Los Angeles City Archives Tour

I went on a tour of the Los Angeles City Archives recently. I’m in search of information and photographs for my next book which is also about Southern California architects.

The archives are in a Brutalist’s building on a sketchy street. [translation: I was apprehensive about parking my car on the street.] Those concrete L-shaped forms are balconies.

This is the view from the third floor balcony looking west.

I’m including this because it states the architects’ names (L.W. Davidson & Associates), who I’ve never heard of before, and the year the building was completed (1981).

There was a nice outdoor eating area for employees on the way to the archives.

This is the unassuming entrance.

Everyone who took the tour seemed to be doing research for a book.

There were not a lot of artifacts on display but I liked this one. It was from the Rose Parade to the city of Los Angeles.

Certain items are held in the vault. This is the vault door.

These are in the vault.

This is the kind of information in the registry of licenses.

These items are also in the vault. There are rows and rows and rows and rows and rows of them.

All the papers from the cities that were annexed by Los Angeles including Eagle Rock, Venice and Hollywood are housed in the vault.

Most of the archives are not housed in the vault but rather on steel shelving that goes almost up to the ceiling.

Here’s another view halfway down one of those long aisles.

This was found on the side of the road by Tom LaBonge and donated to the city.

One of the huge (6 feet by 8 feet?) old photographs of Los Angeles that the archive holds. In the upper center is a long stretch of green space. That’s where Disney Hall, The Broad Museum and other buildings would be built. You can see the Dorthy Chandler Pavilion just to the right of the green space.

A more recent view of the city but there’s no Caltrans’ Building yet.

Michael Holland is the city archivist and he led the tour. He did a great job and I enjoyed it very much. Hopefully, they’ll have some material I can use in my next book.


My book from The History Press, Architects Who Built Southern California, was released on March 11, 2019.┬áIt’s 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 June 16, 2019 at 6:42 pm  Leave a Comment