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FredH Jan 14, 2012 4:04 AM


All I can say is wow!

3940dxer you are the best. :worship::worship::worship::worship:

That has to be the greatest sleuthing yet.


ethereal_reality Jan 14, 2012 4:12 AM

:previous: Congratulations 3940dxer on the most intriguing post of 2012!!!!

ethereal_reality Jan 14, 2012 4:35 AM

I am fixating a bit on these extremely cool bar stools.
usc digital archive

At first glance I thought the bar stools were a bicycle rack.

3940dxer Jan 14, 2012 4:56 AM

Thanks for the kind words. I had great fun today and also I felt it was a way to repay the other contributors who have educated and fascinated me so many times here.

I'm kind of hung up on the bar stools, too. You can see the one stainless steel post in my photo, that has a similar look. I don't get it, because the stools seem so perfectly lined up...were they bolted to the floor? It looks uncomfortable and sort of unfriendly...and you wouldn't be able to turn around very easily. Weird.

But the really weird thing is how Allen Burnell, Mary McCall, and Joe Moore just sit there like nothing has happened, seemingly nonplussed, with George D. Miller's fresh corpse just feet away. I think I'd have paid my tab, left the basement, and retired to my room or gone out for some air. Maybe one of the cops told them to stick around until his sarge showed up. And George was killed all because of a song on the jukebox. Well, it's noir, that's for sure.

Oh, while were at it, here's the other USC photo:

ethereal_reality Jan 14, 2012 5:03 AM

:previous: I agree about the nonplussed clientele 3940dxer.
I shouldn't have edited out the dead body in the 'bar stool' was a lame attempt to highlight the unusual bar stools.

below: Here's the dead body on the floor near those fabulous bar stools.
usc digital archive


3940dxer Jan 14, 2012 6:41 AM


A depressing and scary 2001 L.A. Times article about the Rosslyn's downward spiral into decay and crack-dom:

Horthos Jan 14, 2012 7:47 AM


Originally Posted by 3940dxer (Post 5549615)

I had business downtown today, and planned a side trip to the Rosslyn. I printed a big batch of old Rosslyn photos and L.A. Times articles as a gift, tried to dress well, and crossed my fingers -- having no idea what might happen.

I had read something about a multi-million dollar renovation, but that hasn't happened yet. The north building appears to be closed and unoccupied, the south wing is open but dark and dusty. In the old lobby, thick bulletproof glass wraps around the front desk, like in a bank. I waited until the gentleman behind the desk was free, made my pitch, and passed all the prints through a slot in the glass. The man was quite interested, appreciated the prints, and after listening to my story told me that indeed there was a tunnel beneath 5th Street connecting the two wings, and agreed to take me down there.

We walked over to a pitch black stairway on the left, descended to the bowels of the building, and had a look around. The first thing I noticed was "The Monterey Room", a long-closed bar with a Mexican theme. I immediately wondered whether this was the spot where the Rosslyn bar room murder took place in 1951. (I think this has been discussed on the thread before, but not sure.) The wall looks the same, but it seems the "Monterey" decor was part of a later remodel. Here's the USC photo, followed by the first of my (very poor :yuck:) shots.

The USC description is "Rosslyn Hotel bar death, 27 October 1951. Allen Burnell (Patron); Mary McCall (Patron); Joe Moore (Patron); George D. Miller -- 34 years (victim killed in bar room fight over juke box tune...The tune playing was "The Song Is Ended").

I think this is where the murder took place, but it's hard to be sure. Here's the inside of the bar. I think it's more or less beneath the sidewalk beneath the south side of 5th Street. Sorry about the poor was very dark down there, and I didn't have much time...oh well.

OK, now here's the tunnel. This shot was taken from beneath 5th Street. I had to duck as I passed under that giant pipe. Hard to imagine well heeled guests actually using this to go back and forth but maybe the big pipe was added by the city in later years, and maybe the passageway was much more elegant when first built.

As we walked around the tunnel my guide confided to me that the hotel is haunted and that down in the tunnel one day he saw a female ghost. The form passed by him, then turned and ran down another hallway He seemed quite shaken, remembering this. I told him that looking through the L.A. Times articles that morning, I learned that there has been several murders and suicides in the hotel over the years. (More on this later.)

Finally, here is the door on the other end, now sealed tight, that used to lead to the north wing.

Very interesting visit; it was a great Friday the 13th for me. I celebrated by having lunch at the Colima Cafe, which I'd always been curious about. While preparing for today's adventure I found some other interesting Rosslyn photos and articles, will probably post some of those later.

The north building is very occupied, I am actually looking to move there in a month or so. Cheap studio apartments up to the 10th floor, and the 11th and 12th are market rate lofts, there was a big renovation done as well, however, the south building I believe is the one less taken care of. I had asked one of the leasing agents about the tunnel, and she told me it was sealed, and didnt know if it was accessible from the other building anymore or not.

These are great pictures, however. Thanks for sharing these

GaylordWilshire Jan 14, 2012 2:52 PM
1942: At its peak of rooms. I still would like to know more about the "auto entrance direct to
the hotel lobby"....

3940-- you're amazing... as more of an armchair explorer of old L.A., I'm deeply impressed with your intrepidness...intrepidation?... Anyway, thanks for those pictures. You can get an idea of the tunnel's onetime grandeur, the marble panels and cornice.... I'm sure the pipe came later.

Now, of course, I must figure a way to make good on my offer of dinner at a defunct Restaurant Row "eatery" (I hate that word--think it's stomach-turning--but can't think of another synonym for "restaurant"... but I digress). Perhaps the next time I'm in L.A. we can meet--I can accompany you on a daring underground adventure--and we can have a glamorous evening at Philippe's on me--still a noirish experience in the evenings, at least I like to think so. I make it a point to go when I'm out there.

Horthos-- very glad to hear that the Rosslyn actually may be habitable now. That 2001 article was hair-raising....

Here's another underground passage you might look into. I know we covered a pedestrian subway that once ran under Olympic (or Pico?) in Mid-City, but I can't find it now. Here's another one in Beverly Hills. The pic is labeled "Wilshire and Rexford, 1928." No evidence of it in Google Street View....

westcork Jan 14, 2012 6:52 PM

There is one of those tunnels on Sunset between Maltman and Micheltorena,,0,15.96

And there is another one that runs under the 101 in Echo Park Between Bellevue and Temple,26.75,,0,4.34,,0,-1.12

westcork Jan 14, 2012 7:03 PM

Here is the inside of the pedestrian tunnel under the 3rd Street on ramp between Figueroa and the Harbor Freeway
3rd St pedestrian tunnel by Westcork, on Flickr

Bilbo Jan 14, 2012 9:57 PM

Robert Mitcham
Referring back to the photo of Robert Mitcham leaving jail - I wouldn't be too bothered about his short tie - it's more worrying that he is wearing a "ladies jacket" - or is the photo reversed ?:shrug:


ethereal_reality Jan 15, 2012 12:14 AM

Another mysterious tunnel in Los Angeles County is the obsolete Jergins Subway in Long Beach. It was built in 1927 by Jergins Oil Trust Company as a pedestrian 'subway' under Ocean Boulevard. 180 feet long and 35 feet wide, it funneled thousands of people a day to The Pike amusement area. The tunnel has been closed off for 45 years. Its northern end was paved over to accommodate a new hotel. It's southern end is temporarily visible due to excavation for a new building.

below: The construction site where the southern portal is located.

below: The 1927 tunnel is behind the tan door in the center of the photo.

below: Sign?........what red sign?? I didn't see any sign.



I was a bit confused by the 'Village Arcade' terminology on the sign. Here's an explanation.

below: The Jergins Trust Building home to the 1,800 seat State Theater and the south portal of the Jergins Subway.

While searching for information on the Jergins Subway I came across this mysterious comment on yelp.

Could there be another tunnel??

Those Who Squirm! Jan 15, 2012 12:49 AM


Originally Posted by MichaelRyerson (Post 5158607)
I favor greenspace, landscaping and scale as organic considerations over building to the absolute limits of property. Further, I think the elected officials were (philosophically) onto something when they instituted the 150' height limit in the early twentieth century.

The 150' height limitation wouldn't have been able to handle the demand for space as the population grew, or for that matter the weekday population of workers in downtown L.A. Requiring property owners to design large setbacks bedecked with lawns and fountains and the like imposes a suburban aesthetic on a city, and moreover does nothing to alleviate any dearth of usable parks and public spaces.

From the point of view of meeting people's actual needs, I'd rather have a Manhattan-style urban plan any day, by which I mean that larger commercial or multi-family structures should be built out to the sidewalks, but there should also be ample public parks and other spaces for the residents to use.

ethereal_reality Jan 15, 2012 12:53 AM

Another view of the Jergins Trust Building in Long Beach.

The tunnel's history is explained very well in this History Los Angeles Blog.

A very early photo of the State Theater (later Loew's State) located in the Jergins Trust Building.

below: A new marquee minus 'vaudeville'.

FredH Jan 15, 2012 4:44 AM

Morrison Hotel
Old guys (like me) remember fondly the Doors album from about 1970 or so, titled Morrison Hotel.
The band apparently sneaked into the hotel, after being denied permission, to take this famous photo
which was used as the cover shot on the album.

The Morrison Hotel is on the corner of Hope Street and Pico. In as much as the photo advertised rooms
for $2.50 a night back then, it had seemingly regressed into "fleabag" status forty years ago.
How has the Morrison fared since?

Apparently, not too well. This photo is from a few years back:

Could it possibly get any worse? Well, yes. Its main function now seems to be holding up the sign
advertising the parking lot around back.
Google Stree View


Google Street View

I know there are some car buffs in the norish crowd, so here is an interesting story I ran across: I seems that Jim Morrison's record label back then gave him a Mustang as a gift. This was no ordinary Mustang. It was a 1967 Shelby Mustang GT500, a beast with a 428 cubic inch Police Interceptor engine. If you have ever watched the movie Gone In 60 Seconds, this was the last car stolen by Nickolas Cage and the one he drove in the big chase scene at the end.

Anyway, as the story goes, Morrison supposedly lost the car. Either he ran into a pole on Sunset Blvd. and just left it, or parked it at LAX for so long that it was gone when he came back. With Morrison, either story is believable. Here are some details and a video:

3940dxer Jan 15, 2012 5:44 AM

Rosslyn original location, suicide on December 3 1920
Still in a Rosslyn state of mind, I thought I'd post a few more articles and photos.

The Rosslyn underwent many expansions and changes over the years. At one point I think 7 stories were added, then destroyed by fire, and then removed. Anyway, here's an 1917 article about the major early expansion, which made it the 4th largest hotel in the world. This is the original Rosslyn location on Main between 4th and 5th.

While preparing for my visit yesterday I was surprised by the number of suicides, murders, and other crimes that I found. I guess it makes sense though, since the place was around for about a century and had 1100 rooms at its peak.

On December 16, 1906 a "rich madman" brandishing 2 revolvers robbed the desk clerk.

The first documented suicide seems to have taken place in 1912. From the L.A. Times, dated December 10, 1912.

A man jumped from the roof in 1920. Looks like the expansion discussed in the 1917 Times story had not begun yet. I think the graphic was posted here long ago, but not the L.A. Times story.

3940dxer Jan 15, 2012 6:36 AM

Two L.A. Museum exhibits
I read about these in the L.A. Times Calendar section yesterday, both look good.

11.13.11 - 02.27.12

In 1947, the tabloid photographer known as Weegee relocated from New York City to Los Angeles. In moving west, he abandoned the grisly crime scenes for which he was best known and trained his camera instead on Hollywood stars, strippers, costume shops, and naked mannequins, sometimes distorted through trick lenses and multiple exposures. “Now I could really photograph the subjects I liked,” said Weegee of his life in Los Angeles. “I was free.”

Naked Hollywood: Weegee in Los Angeles is the first museum exhibition devoted to the work Weegee produced in Southern California.

In addition to roughly 200 photographs, many of which have never before been shown or reproduced, the exhibition encompasses Weegee's related work as an author, filmmaker, photo-essayist, and genius self-promoter. Following the photographer's lead, the exhibition documents the lurid, irresistible undersides of stardom, fandom, commerce, and publicity in mid-century Los Angeles. Weegee's 1953 photo-book Naked Hollywood provides the title and point of departure for the exhibition.


Becoming Los Angeles (that's a working title) will open just ahead of the museum's one hundredth birthday and travel through 500 years of LA history, "from European contact to its rise as a global capital," according to a press release. The 14,000 square foot exhibit will take up four galleries in both the 1913 and 1920s buildings.The press release says that the NHM has been collecting LA artifacts "for generations," and has pieces from old LA families like the Coronels, Temples, and del Valles.
A Mexican sword, Walt Disney's "Steamboat Willie" rig, and more.

Here's a little about what Becoming Los Angeles will look like: "a visually striking canopy will symbolize the sweep of history and lead visitors through the exhibit's major sections or historical eras: the pre-Spanish landscape; Mission Era; Mexican Rancho Era; the early years of the American Period; the emergence of a new American city in the late 19th and early 20th centuries; and L.A. as a global city of the 21st century. This canopy will touch down at four points, triggering the walkthrough experience from once section to the next. Iconic objects at these trigger points include a cross from Mission San Gabriel and an inscribed sword from the Mexican war of independence. Other important objects in the exhibit include a wooden oil well pump from a 1920s Los Angeles city oil field, and Walt Disney's animation stand that was built in his uncle's L.A. garage in 1923. (Disney used it to film "Steamboat Willie," the first cartoon released that featured Mickey Mouse.)"

The exhibit is set to open in December. The museum turns 100 in 2013.

(G_W, maybe one of these will coincide with one of your L.A.visits?)

Those Who Squirm! Jan 15, 2012 7:40 AM


Originally Posted by FredH (Post 5550673)
The Morrison Hotel is on the corner of Hope Street and Pico. In as much as the photo advertised rooms
for $2.50 a night back then, it had seemingly regressed into "fleabag" status forty years ago.
How has the Morrison fared since?

Although $2.50 was cheap for a room even back then, the only thing that strikes me as particularly fleabag-esque is the sign advertising "Rooms", which better hotels never do. But in the 1970 photo the premises themselves don't look too horrible; for one thing there are furniture and lamps in the lobby; truly low hotels tend to lack these things due to theft or the fear of theft. Here, though, patrons were still expected to use the lobby from time to time, and someone was still washing the window and cleaning the blinds, and employing maids--in short, doing things that hoteliers do when they haven't completely given on keeping their hotels out of the flophouse category. And the "Passenger Loading" sign suggests that some guests were still expected to arrive and depart by taxi. All in all, it looks like the Morrison might have been just adequate in a pinch, if not highly desirable as a place to stop for a night.

Seeing the recent Google Street view just makes me sad; it looks so rundown and forlorn as to remind me of the old buildings that shared the block of the Plaza Church, before most of them were razed for parking lots.

Regarding the Rosslyn, some years after Morrison Hotel came out, some crew and cast of the film Sextette stayed there, the hotel at that time still being quite presentable. The cast included Mae West, who at that time received a visit from June Fairchild, a young actress who was getting some work and was sufficiently well known to "be seen" but not really what you'd call a real film star. As recently as 1978, the year Sextette was produced, The Rosslyn must still have been a fairly decent hotel. Surely Mae West would not be staying there if it hadn't been. But in 2001, by which time the Rosslyn had truly become a dump, this same June Fairchild, terribly down on her luck and struggling with addiction and homelessness, counted herself lucky to scrape together the money for a few nights there. (2001 Times article cited below.)

NOAKI SCHWARTZ. (2001, February 21). A Fallen Star; Addiction: Former actress, now 54 and living on the streets, dreams of a movie comeback :[Home Edition]. Los Angeles Times,p. B1. Retrieved January 15, 2012, from Los Angeles Times. (Document ID: 68919337).

Evan Jan 15, 2012 10:25 AM


Originally Posted by Steve Hoffman (Post 5536528)
Heh, my pleasure. Hard to forget. I remember telling that story to a guy on my own website and he did some digging and told me that the theater next to the Sports Arena was the Fox. It was nice to put a name to that anonymous exposed structure after all this time. Then I saw the pics here and felt I had to comment.

I'm totally dreaming about LA Film Noir after reading this thread constantly every day for hours at a time. Can't believe I got through all 289 pages here. My head is still spinning.

My grandfather worked in the Arcade building on Spring Street (he was a barber) and I loved seeing the few shots of the building. I have memories of the one and only time my parents took me downtown to see him (must have been in the very early 1960s). I remember that it was very crowded on the streets around there, people crossing the streets in like a triangle, not just across one street but sort of at an angle. All the men were in suits and wore hats which I thought was really odd since I knew no one who wore one. It looked old and dingy to me even then but I never forgot it. Seeing some of these pics here makes LA of the past just seem like a bewildering place, with ruined buildings torn down due to neglect and classic mint beautiful buildings torn down just because they were 20 years or so old.

Tragic but I also remember at the time (as a kid) not caring too much about it, thinking (like all good LA people) that new was better. Silly, but true.

At any rate this thread is probably the best I've ever read on the Internet and I've learned more about my home town than I ever thought possible.

So, thank you all!

Sorry to go off topic for just a second, but are you the Steve Hoffman, the mastering engineer? If so, I have enjoyed your forum for years. I've learned so much from the members there, so thank you!

Sorry for the hijack, carry on.

GaylordWilshire Jan 15, 2012 1:19 PM Angeles Times

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