Father and Son.
I like the Parkinsons. There are so many Parkinson buildings in Los Angeles that I can’t cover all of them so I decided to concentrate on my favorite ones. I also included a couple of buildings from Seattle where John Parkinson got his start.
Before John Parkinson began building in Los Angeles he worked in Seattle. He formed a partnership with Cecil Evers for roughly two years. This is the Calkins Hotel. It was built in 1889-1890. This Parkinson-Evers building has been destroyed. It was located on Mercer Island.
The Frank Pontius House in Seattle (1889). This is another Parkinson-Evers building.
Seattle National Bank in Seattle 1890-1892. This building is attributed to Parkinson only.
Interurban Bank today. This photograph is from Wikipedia and the photographer is Joe Mabel.
From Southwest Builder and Contractor. It was a publication for people in the construction industry. John and Donald’s address and phone number are down near the bottom.
A brochure published by the Parkinsons in 1921 to promote their firm.
The publisher’s note. There is no title page in this brochure. I’ve seen two different copies of it. In both the page above is followed by 2 images of the University of Southern California’s Bovard administration building on the opposite page.
Hibernian Building/Braly Building done in collaboration with his partner Edwin Bergstrom.
408 S. Spring Street
This is from the Parkinson brochure.
I found this issue of Architect and Engineer and it had a lengthy article on John P. and his partner at the time. It’s from 1910.
Here are the two partners.
Now, look at this. Here it’s called the Union Trust Building (in 1910) but by 1921 (the date of the Parkinson brochure) it’s being referred to as the Hibernian Building.
In 2015 it’s called the Braly Building. I keep looking for interior photos of this building but as of yet haven’t found any.
Some cornice detail.
The article in Architect and Engineer has approximately two pages of text in an article that’s thirty-four pages long. The writer, who is not identified, states, “The illustrations of their work in this number tell the story of their success more forcibly than words.”As a result, the other 32 pages are photographs of their work. It’s a great resource. There’s a bit of information. It says Parkinson was born in Bolton, England on December 12, 1861. He took architecture and engineering courses at Bolton, came to the U.S. in 1883, spent two years in Minneapolis, moved to Napa for approximately four years, went to Seattle for five years, and moved to Los Angeles in 1894. Then it listed all his memberships which were all pretty predictable but one stuck out: he was a member of the Jonathan Club which is a swanky club in downtown Los Angeles which still exists today.
As for Bergstrom, he received even less space text-wise. In a very short paragraph it was revealed that he was 34 years old and joined Parkinson in 1905 to form their firm. He was a graduate of Boston Institute of Technology and Yale. He was a member of the Jonathan Club too.
King Edward Hotel done in collaboration with Edward Bergstrom
121 E. 5th Street
King Edward Hotel from the Parkinson brochure. I read an article in the Los Angeles Times from February 18, 1906 about the King Edward. It said the hotel had 150 guest rooms, two passenger elevators and two freight elevators. It was fireproof and had a telephone in every room. The furnishings for the hotel cost not less than $50,000 and that all the materials used in the building were from the Los Angeles area. The article also stated that it would be run on the European plan. The writer said The King Edward wasn’t a large hotel but it was situated near the train depots for customer convenience.
The King Edward on a post card. That cool little bus went to the train station to pick up potential lodgers.
This is what The King Edward Hotel looks like in 2015.
A close up of the entrance.
King Edward lobby. Somehow that staircase looks wrong. Maybe the ceiling was higher at one point? I’ve seen a postcard when the building was new and that staircase wasn’t there.
King Edward interior. Part of the registration desk.
It’s not an original light fixture but it’s old.
The top of a column.
Here’s a view of the King Edward interior.
This is the back of the above postcard.
An image that depicts the west side of the building. The building looks new in this postcard.
That is so cool. I didn’t venture in because I wasn’t sure if it was open and I was alone. I figured I would get drugged and sold into white slavery if I went inside. Since I had to go to work the next day I took a picture instead. (This building is on the edge of skid row.)
I want this sign.
I bought this card online. It’s 3 inches by 5 inches. It’s very cool.
This is the back of the card. As the LA Times article stated it was near the big train stations. I like this card so much and it’s just an oversize business card.
The Los Angeles Stock Exchange done in collaboration with Samuel E. Lunden.
618 S. Spring St.
The Los Angeles Stock Exchange. An LA Times obit on Lunden said construction began on the building the week after the 1929 stock market crash. Despite that, no corners were cut and the building cost $1.5 million to construct. The bronze, front doors were the biggest west of the Mississippi.
Light fixture from the stock exchange.
Mantel in the board room.
The outer doors of the stock exchange.
The inner doors.
A Hercules window. He doesn’t look like Steve Reeves, Kevin Sorbo or Dwayne Johnson but I still like him.
The window opposite. These two windows are in the “member’s room.”
The trading floor.
A closer view from Southwest Builder and Contractor.
There are ads like this in all these architectural journals for practically every major building constructed.
The building today.
This is above the door.
These original doors need a better lock.
Was there something else attached at one time? Bronze rosettes?
Bovard Administration Building, Science Building, Student Union Building and Physical Education Building at the University of Southern California. Parkinson & Parkinson.
Bovard Administration Building at the University of Southern California from the Parkinson brochure.
It’s well maintained and was dedicated June 19-23, 1921.
That’s John Wesley a Methodist church founder. USC was founded by the Methodists.
It’s Matthew Simpson who was a Methodist preacher. (Note: on the north side of the tower are Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt and on the west side it’s Cicero and Plato.)
All these buildings have been in constant use by faculty, students and staff for approximately 90 years. USC has renovated all of these buildings and they have new plumbing, new electrical systems, new bathrooms and new walls. They even have Wifi. They’re practically completely new inside. The exteriors, though, remain intact and unchanged.
The Parkinson’s are down near the bottom.
USC’s Science Hall.
I’ve always liked the ornament around the arch and the strip of ornament above the door. It’s very Louis Sullivan-ish.
There are two of these gates beyond the arch. This is looking out.
This was not done by the Parkinsons. It was done by Jean Goodwin in 1937 as her thesis project. I just think it’s beautiful and I’m not even sure what the four of them are looking at. This artwork is big. It’s probably, at least, six feet high and embedded into a wall. It’s through the archway and past the metal gates.
I like this ornament too. It’s above one of the side doors.
Here’s a plaque commemorating the Student Union Building. It says it was erected in 1927/28.
The Student Union Building at USC.
Above the Student Union front door is this frieze.
This cornerstone says 1926-27 which contradicts the plaque above.
Up near the top of the Student Union Building is this likeness of Rufus B. von Kleinsmid who was president of USC from 1921-1947. Down a few corbels is a monkey thumbing his nose.
Another plaque this time commemorating the erection of the P.E. Building.
The Physical Education Building on the university park campus.
That big head is very cool.
The north side of the P.E. Building.
Above the side door are these animals.
The rams are kind of goofy looking so I like them.
This is the lobby of the P.E. Building. I’ve seen plans for this buildings’ renovation. The building isn’t going to be used for phys ed. anymore. The interior is going to be completely redone. A new physical education building was built a few years back so this building’s original use is no longer warranted.
This light fixture hangs right inside the P.E. Building’s front door.
Hotel Alexandria done in collaboration with Edwin Bergstrom.
501 S. Spring Street
Hotel Alexandria from the Parkinson brochure. It opened in 1906. It cost over 2 million dollars to construct. The furnishings were from Baker Bros. and cost upwards of $300,000.00
Here’s the Hotel Alexandria on a post card.
The Hotel Alexandria is where all the silent film stars went in the teens before everyone moved to Hollywood and Beverly Hills.
A Griffith behind the sign on the Spring Street side.
Another Griffith on the other side.
Detail from the top of the Alexandria.
The lobby from a postcard.
The mezzanine from a postcard.
A resting room? I wonder if it was just for women? It seems so Victorian.
One of the dinning rooms.
The Franco-Italian dinning room.
Another dining room. It could be the same room as the previous card but with different chairs. The ceiling is different though. Oh, and the balcony doesn’t appear to be in the first card. Plus, in the first card the wall and ceiling “curve” together. They don’t in the second one. These two cards are like one of those cartoons where you spot the five differences.
The grill. Those tables don’t look big enough for a meal so I suspect they only served snacks or light fare. The candlestick telephone, on the far booth, makes me think people were consumed with communication even back then.
With the exception of that 2nd Empire (?) bookcase on the left wall and the lamps everything in the room appears to be mission style. A room after my heart.
I don’t want to sound bitchy but couldn’t they decide on one style? It’s all over the place visually. I was thinking maybe it’s just “contemporary” furniture for the time? As for that bed — it looks like a full size. That’s big enough for a large man but where would the bride sleep?
The postmark on the back of this postcard is May 27, 1925. I like this postcard because the individuals look so Edwardian but considering the date on the postcard shouldn’t they be flapper types?
Hotel Alexandria lobby. I had always thought, from afar, that whatever had been done to the Alexandria’s interior could be undone. This postcard tells me I was wrong.
I bought this online. Along with the brochure came a letter to travel agents dated July 1955.
Here’s the inside of that brochure.
Here’s an envelope with the Alexandria on it.
I’m only including the back because of the graphic and so everyone can see that the glamorous Alexandria was owned by the same people who owned the Hotel TallCorn.
Here’s an envelope from 1906 the year the Alexandria opened.
The Hotel Alexandria rents out their ballroom for events and film shoots. This decal was on one of the exterior doors that leads to the ballroom.
Rosslyn Hotel and Annex. Parkinson & Parkinson.
112 W. 5th Street
The Rosslyn Hotel from the Parkinson brochure.
This is the original building.
I read an article in the Los Angeles Times concerning the Rosslyn. It was from October 8, 1922 and titled: Giant Hotel Planned: Owners of Rosslyn Lease Site on Opposite Corner for New $1,000,000 Hostelry. The article stated that a 99 year lease was signed between the Edwards’ estate (the owners of the land) and Dwight H. and George H. Hart (the owners of the Rosslyn). The lease deal was for $4, 148,200. The article went on to say that the Edwards’ family bought the land at Fifth and Main Streets in 1868 for $500. The Times said there would be no dining room in the new hotel because the dining room in the current hotel across the street was sufficient. It also stated that the exterior would be an exact duplicate of the present Rosslyn. At first I was unsure what this sentence meant, “Each room will be served with ice water through a modern ice water circulation system.” Then I realized it was air-conditioning or the precursor to air-conditioning. Another thing of note in the article was: there was a small, three story hotel already occupying the site and all tenants had been given notice to vacate the property by January 1, 1923. The new Rosslyn Hotel was scheduled to open in October of 1923. I don’t know if they built it in 10 months, or not, but that was the plan.
The Rossalyn in 2015. The one on the right was built first. The other one is identical and the two are connected by a tunnel under the street.
Letterhead from the Rosslyn.
A Rosslyn Hotel envelope.
One of the lobbies. It looks like it’s from the 1930s.
I like how these brothers incorporated their name into their advertising.
This lobby looks like it’s from the 20s.
That’s not carpeting. That’s a tile floor. It doesn’t make the room look very elegant but it’s probably more hygienic.
It’s a postcard. That’s a pretty decent price since it cost 2 cents to send a letter.
The one on the south side appears to retain it’s original glass marquee. It is now a SRO Hotel that has been beautifully restored. The lobby had a large skylight and most of the original architectural details. (There was a lot of gilding!) They wouldn’t let me take photographs but they let me look around.
The one on the north side, the older one, has been converted to lofts and has a replaced marquee.
A baggage label that incorporates the Hart Bros. last name without ever stating it.
A marble subway and a drive-in lobby.
Banks-Huntley Building. Parkinson & Parkinson.
634 S. Spring Street
This building is south of the stock exchange.
According to a Los Angeles Times article from July 24, 1996 titled: Group Restores Historic Building. Maldef (The Mexican-American Legal Defense Fund) moved into the building in 1984 and then agreed to purchase the building in 1991 for $8.5 million dollars. Maldef still occupies two floors of the building and leases out the other floors.
Here’s the top of the building.
This is street level.
Photo taken from a parking lot across the street. I’ve lived in Los Angeles for more than 20 years and this is the first time I remember it raining in July. I took this picture while standing in the rain. I was hoping I wouldn’t get any rain drops on the lens because I was tilted up.
One of the security gates.
A light fixture inside the lobby.
The building’s elevator doors. Very understated.
This is to the right of the entrance.
This is to the left of the entrance. I like that metal detail.
From Architectural Record. It looks so 1930s; like a movie set. I expect Irene Dunne or Katherine Hepburn or Carol Lombard to pull up in a car and step out.
They must have taken this photo from a building down the street and from one of the upper floors.
An Architectural Record photo of the elevator from 1932.
Los Angeles City Hall done in collaboration with Albert C. Martin and John C. Austin.
200 N. Spring Street
A rendering from American Architect around the time of construction.
This image is from Western Architect. Look how small Spring Street is in the photo.
I went on a tour of City Hall. I took this shot in the morning before the tour. The photo has a hazy morning look to it.
I was standing in the building’s courtyard — looking west.
A more expansive view from the same location. The shadow on the left side of the photo is from the building itself.
The front door. I think it should be bigger considering the size of the building. The doors should be as big as the Wizard’s door in the The Wizard of Oz. Just sayin’.
Western Architect has a nice shot of the front door.
Looking toward the front door.
This is inside the front door.
Identical hallways go to the north and south of the building.
Above the center rotunda is this light fixture.
A close up on the light fixture.
This is on the floor of the rotunda.
On the north side of the building is this artwork above the staircase. (Down one of those long hallways.)
This is above the south staircase. Shouldn’t it be naked women? Wouldn’t that make logical sense? Maybe, my mind is too symetrical?
It’s Mercury but I don’t know who the woman is. She’s riding Pegasus. This is above the bank of elevators on the main (3rd) floor.
The door to the city clerk’s office. The bear is a nice touch.
This amazing ceiling is outside the clerk’s office door.
The City Council Chamber was locked but this room was open.
Here’s part of the room.
This is behind the benches in the first photo.
The City Council Chamber?
Part of the mayor’s office.
On one of the upper floors there’s an exhibit of mayoral portraits. It contains portraits of all the mayors of Los Angeles since 1851. This is George E. Cryer. He was mayor when the present city hall was built. He’s right out of The Great Gatsby.
The only other mayoral photo I took was of this guy because I liked the way he looked. His name was Henry T. Hazard and he was mayor from 1889-1892. I’d vote for him.
There was a surprise for me on the tour. The lady tour guide, who reminded me of George Jefferson’s mother on The Jeffersons, said, “Now, let’s go up to the Observation Deck.” My response was, “What?” I didn’t know there was an observation deck. This is the view of the entrance to the Observation Deck when the elevator doors opened.
From the observation deck looking toward Bunker Hill.
Looking west. That’s the Department of Water building straight ahead and you can see Frank Gehry’s Disney Hall at 11 o’clock.
Looking northeast. That’s Union Station.
One of the columns.
This shot was taken with my back against the wall and shooting straight up.
A plaque on the observation deck.
The back of the building.
City Hall on a stereo-optic card.
Union Station: Parkinson and Parkinson
700-888 N. Alameda Street.
It’s very modern looking but opened in 1939.
The information booth near the entrance.
This is above the entrance.
South of the information booth is this walkway to the old Fred Harvey restaurant. I’m a fan of the Judy Garland movie The Harvey Girls and I have the song The Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe on my iPod. It’s a great song.
The old ticketing area (north of the information booth) which isn’t used anymore.
The waiting area. Looking west toward the front door.
It’s art deco seating.
This clock is above a doorway that leads to an outside patio.
The way to the trains.
John Parkinson’s obit from Architect and Engineer, January 1936.
The Currier Building, mentioned in the above obit, is one of the first buildings John Parkinson designed in Los Angeles.
Donald’s obit from Architect and Engineer, January 1946. It’s rather brief.
Public art in Los Angeles. This mural is on Sunset Boulevard about a block away from Dodger Stadium. My book The Odd Fellows was released on December 16, 2013.
Banks-Huntley office building, Los Angeles. (1932, February). Architectural Record. 71(2), 114-116.
Directory of practicing architects. (1930, December 5). Southwest Builder and Contractor. 76(22), 11.
Field, W.S. (1994). Parkinson centennial, 1894-1994: 100 years of the Parkinson architectural firm in Los Angeles. Los Angeles: Los Angeles Conservancy.
Gee, S. (2013). Iconic vision: John Parkinson, architect of Los Angeles. Santa Monica: Angel City Press.
Giant hotel planned: owner of Rosslyn lease lot on opposite corner for new $1,000,000 hostelry. (1922, October 8). Los Angeles Times.
Group restores historic building. (1996, July 24). Los Angeles Times.
Jones, F.W. (1931, March). The Los Angeles stock exchange. Architect and Engineer of California, Pacific Coast States. 104(3), 24-45.
Karl, J. (1994). Shaping Seattle architecture: a historical guide to the architects. Seattle: University of Washington Press.
Los Angeles city hall, Los Angeles, California. (1928, July). Western Architect. 37(7), plates 109-121.
Noted Los Angeles architect dies. (1946, January). Architect and Engineer. 164(1), 30.
Obituary. (1936, January). The Architect and Engineer. 124(1), 57.
Oliver, M. (1995, June 16). Samuel E. Lunden: veteran LA architect. Los Angeles Times.
Parkinson, J. & Parkinson, D. B. (1921). John Parkinson and Donald B. Parkinson: architects, Los Angeles. Columbus: Denny A. Clark.
The king Edward hotel: a new hotel, magnificently planned on the corner of Los Angeles and fifth streets. (1906, February 18). Los Angeles Times. p. 24
The work of John Parkinson and Edwin Bergstrom. (1910, September). The Architect and Engineer of California, Pacific Coast States. 22(2), 35-69.