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GaylordWilshire Feb 17, 2012 6:06 PM

An Auto Row remnant: 1200 S. Hope St.
Los Angeles Examiner April 2, 1939
Fading, fading, but still there....

malumot Feb 17, 2012 6:07 PM

WOW!...and just to the north, encompassing the block between Hope and Grand south of Jefferson, is the old May Company Distribution Center. Now part of a giant parking structure for USC. (The portion closest to Hope - with the dark red vertical highlights and tell-tale sloped ramps - was added during the conversion.)

I used to work for May Co in the late 1980s, and had to visit the "DC" once a month or so. Even then the structure was underutilized (multi-story distribution became unworkable and uneconomical) and May had moved most of their operations to a joint May-Robinson's facility in City of Industry.

I suspect it was originally built around 1950. I recall it had humungous freight elevators with wood decking.

I guess conversion to parking is the best possible outcome for a rather bland and boxy mid-century industrial building.


Originally Posted by ethereal_reality (Post 5593925)

below: They both barely survived the construction of the Harbor Freeway.
google street view

The neighbor is labeled 'East Library Building'....perhaps it's a storage facility.

transitfan Feb 17, 2012 6:16 PM


Originally Posted by GaylordWilshire (Post 5593948)

A history of the building at 3440 S. Hope is HERE.

LOL, how did I not know that USC owned that building now?! They own several of the properties in that area. Besides the afore-mentioned Parking Center (former May Co Service building), they own the former Lyons Storage building which USC uses as its Central Receiving facility. I worked for the USC Bookstore, part-time while in school and then full time until I moved away in 1998, and on several occasions, I had to go over to the Lyons building (some people were still calling it that). The Bookstore had some storage space over there, though I don't think they do any more.

GaylordWilshire Feb 17, 2012 10:45 PM Jewell
Those are '61 Cadillacs on the floor...

9230 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills: Same building (and same lamppost), but none of the charm. Jewell
A shot of a prior showroom of Hillcrest Cadillac, 1949; the dealership was at 9230 Wilshire then, but the lamppost here
is not one with the typical and long-standing Wilshire Blvd-in-BH base seen in the other pictures. Maybe they had a
satellite showroom somewhere else in L.A.....

EDIT: See post 6558 from 2012 to solve this mystery...

There was once a Hillcrest branch in this building at the northwest corner of Hollywood Blvd and Orange:

SEE HossC's post 24015 from 2014 for more on that building

ethereal_reality Feb 18, 2012 1:23 AM


Originally Posted by GaylordWilshire (Post 5594774)

cool building....I haven't seen it before.

ethereal_reality Feb 18, 2012 1:53 AM

What's wrong with society when this......
found on ebay

....turns into this.
google street view

A wider angle
google street view

below: Here's the complete mb.

'Free Delivery' that is a great idea! Can liquor stores still deliver or is it against the law now?

ethereal_reality Feb 18, 2012 4:07 AM

How many of you knew there was a traffic circle named Rosy at the intersection of Wilshire and Western in the 1920s?

Rosy was a 40' circle with a 8" curb and in the center was a 12 foot tall 'compass' with a flashing red light.

Alas, the forty foot traffic circle was simply too big for this intersection (the intersection was square...a true traffic circle has a circular intersection). Rosy only lasted a few months before she was removed. Poor Rosy. :(

below: The 12 foot concrete 'compass' survived a while longer than the 40' circle (this pic is dated 1924)

below: In this postcard view the 'compass' looks quite different. It would be interesting to know what modifications took place before it was eventually removed.

Thanks to LaCurbed and ParadiseLeased blogs.


ethereal_reality Feb 18, 2012 4:52 AM

A few more photos I found while researching Rosy. All these are dated 1926.

GaylordWilshire Feb 18, 2012 12:49 PM


Great set of Wilshire/Western shots, e_r. The exact date and time of day on some of them make them even more compelling. I'm always trying to conjure in my mind what the L.A. landscape must have looked like, how the sun must have felt, how the streets and young vegetation must have appeared in developing L.A.

GaylordWilshire Feb 18, 2012 1:18 PM Jewell

The tiny airplane at left in this ad depicting a 1931 Lincoln is an indication that Jack Maddux of the Maddux Ford and Lincoln franchises in L.A. had founded the airline of the same name in 1927. (Through various mergers the airline later became part of TWA.) We've seen some great posts about Maddux here before, including THIS ONE and this one:


Originally Posted by sopas ej (Post 5219655)
Maddux Airlines, located at 636 S. Olive in downtown LA.

That's a Lincoln with its characteristic greyhound radiator cap....

3940dxer Feb 18, 2012 7:07 PM

Lookout Mountain Part 1: Overview and Establishing Shots
EDIT: My conclusions about the location of Lookout Mountain turned out to be wrong. Lorendoc correctly identifies the actual location later in this thread, at

Of the places and stories that I've researched for this thread, Lookout Mountain has been the most elusive historically, and the hardest to actually find. I'd be embarrassed to admit how many days I've spent studying maps and old photos, and how many times I've driven out to Laurel Canyon to walk the narrow streets, search for landmarks, and try to make sense of the few clues that arose.

I did finally locate the original site of the Inn and will share photos of it, but later. I know this will be a long piece with a lot of images and a few "detours", so I'm going to submit it in 3 or 4 separate posts, which might be spread out over a week or so. I hope that breaking the story up into chapters doesn't make it hard to follow. If the chapters seems unwieldy, I'll compile everything into one giant post at the end, and delete the former ones.

Anyway, this first entry will give an overview of the hills and topography around Lookout Mountain, and a short history of the Inn.

There are several myths that surround this place, starting with its name. In my opinion, Lookout Mountain is not a mountain at all. Facing southeast, it most certainly is a lookout -- a very dramatic one, with jaw dropping views of Hollywood and downtown. And Lookout Mountain does have a summit that's identified with a survey marker. But the Inn was located down slope from the peak, and many nearby spots are higher. I'd guess that the site of the Inn was chosen for it's dramatic drop off -- a picture window facing town would give impressive head to toe 270 degree views of West Hollywood, Hollywood, downtown, Santa Monica, the Pacific, and more.

Exploring this area, I was repeatedly struck something I've mentioned here before -- the "vanished views" that result from development if the hills. Looking at old photos of the area, you see that anyone walking or driving around Lookout Mountain would have had nearly unobstructed views in most every direction. In their natural state the hills were mostly bare; there were few trees or man made obstructions. If you went for a walk around the hills and ridge tops up there, you'd easily see much of L.A. and it's environs from almost any spot along the way -- like Griffith Park today. But the Hollywood Hills are are completely transformed, especially this neighborhood. The hills themselves are still there, but development and landscaping have completely changed the features of the area. Homes were built at nearly all the good view spots, which now block the view from the street. Between houses you have privacy walls, trees, and garages. I don't mean to complain, and I would love to live in one of those homes some day. I'm just startled by the way that development in this area has erased nearly all the street views. Walking along the streets of Lookout Mountain can be a weird experience You're wedged between vertical elements, as if you were in twisting corridor with high walls. I suppose it is like the "canyonization" effect that large buildings have upon cities -- you can be a few blocks the Empire State Building in Manhattan, but unable to see it at all. Later on I'll post some then and now shots that will show the changes clearly.

Photo-wise, I'll start with two shots that puts the area in perspective quite nicely. In the first, is a 1927 aerial, Sunset Blvd. is at the bottom. The Lookout Inn had been destroyed in a fire 9 years earlier, but if you look closely, you can see the hilltop home at 8782 Appian Way, above the site of the Inn. The lower slope of the mountain is flanked by Queens Road on the left, and Kings Road on the right.

I've added an enlargement beneath it, to help you spot the home. This unusual custom home was built for Chet Crank, a local advertising executive. It was not the first home in the Lookout Mountain area but cost $30,000 to build and was fairly extravagant for its time. The home had a central tower featuring a huge central wrought iron staircase. The interior doors were arranged in groups of three with "each door painted a different color to preclude monotony". (Since the home was built the same year that this photo was taken, it may be unfinished in this shot.) The little dirt road that forms a loop above and to the left of the home is Appian Way.

The terraced roads above Sunset are Harold Way, Carlton Way, Hollywood Blvd. (which, I was surprised to learn, crosses Laurel canyon Blvd. and continues northwest for about 2 more miles), and Franklin St. Laurel Canyon is outside of the image, several blocks to the right. (Ignore the large arrows, they refer to something else.)

Now, several web sites state that this home occupies the original Lookout Inn site, but that is not true! Fantastic house, but wrong I will explain later.

Here's another USC photo that shows the Chet Crank home more clearly. The steep street in the foreground is Kings Road. (Kings is one of the very oldest streets in L.A. A few months ago I posted about Tiburcio Vasquez, a bandit who was captured at the home of "Greek George", at Kings and Santa Monica Blvd. in 1874.) Neither Kings or Queens Roads ever reached the summit. Lookout could not be accessed from Sunset until Holly Vista Drive, later named Sunset Plaza, was built in 1925.

If you look super closely, you'll what looks like see another building beneath 8782 Appian. That one might be El Nido, a girl's camp that opened in 1928. Or it might this English cottage, which was built in 1925. Or it might be something entirely different.

OK, now it's time for some pictures of the place itself. I haven't found anything definitive on its opening date, but I think it was about 1915. It was designed by Alfred F. Priest for the Canyon Castle Corp., Charles Mann and Sam Porter. The building was U shaped, with a large ballroom, card and billiard rooms, banquet and dining halls, a ladies parlor, and 70 upstairs guest rooms, all with private bathrooms. The interior finish was Oregon pine and white enamel with mahogany doors. It had two passenger elevators, steam heat, plumbing, electric wiring, and ice and refrigeration plant, and vacuum cleaning system. There were plans for a stable, tennis courts, and golf links, but I don't know if they were ever completed. Construction cost was about $90,000.

(Note: the founder of the original Laurel Canyon real estate office at Kirkwood and Laurel Canyon Bl. was another gentleman named Charles Mann. By a strange coincidence, these two early developers of the Canyon had the same name, though they were not related.)

Here's the site just before the Inn was built. As you can see, the location with its fantastic view was an auto tour destination. USC dates this photo 1914 -- if true, that would mean that the Inn was open for less than 4 years.

Another old photo, taken from the exact same spot, after the Inn was built. Of course, both of these views are from the opposite direction, compared to the aerial shots. Hollywood is at about 10 o'clock, downtown (which you can't really see) is at about 12 or 1 o'clock. By the way, do you see what I mean about the unencumbered views? Clearly, you could wander around these hills in 1910 and see all around, from any high point. It isn't like that now! :rolleyes:
(From Hollywood Then and Now by George Jezek)


austlar1 Feb 18, 2012 8:59 PM

Great stuff! Please keep posting. I am guessing that you meant to say 7 bedrooms as opposed to 70 bedrooms at the inn?

3940dxer Feb 18, 2012 9:33 PM

Good call! That factoid was taken from the Laurel Canyon history page at, which quoted an article from a local newspaper article (not the L.A. Times, but maybe the Laurel Canyon Crier) announcing the completion of the design. Now that you mention it, it doesn't look big enough to have 70 upstairs rooms, does it? I think you are probably right, and the project was likely scaled down some time after that article was published.

Handsome Stranger Feb 18, 2012 9:57 PM

Fantastic photos, 3940dxer! In the last two, are those oil derricks in the distance across the middle of the images?

3940dxer Feb 18, 2012 10:19 PM

I think that others here could better answer that question, but since we are looking towards Wilshire and La Brea, I think the answer is probably "yes".

GaylordWilshire Feb 18, 2012 11:19 PM Jewell

ethereal_reality Feb 18, 2012 11:36 PM

:previous: Beautiful ad G_W. I like the three towheads kids and the Irish Setter in the backseat of the Chevy.


Great Lookout Mountain post David-3940dxer!

I was surprised that the Lookout Mt. Inn had two elevators.

I guess they were used to take guests up to the cupola....but I have no idea why they would need two.

ethereal_reality Feb 18, 2012 11:58 PM

A nice improvement at 5958 Carlton Way Hollywood.
google street view

3940dxer Feb 19, 2012 1:27 AM


Originally Posted by ethereal_reality (Post 5596384)
...Great Lookout Mountain post David-3940dxer!

I was surprised that the Lookout Mt. Inn had two elevators. I guess they were used to take guests up to the cupola....but I have no idea why they would need two.

Thanks, e_r. I think my answer would be the same as my response to austlar1 about the "70 rooms" -- the article that I pulled these details from must have been exaggerated by some pre-construction daydreams. Probably the other boasts in that description should be taken with a dose of skepticism, too.

As I dug into this story, I was surprised to learn that the Inn was open for a very short time - maybe just 3 or 4 years -- before it burned down. There's very little information about the place, and I haven't found any interior photos. (If anyone else has, please feel free to post them). No doubt, the lack of factual info and photos comes down to the very brief period that it was open.

I'm going to continue with Part 2 of this topic tonight or tomorrow morning. I hope that you all enjoy the ride.

3940dxer Feb 19, 2012 4:06 AM

Lookout Mountain Part 2: Finding The Old Roads
This Lookout Mountain installment will be fairly short. I'm going to post a few images showing the Inn from a distance, and the roads leading up to it.

Finding the exact location of the Inn was really tricky -- I finally figured it out, and will post then and nows in my next installment. But identifying these old roads leading up to the Inn had been even harder. I'm close now, but not quite there yet.

So, here is a selection of photos showing the approaches to the Inn. I've identified some, but am still working on others. Tomorrow I'm heading out there with a friend whose camera skills far exceed mine to get some "now" versions of some of these images and try to identify the roads that are still eluding me. But in the meantime, I'm going to go ahead and post the old versions -- partly to keep my narrative going, but also as a puzzle and a challenge. If anyone out there can tell me where any of these photos were taken from, or name any of these roads, I will be very impressed!

I have to tell you that finding period maps of this area has been nearly impossible. I spent hours (days?) searching for old L.A. maps on the web, and found almost nothing. I also spent an afternoon downtown at the Central Library -- the head of their historical map department was very helpful and tried his best. He looked for a couple of hours, and pulled all sorts of old auto club maps, county maps, plat maps, city atlases -- but none of them, and I mean NONE, showed the back roads of Laurel Canyon. There were definitely several long roads that meandered around the hills, and at least two that led up to the Inn, but I still haven't seen any of them on any map.

One reason is that Laurel Canyon hadn't yet been annexed to the city, so its roads are missing from nearly all city maps of the day. All the maps of that area show Laurel Canyon Blvd., and a few show the important branch roads like Lookout Mountain Ave., Stanley Hills Drive, Wonderland Ave., and Kirkwood. But none of those roads reach the summit -- in fact they hardly even come close to it.

So here, to whet your appetite, is my little collection. See if you can name any of these locations or streets, or even find the same road in any two images. If no one responds it won't hurt my feelings, because I know how hard this is. (I'm afraid that ethereal_reality is partly disqualified, because I already spilled the beans about a couple of these roads in an email to him.)

Tomorrow, barring bad weather, I'll head out and try to bag some modern pics of these locations. I'll post the results and will name as many of these roads as I can.

Part of an old display ad (complete image below)

Note the text in the ad above:

"The five winding roads that have been cut through the tract are still un-named. A cash prize of $20 each will be awarded for the best names suggested for these streets. Visit the tract, see these streets and drop your list of names in the box at the tract office..."


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