As we prepare to celebrate the roaring ’20s, let’s take a moment to say goodbye to some historic places that we lost in the last decade. Even though the 2010s brought us great advances from Survey L.A., an epic historical review of every parcel in the city, to the first-ever landmark ordinance in Beverly Hills, beautiful old bits of the city continue to disappear. We’ll miss the old Roosevelt High School in Boyle Heights, the Sports Arena, and the Watercourt downtown, and mourn these other lost landmarks demolished during the last ten years.
6th Street Bridge
Weepy history lovers, cruising lowriders, and a mass migration of photographers eager to capture the span before it fell marked the last days of this graceful connection between downtown and Boyle Heights. At least this one died from natural causes: an alkali-silica reaction that caused the concrete to become unstable.
L.A.’s modern masters Pereira & Luckman designed this glamorous department store with a glamorous address in 1952. It came down in 2014. You know and love their work: CBS Television City, L.A. Center Studios, and the LAX Theme Building.
Sportsmen’s Lodge Events Center
The site of an untold number of weddings, bar mitzvahs, and Rotary Club meetings attended by generations of Valleyites was destroyed earlier this year to make way for a shopping center. The history of the site as a suburban fishing hole will be reflected in a lavish landscaping plan that includes big trees, waterways, and a memorial plaque. (The hotel still stands.)
Palos Verdes Estates
One of the most spectacular buildings by Frank Lloyd Wright’s son Lloyd Wright was this home that sat on a stone perch like a majestic bird overlooking the Palos Verdes Peninsula. The glorious beast was a mint-condition original still sparkling from 1959 when it was demolished in 2012.
Wells Fargo Court
Lawrence Halprin was one of the most acclaimed landscape designers in America when he was brought in to create this indoor garden filled with ponds, palms, and museum-quality modern art by Robert Graham, Joan Miro, and Jean Dubuffet. It is being replaced by a rather sterile room referred to as the “amenity plaza.”
L.A.’s most acclaimed theater designer, S. Charles Lee, created this lamella-roofed showcase in 1947 and topped it with a giant animated neon star. The only movie house in the area went to porn in the 1970s but was resurrected a couple of times as a live theater and Spanish-language showcase before finally falling in 2019 to make way for condos.
Horse racing was the ultimate glamour sport for 1930s Hollywood stars. Icons like Lucille Ball and Fred Astaire could often be seen at Santa Anita or Hollywood Park betting on the races. A new stadium for the Los Angeles Rams will replace the 1938 structure—and change the face of the city.
Architect Welton Becket shaped much of the look of midcentury Los Angeles. His Capitol Records building, Cinerama Dome, and Santa Monica Civic Auditorium are icons of Southern California. Becket’s 1955 police administration building was built in an era of technological advancement and was admired by law enforcement officials and architecture fans alike. The process of taking it down began in 2018 and wrapped up this year.
Ports O’ Call Village
Visionary restaurant operator David Tallichet began his career with a tiki bar in Long Beach called the Reef. He brought the theme restaurant to new heights in the 1960s with creations like the Rusty Pelican, 94th Aero Squadron, and the Proud Bird. His Ports O’Call Village was an elaborate seaside themed environment that could still transport you, even if it was a little ragged around the edges. San Pedro Fish Market and the Crusty Crab are still open.
The Friars Club
If a building could embody the midcentury hipness of the Rat Pack, it would probably be this clubhouse for comedians in the heart of Beverly Hills. The swanky environs were filled with the ghosts of old Hollywood enjoying one more martini in the dark before it came down in 2011.
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