USC


The Melrose and its next-door neighbor, the Hotel Richelieu.

https://otters.net/img/lanoir/00007383.jpg
LAPL


Old and 'new' Melrose...

https://otters.net/img/lanoir/1940s00007382.jpg
LAPL


120 South Grand:

https://otters.net/img/lanoir/1957EXM-N-12099-0015.jpg
USC


Note proximity to other downtown landmarks:

https://otters.net/img/lanoir/1957EXM-N-12099-0011.jpg
USC



View of Los Angeles from the Hotel Melrose, circa 1914:

Looking east:

https://otters.net/img/lanoir/1914CHS-5711.jpg
USC

https://otters.net/img/lanoir/1914CHS-5712.jpg
USC


Toward the southeast (c. 1905):

https://otters.net/img/lanoir/CHS-2316.jpg
USC


If you could stand on the front porch of the Melrose today, and look across the street, this is what you'd see. (You probably recognize the location better now.) :tup:

https://otters.net/img/lanoir/disney...d_googstvw.jpg
Google



Check-out time, 1957.

https://otters.net/img/lanoir/1957EXM-N-12099-0013.jpg
USC


https://otters.net/img/lanoir/1957EXM-N-12099-0014.jpg
USC


https://otters.net/img/lanoir/EXM-N-12099-0012.jpg
USC


Posted to my blog here.

GaylordWilshire Dec 4, 2009 1:36 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Los Angeles Past (Post 4591071)
One of my favorite Bunker Hill landmarks: the old Hotel Melrose, 130 South Grand Avenue, ?1946.

What a great set of photos, Scott. The Old Melrose reminds me of the Mooers house, still standing on S Bonnie Brae:

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedi...s_Angeles).jpg

ethereal_reality Dec 4, 2009 4:57 PM

Excellent series of photographs Scott. They're some of the best I've seen.
Thanks for posting them. :)

Los Angeles Past Dec 6, 2009 3:36 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ethereal_reality (Post 4591397)
Excellent series of photographs Scott. They're some of the best I've seen.
Thanks for posting them. :)

I'm glad you liked them! Everything I've posted has been in gratitude for your starting this thread in the first place, you know. Although I write a blog on L.A. history, I'm still far from being a real expert myself, and I can honestly say this thread has contributed greatly to my knowledge of old Los Angeles. I suspect it's also done the same for many others who have merely lurked as we've posted here...


----------


I've come across an interesting collection of charcoal sketches of noir-era Los Angeles, drawn during the period of 1934-1937. The copyright statement seems to prohibit free reproduction in a public forum like this one, so I'll pass on the URL instead:

http://oac.cdlib.org/findaid/ark:/13...doc.view=items

sopas ej Dec 6, 2009 4:52 PM

Yeah Scott, great photos! I'm particularly fascinated by this one:
http://i699.photobucket.com/albums/v...12099-0011.jpg
USC

I've seen a few old pictures of the Melrose Hotel on Bunker Hill but never one showing it next to a "newer" building which still exists. It blew me away because I've walked in front of where the Melrose would be many times, and didn't realize that that was where it was. Kinda sad, considering the site is now occupied by what was supposed to be a temporary parking structure but is still very much in existence. That "paved paradise and put up a parking lot" lyric comes to mind.

ethereal_reality Dec 7, 2009 2:09 AM

Below: The Rex Arms at 945 Orange Street near Figueroa.


http://img515.imageshack.us/img515/7...apartments.jpg
usc digital library


Orange Street would later become Wilshire Blvd.


http://img515.imageshack.us/img515/1...maplosange.jpg

ethereal_reality Dec 7, 2009 2:20 AM

Here are a couple more impressive structures in the vicinity.




Below: 1111-1117 S. Figueroa Street. Built in 1885.


http://img29.imageshack.us/img29/264...sfigueroas.jpg
usc digital archive




Below: Figueroa between 11th & 12th Street. Built in 1889.


http://img515.imageshack.us/img515/3...abte11th12.jpg
usc digital archive



Quite possibly the same architect....don't ya think. :)

CRE8IVEDESTRUCTION Dec 7, 2009 7:46 PM

I thought I'd post this link here...

http://www.noiroftheweek.com/2007/12...bait-1949.html

...This noir is very underrated. The reason why I'm posting it here is because there's a classic scene filmed at Westlake Park (Now MacArthur Park) that show's the way the park and it's neighborhood used to be. I think you guy's would appreciate it. You can watch the whole movie on the link I posted btw.

CRE8IVEDESTRUCTION Dec 8, 2009 1:34 AM

So, I had the right film but upon reviewing it after my post, I realized the scene that I spoke of wasn't even in the film. Clearly this is the chopped up version...sorry folks.

Johnny Socko Dec 8, 2009 9:06 PM

A while back someone posted a pictorial of historic Ralphs locations. One of them was 3rd & Vermont, and in fact there is still a Ralphs at that location today. It's quite ramshackle though, and I prefer to shop at the Vons across the street (NE corner), with its spotless upkeep and courteous staff. However, most Vons shoppers are probably unaware of the historical significance of this location.

The actual parcel occupied by Vons was formerly the location of the Palomar Ballroom. I do not know much about this venue, so I'd be greatly interested to learn more if anyone here is familiar with it.

Adjacent to this lot, and a bit more familiar to me (from past research) is the former location of the Bimini Baths.

In 1903, Dr. David Edwards opened the Bimini Baths, a spa and "plunge" (public swimming pool) built on a natural hot spring. The Daily Mirror posted the original 1902 Times article on the grand opening here.

Spas & bath-houses were popular in Los Angeles at the turn of the 20th Century, but much like amusement piers, they seemed to have a predilection for burning to the ground (how many of each did Abbott Kinney have to rebuild?!). The Bimini Baths were no exception, and the spa was reduced to briquettes by 1905; but Dr. Edwards promptly rebuilt a much grander facility, seen here:

http://www.ulwaf.com/Site-Images/Bimini.gif

(I had a much bigger version of this image once upon a time; curse me for losing it.)

The Bimini Baths were located at 2nd St (coming off Vermont, behind the present-day Vons) and Bimini Place (coming South off 1st St and its LARY streetcar line). Across Bimini Place from the spa was a deluxe hotel, also developed by Dr. Edwards. This building still exists (as does Bimini Place), although now it is an apartment building dedicated to people in recovery. It is referred to in some articles as the "Bimini Inn"; however, the 1930's-era photo above shows the rooftop sign identifying it as the Rayfield, which it is still called today:

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2569/...749453b396.jpg

I found an outstanding Times article here (presumably scanned, hence the weird typos), which includes details about the history of Bimini Baths, and also mentions local features like Bimini Slough and the Palomar Ballroom.

Amazingly, the Bimini Baths lasted until 1951, but it seems to have disappeared from the public consciousness even moreso than other Ragtime-era attractions in Los Angeles.

Johnny Socko Dec 8, 2009 9:28 PM

As a post-script to the above, I should mention that the site is now occupied in part by the Bresee Community Center. The Bresee site has some historical information, including this tidbit:

Quote:

Though the schools and many of the neighborhoods in this area were integrated as far back as the 1930s, both the Bimini Baths and the Palomar Ballroom refused to allow anyone of color to enter their premises. In fact, it is now commonly believed that the Bimini Baths were closed down in 1950 when civil rights groups picketed the facility to force it to accept African-Americans.
One of the articles I've read mentioned how the Bimini Baths also did not admit Asians. As for the reason for its ultimate failure, the 2004 Times article linked at the bottom of my previous post states that the Bimini Baths went bankrupt due to mounting liability claims and overall dwindling business, which is certainly plausible; a picket may not have been necessary to shut it down.

Regardless of why this landmark ultimately closed its doors, it is indeed to our community's shame that it was a discriminatory business for its entire history.

sopas ej Dec 8, 2009 10:24 PM

:previous:

Very interesting tidbits about the Bimini Baths. I remember reading the LA Times article about it some time ago.

What I'd like to note in the photo you posted:
http://www.ulwaf.com/Site-Images/Bimini.gif

Notice the wash or creek/arroyo nearby the Bimini Baths. Apparently much of the LA Basin was crisscrossed by these, I assume some even are the result of earthquake faults. Many of these were filled in or graded to be level when developments started being built. Of course some washes still exist and you'll see them in random places, sometimes even within residential neighorhoods, though of course now they're lined with concrete.

But going back to the Bimini Baths, I've read that it was also a big cruising spot for gay men and a place for casual sex. And incidentally, I've also read that the oldest bath house still in existence in LA is in downtown, on 4th Street near Los Angeles Street. It used to be called the Palace Turkish Baths, or something, and was also a place for gay men to have casual sex; I think it's been in existence since at least the 1920s. Currently it's officially a gay bath house called KLYT.

GaylordWilshire Dec 8, 2009 11:11 PM

Very interesting posts re the Bimini.
Quote:

Originally Posted by sopas ej (Post 4597737)
: KLYT.

I take it that this establishment caters to the ladies?

ethereal_reality Dec 8, 2009 11:11 PM

That's very interesting about the Bimini Baths Johnny Socko.
(if you ever find the larger image please post it...it looks like a great building)


You had also mentioned the Palomar Ballroom at 3rd and Vermont.
Here's an interesting website with details and photographs.

http://www.100megspopup.com/ark/PalomarBlrm.html



http://img134.imageshack.us/img134/7...arballroom.jpg





http://img341.imageshack.us/img341/5...09palomar2.jpg



http://img341.imageshack.us/img341/5...ballroomab.jpg

It's sad demise.

Johnny Socko Dec 9, 2009 5:55 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sopas ej (Post 4597737)
:previous:

Very interesting tidbits about the Bimini Baths. I remember reading the LA Times article about it some time ago.

What I'd like to note in the photo you posted:
http://www.ulwaf.com/Site-Images/Bimini.gif

Notice the wash or creek/arroyo nearby the Bimini Baths. Apparently much of the LA Basin was crisscrossed by these, I assume some even are the result of earthquake faults. Many of these were filled in or graded to be level when developments started being built. Of course some washes still exist and you'll see them in random places, sometimes even within residential neighorhoods, though of course now they're lined with concrete.

The arroyo you pointed out was actually the Bimini Slough, which was eventually filled-in because it was used as a local dumping ground and had become an eyesore. You can still see evidence of the former topography in the low ground that runs parallel and just west of Westmoreland Avenue in this area. The dip is quite pronounced where 1st St crosses the old channel near the Virgil St intersection.

About two years ago there was an article in the LA Weekly about the Los Angeles Basin's historic streams and arroyos that have been lost to development. It was one of the most interesting stories I've read about LA geography in a long while. I haven't had any luck finding it, but if I do I will post a link here.

Oh, and what great photos of the Palomar Ballroom. You even got one of it burning! Here's a quote taken from that same Bresee Center web page I quoted from earlier, in regard to the Palomar's discriminatory policies:

Quote:

Some believe that the Palomar Ballroom was intentionally torched because Count Basie was scheduled to play there; he would have been the first black band to play the Palomar.

sopas ej Dec 9, 2009 6:05 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by GaylordWilshire (Post 4597827)
Very interesting posts re the Bimini. I take it that this establishment caters to the ladies?

Hehe you would think a place called "KLYT" would be for the ladies, huh? But no, it's for the guys.

I looked it up online; this is from a 1967 phone book, which would suggest that at this point, the Palace Turkish Baths had been around since at least 1905:
http://www.gaytubs.com/images/palace.jpg
from gaytubs.com


Here's a contemporary photo of 132 E. 4th Street courtesy of Google Earth:
http://img32.imageshack.us/img32/2230/klyt.jpg

KLYT is in the building that says "Charmed Fashion." It's the door on the left. Makes me wonder what this area looked like in 1905.

sopas ej Dec 9, 2009 6:12 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Johnny Socko (Post 4598446)
The arroyo you pointed out was actually the Bimini Slough, which was eventually filled-in because it was used as a local dumping ground and had become an eyesore. You can still see evidence of the former topography in the low ground that runs parallel and just west of Westmoreland Avenue in this area. The dip is quite pronounced where 1st St crosses the old channel near the Virgil St intersection.

About two years ago there was an article in the LA Weekly about the Los Angeles Basin's historic streams and arroyos that have been lost to development. It was one of the most interesting stories I've read about LA geography in a long while. I haven't had any luck finding it, but if I do I will post a link here.

Oh, and what great photos of the Palomar Ballroom. You even got one of it burning! Here's a quote taken from that same Bresee Center web page I quoted from earlier, in regard to the Palomar's discriminatory policies:

Great info. That would be great if you could find a link to that LA Weekly story. I really love LA history.

Johnny Socko Dec 9, 2009 6:57 PM

The Lost Streams of Los Angeles
 
Found it! The Lost Streams of Los Angeles, courtesy LA Weekly.

:previous: This is a must-read for geography geeks (like me), and armchair historians in general.

After I first read this article, I started paying attention to the topography in my neighborhood (Westlake), and could see where development had covered the old streambeds leading to the natural basins of MacArthur and Lafayette parks.

The aforementioned Bimini Slough was an outlet for Silver Lake before it was developed as a proper "lake". According to an old map posted in the Daily Mirror blog, it ran from there all the way down to 6th & Alexandria. The map depicted a proposed (circa 1917) greenbelt redevelopment project for Bimini Slough called "Silver Lake Parkway":

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/phot...ke_parkway.jpg

sopas ej Dec 9, 2009 10:12 PM

:previous:
Very interesting, Johnny Socko! And thanks for posting that link to the LA Weekly story. I can't read it right now because I'm at work (and I have lots to do with a big deadline) but I'll definitely read it when I get home.

There's a neighborhood off of Wilshire Blvd. near Hancock Park called Brookside, and according to a book I have about Wilshire Blvd., it's called that because an actual brook or creek runs through there behind some of the homes, and it's considered one of LA's "well-kept secrets" by the people who live in the area and like the creek.


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