Triforium

I went on a LAVA tour that was conducted on March 25, 2018. The tour’s final destination was the Triforium; that strange piece of public art that opened in 1975.

The tour began in the Grand Central Market which is an old John Parkinson building. In the Market’s basement Richard Schave, who was the host, gave a short overview of the Triforium and then we were off. On the way there we made a stop at Parker Center which is a beautiful mid-century modern building.

This is Parker Center.

Parker Center opened in 1955. The architects for the building were Welton Becket & Associates and J.E. Stanton. It’s going to be torn down. Why?

There is a mural inside the building by Joseph Young titled The Mural of Los Angeles which is typical of mid-century modern artwork and depicts landmarks around the city. It’s scheduled to be boxed up and wheeled to a new location though that location has not been determined yet.

Nathan Marsak, who is an architectural historian, spoke while on the tour. He’s a snappy dresser and I noticed he was wearing a shirt with French cuffs.

This sculpture is called The Family Group by Bernard J. Rosenthal. It is slated to be saved too.

Evidently, there was some controversy about the sculpture at the time. Many people thought it was too ambiguous. It wasn’t clear what kind of family was being depicted.

The Triforium sits in the shadow of city hall.

The architects of city hall were John C. Austin, Albert C. Martin, John Parkinson.

Before we actually got to the Triforium we stopped on the bridge that spans Temple Street. Joseph Young created the Triforium and his daughter recounted her memories of her father and his ideas behind the Triforium.

That’s her in the middle. Richard Schave is on the left side, in the green jacket and blue shirt, laughing. The building in the background is the city hall annex.

The Triforium with the Federal Courthouse in the background. The speakers have ladybug covers over them.

There is a walkway under the Triforium and this plaque is embedded into the walkway. The time capsule is buried beneath it.

Young signed his work by attaching his signature to one of the Triforium’s legs.

What became obvious after reading various newspaper reports regarding the Triforium is that before it was finished, many Los Angeles city council members were dismissive of the Triforium and spoke disparagingly about it, in what appears to be, an effort to save their own reputations. One of the big problems, what gave the Triforium a black eye even before it was finished, was that in the summer of 1974 the city council voted to spend $210,000 to build the structure but the cost really got out of hand and the final price of the Triforium was $925,000 which is almost five times the original estimate. In many news reports it was referred to as the million-dollar Triforium.

Like the Trylon & Perisphere at the 1939 World’s Fair, the Triforium was the “theme building” for the new Civic Center mall and while the $31 million-dollar Civic Center mall opened in April 1975 the Triforium was scheduled to open on August 8, 1975 but it fell behind schedule. It was still a “concrete skeleton” according to reports when it should have been finished and its opening date was pushed back to September. Then its opening was pushed back again and then again.

In October 1975 the City Council agreed, by a vote of 9 to 3, to hire a “program director” for the Triforium. The pay range was $14,820 for the first year and $18,468 by the fifth year. The qualifications for the director included:

  • being a graduate of a musical conservatory or a university school of music
  • a keyboard performer
  • have two years’ professional choral or instrumental experience
  • be able to program a computer.

Two of the “no” votes, who were against hiring a program director, were also negative in their comments. Councilman Ernani Bernardi sarcastically referred to the job as a phonograph player. Councilman Zev Yaroslavsky called the Triforium “the biggest joke I’ve ever seen.” Councilman Donald D. Lorenzen, who was a “yes” vote, said the Triforium cost more than expected but it’s finished and whether it succeeded or not depended on city support. The third “no” vote (Joel Wachs) wisely refrained from commenting. [note: I’m guessing this position no longer exists.]

Two weeks before its dedication the city council voted to approve another $3,000 to promote the advertising and public relations aspect of the entire mall which brought the monetary total up to $38,000 but the extra money was only allotted after a great deal of heated debate. Many city council members felt they had already spent too much.

The dedication ceremony, on December 11, 1975, didn’t go as well as expected. The Triforium was described as both 6-story and 60 feet. It had 1,494 Italian-made prisms and its base was constructed of concrete and weighed 60-tons. While the Triforium looked great. There were problems with the p.a. system during the dedication ceremony and according to artist Joseph Young there was an unsightly barricade over the spot where the time capsule would be buried. Afterward, Young called a press conference to draw attention to what he called the mishandling of $38,000 spent on publicity. When writer Steve Harvey asked City Council President John Gibson about the matter Gibson responded by saying, “What’s the Triforium?” When questioned further, Gibson said “Oh, you mean the Jukebox. I don’t think there’s any problem at all. There’s nothing to investigate.”

The director of the Bureau of Public works, Marvin Levin, said regarding the time capsule that they planned to include newspapers, which detailed the opening day’s activities, but they couldn’t include them before they were published — so they had to wait until after the opening day’s events to seal the time-capsule.

At his press conference Young stated that he was paid $50,000 for the Triforium but was upset his name wasn’t on the invitations or advertisements. Young also said the failure of the public address system was because “they (the city) tampered with my work. They fooled around with the sound system and didn’t consult me.” Evidently, at the dedication ceremony many of the speeches were interrupted by a sound reminiscent of a foghorn.

An unattributed article, on December 14, 1975, titled, “An Urban Happening” had a variety of insights. First, the writer made an astute observation when he or she wrote that the future will either judge the Triforium as a great civic attraction or an embarrassment. The writer also didn’t mince words when they referred to the Triforium as enormous, weird looking and futuristic. The goal of the Triforium was to attract crowds and despite the rather inauspicious opening night the writer recounted this reaction, “At its public debut Thursday night, when the carillon let go with Let There Be Peace on Earth to the accompaniment of a panoply of lights, the audience oohed and aahed. It was nice.”

Young’s biggest mistake may have been that he copyrighted the Triforium. He claimed he always copyrighted all of his work even the murals he designed for public buildings. The city retained the ownership rights to the Triforium but Young made it clear repeatedly that he wanted a say in any commercial exploitation and he specifically stated that he didn’t want the Triforium on t-shirts. Since Young owned the copyright the city was unsure about how to use the building as a symbol. Could they use it on city stationary? In advertising? The city council probably felt like fools. They had spent almost a $1 million to construct the Triforium, they owned it and had to maintain it, but they couldn’t use it for city purposes unless they got permission from Young.

Young may have had a heightened sense of importance when he said, “To me it’s a Ravel’s Bolero, Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony and Joe Young’s Triforium. I’m proud of it. I hope the city is, too.” He went on to say that he didn’t mind if the structure was used in conjunction with the malls’ logo as long as it was done in a manner he felt was appropriate.

Young thought very highly of his creation calling it “the Rosetta stone of art and technology.” Rosetta stone or not, I suspect the City Council had grown tired of Young’s ego and wanted to put Young “in his place” because everything they did after the dedication, including their indifference, seemed designed to sabotage the Triforium’s success.

Which is unfortunate because the Triforium should be moved to a more publicly accessible spot. Grand Park or 7th and Figureora would be ideal locations. At either of those locations it could receive the respect it deserves but if Young’s heirs still retain the copyright what motivation is there to move the structure or update it? Why should the city invest more money in an object it can’t exploit as it sees fit?

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An ubran happening. (1975, December 14). Los Angeles Times, p. J2.

Baker, E. (1975, October 29). Call for Triforium chief hits sour note in council. Los Angeles Times, p. C1.

Bernstein, S. (1975, December 14). Triforium hits its first sour note. Los Angeles Times, p. A3.

Everett, B. (1975, April 28). Mall blossoms. Los Angeles Times, p. C1.

Harvey, S. (1975, December 18). Triforium’s creater sounds off, calls for inquiry. Los Angeles Times, p. D1.

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Note: I have a book coming out in the latter half of 2018 from The History Press titled: The Architects Who Built Southern California. It will be 10 chapters with each chapter devoted to a different architect (or architectural firm) including: Harrison Albright, John Austin, Claud Beelman, Elmer Grey, Hudson & Munsell, A. C. Martin, Meyer & Holler, Julia Morgan, Morgan Walls & Clements and Alfred F. Rosenheim.

Morgan & Walls’ Hollenbeck Home for the Aged

Before there were government welfare programs there were private organizations that looked after Americans. One of them, in Los Angeles, was the Hollenbeck Home for the Aged. The Hollenbeck opened on September 6, 1896 and the first individuals to be admitted to the Hollenbeck Home were 5 women and 4 men. A fee of $300 was charged upfront and after that fee was paid all living expenses were covered for the duration of the individual’s stay. No matter how long they stayed (lived). Three requirements for individuals who wanted to live at the home were: they had to be of good moral character, be older than 60 and they had to sign over any personal assets to the Hollenbeck Home. “Persons financially able to care for themselves” would not be accepted or “those deranged in mind or afflicted with incurable or contagious diseases.”

Elizabeth Hollenbeck was born in Germany in 1827 and married John Hollenbeck in 1853. After living in Costa Rica for many years (which included running an outpost that catered to traders) the Hollenbecks moved to Los Angeles in 1876 and made a fortune in hotel and land development.

John Hollenbeck died on September 2, 1885 so the home’s opening corresponded to the 11th anniversary of his death. Hollenbeck was described as a very wealthy man “because he possessed only the love of his fellow-man.”

The public rooms on the opening day were described as large, sunny and airy. They were “sensibly” furnished and there was a mix of potted palms and flowers scattered throughout. A life size portrait of Mr. Hollenbeck was prominently displayed and draped in smilax. Over 1,000 people attended the dedication ceremony which was held outdoors on the Hollenbeck grounds. The program included speeches by various dignitaries including Elizabeth Hollenbeck. The speeches were interrupted with musical interludes and prayers including The King of Love sung by the First Presbyterian Church, the Lord’s Prayer chanted by the choir, an invocation delivered by the Reverend Mr. Chase and Nearer My God to Thee sung by Miss Edna Bicknell.

The administration building at the Hollenbeck Home housed the administration offices, a dining room, a kitchen and a parlor. In the north wing there was also a “modern hospital” with a trained nurse and a doctor, C. W. Evans, who was on call. The dormitory wing not only had rooms for the residents but a library and a “modern laundry.” Twenty of the dormitory rooms were furnished but the others were only carpeted so seniors could bring their own furniture if they liked. The grounds also contained a chapel with stained glass windows. The windows in the front of the building faced the mountains. The windows at the back of the building faced downtown. The cost to build the Hollenbeck Home was $55,000.

In some of the images below the Hollenbeck is referred to as a Morgan, Walls & Morgan building but the son of Octavius Morgan, who was named Octavius Weller Morgan and the second Morgan in that string of names, was only ten years old when the Hollenbeck opened in 1896.

The Morgan & Walls’ Hollenbeck Home for the Aged was torn down in 1985.

The Hollenbeck on a postcard.

This image and the three that follow were in advertisements for clay roofing tile.

I found this in the Architectural Yearbook from 1910.

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A history of California and an extended history of Los Angeles and environs. (1915). Los Angeles: Historic Record Company.

For aged persons. (1896, July 31). Los Angeles Times, p. 12.

For the aged. (1896, September 7). Los Angeles Times, p. 10.

Hollenbeck Home for the Aged advertisements. (1919, April). Building Review, 17(4).

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Note: I have a book coming out in the latter half of 2018 from The History Press titled: The Architects Who Built Southern California. It will be 10 chapters with each chapter devoted to a different architect (or architectural firm) including: Harrison Albright, John Austin, Claud Beelman, Elmer Grey, Hudson & Munsell, A. C. Martin, Meyer & Holler, Julia Morgan, Morgan Walls & Clements and Alfred F. Rosenheim.

Published in: on March 11, 2018 at 11:50 pm  Leave a Comment  

Museum of Failure

The Museum of Failure was an exhibit held at the A + D Museum which is located in an industrial area of Los Angeles. The exhibit was a lot of fun and quite amusing.

I’m including the ticket because it has a seating assignment and it says to proceed directly to the entrance. Uh, you buy the tickets online so both elements seem strangely out of place.

The credo of the museum.

The exhibit started with an Edsel and quote from Henry Ford.

This is so cool. I know it’s impractical but I want one.

 

It’s a model of a DeLoren.

I had a Zune. Does that make me a loser?

I had never heard of a Power Glove but there was an episode of The Goldbergs centered around one.

This thing is just creepy but if you just want to sit around wearing a mask that scares people — this is it.

Skipper. My sister never had one of these and neither did I.

Pat Sajak of Wheel of Fortune said he had one.

Men = Creepy

It doesn’t look very appetizing.

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Note: I have a book coming out in the latter half of 2018 from The History Press titled: The Architects Who Built Southern California. It will be 10 chapters with each chapter devoted to a different architect (or architectural firm) including: Harrison Albright, John Austin, Claud Beelman, Elmer Grey, Hudson & Munsell, A. C. Martin, Meyer & Holler, Julia Morgan, Morgan Walls & Clements and Alfred F. Rosenheim.

 

Published in: on January 21, 2018 at 6:32 pm  Leave a Comment  

George Elmslie’s Capitol Building & Loan

William L. Steele* wrote an article that accompanied the photos below. Steele states that most cities want what has worked elsewhere so what happens is cities end up looking the same with a standardization in hospitals, schools, office buildings and hotels, for example, that have no regional distinction.

In Topeka, though, and because of the Capitol Building & Loan a locality was able to express itself. The building was commissioned by the president of the building & loan, Charles Elliott. Elliott wanted to hire Louis Sullivan for the job but by this point in Sullivan’s career he probably wasn’t well enough to undertake the work. The building was situated at the northeast corner of 6th and Kansas Avenues. The actual address was 534 Kansas Ave. It was a six-story building with a two-story lobby and four floors of offices.

George Elmslie was the architect of the building and Steele claims that while Elmslie was a student of Louis Sullivan and had been a partner with William Gray Purcell — Elmslie, by himself, was an architect of “power and distinction.” According to Steele, the building & loan was a small, compact building with no wasted space and because of its location where it was surrounded by “diminutive and commonplace” buildings his first reaction to the building was one of “shock” due to its originality.

This is part of a fountain, inside the building, opposite the front doors.

Emil Zettler, who studied at the Art Institute in Chicago, the Royal Academy in Berlin and the Julien Academy in Paris, was the building’s sculptor. Zettler’s work on the Capitol Building & Loan was naively simple, according to Steele, but “modern in its symbolism of the life and times which have given birth to this building.” The panel over the main entrance symbolized not only the agricultural and industrial aspects of Kansas but the idea of the home too.  Steele wrote, “The well-placed masonry piers with their flower-like finials at the main entrance are very beautiful. They are intended to express growth, with strong stems bursting into a bloom of finely modeled human forms. The figures on the south side of the building may be taken as symbolizing Kansas. Its history is suggested by the rugged pioneer, while its civic and cultural development is portrayed by the serene and beautiful woman opposite.”

On the building’s long, street-side the central panel around the clock suggests city life but the panel’s outer edges indicate the advantages of a rural life. Two of the figures in the panel are a sower and a winged figure that might be a “Guiding Spirit.”

Schneider was the individual who molded the terra cotta and even though Schneider was trained by Louis Sullivan, back in the “Auditorium days,” the terra cotta design was distinctively Elmslie’s.

According to Western Architect John Norton did the murals for the Capitol Building & Loan. (This name could be incorrect because the murals look very similar to the murals that John North did for the Woodbury County Court House.) There are three murals. The two smaller murals depict the “safety and peace of quiet home-life.” The larger mural deals with Kansas’ agriculture and cattle production.

Steele wrapped up the article by writing that this building would look out of place in New York or Chicago. I’m not sure that’s true but he goes on to write that a building of this beauty and originality can only occur when businessmen want something different and are willing to trust a “discerning” architect.

Sadly, the building was demolished in 1968.

Here it is on a postcard.

*The architect of the Woodbury County Court House is William LeBarth Steele. The writer of this article could be the same man.

Steele, W. L. (1924, September). The Capitol Building and Loan Association Building at Topeka, Kansas. Western Architect, (33)9, 99-100, plates 1-11.

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Note: I have a book coming out in the latter half of 2018 from The History Press titled: The Architects Who Built Southern California. It will be 10 chapters with each chapter devoted to a different architect (or architectural firm) including: Harrison Albright, John Austin, Claud Beelman, Elmer Grey, Hudson & Munsell, A. C. Martin, Meyer & Holler, Julia Morgan, Morgan Walls & Clements and Alfred F. Rosenheim.

 

Scottish Rite Temple: Los Angeles

A staff used in the Scottish Rite ritual.

200 shovels were used at the ground breaking for the Scottish Rite Temple located on Wilshire Boulevard between Plymouth and Lucerne Streets. The mass ground-breaking took place on January 16, 1960, and was overseen by Superior Court Judge Ellsworth Meyer who was also master of the Scottish Rite branch in Los Angeles. He was assisted by the California Sovereign Grand Inspector General, Henry Clausen, and the president of the Los Angeles Scottish Rite Cathedral Association Myron Smith.

The erection of half of the steel frame was completed by July 31, 1960, and the other half was finished by the end of August. 1200 tons of steel were used in the structure and that amount of steel was equivalent to a seven-story building. The building was planned to be 306 feet by 130 feet and was scheduled to contain a first-floor auditorium, which would have a balcony, and have seating for 2,100.

Millard Sheets is credited as the designer of the building, but I’ve found no indication that he was an architect. Sheets “personally selected” all exterior marble in Rome and he’s responsible for the murals and mosaics too. A. Rossi carved the eight, fourteen-foot statues that adorn the exterior of the building on both Wilshire and Plymouth.  Each weighs in at approximately 27 tons and were “molded by Albert Steward of Claremont.”

A newspaper article indicated the stage and proscenium were larger than a college basketball court and the stage could hold 100 masonic backdrops. On the third floor there were three masonic lodge rooms, a lounge, kitchen, and a dining room that could seat 800. Adjacent to the building a 250 car, two-story, parking garage would rise.

Final cost of the building was $4.5 million dollars and proclaimed to be the “second most beautiful temple in the world” by Sovereign Grand Commander Luther A. Smith. Only the national headquarters’ temple in Washington, D.C. was considered more beautiful. The dedication ceremony took place on November 11, 1961, followed by a service in the auditorium at 7:30 pm. In the announcement of the dedication it stated the theater could seat 1,800, the dining room had a capacity of 1,000 and the building was 445 feet by 120 feet.

The Scottish Rite building looking toward the west.

While the front entrance is no longer used this is the entrance Masons would have used if entering from Wilshire Boulevard.

Below are the Rossi/Stewart statues along Wilshire Blvd. Each sculpture depicts a specific stage in Masonic history.

On the Plymouth Street side are these two statues and a Millard Sheets’ mosaic.

You can see Sheets’ name down at the bottom.

One of the large urns along Wilshire Blvd.

This photo gives a good indication of the scale of the building.

Inside the building is a Masonic room with paraphernalia from Los Angeles lodges.

The first Masonic lodge in Los Angeles was the 814 founded in 1853.

Past officers.

One of their many publications.

In most ritual work the lodge members dress up and enact parables often in conjunction with degree work.

One of the few windows in the building.

My friend Mark reluctantly went with me to the museum. He liked this framed image.

This was in one of their showcases.

The Marciano Art Foundation now occupies the space. Here’s a link to their website.

https://marcianoartfoundation.org/

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200 help in Scottish Rite temple start. (1960, January 17). Los Angeles Times, p. 28

Scottish Rite temple dedication set tonight. (1961, November 11). Los Angeles Times, p. I5.

Steel work advanced on Masonic temple. (1960, July 31). Los Angeles Times, p. I6.

Tour slated at Scottish temple. (1960, October 14). Los Angeles Times, p. B12.

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Note: I have a book coming out in the latter half of 2018 from The History Press titled: The Architects Who Built Southern California. It will be 10 chapters with each chapter devoted to a different architect (or architectural firm) including: Harrison Albright, John Austin, Claud Beelman, Elmer Grey, Hudson & Munsell, A. C. Martin, Meyer & Holler, Julia Morgan, Morgan Walls & Clements and Alfred F. Rosenheim.

Angels Flight

In a Los Angeles Times article from November 21, 1901, titled Up Again, Down Again the components of the new Angels Flight railway system were detailed. It stated that J. W. Eddy had been granted a franchise to run the railway by the city council in May and Eddy estimated the train would be up and running by December 1 since no serious problems or obstacles had occurred and none were expected. The Times article mentioned a terraced park, located at the top of the hill, which was nearly complete “and what was for so many years a weed patch and a dumping ground for garbage and tin cans is rapidly being converted into a sightly little park.”

The two cars, which were named Sinai and Olivet, had arrived the previous week and each car had a seating capacity of eleven but could carry twenty.* The name of the railway was a nod to the Spanish translation of the city’s name: El Pueblo de Nuestra Senora la Reina de los Angeles del Rio Porciuncula.

A ten horse-power motor had just arrived and it would be placed in the motor-house located at the top of the railway. The motorman would also be situated in the motor-house and would “send the cars speeding up or down by means of levers.” According to the timetables it would take one and a half minutes to complete the ride each way and the fare was one cent.

Opening day was December 31, 1901, and it was filled with excitement and some disappointment. The Times reporter stated that the concrete steps beside the funicular were filled with people awaiting the start of the railway’s run and “a large crowd” was on the platform at the top of the hill. When the motorman moved his lever both cars moved in opposite directions and the expectations of the crowd on the platform were voiced when the reporter heard whispers of, “The Mayor is coming.”

This was due to the fact that Col. Eddy had distributed flyers announcing Mayor Snyder would attend the grand opening and would be on the first car. When the first car reached the platform “a low moan of disappointment was wrung from the crowd” because his honor, the mayor, did not debark. Col. Eddy addressed the crowd and said, “I will have him here next trip.”

When the second car chugged up the hill people were still excited but only a Board of Education member and “a sporty individual” exited from this car. No Mayor Snyder. The third car to the platform contained an older gentleman and two ladies; one in an ill-fitting dress according to the reporter. The fourth car: “untitled citizens.”

“As the fifth car came up Col. Eddy was nervously wringing his hands and hoarsely ordered the camera obscura at the top of the tower opened to appease the heart-broken multitude. But at last, when hope was beginning to wither, there came another car in which stood Mayor Snyder holding on by the dashboard with one hand and his other hand back to his pistol pocket prepared to shoot the cable in two if the car showed any symptoms of shooting over the hill and into space. The crowd cheered and clapped hands and the Mayor cautiously let go (of) the dashboard and waved his hat.”

Opening day was free for anyone who wanted to ride. Col. Eddy did place a donation box near the motor-house for citizens who wanted to show their “public spirit” and deftly mentioned the slot on the box was the exact size of a twenty dollar coin. Eddy later reported a prankster inserted a check into the box for $1 million dollars signed by the Queen of Bavaria.

On the upper level you pay for your ride on the opposite side of this structure.

The Hill Street entrance across from the Grand Central Market.

Col. Eddy from Men of California 1900-1902.

Also from Men of California 1900-1902. According to Wikipedia his nickname was “Pinky.”

An advertisement inside the car.

I bought this old postcard because of the arch with the angel. This was the previous location of Angels Flight.

*In November of 1903 there was an article in the Los Angeles Times titled Sinai Comes Back to the Mountain. The article detailed how Angels Flight’s track had been rebuilt over the previous three weeks and now it was all on an “even grade.” The Sinai car had been sent out for refurbishing and had arrived back at the station – pulled by “four perspiring truck horses.” The car’s seating had been reconfigured to accommodate twenty-eight passengers along with room for twelve more — standing.

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Mayor Snyder’s ascent of the “Angeles’ Flight.” (1902, January 1). Los Angeles Times, p. 12.

Sinai comes back to the mountain. (1903, November 17). Los Angeles Times, p. A1.

Up again, down again. (1901, November 21). Los Angeles Times, p. 11.

Wolfe, W. E. (1901). Men of California 1900-1902. San Francisco: Pacific Art Company.

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Note: I have a book coming out in the latter half of 2018 from The History Press titled: The Architects Who Built Southern California. It will be 10 chapters with each chapter devoted to a different architect (or architectural firm) including: Harrison Albright, John Austin, Claud Beelman, Elmer Grey, Hudson & Munsell, A. C. Martin, Meyer & Holler, Julia Morgan, Morgan Walls & Clements and Alfred F. Rosenheim.

Published in: on September 19, 2017 at 7:25 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Elmer Grey’s Lincoln Shrine

The Lincoln Shrine

Elmer Grey was asked to design the Lincoln Shrine by a citizen’s committee in charge of the memorial. From the start the consensus was to make the shrine a separate structure and not attach it to the A.K. Smiley Library which is the local Redlands, California library. The committee wasn’t sure if they wanted the shrine situated someplace on the library park grounds (Smiley Park) but Mayor Leo Lelan assured those connected with the project that the city would find a place in the library’s park if that’s what the committee wanted.

What the committee had in mind for the building, itself, was a one-story structure with two rooms: one for a marble Abraham Lincoln bust by sculptor George Gray Barnard and one to house Lincoln memorabilia. The structure was built as a shrine to Lincoln and a memorial to Ewart Watchorn, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Watchorn, who died at an early age from complications due to an injury he incurred during the first world war.

Grey created plans for a one-story, octagon structure of reinforced concrete that would be faced in Indiana limestone. Large murals by Dean Cornwell would encircle the interior walls near the top. Only Lincoln books would be housed in the structure and the bookcases would be constructed of Circassian walnut.

Work began on the $32,000 structure on June 16, 1931, and the contractor was A. E. Taylor & Son. The first order of business performed by the contractor was knocking down an old band shelter that occupied the space in Smiley Park where the shrine was to rise.

Eight months later the building was complete. The night before the dedication the Watchorns held a dinner for the Shrine’s executive committee, along with their wives, at the Wissahickon Inn. Over fifty people attended the event and after the Watchorns thanked everyone involved in the building’s construction the Reverend Lewis Jacobsen said, “Redlands wealth is (in) the type of citizens who live here and who love the place enough to build a great university, a wonderful library, a Prosellis, a Lincoln shrine and other great buildings.”

On February 12, 1932, the dedication ceremonies took place. A row of civil war veterans sat on the stage and behind them a group of African-American singers. Most of the singers were descendants of Israel Beale — a runaway slave who made his way to Redlands before the emancipation proclamation. Other participants included the University of Redlands choir, the Redlands High School band, and vocalist Ellen Beach Yaw. UCLA provost Dr. E. E. Moore gave the keynote address. Robert Watchorn presented the shrine to Mayor Lelan who accepted it on behalf of the city and presented “a basket of gorgeous spring blossoms” to Mrs. Watchorn.

Originally, it looked like this. It’s a single octagon building with a wall of Lincoln inscriptions behind it. Photo by Dan Lewis (on an old postcard).

After a million dollars was raised the wings (seen in the first photo) were added in 1998. I asked the docent if anyone objected to altering the shrine and he said, “no.”

Here’s the Benard bust. It’s lit very dramatically.

Dean Cornwell’s depiction of Strength.

This one symbolizes Justice.

Inside the shrine there was a bust of Ulysses S. Grant too. It was commissioned by the shrine in 1932. C. S. Paolo (1881-1955) was the sculptor.

There was also a Norman Rockwell painting called “The Long Shadow of Lincoln” hanging on the wall.  I felt fortunate that I was able to see it and get up close to it.

This is a photograph of Ewart. He’s the REAL reason the shrine was built.

One of the Lincoln inscriptions.

The Smiley Library, built in 1898, is across from the Lincoln Shrine.

In the children’s department were these stained glass windows. This one and the following two depict Alice in Wonderland.

It’s The Wizard of Oz. They’re amazing.

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Grey to design shrine. (1931, February 21). Los Angeles Times, p. A3.

Lincoln memorial shrine, The.  (n. d.). Redlands: Lincoln Memorial Shrine.

Lincoln shrine work begins. (1931, June 17). Los Angeles Times, p. 8.

McGroarty, J. S. (1932, February 13). Lincoln shrine dedicated. Los Angeles Times, p. A1.

Plans soon to be ready for shrine. (1931, May 17). Los Angeles Times, p. D3.

Redlands ready for dedication. (1932, February 12). Los Angeles Times, p. A16.

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Note: I have a book coming out in the latter half of 2018 from The History Press titled: The Architects Who Built Southern California. It will be 10 chapters with each chapter devoted to a different architect (or architectural firm) including: Harrison Albright, John Austin, Claud Beelman, Elmer Grey, Hudson & Munsell, A. C. Martin, Meyer & Holler, Julia Morgan, Morgan Walls & Clements and Alfred F. Rosenheim.

Woodbury County Court House: Sioux City, Iowa

I happened to go to the Woodbury County Court House in July of 2017. It was even more beautiful than I thought it would be.

This decal graces some of the exterior doors.

The Douglas Street entrance.

The 7th Street entrance.

I think they should rethink the color used to hold the figures together. A white or buff color would be better.

The alley side or east side of the building.

There are two buffalo on the alley side.

This is the south side of the building which faces the Sioux City city hall.

This “city hall” side still has amazing detail even though it lacks any human sculpture.

I’m unsure what the “H” stands for unless it’s a “W” then it would be Woodbury.

The cornerstone is located at the corner of 7th and Douglas streets on the Douglas street side.

This is part of the patriotic mural on the east side in the interior.

This clock is in the center of the patriotic mural and over a staircase.

This is the final part of the patriotic mural.

This is the mural on the west side of the building. It deals with justice.

The dome.

It’s a drinking fountain/fishbowl.

There is a lot more terra cotta upstairs.

You can see the staircase to the second floor behind this planter.

These benches are used throughout the building.

The place drips with all this terra cotta.

One of the courtrooms on the second floor.

The original elevator isn’t used anymore. There are modern elevators on both sides of this elevator.

We had access to most of the building and went to every floor. This is the view as you get off the elevator on the seventh floor.

The view from the window.

In the original entrance (on Douglas Street) hangs this plaque.

According to the sanctioned brochure that’s given out at the court house’s security check-point, The Woodbury County Court House is linked to the midwestern prairie style that began with Louis Sullivan in the 1890s and carried forward by Frank Lloyd Wright in the first two decades of the 20th Century. I can see how that train of thought might apply to the main structure; the first two floors — but the six-story tower seems to work against the whole prairie style aesthetic. Regardless, the architect selected for the court house project was local Sioux City architect William LeBarth Steele who submitted an ornate gothic design, which landed him the job, but after obtaining the commission he had second thoughts, tossed the gothic proposal, and enlisted the help of former co-workers William Purcell and George Elmslie who operated an architectural firm in Minneapolis.

The team’s distribution of duties were stated as follows in Western Architect: Steele who was a University of Illinois graduate in architecture, a member of the American Institute of Architects, and had worked for Louis Sullivan as a draftsman was to be the executive head and Elmslie was put in charge of design and planning. Two other men brought in for the job were Paul D. Cook as the structural engineer and B.A. Broom as the mechanical engineer.

The plan the men came up with over the spring, summer and fall of 2015 involved offices for government officials (those most visited by the public) in the four corners of the first floor, courtrooms on the second floor, and more offices for departments, department heads, clerks, and other elected officials in the six “tower” floors. A preliminary proposal of this plan was presented to the Board of Supervisors early in the year on March 23, 1915, and the Board gave their go-ahead for the work that was done over the following months by “a large force of draftsmen.” It was after the work had been completed that the attacks against the plan began at public meetings (when the proposal was discussed) and then fanned by a local press that was intent on selling papers. It was considered too controversial for many civic leaders in the community who referred to it as an “architectural experiment.” Others believed it to be too “radical” for Sioux City, Iowa. Some citizens wanted a more typical court house constructed of a tried and true muscular material, such as granite or stone, instead of Roman Brick which is different from normal brick in size and look and while the local bar association objected to the small size of the courtrooms the Sioux City trade unions endorsed the design because they understood the number of trades that would be required for its construction and the amount of work that would result from the undertaking of the enormous job.

All this began because Woodbury county had outgrown their Second Empire 1878 court house which hadn’t been built for a fast-growing community of 80,000 in mind which Woodbury county was in 1914. So, in June of that year a bond referendum was put before voters which at this early date would translate as: “voters” = men and, most likely, only white men. Fortunately, for the progress of architecture, the forward-thinking men of Woodbury county passed the referendum and provided the initial $500,000 for a new court house.

In December of 1915 the matter to proceed or not with construction was settled when the Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to accept the design. According to Western Architect the reason the opposition failed was due to the fact that they lacked a “sound and convincing argument” for their opposition. “Something else” wasn’t a good enough reason. The construction contract was awarded to the Minneapolis firm of Splady, Albee, and Smith in February of 1916 and the cornerstone was laid on July 10, 1916. E. C. Copeland, the Chairman of the Board of Supervisors, oversaw the event. The final cost of the building was $825,641.43 and it was completed on March 1, 1918.

On the exterior Douglas Street side of the building the huge central figure, with the big hands, big feet, and very long beard, symbolizes the spirit of the law. The freize of figures that extends outward from him, on both sides, is a representation of the community. Above them is the text: “Justice and Peace Have Met Together — Truth Hath Sprung Out of The Earth.” Western Architect described the huge figure of Law as “aged and slumbrous but strong armed and mighty.” Standing underneath the figure and looking up at him it’s difficult to disagree with that assessment.

Alfonso Iannelli was the sculptor of the figures on the building. He’s the same man who did the sprites at Midway Gardens for Frank Lloyd Wright in 1914. Western Architect said of the sculpture, “We are impressed by the splendid spiritual quality of his work. It is worked out with fine dignity and restraint. It is not applied sculpture. It is organic and belongs in very truth to this building and nowhere else. What higher praise can be given to architectural sculpture?”

On the other street facing side, 7th Street, are figures representing a man and a woman who have their backs to each other. The woman holds a baby and this is, according to various sources, a depiction of an idealized family unit circa 1918 though visually it reads as a father who has turned his back on his wife and child. Above them are the words: “Justice and Humanity.” The back of the building, which faces an alley, holds a surprise under its fire escape for there are sculptural bison’s heads which gaze down upon the alley and the building’s small, shallow loading dock. According to the blueprints this also serves as the entrance for prisoners. The south side of the building, which is separated from Sioux City’s city hall by a single row of parking spaces and driveway, lacks any awe inspiring monumental sculpture and as a result is a “let down” as one walks around the building in discovery but I suspect Steele and company were deliberately exhibiting restraint and designing on a less flashy scale. Still, the plain city hall side has many of the decorative elements that the street facing sides have: ornate terra cotta, stained glass, and intricate metal work.

The first two-stories of the court house are 57 feet tall. To the top of the building’s tower it’s 152 feet and the tower is graced, near its pinnacle, by another Iannelli sculpture of a large eagle that looks to the west with outstretched wings.

John Warner North who lived from 1876 to 1934 was responsible for the murals which have a sparseness about them that give them a Japanese quality. North stated that the design of the murals evolved slowly and he changed them repeatedly. It wasn’t the subject matter that changed though but rather the “arrangement of spaces and color.”

In the court house’s interior, above the Douglas Street entrance, is a mural which deals with the purpose of the building itself: the courtroom. Yet, in John Warner North’s (though he’s referred to as John W. Norton in Western Architect) depiction of justice, Justice, who stands on the right near the bottom, is not blindfolded but open-eyed and she carries a human heart in her hand. On the south wall, is a depiction of contented farm workers toiling earnestly. On the east wall is a split patriotic mural that endorses America’s commitment to World War I with the text: “Our liberties we prize, our rights we will maintain.” The final mural, on the north wall, depicts the evolution of time with an old woman representing the past, a youthful couple depicting the present, and adolescent boys looking at a rising metropolis as the future.

Norton painted the murals in his studio in Lockport, Illinois and they were hung in the court house in 1919. In 1973 the court house was placed on the National Historic Register, and in 1996 it was designated a National Landmark which is reserved for structures which have a national significance.

Below are images from Western Architect from 1921.

That’s the mural that represents the passage of time on the left.

———————————————————————————————————————————–

Clausen, S. (1997). Woodbury County Court House.

Erickson-Puttmann, P., O’Kane, J. D., Townsend, L.W. & Zimmer, J. L. (n.d.). A statement in American architecture: Woodbury County Court House, Sioux City, Iowa.

Woodbury County Court House. (1921, February). Western Architect, 30(2), 13-20, plates 1-24.


Note: I have a book coming out in the latter half of 2018 from The History Press titled: The Architects Who Built Southern California. It will be 10 chapters with each chapter devoted to a different architect (or architectural firm) including: Harrison Albright, John Austin, Claud Beelman, Elmer Grey, Hudson & Munsell, A. C. Martin, Meyer & Holler, Julia Morgan, Morgan Walls & Clements and Alfred F. Rosenheim.

Last Remaining Seats: Orpheum Theater — Los Angeles

I went to a Last Remaining Seats that was held at the oldest surviving Orpheum Theater in the United States. It’s the one in Los Angeles.

Here it is on a postcard that I bought.

The movie being show for this event was La Muerte de un Burocrata. It’s a Cuban film from 1965.

Here’s the program for the event.

Some background information on the Orpheum.

I really liked the host Betto Arcos. He was very cool and LATINO! He had a manly style about him that made me envious. Linda Dishman, who did the welcome, is hugely responsible for saving St. Vibiana’s (along with Kathryn Welch Howe) so she’s high up on my list of people to admire. Philip Graulty was a nice performer.

Here are some pictures I took that night.

I’m amazed this stenciling wasn’t whitewashed over years ago.

If you look at the archival photos (way down below) this is where the boxes were. This theater was originally a vaudeville house.

Roundels on the ceiling.

The newel post on the north staircase. She needs to be re-bronzed.

If you look at the archival photos you’ll see that this is where the ladies parlor was. The area was being used to sell beverages at the event.

I went back a couple of days later and took these pictures.

The word Orpheum has been cemented over. Why? What was the point?

The Los Angeles Times announced that a new Orpheum building would be erected on Broadway, between 6th street and 7th, on January 2, 1910. The article contained three headlines. The first said: One of the Finest. The second headline, which was the biggest, said: To Begin New Orpheum Soon and the third said: Circuit to Build Handsome Theater on Broadway. The article mentions that work would commence immediately and the building would be finished and occupied within the year.

That didn’t happen because the grand opening of the Orpheum didn’t occur until June 26, 1911, which translates into approximately eighteen months. The article also states that the building would employ all the latest techniques in theater building.

The Orpheum management took out a fifty year lease on the property. The owners of the building were: N. Bonfilio, L. J. Christopher, John R. Hayes and Harry Chandler. The original cost was estimated to be $250,000 but that amount would increase to $350,000 by the time the building opened. In this article it states the building, “has been designed by and will be put up under the supervision of R. B. Young & Sons, architects.” That’s a mistake because G. Albert Lansburgh is the architect of record on the building. Either Lansburgh replaced Young & Sons after the article was published or Young & Sons were the supervising “day to day” architects on the job. Lansburgh was based in San Francisco so it’s possible.

The theater would have 1,956 seats and the article stressed there would be an “unusual number of safe and comfortable exits…” This Orpheum Theater was built seven years after the Iroquois Theater fire in Chicago, which claimed hundreds of lives, so being able to quickly exit a theater was an important feature to mention and herald to the public. When this theater was completed it would be the thirty-sixth theater the Orpheum organization owned. It sounds like the Orpheum organization owned the theater but leased the space from the owners of the building that surrounded the theater.

My question regarding R. B. Young & Sons was answered in a Times article from August 6, 1910. The first paragraph of that article which was titled, Orpheum Contracts said, “Contracts were signed yesterday for the interior design and decoration of the new Orpheum Theater building on South Broadway, now under construction. G. Albert Lansburgh, San Francisco architect of the structure was here, and made the arrangements, together with R. B. Young, the local supervising architect.” The firm that received the contract for interior design and decoration of the auditorium was Mitchell & Halback of Chicago. They beat out a local bid from a company called McKay & Co.

At this point two-thirds of the steel frame had been erected and riveting was to begin the following week. Once again it was noted that the Orpheum would have features not found in any other theater. Three in particular were mentioned: 1) “showers for performers” 2) “a special animal room with tub and showers” and 3) “a thermostaic heating plant” which would cool “as well as maintain the air – which will be washed and filtered at an even temperature all the time though constantly changing it.” It sounds like a thermostat connected to a furnace with a ventilation system.

In February of 1911, an article appeared in the Times with the headline, How About the Old Orpheum? Speculation regarding the fate of the Orpheum on Spring Street was being bandied about by various individuals around the city. No one was sure what would happen to the old Orpheum but a New York paper “which has some inside ways of obtaining considerable theatrical information” reported that Oliver Morosco was going to take over the building and use it for Shubert “dollar shows.” When confronted with the scenario Morosco feigned surprise and wouldn’t confirm or deny the report.

Three months later, in May of 1911, a Music and Stage column detailed the progress of the new Orpheum. The scaffolding that was being used to apply gold leaf to the decorative domes would be removed within the week. Work on the proscenium arch was almost complete. The fronts of the boxes had their stucco applied but still needed to be painted. The chairs hadn’t been brought into the theater yet but they could be set up and secured to the floor very quickly. Miles of electrical wiring had been installed along with interior phone lines. The last sentence in the article stated due to the excitement the theater was generating, “It is expected that almost every high official of every Orpheum on the circuit will be here for the ceremony on opening day.”

On June 11, 1911, it was announced that the Orpheum’s opening would occur on a Monday evening, on June 26th. The date was decided upon by resident manager Clarence Drown and Lansburgh. They made their decision so, “that every detail of the fine building shall have been completed. There will be no smell of wet paint or varnish, no unfasted seats or incomplete stage.” According to the article the seats and drapery would be installed the next day.

At the Orpheum on Spring Street an auction was held for the Associated Charities on June 14, 1911. What was being auctioned were the parquet, box and loge seats for the opening night of the new Orpheum Theater. Admission to the auction was by invitation only and began at 10 am. The proceedings had to be finished by noon so the venue could be readied for an afternoon performance.

The way the auction would work is if an individual paid $4 for a seat that would normally cost $1 the Orpheum Theater would receive the $1 fee that they normally charge for the seat and the Associated Charites would receive the other $3. A large diagram of the theater was placed on the stage so everyone would know what was being bid upon. Once a seat or box was sold it was crossed off the diagram. The seats had to be paid for at the time the bidder won. Eddie Nagel and R. M. Kemp were the auctioneers and “young society debutantes and matrons” were the ushers and they collected bids (money) from patrons sitting in the auditorium.

According to reports the following day approximately 300 attended the event. “The sale was a great success,” related the Times, “and fancy prices were eagerly paid. There were many among the elegantly dressed ladies and smiling business men who felt a pang of regret at the passing of the time honored old Orpheum.” Some of the notable prices paid were by L. J. Christopher who paid $120 for the choicest box in the theater. R. B. Young & Sons bought a box for $105. I.F. Ihmsen bought a box for $150, paid for it, and then immediately turned it back to the auctioneer so it could be resold.

At the end of the auction the Times and Examiner newspapers oversaw a luncheon at the Alexandria Hotel for the matrons and debutantes who served as ushers.

Twelve days before the theater opened the Times ran an article titled, Some Wonders at New Orpheum. The paper claimed the theater was an architect’s dream and that Lansburgh had created a building that could best be described as being in the modern renaissance style. The lower stories which were composed of marble and granite were “severely plain to set off the more lace-like upper portion.” Polychrome terra cotta was being used for the first time on a building in the west along with “mat glazed tile and (a) tapestry brick in cream.” Each arch in the front of the building was outlined in polychrome and while color was used liberally on the façade it wasn’t overpowering. The structure was a “combination of beauty, modernity and practical utility” and “is a representative twentieth century American edifice.”

The Orpheum finally opened on June 26, 1911, and regarding the opening bill I was mistaken. For some reason I thought there would be a film presentation but it was all vaudeville. No opening night speeches were given on behalf of the new house instead the show simply began at 8:40 p.m. when English comedian Hal Forde stumbled out of the wings and sang a song called “Mr. Henpeck.” Forde not only sang songs but he also did stunts and impersonations. He was followed by “The Little Stranger” sketch which starred Joseph Hart and revolved around two race track men and how one takes a little stranger into his destitute home.

Up next was Henry Clive, the “droll josher,” a magician accompanied by his assistant Mai Sturgis Walker who was “petite and exquisitely shaped.” Evidently, Clive was a favorite and well known to regular Orpheum patrons. An all-girl singing group called The Boston Fadettes followed Clive. They sang and played instruments “sometimes noisy, sometimes tuneful.”

At this point there was an intermission which clocked in at thirty minutes and allowed everyone the opportunity to poke around the building and discover where everything was. Most of the men eventually found their way to the smoking room which was club-like in size. On hand in this room was “a slave” who “dispersed cigarettes which disappeared with a rapidity which was positively alarming.”

When the Orpheum orchestra’s conductor, Frankenstein (yes, that was his name — see below), called the audience back with the Jubel overture the second half of the evening began. Up first was Isabell d’Armond, a soubrette, who was described as tiny and talented, and she performed with George Moore. Her routine consisted of dancing and “patter talk.” According to Wikipedia a soubrette is a “type of operatic soprano voice often cast as a female stock character in opera or theater.” Patter talk according to Wikipedia is “any rapid manner of talking, and of a patter-song, in which a very large number of words have to be sung at high speed to fit the music.”

She was followed by a William H. Macart & Ethlynne Bradford sketch called “A Legitimate Hold-up” that was part comedy and part drama. Ed Wynn and P. O’Mally Jennings did some sort of act surrounding the word “daffydils.” It wasn’t clear to me what they did exactly. The review said they “exploited a line of daffydils of their own manufacture or cunning.” The final act was Bowers, Walters and Crooker who did a rural comedy sketch.  The man who reviewed the opening night, Julian Johnson, stated that Bowers, Walters and Crooker “concluded the program which was followed, as usual, by the “daylight pictures.” I wasn’t sure what daylight pictures were. The publication Montography refers to “daylight pictures” occasionally in its text so, maybe, short films were shown at the end of the program?

Those in attendance that night were included in a long list at the end of the review. Most were unknown to me but some stood out including: L. J. Christopher, Harry Chandler, R. B. Young, Mr. & Mrs. Oliver Morosco, Mr. & Mrs. Walter P. Story and Mr. & Mrs. Marco Hellman.

See, his name really was Frankenstein.

While Variety said he was let go. In a Times article dated October 11, 1928, it states that Frankenstein tendered his resignation several days ago. He worked for the Orpheum orchestra for “thirty years, six months and twenty-two days.” The first violinist, Edward Sullivan, would be promoted to conductor. “A long rest” was the only activity Frankenstein had planned for the immediate future.

I like the curtains on the railings.

I like his mustache.

Note: I have a book coming out in the latter half of 2018 from The History Press titled: The Architects Who Built Southern California. It will be 10 chapters with each chapter devoted to a different architect (or architectural firm) including: Harrison Albright, John Austin, Claud Beelman, Elmer Grey, Hudson & Munsell, A. C. Martin, Meyer & Holler, Julia Morgan, Morgan Walls & Clements and Alfred F. Rosenheim.


Cline, W. H. (1911, September). The new Orpheum theater building, Los Angeles. Architect and Engineer, 26(2), 34-50.

Daylight pictures. (1911, October). Montography, 6(4), p. 198.

Events in local society. (1911, June 15). Los Angeles Times, p. II6.

Frankenstein, after 30 years let out by L.A. Orpheum. (1928, October 10). Variety, p. 29.

How about the old Orpheum? (1911, February 2). Los Angeles Times, p. II5.

Johnson, J. (1911, June 27). New Orpheum’s bright birth in sudden blaze of tungsten glory. Los Angeles Times, p. I2.

Music and stage. (1911, May 20). Los Angeles Times, p. II5.

New Orpheum opening date. (1911, June 11). Los Angeles Times, p. II8.

Nineteen bid, who’s twenty? (1911, June 14). Los Angeles Times, p. I7.

Orpheum contracts. (1910, August 6). Los Angeles Times, p. II5.

Some wonders at new Orpheum. (1911, June 14). Los Angeles Times, p. II3.

To begin new Orpheum soon. (1910, January 2). Los Angeles Times, p. V1.

Veteran of orchestra pit to quit. (1928, October 11). Los Angeles Times, p. A10.

Morgan Walls & Clements: Hollywood Terminal Warehouse

An article in The Los Angeles Times from September of 1925 stated that the erection of the Hollywood Terminal Warehouse was progressing at a very fast rate. Seven floors had already been constructed and the building would eventually top out at fourteen stories despite there being a twelve story height limit in Los Angeles.

The article claimed that “because of the nature of the construction” the fourteen stories would meet the city’s twelve story height limit but the article doesn’t describe specifically what is meant by that phrase. In the same paragraph it does mention that there would be a radio station, with two antennas, on top of the building which required a special permit and elsewhere states the Hollywood Terminal Warehouse (also known as the Hollywood Terminal Building) would be the tallest building in Los Angeles. I’m guessing it was the antennas that took the building up to fourteen stories. The estimated cost of the building was $500,000.

The building was developed by the C. E. Toberman Company and was built by the Hollywood Fireproof Storage Company. Charles A. Reinhart was the manager of Hollywood Fireproof and he stated the building would be a storage facility along with providing separate office and showroom space for lease.

Reinhart stated that the building would have fast freight and elevator service and railroad connectivity through a spur track.

While the building was slated for completion in February of 1926 the grand opening didn’t take place until June of that year. The final cost of the building was $750,000. For the opening there was a small orchestral concert in the afternoon from 3pm to 5pm and later that evening, from 8:30pm to 10:30pm, there was a full blown concert in the building’s lobby featuring “dramatic tenor soloist” C. Howard Paxton.

Not only was the Hollywood Terminal Warehouse the largest warehouse on the Pacific coast but because of the 150-foot radio towers it was also the tallest building in Los Angeles.

This is what the building looks like today. There used to be decorative plaster work around the middle glass arch. It’s been replaced by those glass blocks.

This is stranding in the center of the building and looking straight up.

Grill work inside one of the entrances.

Grill work above the door.

It’s a huge building with nothing of similar height anywhere around.

Photos of the building from when it was new follow.

This and the following three images are from a 1927 book called, American Architecture of the Twentieth Century.

I don’t know how anyone could think removing all the plaster work around the doorways and that large front window would be an improvement.

Note: I have a book coming out in the latter half of 2018 from The History Press titled: The Architects Who Built Southern California. It will be about 10 different architects (architectural firms) including: Harrison Albright, John Austin, Claud Beelman, Elmer Grey, Hudson & Munsell, A. C. Martin, Meyer & Holler, Julia Morgan, Morgan Walls & Clements and Alfred F. Rosenheim.

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New terminal building opened with concerts. (1926, June 19). Los Angeles Times, p. 6.

Reagan, O. (Ed.). (1927-1929). American architecture of the twentieth century. New York: Architectural Book Publishing Co., Inc.

Rush terminal building. (1925, September 27). Los Angeles Times, p. E11.