The Gilded LA

Hollywood Blvd 1930

There was a time when Los Angeles was the pinnacle of all that was glitzy and glamorous.  While the rest of the United States spiraled towards financial ruin and societal depression in the ’30s, the palm-tree lined streets of downtown L.A. bustled with theatre goers, restaurant patrons, and well-dressed socialites.

Then came the war.

Thousands of sailors and soldiers arrived in the thriving city from the bloody shores of Japan, disfigured, disillusioned, and ill-prepared.  The Biltmore Hotel transformed an entire floor into a medical unit and though those from the war were initially treated with gratitude and respect, they were soon forgotten and left to fend for themselves.  Homeless camps [barely] housed those still in uniform and dive bars rapidly rose to quench their thirst and dull troubling memories

Soldier 1944 LA

Santa Monica. Soldier. 1944.

And then, slowly, hope crept back in and revitalization left few memories from the war standing.  Ornate Art Deco buildings that had withstood the trying times were leveled for the promise of the future: modern skyscrapers and parking lots of the ’60s.  The Richfield Tower, a beacon of glamour and oil success, was demolished in 1969 despite the cries of residents.  In its place?  A brown and bland ARCO building that shoots 33 floors into the sky thanks to then-relaxed height restrictions in the downtown area.  The higher the building, the higher the hope of the city…or so said 1960′s architects.

Richfield Building

Richfield Building Postcard. Leveled in 1969 for the ARCO Plaza.

Bunker Hill, once a residential community dotted by Victorian homes, became the planning ground for urban sprawl.

Bunker Hill Home 1969

Bunker Hill Victorian Home. 1969.

Angel’s Flight, a one penny one-minute rail ride from the historic district to Bunker Hill, was billed as the “shortest railway in the world”.  It was also leveled in ’69 for redevelopment and only recently resurrected.  It now costs a quarter, but is well worth the nostalgia.

Angel's Flight, 1949

Angel’s Flight, 1949.

  So, this past weekend, I took a stroll all around downtown LA, capturing what little hidden gems still exist from an age where the term “gilded” was in common usage and ornate barely described the details.

This is my photographic homage to historic L.A.

All photos taken and copyrighted by Anjou.

Union Station

Union Station, Los Angeles. 2012.

Union Station, Los Angeles. 2012.

Union Station, Los Angeles. 2012.

Union Station, Los Angeles. 2012.

Union Station, Los Angeles. 2012.

Union Station, Los Angeles. 2012.

Union Station, Los Angeles. 2012.

Union Station, Los Angeles. 2012.

Union Station, Los Angeles. 2012.

Union Station, Los Angeles. 2012.

Union Station, Los Angeles. 2012.

Mexican Cultural Center, El Pueblo, 2012.

Mexican Cultural Center, El Pueblo, 2012.

El Pueblo, 2012.

El Pueblo, 2012.

El Pueblo, 2012.

El Pueblo Tote, 2012.

Pico Building, Los Angeles, 2012.

Pico Building, Los Angeles, 2012.

Homeless Man, Los Angeles, 2012

Homeless Cart, Los Angeles, 2012.

The Times Doors, Los Angeles, 2012.

The Times Doors, Los Angeles, 2012.

The Times Printing Press Artifact, Los Angeles, 2012.

The Times Printing Press Artifact, Los Angeles, 2012.

The Times, Los Angeles, 2012.

The Times, Los Angeles, 2012.

The Times, Historic Prints, Los Angeles, 2012.

The Times, Historic Prints, Los Angeles, 2012.

City Hall Reflection on LA Police Building, Los Angeles, 2012.

City Hall Reflection on LA Police Building, Los Angeles, 2012.

The Tower Theatre, Los Angeles, 2012.

The Tower Theatre, Los Angeles, 2012.

The Rialto Theatre, Los Angeles, 2012.

The Rialto Theatre, Los Angeles, 2012.

Eastern Columbia Company Building, Los Angeles, 2012.

Eastern Columbia Company Building, Los Angeles, 2012.

Orpheum Theatre, Los Angeles, 2012.

Orpheum Theatre, Los Angeles, 2012.

The Globe Theatre, Los Angeles, 2012.

The Globe Theatre, Los Angeles, 2012.

The State Theatre, Los Angeles, 2012.

The State Theatre, Los Angeles, 2012.

The Palace Theatre, Los Angeles, 2012.

The Palace Theatre, Los Angeles, 2012.

The Los Angeles Theatre, Los Angeles, 2012.

The Los Angeles Theatre, Los Angeles, 2012.

Art Deco Building, Los Angeles, 2012.

Art Deco Building, Los Angeles, 2012.

Los Angeles Newstand, 2012.

Los Angeles Newstand, 2012.

Angel's Flight, Los Angeles, 2012.

Angel’s Flight, Los Angeles, 2012.

Angel's Flight and City Hall, Los Angeles, 2012.

Angel’s Flight and City Hall, Los Angeles, 2012.

The New Bunker Hill, Los Angeles, 2012.

The New Bunker Hill, Los Angeles, 2012.

Downtown L.A., 2012.

Historic Downtown L.A., 2012.

Biltmore Hotel, Los Angeles, 2012.

Biltmore Hotel, Los Angeles, 2012.

Biltmore Hotel, Los Angeles, 2012.

Biltmore Hotel Italian Renaissance Ceiling, Los Angeles, 2012.

The “Biltmore Girl” was a socialite who wore this painted silk satin gown to the 1923 grand opening of the Biltmore Hotel.  It was painted to resemble the above Italian Renaissance ceiling in the hotel.

Biltmore Girl Gown, Los Angeles, 2012.

Biltmore Girl Gown Worn to Grand Opening of the Biltmore Hotel in 1923, Los Angeles, 2012.

Biltmore Girl Gown, Los Angeles, 2012.

Biltmore Girl, Los Angeles, 2012.

Old Fashioneds at the Biltmore, Los Angeles, 2012.

Old Fashioneds at the Biltmore, Los Angeles, 2012.

All photos taken and copyrighted by Anjou.

toujours, old LA. xo.

About these ads

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 365 other followers

%d bloggers like this: