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ethereal_reality Aug 13, 2009 7:36 PM

below: Hollywood with Capitol Records 1965.
Julie Wilson

ethereal_reality Aug 13, 2009 7:42 PM

below: Here's another angle of the same intersection in 1965.
Julie Wilson

A bit lackluster for being at the corner of Hollywood & Vine.

sopas ej Aug 13, 2009 9:15 PM


Originally Posted by ethereal_reality (Post 4404494)
A bit lackluster for being at the corner of Hollywood & Vine.

Indeed. But an interesting shot nonetheless. BTW, when I got my very first speeding ticket, I attended traffic school at that Taft Building on the southeast corner of Hollywood and Vine.

I like the T-bird in the other pic.

ethereal_reality Aug 14, 2009 11:00 PM

Here are some early Westwood photos from 1941.

below: Note the towering Bank of America sign on the left.
The building is still there, minus the sign.
julie wilson
julie wilson

ethereal_reality Aug 14, 2009 11:04 PM

Here's another one, Ralph's Westwood.
julie wilson

dktshb Aug 14, 2009 11:27 PM

Thank goodness those ugly lights shown there in the 1965 pictures of Hollywood are gone and the new ones replaced a few years back resemble the old.

dktshb Aug 14, 2009 11:31 PM


Originally Posted by ethereal_reality (Post 4404332)
below: Hollywood Freeway, with a good view of the long gone Gas Tanks.
I especially like the row of old buildings center left.

Fortunately they're still there.

ethereal_reality Aug 15, 2009 12:17 AM

below: Hollywood traffic 1956.

ethereal_reality Aug 15, 2009 12:26 AM

^^^Thanks for the info 'dktshb'.
I'm glad the building are still there.

sopas ej Aug 15, 2009 1:30 AM

Yes, the buildings are still there. The cluster of shorter ones have been restored and even houses a Chinese-American museum. The taller one looks like it's being restored as well; as of a few months ago, it was covered in scaffolding and tarp.

JDRCRASH Aug 15, 2009 12:32 PM

Regarding Hollywood Bowl:


Originally Posted by ethereal_reality (Post 4404332)
I never knew there used to be a fountain in front of the stage.

If I remember correctly, that theater has a long history of renovations.

sopas ej Aug 15, 2009 4:04 PM


Originally Posted by JDRCRASH (Post 4407263)
Regarding Hollywood Bowl:

If I remember correctly, that theater has a long history of renovations.

Yes, and nearly all of it has been due to trying to get the acoustics just right.

The Hollywood Bowl was a dell that had naturally amazing acoustics. It wasn't until they built a permanent bandshell that the acoustics were compromised (because of regrading the land for the permanent stage and shell and also because of the gradual deterioration of the shell) and with each successive shell that was built, they still didn't get the acoustics just right. The current shell that was built in the early part of the present decade was controversial because many preservationists didn't want the previous shell demolished, being that it was the longest in use, from the late 1920s until the early part of this decade; it wasn't even the best shell acoustically. I wonder if those same preservationists knew that the two previous shells to that one were designed by Lloyd Wright and the new, current shell's design incorporated elements from both the 2nd Wright design and the previous shell. But whatever; sometimes I think this idea of preserving things just because they're old goes too far. Does this mean that we'll NEVER knock down or remodel buildings once they're built? Will people start wanting to preserve old strip malls because some time in the future they'll represent a bygone era? Don't get me wrong, I'm totally for the preservation of historic buildings, but only buildings that are worth saving-- but I guess that can be totally subjective.

And on that note, here's what is now the Pegasus Lofts, from 1951:
From the USC Archive

JDRCRASH Aug 15, 2009 7:46 PM

Pegasus is right next to Aon, right?

Anyway, I agree to a certain extent. Unless they're old houses from the PE rail era, they should go if they're being considered for demolition.

It's when its in places like Downtown and Hollywood (with early 20th century jewels like Rowan, El Dorado, Roosevelt, Great Republic,etc.), where we should take a good look at buildings and see if they're worth saving; and perhaps sometimes, like Title Guarantee, incorporate the renovation with a whole new project.

ethereal_reality Aug 16, 2009 2:35 AM

The Beverly Wilshire Hotel located at 9500 Wilshire Blvd.
is at the southern terminus of Rodeo Drive.
USC archives

above: What I like about this photo is the sign on top.
I had no idea that there used to be a sign.

I worked at the Beverly Wilshire as a 'pool boy' when I was 20 years old.
The 1971 south tower addition (named the Beverly Wing) took the place of the Olympic sized pool and tennis courts.
The new pool was SO SMALL that I would be standing right in front of it, and guests would ask me where the pool was.
The tiny pool had a fountain, so most guests thought it was just that, a fountain.
It was very embarrassing telling them that this was indeed, the Beverly Wilshire pool.

above: Another view of the long lost sign.

below: The very tiny pool with the fountain in the middle..

below: A brief history of the Beverly Wilshire.

Dylan Leblanc Aug 17, 2009 12:31 AM


Originally Posted by sopas ej (Post 4403685)
The building which you see its foundation in the modern photo, that was the State Office Building. It was deemed unsafe for use after the 1971 Sylmar Earthquake, so it was subsequently demolished. The other older building that was at an odd angle because it followed the old street grid, that was the old Hall of Records and was demolished in the early 1970s after the Criminal Courts Building (the ugly grey box that looks like a huge A/C unit) was completed; it was built right up against it. I could be wrong but I think the Civic Center mall was supposed to be extended through that area, but instead of course it's been a parking lot since the old Hall of Records demolition. And of course now if the new planned Civic Center Park is going to be built, there'll be a park running through that Civic Center Area from the DWP building to City Hall. I'm hoping it does happen.

thanks for the explanation! darn earthquakes.

ethereal_reality Aug 18, 2009 8:44 PM

The old Los Angeles County Courthouse was actually attached
to the old Hall of Records. I didn't realize that......until I found these pics.
USC digital library
USC digital library

USC digital library
USC digital library

ethereal_reality Aug 18, 2009 9:53 PM

Below is Los Angeles Central Jail in 1926.
I'm not sure where exactly this was located.
USC digital archive

ethereal_reality Aug 18, 2009 10:02 PM
old family pic

PHX31 Aug 18, 2009 10:17 PM

Great thread... I'm a lurking fan...
It's sickening they tore down the courthouse and the attached hall of records.

The thing that caught my eye about the picture previously posted is the dense row of buildings low-rise buildings (bottom of the picture next to City Hall) that were demolished at some point. Those would be great rehabbed and reused today. Think of the possibilities.
from LAPL

ethereal_reality Aug 18, 2009 11:47 PM

I totally agree PHX31.

But in my opinion, the biggest mistake was destroying the Bunker Hill area.
Another hill, called Court Hill, was destroyed even earlier.
Court Hill bordered Bunker Hill to the north (center in the above photo).

The two hill-tops were popular around the turn of the century.
Each area was abundant in Victorian architecture,
and each sported their own funicular (inclined) railway.

If you look closely at the above photo, you can see Court Flight in the center.

Below is a photo of Court Flight (steepest of the two funiculars)
It's a bit hard to see....the funicular is in the center of the photo.

You can also see Court Flight in the photo posted by sopas_ej at post #172.
The funicular is in the upper left corner.

I'll dig up the numerous photos I have of Angel's Flight
(the more famous of the two).

sopas ej Aug 19, 2009 12:25 AM


Originally Posted by ethereal_reality (Post 4412458)
Below is Los Angeles Central Jail in 1926.
I'm not sure where exactly this was located.
USC digital archive

It was located adjacent to the Hall of Justice and the Old County Courthouse. It was demolished when Spring Street was widened and straightened. This is from the LAPL website, photo from 1930:
Caption: The gnarled hand of Time rips out a strip from the heart of old Los Angeles today, to make way for modern progress. Spring Street is to be cut through from Temple Street to Sunset Boulevard to create a new traffic artery, dooming the historic buildings crossed by the dotted lines marking the path of the extension and eliminating Justicia Street that goes up the hill at left. This street of memories, which was Buena Vista, "Good View," street in the past, and its hill that was the "Nob hill" of Los Angeles will be eliminated. The building first struck by the dotted lines is the old county jail. That just back of it is the old Hall of Justice. Photo dated: April 3, 1930.

sopas ej Aug 19, 2009 12:29 AM

Here's an aerial shot from 1938, courtesy LAPL website.
You can see how Spring Street was widened, and the little street that was adjacent to the Hall of Justice basically became a parking lot. The Hall of Justice building still exists, but it's been abandoned since 1994, the year of the Northridge Earthquake. It supposedly isn't safe to occupy. There have been plans to rehab and seismically strengthen the building but it hasn't happened yet. The construction site you see is for the Federal Courthouse building.

ethereal_reality Aug 19, 2009 12:43 AM

You're a wealth of information sopas_ej.

ethereal_reality Aug 19, 2009 12:53 AM

Creating a new street near the Civic Center.

sopas ej Aug 19, 2009 1:11 AM

:previous: Amazing photos!

ethereal_reality Aug 19, 2009 12:47 PM

oops. I posted the same pic twice.
Here's the 'after' photograph.
USC digital library

PHX31 Aug 19, 2009 5:07 PM

ugh... what were they thinking, too bad they couldn't come up with a plan to preserve these areas. I never knew the history, in pictures, of Bunker Hill until I saw this thread and never knew about Court Hill. Great (albeit horrible) pictures ethereal reality and sopas ej!

ethereal_reality Aug 19, 2009 7:30 PM

Bunker Hill was the city's most exclusive residential neighborhood
during the 1880s and 1890s.
usc digital library

above: The view east down 2nd Street from Bunker hill in 1886.
usc digital library

above: The view southeast from the southern tip of Bunker Hill in 1880.
The large structure in the distant far right is the Bellevue Terrace Hotel
located at Figueroa & 6th Street.
usc digital library

above: Another view of the Bellevue Terrace Hotel at Figueroa & 6th.
Today it is the site of the Jonathan Club.
usc digital library

above: The Bellevue Terrace Hotel and neighbors in 1895.
I know these buildings aren't exactly ON Bunker Hill, but they're
fine examples of the Gothic architecture in the immediate area.
usc digital library

above: This is a view of Bunker Hill in 1898.
This is looking west from Spring Street near 3rd Street.
usc digital library

above: Bunker Hill in 1900.

By the end of world War I, Bunker Hill was increasingly populated by
transients, pensioners, and derelicts and developed a crime rate
DOUBLE the city average.

The Los Angeles author Raymond Chandler wrote the following
description in his novel 'The High Window' (1942).

"Bunker Hill is old town, lost town; shabby town, crook town.
Once, very long ago, it was the choice residential district of the city,
and there are still standing a few of the jigsaw Gothic mansions with
wide porches and walls covered with round-end shingles and full corner
bay windows and spindle turrets. They are all rooming houses now,
their parquetry floors are scratched and worn through the once glossy
finish and the wide sweeping staircases are dark with time and cheap
varnish laid on over generations of dirt. In the tall rooms haggard
landladies bicker with shifty tenants. On the wide cool front porches,
reaching their cracked shoes into the sun, and staring at nothing,
sit the old men with faces like lost battle."
Richard Schave

above: The Brousseau Mansion in 1960.
Shortly before the leveling of Bunker Hill.
Richard Schave

above: The Brousseau Mansion (far left) and neighbors in 1960.

ethereal_reality Aug 19, 2009 7:44 PM

below: Angels Flight climbing to the top of Bunker Hill.
Richard Schave
usc digital library

above: From the top of Angels Flight looking east down 3rd Street.
Also at the top, was an observation tower.

ethereal_reality Aug 19, 2009 8:03 PM

below: Angels Flight on Sept. 7th, 1959
excabby41 on picasa

kznyc2k Aug 20, 2009 4:50 AM

Best thread on SSP right now! This non-native has probably quadrupled his (admittedly limited) knowledge of the city thanks to it.

JDRCRASH Aug 20, 2009 3:21 PM

Yeah, this thread has made me appreciate the history of Los Angeles more.

ethereal_reality Aug 20, 2009 10:51 PM

below: Angels Flight Sept. 7, 1959 arriving at the top of Bunker Hill.
excabby41 picasa

ethereal_reality Aug 20, 2009 11:41 PM

The following photographs are of Bunker Hill circa 1960.
A few years later, everything was leveled including the actual hill.

below: 219 South Grand Ave.
cal state archives
cal state archive
cal state archive
cal state archive
cal state archive
cal state archive

below: The Alta Vista Apartments.
cal state archive

ethereal_reality Aug 21, 2009 12:12 AM

below: Bunker Hill 1969.
cal state archive

sopas ej Aug 21, 2009 2:36 PM

Cool Bunker Hill shots!

I had this pic in my East LA photo thread, but I thought I'd include it in here because of the film noir connection.

This is Whittier Blvd. in 1928, in what is now Pico Rivera. The billboard you see is advertising Gay's Lion Farm in El Monte, which was a tourist attraction featuring live lions. Reading about it on Wikipedia, it opened in 1925 and closed in 1942 because of WWII meat shortages; it never reopened. But anyway, an incident happened there which was an indirect inspiration for the classic film noir "The Postman Always Rings Twice."
From USC archive

This is what that section of road looks like today.
Photo taken by me.

ethereal_reality Aug 21, 2009 10:12 PM

^^^Excellent before and after sopas_ej!

You should do more of these before and after photos sopas_ej.

BrandonJXN Aug 21, 2009 10:16 PM

They closed a lion farm because of meat shortages? Did they eat the lions?

sopas ej Aug 21, 2009 10:51 PM


Originally Posted by ethereal_reality (Post 4418257)
^^^VERY cool.

You should do more of these before and after photos sopas_ej.

That would be fun! I'll see what I can produce. ;)


Originally Posted by ThreeHundred (Post 4418261)
They closed a lion farm because of meat shortages? Did they eat the lions?

Hehe! Well according to Wikipedia, because of meat rationing during WWII, it was impossible to get the ton of horse meat required to feed the lions daily, so the lions were loaned to zoos around the country. After the War ended, Charles Gay (founder of the lion farm along with his brother Muriel Gay) was too ill to reclaim the lions, and he retired to Balboa Island in Newport Beach-- oooh, according to Wikipedia he's buried in San Gabriel Cemetery. That's not far from where I live... hmm...

ethereal_reality Aug 21, 2009 11:25 PM

I couldn't resist. :)

I'm curious about 'The Postman Always Rings Twice' inspiration (albeit indirect).
I'll try to Google it I guess, or you could spill the beans sopas_ej.

sopas ej Aug 22, 2009 1:48 AM

Another cool pic, ethereal_reality!

Reading the Wikipedia article, apparently three lions tried to escape while being transferred between two cages, and in the process the farm manager was killed. One of the lions was killed by getting shot in the head by the trainer, another lion got caught alive just by walking into an open cage and the trainer was able to lock it in, but the third lion got shot in the leg and started menacing a cow, a cage of baby lions and arriving police officers. That third lion finally died in a hail of bullets from the many guns. This incident somehow inspired author James M. Cain to write a short story called "The Baby in the Icebox," which then inspired him to write his novel "The Postman Always Rings Twice," which of course was adapted into the 1946 movie starring John Garfield and Lana Turner. Hehe I'm not sure how a lion dying in a hail of gunfire would inspire a story about a drifter and woman having an affair and conspiring to kill the woman's husband, but according to the Wikipedia article, that's what happened.

In the pic you posted above, if you look at the entrance to the Lion Farm, you can see a statue of a lion. That same statue is now in front of El Monte High School, their mascot being of course, a lion.

ethereal_reality Aug 22, 2009 2:31 AM

^^^Very intriguing about James M. Cain and the martyred lion.
It's quite an enigmatic connection.

I love that the Lion statue is now at El Monte High School.
I wonder how many students know the history.

Here's one more pic.

sopas ej Aug 23, 2009 12:33 AM

Ah, the MGM Lion was a resident of Gay's Lion Farm? Interesting!

sopas ej Aug 23, 2009 1:20 AM

Before and after...

Alhambra, California. A suburb of Los Angeles, founded in the late 1800s, incorporated as a city in 1903. Was mostly a working-class white city, now has a heavy Chinese population, followed by Latinos.

I'm sure the Garfield Theatre, which opened as the Garfield Egyptian in 1924, showed its share of films noir. According to posts on, it had a balcony, a Wurlitzer organ, a smoking lounge and cry room for people with babies.

Somewhere along the way, it looks like the top story or attic was removed, probably after a major earthquake.

By the 1980s, the theater had become run-down, and was showing Chinese language films, catering to the many Chinese that had started living in Alhambra. Here are two views of the theater building from 1983; what I find interesting is the faded painted sign that probably dates from the early days of talkies, mentioning the "Movietone" and "Vitaphone" sound systems.

In the late 1990s, I believe, the theater went out of business. In 2001, the auditorium was demolished, and the facade of the building was kept and restored, and turned into a strip mall. The movie magic is now gone. You now can't even tell that this ever was a theater.
Photo by me
Photo by me

The backside. They paved paradise and put up a parking lot. With a Yogurtland, a Chinese bank and some handicapped parking spots.
Photo by me


Here's a view just east of the theater, looking west, in 1938. Notice the Van de Kamp's bakery windmill on the left, and the Garfield Theatre on the right.
From USC archive

Here's a similar view today. Literally today, when I took the photo myself. I originally wanted to stand in the middle of the street but there were too many crazy Alhambra drivers out. I didn't wanna get killed.

The windmill and tower are gone, but the building that formerly housed the Van de Kamp's bakery is still there. That answers my question as to why it was built in that faux Dutch style. You see structures like that here and there in older parts of the LA area, makes me wonder if they were Van de Kamp's franchises or whatever at one time.
Photo by me

What was once the Van de Kamp's now houses a restaurant called Savoy; I took the photo around noonish, and already there was a line forming to get in. As you can see there's also a Maria's Fashion and Saigon Optical, among other businesses.

sopas ej Aug 23, 2009 8:38 PM

Sometimes when I look at this thread, I play this song. Corny, I know, but that's me. ;)

Cue Doris:
Video Link

Here's the LA Times bldg. circa 1939. I love this shot.
From USC archive

1st Street between Spring and Main, across the street from LA City Hall, 1930s.
From USC archive

Notice the dollar a day hotel. For the longest time I knew this block as just the other building, with the site of the dollar hotel being a surface parking lot with a burger stand. This site is now where the new LAPD Headquarters Building is, scheduled to open this fall. But notice the streetcar tracks, and the curve, and compare it to this 1963 photo:

Notice the same curve in the tracks, but it dead ends. I assume that's because whatever streetcar line that was, was discontinued by then.

ethereal_reality Aug 23, 2009 11:01 PM

Kudos to you sopas_ej.

You didn't waste any time providing some great 'before' and 'after' photos.
(By the way, I'm glad you didn't stand in the middle of the street)

The Garfield Theater photos were very interesting. It's amazing how long the 'ghost' signage survived over the years
citing 'Vitaphone' and 'Movietone'. Geez, what kind of paint did they use back then?

I also love the photos of the Times Building, and like you said, especially the first one.
I've spent over a month now in the USC archives.....and that's the first time I've seen that particular photograph.
I somehow missed it. So I'm very grateful you posted it.

You also have a good eye in noticing the details in your photographs.
For example, the tracks ending at the curve in that last photo (also great).

Keep up the good work sopas_ej. Again, thanks!

I'll add some more photos soon.

sopas ej Aug 24, 2009 4:41 PM

Thanks for your words of encouragement!

Yeah, I'm amazed at that old paint taking a long time to fade. You see that on some old buildings in downtown LA, too.

ethereal_reality Aug 25, 2009 7:47 PM

below: Here's a great building from 1913, The Trinity Auditorium.
The auditorium seated approximately 2500 spectators, and was the first home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic.
There were 330 rooms for single men from the fourth to the ninth floor.
It had a roof garden, ladies parlor, social halls, and a library.

Later, it became the Embassy Hotel and Auditorium.

It survives today, and is located at 851 S. Grand Ave.
USC digital archives
unknown. found at
unknown. found at

below: You can pick out the Trinity Auditorium in this vintage photo.
It's the building with the dome on the lower left hand side.
The other building with a dome on the right hand side is still a mystery to me.
Does anyone have a clue?
USC digital library

sopas ej Aug 26, 2009 3:05 AM

:previous: Great pics, ethereal_reality!

I never made the connection of "Trinity" Auditorium; I noticed the cross on top of that pediment, I assume it had some sort of church connection at one time? I've always known this building to be called the Embassy Hotel and Auditorium. There are plans to turn this building into a boutique hotel, but I don't know if the plans have fallen through. I think this building was also used in an episode of "Moonlighting."

Oh, and I did a bit of detective work, hehe. ;) By looking at that old aerial photo you posted, I figured that the other building with the dome is/was the old RKO Hillstreet Theater on the southwest corner of 8th and Hill.

According to the caption, it opened in 1922 as the Hillstreet Theatre as part of the Orpheum Circuit, but in 1929 it was renamed the RKO Theatre. But because of the popular usage of the earlier name, it was renamed the RKO Hillstreet Theatre. It closed in 1963 and was demolished not long after.

ethereal_reality Aug 26, 2009 7:32 PM

Great detective work sopas_ej.

I looked everywhere trying to find some information on the other domed building.
So now we know. Needless to say, I'm sorry it's gone.

In my earlier post I failed to mention that the first three floors of the Trinity Auditorium
was used by Trinity Church. So you're correct about the religious connection.


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