Tag Archives: Spanish architecture


Screen Shot 2016-05-24 at 7.27.31 AMHi all – I would just like to share a few words with my Los Angeles neighbors – and really anyone with a soft spot for LA mid-century architecture.

There seems to be a rising outpouring of sentimentalism and displeasure over the impending razing of the Chase Bank situated on the corner of Crescent Heights and Sunset Blvd…to be replaced by one of the dreaded shop/live/work superstructures that are popping up all over town.

I’ll admit, the unique 1960 structure with its distinctive angular roof is pretty easy on the eyes – and I suppose it will be sad to see it go. But without lamenting the building’s passing or celebrating its demise – I would just like to point out that the construction of the bank in 1959-60 displaced another historical Hollywood landmark of great significance – one that everyone seems to have forgotten.

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The Garden of Allah, once a private residence built in 1913 and later owned by silent film star Alla Nazimova, was converted into a hotel in the 1920s. Famous residents included F. Scott Fitzgerald. This beautiful example of early-twentieth century Southern California architecture came down in 1959…but not before one last Hollywood bash to send it off. Up went the Lytton Savings and Loan (now Chase Bank), and not incidentally – a hideous eye sore of a strip mall.

So, if we are going to shed sentimental tears as the bank passes over to the other side, then let us likewise raise a glass to the Garden of Allah.

With compliments,


Tourism – Selling the Known and the Mysterious

Picture 1Today I offer a Southern Pacific Railroad broadside promoting California tourism. This example, a William Howard Bull print from 1897, features elements of the known: Christianity, combined with the foreignness of Spanish mission architecture.

This type of imagery proved enticing indeed for well-to-do easterners looking to broaden their life experiences with a trip to the Pacific coast. Many found the region so appealing that they stuck around (and gave me something to write about…thanks).

But whether they stayed temporarily or set up housekeeping one thing is for sure: tourism never really faded. Anyone trying to find a parking place on a weekend day in Hollywood can attest to that.

With compliments,