SkyscraperPage Forum

SkyscraperPage Forum (
-   Found City Photos (
-   -   noirish Los Angeles (

ethereal_reality May 23, 2010 7:46 PM

I just found this 1925 photo of the Hill Street Station yards, showing the rail cars backed up against Olive St.
You can clearly see the Hotel Trenton far right.
usc digital archive

gsjansen May 24, 2010 7:19 PM

East 5th Street Noir
Skid Row images from 1955

all images are USC Digital Archives

Beaudry May 25, 2010 3:15 AM


Originally Posted by gsjansen (Post 4844075)
California State Library

i happened upon this undated photo, (my guess is 1900 or so). It's called a panorama of Elysian Heights.

it appears to me, that it is taken from on top of fort moore hill looking north west. The house at the intersection which is to the right of the woman standing with the children, appears to be the same house. (it's a tad far to really make out). so if this is the house, i am then further assuming that sunset boulevard is the street that runs at the bottom of the hill, and the intersecting street is north hill street.

Dang, gsj, I'm ruining my eyes staring into that photo. I think you're absolutely right about that being the house. Good catch!

That’s 601 West Sunset. 611 Sunset (now 611 Cesar E. Chavez) – the Wah Wing Sang Gutierrez & Weber Mortuary, was built on the site in 1962. The original building from what I can glean from Sanborn maps was constructed between 1894 and 1906. On the 50s Sanborn maps 601 is labeled with the appellation “Tenements” which pretty much meant its days were numbered.

It’s always been a favorite of mine and its use in Kiss Me Deadly was brilliant – the location manager was a genius, when the script called to “127 Flower”, go over to Sunset & Hill Pl and use that great beast of a thing.

Since KMD is so great I threw it in the computer and took a collection of pix which are below. Be forewarned, my computer for some reason doesn’t wish me to take screen grabs. So these were literally shot with a crap camera at the screen, but they get the job done.

The house from the '06 Sanborn:

And while sometimes addresses provide one with a wealth of noir and horror (noirror?) this one kept its nose clean, at least in the Times. Of course, it was the Hearst papers, not the Chandler, that printed the lurid stuff. But I don't have the Hearst papers online, do I? From 1952:

Beaudry May 25, 2010 3:38 AM

Kiss Me Deadly noir
Mike Hammer helps out the kindly old Italian and gets some info in return:

They're on the 300 block of Bunker Hill Avenue. Check out the Edison blazing away in the night at the bottom of the Hill on 5th. And where does Hammer go snoopin' around in? The Castle, of course:

Mike Hammer throws a thug down the stairs at the backside of the Third St tunnel:

He goes to the Hillcrest, at the top of the Flight.

Speaking of the Flight -- one of the great shots of cinema history --

Now, according to this page, the Jalisco was on Sixth.

I'm not sold on that concept. Looking at the 600 block of both west and east 6th now, it doesn't seem likely. Though my desultory picking through the directories and such hasn't yielded where the Jalisco was...or the Bamba Club:

gsjansen May 25, 2010 3:15 PM

Bama Club Found
The Bama club was located in the 600 block of North Spring

Just South of the corner of Macy and Spring

I actually 1st saw a Bama Club image in a book called Sins of the City The real los angeles noir, unfortunately my scanner is down, so i can't post that photo :grrr:

anyway, the book further indicates that the Bama club was the location of the night club in criss cross

Yvonne De Carlo and some "unknown extra" trip the light fantastic to the latin rhythms of Esy Morales at the Bama Club.

(of course i'm not 100% sure of the Criss Cross connection, but i'll look at some aerials and see if i can match it up with the movies opening)

gsjansen May 25, 2010 4:07 PM

N. Spring Hotel is the Jalisco
i just found this image, it is definately the entrance to the Jalisco

so the Bama Club and the N. Spring appear to be on the same block of spring between sunset and Macy

Beaudry May 25, 2010 6:38 PM

Amazing find. Thanks gsjansen. I knew I'd seen the Bamba before -- the Sins book says it's on Main, but we know better, eh?

The question then is What happened to North Spring? The addresses on the 600 block, today, don't begin til 638...hmmm...

Now you see it:

Now you don't!

Our old friend the Jalisco (once upon a time in the Sentous Block, which fronted on Main) is now a ghost living in the middle of a parking lot.


Those nighttime photos of Skid Row are awesome. It just shows the beginning of what would eventually become known as dirty Skid Row.

ethereal_reality May 25, 2010 8:01 PM

Great work Beaudry and gsjansen on your detective work finding the locales in 'Kiss Me Deadly'.

Beaudry, your screen captures using a camera turned out just fine.
Next time you feel like doing it again (hint hint), do 'Criss Cross'. :)
It's one of the few films noirs I haven't seen, and I can't find it in any video stores.
I have a small library of film noir books, and it seems 'Criss Cross' is mentioned in every one of them.

I also thought the nighttime photographs of Skid Row were great.
There are some exceptional neon signs...I especially liked the '414 cocktails' sign.

ethereal_reality May 25, 2010 8:14 PM

Here's a great close up of one of my all time favorite bar facades in L.A.
It's Jerry's Joynt located in old Chinatown next to Ferguson's Alley.
The photographs are from 1948.


ethereal_reality May 25, 2010 8:17 PM

Here's a shot of the whole street, 400 block of Los Angeles St.

Beaudry May 25, 2010 10:04 PM


Originally Posted by ethereal_reality (Post 4853083)
Here's a shot of the whole street, 400 block of Los Angeles St.

That is a great shot. ÜberChinatown noir. Hard to believe we're looking at the same place now -- Ferguson Alley having become an onramp --

Sooooo since you gave me the hint hint back there a bit...I've dug out Criss Cross and should have it up some time this afternoon...dang, that's a fine picture. You owe it to yourself to see it, absolutely.

sopas ej May 25, 2010 11:14 PM


Originally Posted by Beaudry (Post 4852938)

Hehe! I had seen gsjansen's post earlier and had wanted to do the same thing, provide before and after maps, but I didn't have an old map image handy. I'm glad you were able to do it, though, Beaudry. :)

Apart from that block being bulldozed to become a parking lot, I also wanted to point out that Sunset Boulevard used to originate from the Old Plaza, before it was realigned to hook up with Macy Street and Brooklyn Avenue; and then of course those all became Cesar Chavez Ave. east of Figueroa in the early 1990s.

Those are indeed great pictures, I really like the skid row ones. And "Criss Cross" is one of my favorite movies.

gsjansen May 26, 2010 1:23 AM

just one more N.Spring, (Jalisco), hotel image

this is from the intersection of bellevue and N. Spring, lookin South, (thank you Beaudry for posting the sanborn map, or we wouldn't even know that such an intersection even existed).

the Jalisco, (N. Spring.....whatever your preference might be), next to the print shop, is just three doors to the South of the Bama Club

oh, and yes, that is indeed the Pico house visible in the distance..............................

GaylordWilshire May 26, 2010 1:35 AM
#18 Berkeley Square

For a full history of Berkeley Square, see

After I posted the few pictures I could find of Berkeley Square a few weeks ago, the vanished street became my latest architectural-forensics obsession. There seem to be precious few available pictures of the houses of Berkeley Square beyond those I posted (at least ones easily posted here), but I've been able to come up with a fair history for almost all of them. Some original families, such as the Burkes of #6 (the original owners and developers of the barley field that became the Square), the Montgomerys of #9, and the Taylors of #11, stayed in the houses they built ca. 1908 almost to the end, well into the '50s, when the freeway became imminent. All three of their houses, and at least two others on the street (the Phillips house, #4, and the Leeds house, #14), were designed by Myron Hunt, either with Elmer Grey or by Hunt alone. (Hunt and Grey, together or separately, have to their credit a long list of SoCal landmarks: among others, the Ambassador and Beverly Hills hotels, the Huntington Library, the Rose Bowl, the Pasadena Public Library, Occidental College, the First Church of Christ Scientist, the Wattles house in Hollywood, the Valley Hunt and Bel-Air Bay clubs, and Frederick Law Olmsted's Palos Verdes house.) Other famous architects involved in the designs of Berkeley Square include Alfred Rosenheim, B. Cooper Corbett, Arthur Benton, Merl Lee Barker, and Robert Farquhar (California Club, Clark Library, among others)--this last the original designer of the house in the picture here, the McReynolds house at #18. Four years after it was built, it seems, Dr. McReynolds fell under the sway of no less than the Greenes, possibly after seeing their "post-Gamble" (i.e., less bungalowesque) designs such as the Culbertson, and he employed the brothers for remodelings and additions into the '20s. (Btw--as is often the case with all such research, there are conflicting claims as to the design of this house, but Greene & Greene remodelings of what was originally a Farquhar house seems to be the progression here.) A side note: Dr. McReynold's father-in-law was B. F. Coulter of the department stores--including the great streamline one on Wilshire, pictures of which were posted here not long ago.

Isn't it amazing to think of the short lifespan of all this custom-built splendor by notable architects? When you're on the Harbor or the Hollywood downtown, it's hard not to wonder about vanished Bunker Hill. The next time you're zooming (or crawling) along the Santa Monica past Western, think about what was once just to the southwest of that intersection....

gsjansen May 26, 2010 1:57 AM

I have been searching continuously for Berkeley Square images since you 1st posted GW, and have come up pretty much empty.

your post about the well known architectural talent involved with the residential enclave has blown me away.

it is truly amazing that a high end gated community, boasting some of Los Angeles's better known architectural fire power, not only no longer exists, but any archival records of the community is so hard to come by.

Thank you for your unending digging into it. your amazing finds, only makes me want to research it that much more, (and not limit my searches to images only).

hopefully i will find something to post in the not to distant future

GaylordWilshire May 26, 2010 2:49 AM

gs-- Ultimately there were 20 houses on 24 lots, all with stories. Naturally the social history of Berkeley Square is rich along with the owners and their architecture-- Dr. McReynolds's brother, U.S. Supreme Court Justice (1914-1941) James McReynolds, visited #18 several times over the years--and the Times was full of party writeups. Mrs. Taylor (#11, featured in the first volume of Sam Watters's Houses of Los Angeles) seems to have bored herself to death giving endless teas and luncheons (I can't help but imagine a roomful of the stout society ladies often seen in The Three Stooges)--she shot herself at home in 1935. Then there was Reese Milner's arrest at home (#7) after a hit-and-run on the PCH, and H. Marquis Prince (#4, the old Phillips house) having been slapped with a paternity suit by his secretary before he sold to the flamboyant Sweet Daddy Grace in 1958. As for more on the street's architectural history, it seems that there is a good bit of information and pictures buried in boxes in various California university library basements, some of it available for in-person perusal, but I'm hoping that as resourceful as you are you'll find more on Berkeley Square to post here. I'm always looking too. Btw William Burke named it after the California university town, not the London square.

Beaudry May 26, 2010 4:06 AM

Criss Cross au Go Go
Ok, in my need to be useless to society, here's a whole lot of obsessive stuff about the 1949 picture Criss Cross.

First of all, it begins with a "fly in" across City Hall onto North Spring St. I could spend a whole lotta time going on about whether "that" may or may not be a remaining building at Ord & Alameda. But I got a whole lot of film to get through. Suffice it to say, it may be the greatest opening in the history of film. Obviously, I'm a little biased.

I mean, it really has to be seen to be believed. Old LA geeks could and would go off for days just on it alone.

We swoop in on Yvonne De Carlo and Burt Lancaster in a parking lot, here:

In the interest of full disclosure, I should say at the outset that I've had a crush on Yvonne De Carlo since my introduction to The Munsters, which KTLA played in reruns in the late 70s when I was a kid. She made me this way. Blame her for everything. Moving on.

I would argue that one of the characters in the picture is the Round Up Café:

So Sins of the City said (p. 76) that La Bamba was the location of the "Round Up." Heimann is a first-rate researcher, by and large. I think he's right. Check it out:

Mmm. Pointy skylight atop.



I told you this would be obsessive. More in a moment.

Beaudry May 26, 2010 4:24 AM

Ok, so, the Round Up.

I think it had a bar area that opened on Spring, and the greater Round Up (the Bamba, in reality, dig the greater bullfighting motif) headed back toward Main. I'm guessing the filmmakers temporarily "renamed" the glass on the outside to read "Round Up."

I love its interior so much, I don't know what to say. And that's a rare moment.

Hey, is that Tony Curtis's first screen moment?

You bet it is.

So anyway, in flashback we're told about Steve's return to Los Angeles. He goes home to his mom's house. Which just happens to be at 215 N Hill Street, just above the Tunnel.

The Civic Center in the bg as he smiles at his dog. I always hated this movie for the way it didn't tell me more about the dog.

This page can tell you more than I'm going to. Click it now!

Beaudry May 26, 2010 4:53 AM

There are innumerable fantastic shots of Lancaster and De Carlo lurking around Union Station:

But the real magic happens when they get outside the building --

Where Los Angeles turns down toward the station -- though as I understand it, back in the day, it was Marchessault --

And oh yeah, when the ill-fated armored car departs, from where does it depart from?

All times are GMT. The time now is 11:26 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2023, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.