Wilshire After Its Houses
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The residential years of Wilshire Boulevard lasted little more than three decades after its 1895 inception; its turn to commerce was sparked in 1923 by A. W. Ross's fight with the city to have his property, then in the hinterlands beyond La Brea Avenue, zoned for business. Once what became the Miracle Mile got the "GO" semaphore, intelligent boulevard homeowners knew that the jig was up. While some built quite late, practically even as Ross was formulating his plans, all homeowners would be well compensated for the trouble of uprooting by wildly increased property values as commerce began to intrude, first in the old houses themselves, then in new structures after wholesale demolitions. Quite a few householders picked up their beloved dwellings and moved them to new suburbs midway between the Miracle Mile and the original Wilshire district down by Westlake/MacArthur Park, such as Windsor Square and Fremont Place. Once the 241-foot beacon of commerce known as Bullock’s-Wilshire opened between Wilshire Place and Westmoreland on September 26, 1929, a new wave of architecture began to sweep westward on the road, closer to the sidewalk than setback requirements had permitted houses but of architecture not insensitive in its proportions to what had been there. The new commercial buildings were generally of genteel, lowrise design meant to perpetuate the prestige now inherent in the name Wilshire. Prime examples of the new boulevard are an adjacent pair of more or less French designs, manor house and mairie, built within a year of each other just east of the new Bullock’s-Wilshire.


The house at 3006 Wilshire Boulevard lasted a mere 23 years; its replacement, the Clark Building, a Morgan, Walls & Clements design, went up in 1931 and still stands as of 2015. It housed the
famous Stendahl Galleries and is seen in the circa-1934 east-southeasterly view above.
Starting past its three façade gables is the Cannell & Chaffin Building, opened in
1930 on the lot of the house once at 3002 Wilshire, and sometimes confused
with the Clark Building; at top above the title is a view of the Cannell &
Chaffin Building between its completion and the start of the Clark.


While sometimes conflated as one—including by the Los Angeles Conservancy—3000 and 3006 Wilshire Boulevard are in fact separate buildings. It seems unlikely that real estate coverage in the Los Angeles Times of the day, while certainly not foolproof in any daily newspaper then or now, would be wholly inaccurate; unlikely too would be that official Los Angeles city and county records, while perhaps not themselves accurate down to the last item as to dates and some other details, have mistaken the two structures for one. At any rate, as the houses of the eastern boulevard came down or were moved (and in at least two cases simply hidden, to this day, by incorporation into commercial designs, as next door at 2976), the new buildings went up. Giles Kellogg, secretary of Union Oil and a saavy real estate investor sensitive to the drumbeat of Los Angeles's developmental trends, had built his own home at 3002 in 1906. Before he died in 1916, he may well have left instructions in his will for his heirs to hang onto their Wilshire frontage even if they weren't going to live there. There was indeed the Kellogg Holding Company, which, after the Kellogg house was rented by the family to various commercial enterprises during the '20s, including a ladies' tea parlor raided in 1926 as a daytime speakeasy, demolished the house and commissioned architect A. Godfrey Bailey to design an impressive replacement dedicated to business. Its façade, described by the Times as inspired by architecture found "in the northern part of France," would extend 150 feet along the Kellogg company's double lot; the Department of Building and Safety issued a construction permit for it on May 14, 1930. Attracting a number of tenants to its 22,000 square feet but most closely identified with its major tenant, the decorators and furniture dealer Cannell & Chaffin that would stay for 57 years, it opened in the fall of 1930. In June 1941 the Times reported that a later owner, real estate man Leslie H. Danis, swapped it to actor Richard Barthelmess for his house (still) at the northwest corner of Sunset Boulevard and Hillcrest Road in Beverly Hills, both buildings apparently then worth $280,000.




Designed by A. Godfrey Bailey, the building that replaced the house at
3002 Wilshire was built across two lots facing the boulevard; above, it is seen
in a rendering in the Times on April 13, 1930. Below, the Clark Building at 
3006
was announced similarly on May 3, 1931; designers were Morgan, Walls & Clements,
who, along with Bailey and the firm of Walker & Eisen, practiced similar grand
interpretations of French architecture (as well as other international idioms)
along commercializing Wilshire even during the deepening Depression.



Often referred to as the Cannell & Chaffin Building, A. Godfrey Bailey's French pile on the site of the Kellogg house still stands—if insensitively altered—at 3000 Wilshire Boulevard, as does the one that took the place of the next-door Goddard-Bliss house a year later. The J. Ross Clark estate bought 3006 Wilshire from meatpacker Reuben Bliss after his contentious mid-'20s divorce and proceed to commission the esteemed firm of Morgan, Walls & Clements to design another Frenchish building as a replacement. Citing a width of 75 feet along the boulevard, the Department of Building and Safety issued a permit to begin construction on April 16, 1931. Completed that fall, the building became the new home of the famous Stendahl Galleries, which moved east from the Ambassador Hotel, and it too remains a charming structure that is still managing to resist the highrise, high-density fever of 21st-century Los Angeles. Before long, in progress slowed but not stopped by the Depression, the Wilshire Boulevard of setback upper-middle-classes houses (interspersed with a quite a few palaces) gave way to the pretty middle-vintage thoroughfare of great if intermittent charm that preceded the next wave of glassy highrise construction. Much of the likes of 3000 and 3006 Wilshire fortunately remains, though with Los Angeles no longer content to be horizontal and suburban but rather pursuing an urban profile more along the lines of Hong Kong or Shanghai, how long can any of these delicate things last barring the next financial quake?


At center is the Clark Building, 3006 Wilshire, in the mid-'60s; the Cannell & Chaffin Building's
 steep roof is to its left. A later, arguably (or not) less-attractive boulevard commercial style
 is seen to its right in a 1958 building on the site of the Israel Gardner house at 3020;
 the east façade of Bullock's-Wilshire is at the top right edge of the view.



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With Spanish Revival styles predominating at first and then giving way to dramatic French-inspired commercial designs, with Colonial pastiches as well as those of Art Deco and Streamline Moderne all rising along commercial sectors of Wilshire Boulevard during the '20s and '30s, automobile-age Los Angeles finally found its own multifaceted architectural energy apart from Eastern templates. A. W. Ross's Miracle Mile west of La Brea, well beyond the old residential stretch of the boulevard, set the pace with new construction on virgin plots; east toward Westlake/MacArthur Park, the road was redeveloping from its original residential zoning to business. From time to time we will be adding images here below of the lowrise aspect of this stretch's commercial renewal, those buildings lost and those still extant.




The Bilicke Building, sadly now missing from the northeast corner of Wilshire and Gramercy, was opened in 1930. Designed by Morgan, Walls & Clements, some details were repeated in their Clark Building, still at 3006. It followed the trend of commercializing Wilshire Boulevard but differed in that each tenant's storefront was customized. Below: Perino's adapted and widened the façade of a short-lived branch of Herbert Somborn's Brown Derby, which had started out here as his Hi-Hat; Elizabeth Arden rated a distinctive updated corner when she moved in later in the '30s.  



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One of the boulevard's photographically elusive commercial buildings stood at the northwest corner of Gramercy Place just west of the Bilicke Building; in late 1935 it replaced a 1921 Gramercy-facing apartment building—seen at left below in a view east from just west of the Wilshire/Wilton intersection and in an item in the Times of January 7, 1923—that was moved two blocks south to Seventh Street. At 3951 circa 1937 was the florist Morgan Art in Flowers; at 3953 (as seen in the third image below, viewed from Wilshire) was Ham and Eggs Incorporated, a café "specializing in the finest ham and eggs and kindred dishes." It was later the Rocket Room restaurant and still later, the Executive Room lounge. The building was demolished in 1985; one of the city's hundreds of charmless set-back mini-malls is on the site today.





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The dramatic showroom of Berl Berry Lincoln-Mercury, designed by architect Lewis E. Wilson, is seen soon after its May 1951 opening at 3700 Wilshire (at the southwest corner of Serrano). It is also seen below at far right in a 1956 view of the southwest corner of Wilshire and Hobart, where, in 1955, as lowrise Wilshire began to give way to highrise, the now-also-lost Transport Indemnity Building designed by Stiles Clements opened to replace the Getty-Talbot house—which had been addressed 651 South Hobart Boulevard.



 The Transport Indemnity Building literally
embodied the commercial lowrise-to-highrise transition
of Wilshire Boulevard; as seen below in the Times on October 4, 1953,
it was initally designed by Stiles Clements as a more horizontal structure,
a building permit for this version having been issued the previous
August 20. A permit to add two floors before completion was
issued to the architect on May 20, 1954.



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Two of the very top names in Los Angeles architecture had a hand in the building that stood at the northwest corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Norton Avenue until 2005. Both of its incarnations were food-related; the first of these opened in March 1934 as a link in the Thriftimart chain operated by venerable local grocer Young's. Referred to poetically as a "food caravansary" by its promoters, Morgan, Walls & Clements turned Streamline in this effort, a style incorporating the latest thing in design devices—soaring pylons were the ideal attention-getter for the by-now hypermotorized boulevard. Lamentable as it was to lose Thriftimart after the war, perhaps Streamline, associated as it was with the drive-in, was a bit too much for staid adjacent Windsor Square and even top-drawer Hollywood, at least as a place for black-tie dining. Paul R. Williams was called in to make over the food caravansary, and he left no trace of it. Describing his style for the new Perino's as one "patterned after historic New Orleans architecture with a California flair," the new restaurant, moving up from the Bilicke Building after 16 years, opened at 4101 Wilshire on February 22, 1950.




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Two blocks east and across Wilshire from the site of the Bilicke Building is another French design by A. Godfrey Bailey, as seen in the Times on July 27, 1930, somewhat similar in massing to his Cannell & Chaffin Building. Bailey and the architects at Morgan, Walls & Clements and the firm of Walker & Eisen appear to have been stealing design ideas from one another during 1930-31; here, Bailey has used lower versions of the Clark Building's tower. Neglected in its middle years—as seen just below in 1978—it still stands, now better preserved, at 3832 Wilshire.




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Barely 20 years old at the start of the decade, the Reuben Shettler house at 3100 faded away during the '30s. Built on its site at the southwest corner of Wilshire and Westmoreland in 1939 was the current building, a sleeker, post-Depression version of the French-influenced efforts by various architects that had been popular earlier in the decade and that together served as boulevard trademarks before glass highrises began to replace many of them in the '50s. Just across Westmoreland from Bullock's, Colburn's Furs was the anchor tenant of 3100; luxury was eastern Wilshire's byword until the '60s took its toll and the 1992 riots took even Bullock's away.



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Except for one small family house built at 3124 well before any of its neighbors, the Busch property at the southeast corner of Wilshire and Vermont remained empty as late as 1923. That year the Busches hired architects Curlett & Beelman to design a massive Colonial store and office block whose charm was before long obscured by successively larger rooftop billboards and then literally scraped away by insensitive alterations. Its demolition left little to lament; the corner vacant again for years, only in 2014 has a replacement come, naturally an insistently vertical one.



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The curious building once at the southwest corner of Wilshire and Shatto Place, the latter cut through south of the boulevard only at the time of the Busch family's development of its long-held Vermont Avenue corner in 1923, is something of an enigma. While it appears to be two buildings, it is in fact one in two volumes finished uniformly at street level; no information as to its designer has surface as yet, but among its varied tenants was Charles D. Wagner, an architect and builder with offices at 3152 Wilshire, one of several addresses associated with the structure. One source suggests that it was one of many real estate ventures engineered by Jackie Coogan's father with the boy's picture millions, but that seems to have actually been a building designed by Albert C. Martin adjacent to the Busch Building's Vermont Avenue wing rather than to its eastern, Wilshire end; curious too is that it appears that none other than Henry Gaylord Wilshire himself may have taken offices in the building at 3144—possibly beforehand in a temporary structure on the lot—apparently having capitulated to forces that pushed for changes to his original residential template and hoping to profit from the new, commercial boulevard. In advertising his business at 3144 in the Times as early as March 1924, there is the vague suggestion that Wilshire himself may have built the new building; but exactly when it may have been completed is unclear, there being scant evidence of anyone's occupancy before the spring of 1925. Eventually, there were the usual emporiums catering to matrons of means, which may have suffered a blow when the Ebell Club changed its plans to build just across Shatto Place and settled farther west at Wilshire and Lucerne; reflecting a similar westward drift but of the really big, beyond-Buick money in an interregnum between downtown and Beverly Hills showrooms, there was even a Rolls-Royce dealer at the Shatto corner. The recently founded Seaboard National Bank was the building's most physically prominent tenant, opening what it referred to as its "up-town" office at 3152 in January 1926. Migrating across the street to 3143 in 1932, the bank took along its huge rooftop sign seen in the photograph of the Busch building above.




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Even as new commercial buildings began to dominate Wilshire Boulevard once its zoning changed from residential to business in the mid-'20s, many of the thoroughfare's original houses, most barely 15 or 20 years old, became shops and offices and restaurants themselves. A few houses, such as 2976 Wilshire, still stand, obscured by appendages built on their once-broad front lawns. The Israel Gardner house at 3020 stood longer than most—as late as 1958—at the southeast corner of Wilshire Place; after Mrs. Gardner died in 1932, her house's west-side yard was either leased or sold and, addressed 3022, became the site of Margaret's Flowers in 1935. Margaret was Margaret Bullock, older daughter of John G. Bullock, who had opened Bullock's-Wilshire just across Wilshire Place in 1929. While Margaret's Flowers was short-lived, the boulevard was left with a charming single-story building for decades.



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Among the varied contributions of the architectural firm of Walker & Eisen to Wilshire Boulevard's early commercial years, its Art Deco store and loft building announced in the Times for the northwest corner of Wilshire and Catalina on February 23, 1930, served a variety of purposes. Situated across from the Ambassador Hotel, where Hollywood met the more adventurous of the downtown establishment, the building's initial west-end tenant was the Mona Lisa, a French-Italian café initially under the same management as film-industry favorite Musso & Frank. Anchoring the east end of the complex for its first year or two was the Lion Insurance Company; in between glamour and the mundane was the usual mix of ladies'-wear purveyors—shoes, hats, and gloves. The Mona Lisa proved to have legs; its big red neon rooftop sign was lit through the '60s. The inevitable highrise replacement for Walker & Eisen's longtime holdout arrived in 1981.




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As the Kellogg family had redeveloped its own Wilshire property at 3002, Everett Seaver replaced his house at 3143 with another Art Deco commercial design by Walker & Eisen, pictured in the Times on February 22, 1932, just months after their very different replacement for 3043 was announced. Its prime tenant became Seaboard National Bank, which moved its boulevard offices—and huge rooftop sign seen in the photograph of the Busch building above—from across the street.



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After the Fisher house at 3043 served commerce for several years, it came down in late 1930 to make way for a beautifully proportioned French design announced in the Times on October 5, 1930. Architects Walker & Eisen, whose altogether different 3143 was being planned at the same time, redesigned the the building in 1939 to accommodate the new home of downtown jeweler B. D. Howes. Now gone, it was perhaps one of the prettiest buildings ever built on the boulevard and complementary to the Kellogg and Clark buildings just east across the street. Above: The Town House looms; both it and Bullock's-Wilshire, out of camera just to the right, had opened in September 1929. Viewed toward the west below, Wilshire Boulevard presents a lovely busy streetscape; a corner of the Town House is at right; Bullock's is out of view across from 3043. The Bank of America had by this time absorbed Seaboard National, hence the change of rooftop sign at 3143; the Gaylord apartments in the distance is at the northwest corner of Kenmore Avenue.



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The venerable downtown clothing firm of Mullen & Bluett—venerable even in 1930—made the essential move to carriage-trade Wilshire Boulevard that year. Adding to its stores at Broadway and Sixth and in Hollywood, Beverly Hills, and Pasadena, only the most fashionable practitioners of the current preference in boulevard architecture would do: On April 27, 1930, the Times, before the full effects of the Crash were understood, announced that Morgan, Walls & Clements had been called upon to deliver a version of their steep-roofed French Renaissance style to the southwest corner of Wilshire and Harvard boulevards, replacing the 1907 house addressed 3644. The store was not a success, likely due to its location a bit too far from higher concentrations of boulevard trade; although Mullen & Bluett retrenched down to its Broadway store within a few years, the firm returned with panache to Wilshire Boulevard in 1949—this time to the booming Miracle Mile—with an effort by none other than Stiles O. Clements (or possibly his son Robert) in yet another new mode. Curiously, that celebrated design at 5570 was demolished in 2006 while Mullen's short-lived 3630 still stands as of August 2014, if somewhat forlorn. After Mullen & Bluett's closure, popular modiste Bess Schlank, wife of Poverty Row producer Morris Schlank, opened at 3630; the Schlanks had lived for a time at 3968 Wilshire. An interesting side note is that a few years before 3630 was built, a store building for prominent furrier Willard H. George in the prior favored design mode of the boulevard was proposed for the Harvard corner, but aborted; the moment for Wilshire's Spanish Revival architecture passed with that investor's plan by architect Howard H. Wells, as seen below in the Times of March 1, 1928.





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As it turned out, furrier Willard H. George leapfrogged over the French from an Iberian style originally slated for 3630 Wilshire (two images above) for his new store, all the way to Art Deco several blocks east. Architect Richard D. King designed 3330 Wilshire, at the southeast corner of Catalina Street, for financier Morgan Adams in 1929; a rendering appeared in the Times on November 24 of that year (just above). A sympathetic King addition east of its small tower followed within a year; a Hammond Organ showroom opened in the complex at 3328 in September 1937. In 1948, architect Graham Latta designed a new façade of stucco, marble, and travertine, completely obscuring the 11-year-old original jewel box; only the identifying top of its ziggurat was then visible—by birds. Interestingly, as of August 2016 the Latta design has been stripped away in what, if it isn't simply the beginning of total demolition, might—if the boulevard is lucky—be a restoration of the 1929 King design. (More views of the building, exterior and interior, are here.)



Prior to and after the almost immediate eastward addition of 1930





Graham Latta's 1948 façade has now been stripped away revealing the original



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Although it appears to have stood into the 1980s, possibly as late as 1994, no photographs have yet surfaced of 3636 Wilshire Boulevard, the single-story Wilshire Chamber of Commerce building built next door to the former Mullen & Bluett in 1940.


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When one thinks of 1920s Southern California architecture, it is usually of the many forms and cues of Spanish revivals common in the region since the days of the missions. Before its increasingly formal styles gave way on Wilshire Boulevard to the refreshing French Provincial by the end of the decade, Morgan, Walls & Clements got into the spirit of Iberia and colonial Spain with a pair done in its '20s architectural sub-rage, the baroque Churrigueresque, at the northerly corners of Wilshire and Oxford. The McKinley Building at the northwest came first, announced in the Times in February 1927 and opening that fall (above); the Wilshire Central Building across Oxford came the next year. Sadly, both are now gone.



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Some pre-highrise Wilshire Boulevard commercial buildings have slipped away almost unnoticed, including designs by major names such as Morgan, Walls & Clements. Contrasting dramatically with that firm's adjacent Wilshire Central Building rendered in the Churrigueresque style eight years before, their 1936 Streamline block of stores at the northwest corner of Serrano Avenue is just such a case in point. Only partial photographs of it seem to exist, and no tenant appears to have lasted very long in the building; it was replaced in the mid-'50s by financier Howard Ahmanson's building for an office of the National American Insurance Company, an outgrowth of an Omaha firm founded by his father in 1919. Ahmanson was a champion of Millard Sheets, the Los Angeles artist of multiple talents; appointed director of the Otis Art Institute in 1953, Sheets then became a significant contributor to Southland architecture with 3701 Wilshire. Reopened in September 1963 as the Ahmanson Bank and Trust Company's first branch office, it was demolished for Edward Durell Stone's massive Ahmanson Center (later renamed the Wilshire Colonnade), completed in 1971.




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On January 17, 1926, the Times announced that work was underway on Morgan, Walls & Clements's Wilshire Arts Building, commissioned by Dr. John B. McCoy. Opening that spring at the northeast corner of Wilshire and Manhattan Place, it held the usual mix of shops and professional suites and soon included soundproof studios for the Zoellner Conservatory of Music and the offices of a man predisposed to working in a building of good design. Another great name in Los Angeles architecture, Paul R. Williams—perhaps the king himself—remained at the Wilshire Arts until moving in the mid-'40s to Morgan, Walls's similarly Churrigueresque McKinley Building.




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Before turning to the French Renaissance for inspiration toward the 1930s, many architects followed a preference for Spanish Revival designs such as the pretty Hayward Building at the northwest corner of Wilshire and Carondelet. Pennsylvania physician turned Southern California businessman Henderson Hayward had built 2501 Wilshire in 1897; after his death, his son-in-law Charles S. Thomas replaced it with Morgan, Walls, & Clements's Churrigueresque-detailed store-and-studio building in 1926. Later housing the Vagabond and Hayworth theaters and the La Fonda restaurant, it remains standing as of June 2014 awaiting its own revival.



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On April 22, 1923, the Times reported that Abram Post and California state senator Louis H. Roseberry had together just purchased both northerly corners of Wilshire Boulevard and Berendo Street. The commercial structures that went up a few years later—the Roseberry Building on the northeast corner and the Post Building that replaced 3301 on the northwest—are both attributed to architects Meyer & Holler; considering their Egyptian (1922) and Chinese (to open in 1927) theaters, the firm's particularly flamboyant design for the new 3301 would perhaps have been no surprise. Later known as the M. L. Baird Building, the Mediterranean Revival Post Building opened in the fall of 1925; its roster of tenants over the years would include a branch of the Dorothy Gray cosmetics firm and the nationally known shop of needlepoint guru Lucie Newman. It was gone by 1970. On the lot across Berendo, apparently never before built upon, the Roseberry Building was of massing similar to its companion but of the popular Churrigueresque-detailed Spanish Revival style. Unlike its companion, razed in 1969 and replaced by the regrettable but inevitable 12-story Wilshire Plaza, the Roseberry remains as a charming reminder of the boulevard's early, more human-scaled commercial years.




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Builder and real estate dealer Samuel J. Chapman's first major Wilshire District endeavor was the Chapman Plaza hotel, designed by Robert H. Orr and built at the southwest corner of Sixth and Alexandria in 1925. Soon renamed the Chapman Park, the developer, apparently seeing no point of loyalty to designers, then commissioned Morgan, Walls & Clements to build the now famous (and unlike the hotel, still extant) Chapman Park Market complex across Sixth Street, which opened in June 1929. Chapman's interests on Sixth were successful despite the Depression; there was, however, a lull in more building until a third architect drew up plans for a low-rise addition on property acquired fronting Wilshire Boulevard, just south of the hotel's garden. The original hat-shaped Brown Derby had opened on the property in 1926; after it was closed and removed from the lot with the inauguration of a new "hat" built a half-block east in 1936, Carleton Monroe Winslow's charming Pueblo Revival complex opened later that year. Whether or not the redesign of the Wilshire-and-Alexandria corner five years later for the addition of the Zephyr Room nightclub was an enhancement to Winslow's original is arguable, but with the bland 34-story Equitable Plaza having supplanted all charm on the site in 1969, the point is moot.






The view east on Wilshire from Mariposa, 1936: The Chapman Park complex would soon replace
the original Brown Derby, built in 1926, at left. The new Derby was preparing to open
at the northeast corner of Alexandria, next to the Gaylord Apartments.


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When attorney Henry W. O'Melveny and his wife Nette decided that Wilshire Boulevard traffic and the gong going off at the gas station opened caddy-corner in January 1927 had all become too much, not to mention living in the afternoon shadow of the 10-story Talmadge apartment house next door, they moved their lovely house at 3250 Wilshire to Windsor Square, where it stands today. As did quite a few boulevard homeowners, the O'Melvenys redeveloped their own property rather than sell it. On the lot Henry had a jewelbox of a store building constructed to the specifications of high-end ladies'-wear retailer Switzer's as its first Los Angeles branch; it opened in August 1931. In the carriage-trade tradition of Bullock's-Wilshire down the boulevard and of the I. Magnin store to come just across New Hampshire Street on the site of the Louis Cole house at 3240 (below), Switzer's was designed with an elaborate rear motor court and an interior of exquisite fit and finish. As described by the Times in 1931, its details make the building's loss all the more regrettable. The store proves recalcitrant in terms of a full image; below, apparently having expanded its merchandise to include home furnishings, it appears around the time of the February 11, 1939, opening of the new five-story I. Magnin. At bottom is Switzer's under construction as seen from just north on New Hampshire Street; a corner of the 1929 Chesterfield Furniture Company is at right.




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In 1929, a building for the Chesterfield Furniture Company replaced the house once at 647 South New Hampshire Street; John C. Everding was a member of the Burkhard family who owned the northwest corner of Wilshire and Vermont as well as that at New Hampshire and property in between. It was he who commissioned John and Donald Parkinson to build what became 3257 Wilshire. Chesterfield was absorbed by Barker Brothers in 1931, accounting for changes in signage seen below; looking west from the south side of Wilshire a few years later, the Churrigueresque Post and Roseberry buildings are seen at Berendo Street; the charming (and still-extant) store housing at this time a branch of New York silversmiths A. Schmidt & Son is at center; the Gaylord apartment house is in the distance. The Art Deco style was fairly uncommon along Wilshire, though the Parkinsons designed Bullock's-Wilshire around the same time as the Chesterfield building and Walker & Eisen's 3143 Wilshire appeared in between the two in 1932. The Chesterfield building was gone by 1973.



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Ninety-year-old Thomas Blyth died in his 1913 house at 4032 Wilshire Boulevard on January 22, 1933, with trade having long since arrived on the thoroughfare. Retailers and professionals alike sought the cachet of a boulevard address, including Dr. Edwin Larson, who bought the old Blyth house for transformation into a medical center. As announced with a rendering in the Times on September 13, 1936, architect H. William Greene rebuilt it inside and out, with the resulting Streamline Moderne design carrying 4032's original horizontal lines—themselves very fashionable for 1915—into the future, or at least to sometime before 1961. That year, the office building still on the site went up.



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Eaton's was a small chain of restaurants with outlets in Beverly Hills devoted one to steak and one to chicken; a new chicken branch at the southwest corner of Wilshire and Ardmore opened in 1937 on the site of the Shelley H. Tolhurst house once at 3558 and later owned by Hollywood producer and exhibitor Sol Lesser. On the site today is a 20-story office building built in 1969.


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Two small Wilshire Boulevard commercial buildings, typically catering to matrons of means with beauty parlors, dress shops, millinery, and even actual catering services, rose on adjacent lots at opposite ends of the '30s; joining 3908, which followed the French vogue popular by 1930, the Mount Vernonesque 3916 was announced in the Times on December 17, 1939. No phase of development on Wilshire boulevard endures; as central Los Angeles lost its customers of means, what wasn't demolished was neglected or architecturally trashed. Below, in order, a 1978 view of 3908 suffering neglect while 3916 maintains its dignity; indifferently treated, more billboards than buildings, August 2014; and a shot west in 1939 with 3908 in place just before 3916 joined it.







Illustrations: LAPL; USCDL; LAT; UCLA Digital Collections;
California State LibraryLos Angeles Conservancy/Bison Archives;
CalisphereChapman University Leatherby LibrariesGetty;
Private Collection; Google Street View