One hundred and forty nine years ago today, the Battle at Gettysburg ended. More than 50,000 soldiers were killed in 72 hours and it was the turning point in the Civil War. In the 1880s, four dramatic and enormous paintings nearly 300 feet wide were painted by French artist Paul Philippoteaux and toured the country in specially built circular buildings. In 1961, Los Angeles architect Richard Neutra designed a new building to showcase one of the surviving paintings at Gettysburg. The concrete and glass modernist showplace won awards and hosted thousands of visitors until it was replaced in 2008 with a complex designed to resemble a 19th century barn. Some people still can’t handle that modernism.
Neutra’s son Dion, an architect in Silver Lake, has been working with groups attempting to recyle the Neutra cyclorama. Read all about their efforts here and if you get a hankering to see what all the fuss is about, go visit The Velaslavasay Panorama, a 19th century-style panorama near downtown where you can experience L.A.’s finest pre-cinema entertainment.
Photo: Historic American Building Survey