Sunday, July 15, 2007

Cecilia Rasmussen Is... In Error!

The idea of Cecilia Rasmussen - the LA Times maven of all things old Los Angeles ever being wrong is, of course... unimaginable. So she is, of course, never wrong. But on this one... very rare... occasion - her source is in error when it comes to one minor point.

The above linked article is an otherwise wonderful accounting of the history of Bullock's Wilshire at Wilshire and Westmoreland, which is of interest to me as I grew up just north of there at 312 S. Westmoreland. But the article also contains the below statement:

When it opened, the store was one of only three commercial buildings in the mid-Wilshire area, along with the Brown Derby and the Ambassador Hotel.

Alas - that statement is not even close to being correct, even though - for the most part, Mid-Wilshire was then mostly lined with homes, vacant lots, churches and a few apartment buildings.

But it also had a number of commercial uses prior to the 1929 opening of Bullock's Wilshire, which is not surprising since most of the area was mass rezoned to commercial clear back in 1926.

Also, the first business association for the area was started in 1920 and Charles Dunn set up his real estate brokerage in 1921 (and one of his sons - Joseph Dunn, was my next store neighbor when I grew up in the area back in the 1950's, the man who lived across the street helped survey the area west of Western and another neighbor, as a young boy, met Wyatt Earp in Tombstone when the neighbor's father was a cavalry officer at the Fort Hauchuca and then later knew Wyatt Earp when they later both lived full time in LA).

To give just three examples of other commercial uses, directly across the street from the Ambassador Hotel was and is .. the Gaylord Hotel built just after the Ambassador was built in 1921 (it was later a failed co-op and then became the apartment house it is today). And near-by - at 3257 Wilshire - in 1928 was the Roland Coate designed programmatic 'Carpet Service Station' straight out of the Arabian Nights, complete with baggy pants and fezzes on the attendants.

Lastly, at Oxford and Wilshire, there was/is an entire multi-story office building - the McKinley Building - that was built clear back in... 1923, six years before Bullock's Wilshire opened.

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