From the Conservancy brochure: Once the heart of Los Angeles’ financial district, Spring Street and Main Street are today at the heart of an urban renaissance. The area’s magnificent banks, offices, and hotels were left all but deserted in the 1970s as the city center moved west. Since 2000, the conversion of many of these long-empty buildings for new uses has brought a new vitality to the area that continues to grow.
The photo at the top is of the Classical Revival Farmers and Merchants Bank Building, 1905.
Detail of the arch with reflection of the San Fernando Building in the window.
Tile mosaic floor on the lobby of Farmers and Merchants.
Our group met outside the San Fernando Building. Originally built in 1907, the top two floors were added in 1911. Like many of the downtown buildings of this time period, this has been converted to loft apartments (with commercial spaces at street level).
James Boon Lankershim was a real estate developer. His family owned 60,000 acres of the San Fernando Valley and Lankershim Boulevard was named after them.
A superb hanging light fixture belonging to the San Fernando Building.
These light fixtures are in the street. Although it was 10:00am, the power was on which made for a good photo. The second photo is the reflection of the street lamp in a window. Gotta love those reflections!
The purple glass made these vault lights in the floor of the lobby look magical.
Barclay Hotel (originally Van Nuys Hotel), 1896. For Los Angeles this building is very, very, very old. After all, Los Angeles only officially became a city in 1850.
The Barclay is the oldest hotel in continuous operation in the city.
A photo of the old and the new with an LA City streetlamp. I am so happy a lot of the original street lights in the downtown area were not torn down and replaced with modern, but not so decorative, lights like the one pictured outside the Barclay Hotel three photos up.
Herman W. Hellman Building, 1903.
Light fixture and tile floor in the lobby of the Hellman. I hope I got this right. I am writing this post two weeks after the tour and a LOT has happened since then so I’m doing my best to piece it all together!
I don’t know the name of this building, I just liked the gorgeous detailing at the top. Of course I could only see it from street level with my 135mm lens but when I looked at the magnified photo in Lightroom I was even more blown away.
El Dorado Lofts in Gothic Revival style (originally Stowell Hotel), 1913. As of this writing the 1,700 sq ft (158 sq meters) penthouse is for sale at $2,100,000.
433 Spring building in ZigZag Moderne style (Originally Title Insurance and Trust), 1928. Known as the “Queen of Spring Street.”
Details at street level.
I saw this window in passing. I was a big fan of the 80s-90s British TV comedy-drama “Lovejoy” with Ian McShane. For the two of you not familiar with this show, McShane played a loveable rascal who owned an antiques business. That was before Netflix so I had to be home at a certain time to catch the show on re-runs!
Hotel Alexandria, 1906 and 1911. Once upon a time THE place to stay in LA until it deteriorated into long term, low income occupancy. It has now been converted to apartments. I’m always fascinated by the elaborately designed fire escapes of that period.
Not exactly The Last Bookstore but bookstores are becoming pretty scarce. 20,000 sq. ft. of new and used books.
Located in the Spring Arts Building, 1914.
If you saw my previous blog on the Art Deco walk, I took a photo of the cat sculpture on top of the elevator building at Pershing Square. I noticed another one on this walk but have not been able to find out any information on what this cat series is all about… a mystery!
Pacific Electric Building, 1905. Now used for residential use, this was built as the main depot for the Pacific Electric Railway in the Romanesque Revival style.
Display case in the lobby with photos showing the trains coming out of the building at street level. And models of the Pacific Electric cars. This is how people traveled around Los Angeles in more civilized days. The first time my parents and I came to LA in the early 60s some of these red cars were still running. When we returned from England a few years later they were all gone and replaced with freeways.
Views from the top floor.
Allowing these older, mostly abandoned office buildings to be converted to apartments and condominiums has changed the face of downtown Los Angeles. It is estimated that about 40,000 people now live in the area. You see people walking their dogs and pushing strollers. Supermarkets and drugstores and other amenities have opened to accommodate the needs of the residents. And the best part is that these beautiful buildings no longer stand empty and in disrepair.
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