Once you notice the roof-level details, 2100 Figueroa is hard to ignore. Now the headquarters for an electrical manufacturing firm, the building was once a lavish showroom in the heart of Los Angeles’ Auto Row. Most of the buildings that comprised this district were demolished to make way for the Los Angeles Convention Center, Staples […]

The earthquake shook the city awake at 6:00am on February 9, 1971. While the trembling only lasted for 12 seconds, sixty-four individuals lost their lives and landmarks across Los Angeles were damaged or destroyed. In Saint Paul’s Cathedral, at 615 South Figueroa Street, hairline cracks spider-webbed the building’s plaster interior. The damage was not structurally […]

Fairy godmothers are rarely the subject of history and you have to look hard to find Mary Schmidt’s name among the giants of architecture. She is not mentioned in an online history of the Architects Building at Fifth and Figueroa, which she financed and had built,[1] nor is her work as the organizer of the […]

Los Angeles City Councilman Gilbert Lindsey roared at the demonstrators who filled the council chamber, “I don’t care what you do, just shut up!” Lindsey’s anger had been aroused on behalf of members of the American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the other “real people of America,” who wanted to erect a veterans […]

The sewage seeping through the walls was absolutely the last straw. With a leaking roof, peeling plaster and weak gas lighting, the City Health Department Building at Spring and Temple Streets was no longer functional. The building had been described as “unhealthy” as early as 1939. However it wasn’t until September 3, 1953 when the […]

An icon of mid-century architecture at Figueroa and 26th Avenue? Today it doesn’t really look like much, but the IHOP located just off the 110 freeway’s Figueroa exit in Cypress Park may be something special (figure 1). Designed by the firm of Armét and Davis, the building was briefly the fourth location of the Preble’s […]

Lately I’ve been on a bit of a hiatus from the blog – but with very good reason. For the last year or so, I’ve been part of a group planning a large national conference here in LA. Now about a week away, the event brings together about 400 planning historians at the Biltmore Hotel […]

History is best experienced in situ and so I was excited to join a group earlier this month for a mother’s day walk along Figueroa Street. Organized by Victoria Bernal of @LAHistory, our journey included an overview of sites associated with the famous, but mostly not so famous, women of Los Angeles. Bits and pieces […]

Have you ever wondered why the city of LA looks the way that it does? With that bulbous north west growth atop a long skinny stick, it’s always reminded me of a droopy lollypop or perhaps a lopsided barbell. Over the years, the city that began in 1781 as a perfect square clearly morphed into […]

As a genre, the action film has a long pedigree. The massive explosions, thrilling chases and courageous heroes who barely, but inevitably, defy death to win the day have been the backbone of Hollywood cinema since its inception. Today, we typically think of these films as largely created by, and for, men but this wasn’t […]

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