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sopas ej May 10, 2010 3:04 AM

Great photos of Mr. Eltinge's house, Gaylord. "Bohemian Los Angeles" is another book I've had for a while but I still haven't read it all the way through, I've just skimmed through it in parts; it is of course a very interesting book.

I like those photos of downtown LA, ethereal. I was just there today. Yesterday, in my search for old photos of the Engstrum Hotel, I stumbled upon other photos that made me stare at them all night last night... I'm now fascinated by the area around the Los Angeles Central Library. Apparently that area used to be a lot more hilly than it is now.

I know that LA's Central Library was built on the site that once was the southern branch of the California State Normal School (which evolved into what became UCLA). But I didn't really have it in my mind how that school building was situated on that site and how much it had been altered after its demolition and the subsequent building of the Central Library.

Here's a 1910 photo, looking west on 5th Street from Hill Street; 5th Street dead ends at the Normal School.
USC Archive

Now this is where it got interesting for me. Here's an undated photo; but this is looking west from where 5th Street USED to dead end at Grand Avenue, but here you can see that it was cut through the hill to extend the street. On the left is where the Central Library will be built; on the right is the Engstrum Hotel, with a narrow street in front of it that slopes down and intersects with Grand Ave.
USC Archive

Here's an aerial shot of the nearly completed Central Library, I assume this was taken while the finishing touches were still being put on the Library. You can see the Engstrum Hotel across the 5th Street from it, on the edge of the rise of Bunker Hill. The Edison Building/One Bunker Hill Building to the right of the Engstrum wasn't even built yet, nor was the Sunkist Building, which would rise to its left. Where 5th Street meets the hill looks unfinished, and you can see the narrow street that slopes down to meet Grand Avenue.

Here you see the Edison Building (later called One Bunker Hill) being built on the corner of Grand and 5th. It looks like they're repaving the narrow sloping street, and they're also putting in a retaining wall.

Here's a photo from 1945. You can see the completed retaining wall and the Engstrum Hotel, sandwiched by the now completed Edison Building and the Sunkist Building, which was built in 1935.
USC Archive

Here's the Edison Building circa 1930s.

Flash forward to today, May 2010. The Engstrum Hotel and the Sunkist Building have long been torn down. The Edison Building is now known as One Bunker Hill. The Central Library, having suffered damage in 2 arson fires in 1986, closed, was restored, expanded and reopened in 1993 (resulting in the loss of the east lawn, which was across 5th Street from the Edison Building).

One Bunker Hill, May 2010. The little sloping street in front of this building is now gone. In its place is a 2-story commercial structure which is part of the One Bunker Hill property.
Photo by me

The Sunkist Building, retaining wall and sloping street are of course gone, and in their place are the Citigroup Building, the Bunker Hill Steps and the US Bank Tower. The arches along the wall next to the Bunker Hill Steps curiously remind me of the arches in the retaining wall, if you look at the Sunkist Building photo.
Photo by me

Here's another shot of the Sunkist Building from the 1940s:
USC Archive

This is what's there today:
Photo by me

Here's a view looking east along 5th Street between the Central Library and the Bunker Hill Steps:
Photo by me

Here's a similar view from the early 1920s:

What a difference nearly 90 years make, not only in buildings but in topography and street layout!

GaylordWilshire May 10, 2010 12:48 PM

Noir Under Construction I

Great pictures, sopas--it's interesting to see that the obsession with
leveling the topography of downtown began way before the Bunker Hill
projects of the '50s-'60s. Here is the great Goodhue library under
construction in the very active '20s.

gsjansen May 10, 2010 2:26 PM


Originally Posted by GaylordWilshire (Post 4832880)'s interesting to see that the obsession withleveling the topography of downtown began way before the Bunker Hillprojects of the '50s-'60s..................

here is the downtown section of E.O.C. Ord's first map of the city of Los Angeles, drawn in 1849, which clearly shows the difficult topography to the west.
USC Digital Archive

GaylordWilshire May 10, 2010 3:34 PM

Noir Under Construction II

Union Station on the rise

ethereal_reality May 10, 2010 5:51 PM

Sopas-ej, your in-depth post #1221 was very enlightening.
Thanks for taking the time and doing such a wonderful job.

I understand the area much better now.

GaylordWilshire May 10, 2010 8:26 PM

Noir Under Construction III


ethereal_reality May 10, 2010 10:30 PM

^^^Great photographs.....especially that last photo GaylordWilshire.

GaylordWilshire May 10, 2010 11:02 PM

Noir Under Construction IV
Glad you like them, ethereal. Notice what's behind and below the city-hall beam-walker: the Hall of Justice, here under construction just a few years before.

ethereal_reality May 11, 2010 12:24 AM

High Tower Drive in 1931.
Garages below, apartments above....via elevator.
usc digital archive

Below: A contemporary photograph of High tower Drive.

ethereal_reality May 11, 2010 12:49 AM

The interior courtyard of Pico House.
(I didn't realize Pico House had a courtyard until recently.....duh)
ucla archive
ucla archive

ethereal_reality May 11, 2010 1:03 AM

Can anyone explain this 1954 photograph of a rather impressive waterfall?
usc digital archive

I believe it has something to do with Fort Moore Hill.

GaylordWilshire May 11, 2010 1:50 AM


Originally Posted by ethereal_reality (Post 4833955)
Can anyone explain this 1954 photograph of a rather impressive waterfall? I believe it has something to do with Fort Moore Hill.

That looks to me like part of the Pioneer Memorial at Ft. Moore Hill, while under construction in the '50s--the panels of sculpture yet to cover the area with the square holes. The waterfall has been dry for a long time, but still seems to be there. Google has it at 420 N. Broadway:,,2,-9.55&pw=2

Btw, ethereal, it never occurred to me that the Pico House had a courtyeard either. Thanks for uncovering it.

sopas ej May 11, 2010 5:25 PM

Cool pics of High Tower Drive, ethereal. Total Raymond Chandler territory. :)

And I've never seen that Fort Moore Hill Memorial waterfall actually working. I've walked by and driven by that thing many times. It'd be nice if they could clean it up and turn the waterfall on again.

It never occurred to me that the Pico House would have a courtyard either, but in a way, it makes sense that it would have one instead of interior hallways, owing that to Spanish colonial buildings.

Some time ago I read that hallways are actually a relatively recent thing (meaning within the last couple hundred years or so), particularly for common houses. I've been in a small, one-story, old Victorian house that had no hallways; to get to the back rooms, you actually have to go through other rooms. This is why canopy beds existed, it gave the person or persons (or people, hehe) in bed privacy by closing the curtains.

sopas ej May 11, 2010 5:27 PM


Originally Posted by GaylordWilshire (Post 4833549)

This is a great image! And the whole knickers and cap thing really puts it over the top, doesn't it. It's totally stereotypical of the era. :)

GaylordWilshire May 11, 2010 6:32 PM
On March 9, 1953, this sweet-looking 63-year-old Burbank matron, Mabel
Monohan, was murdered in her house, still much as it was at the time:
Wes Clark/Burbankia

The perpetrator:
Barbara Graham, in on an earlier narcotics charge, but looking
sad--well, she had had a hard life--and deceptively sweet.

Graham glammed up during the murder trial (perhaps you see
what inspired the later movie casting, the glam along with
definance and flair for the dramatic in her eyes):

Convicted along with two male companions, it was off to
San Quentin, once again looking less defiant:

And it led to an Oscar for Susan Hayward in 1958
for I Want to Live:

sopas ej May 11, 2010 8:34 PM


Great film; as I recall, they used a lot of dramatic license in "I Want to Live." They made it seem like Barbara Graham was innocent.

I also like that photo of the Mercury station wagon. I really like the license plate, that old "California Exempt" plate with the "E" in a shield. It's also the older, larger California plate, before the dimensions of North American plates were standardized to 12" by 6" in 1956. Prior to that, license plate sizes varied by the different states.

ethereal_reality May 11, 2010 10:01 PM

I'm having deja-vu with Mabel Monohan's home.
It seems like I've been in that house.
Do you have the name of the street? (I see '1718' on the curb)

PHX31 May 11, 2010 10:09 PM


Originally Posted by ethereal_reality (Post 4833900)
High Tower Drive in 1931.
Garages below, apartments above....via elevator.
usc digital archive

Below: A contemporary photograph of High tower Drive.

It is stuff like this that makes LA the "best" (most interesting, coolest, etc.) city in the country. That is awesome it still exists...

Only in LA.

ethereal_reality May 11, 2010 10:20 PM

I apologize in advance if this ruins anyone's day. :(

A 1958 brochure actually bragging about the parking lots on Bunker Hill.
ucla ephemera collection

ethereal_reality May 11, 2010 10:22 PM

Here's the brochure dated June 1958.
ucla ephemera collection

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