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Old Posted Oct 16, 2010, 3:34 AM
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Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: South Pasadena, California
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Originally Posted by GaylordWilshire View Post
ethereal--Your great downtown shots reminded me of the Braly Building.


For some reason I just assumed that when the 150-foot height limit was imposed by the city council in 1906 (and which lasted until 1957), no building in Los Angeles exceeded that height at that time. But it turns out that the Parkinson-designed Continental Building at 408 S. Spring (se corner of 4th), finished not long before the council acted, is 175 feet tall, and was the highest building in town until the exempted City Hall was completed in 1928. It was originally called the Braly Building, later the Union Trust Building, and then the Hibernian Building before becoming the Continental.

USC Digital Archive
From 4th and Main, showing the back of the Braly Building--and part of the I. W. Hellman house being
moved to make way for Mr. Hellman's new bank. The building going up at right still stands.

And 105 years later:
Yelpie Images

Another great read is Towers of Gold: How One Jewish Immigrant Named Isaias Hellman Created California by Frances Dinkelspiel (proud great-great granddaughter if Isaias).
The Continental/Braly Building is one of my favorite buildings in Los Angeles. It was this building that led to the 150-foot height limit that was in effect for basically the first half of the 20th Century-- city leaders didn't want LA to become a "skyscraper" city, which clashed with their vision of LA being a "garden city"; to them, skyscrapers evoked the dirty, crowded, industrial cities of the East Coast and Midwest with tall buildings that cast shadows on their streets. Skyscrapers weren't compatible with Eden.
"If the climate were a bank, the U.S. would have already saved it."

---Hugo Chávez
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