My Art Deco tour ends at this building, on the corner of 9th and Broadway. One of the most beautiful Art Deco buildings, or any style of building for that matter in LA.Did you know that many buildings actually own the sidewalks? They do, and in many cases are generous enough to let the city/public use them. Back in the 1930s they often decorated them, here in colored Terrazzo, including the name of the building.What it is really known for, aside from the blue and turquoise terra cotta is the four sided clock tower. This clock tower rises 114 ft about the height limit for buildings in Los Angeles. (Limit of 150 ft was in place until 1959), 114 ft billboard, the space couldn’t be rented out, it could house elevator or air-conditioning equipment, but had to remain empty otherwise.So between the height and the color, this building really stood out on the skyline of downtown.Today the building is getting crowded in by new construction. I used to park in that parking lot, but now with the fencing around it, they are already digging for foundations for a very tall building. New construction in downtown is happening on every parking lot. So I had to rush and get as many images as possible.Images like this are still possible, but very soon, it won’t be empty blue sky in the background.It will be glimpses through alleyways.This is all you can see from across Broadway, impressive, but missing the pyramid. Side view. The clock says Eastern on all sides. The building was built by Adolph Sieroty, a Polish Jew who arrived in California in 1892 along with his brothers and cousins. He was 16 at the time. Together they started the Eastern Clock company – which sold appliances, home furnishings and clocks. By 1894 (Adolph is 18) he moves to Los Angeles, and opens another store – Columbia – this one selling soft goods, clothes, linens and other such household items.The two businesses did very well, by the late 1920’s Adolph decided to build a flagship store and headquarters. The stores would remain separate but he would combine the business side, buying, shipping and such.
The building would not only have the colored terra cotta (Gladding McBean) but real gold and copper. In 1929 prices, he paid $25,000 for the gold alone. The copper has oxidized to somewhat match the tile.One reason for all the details is to give work to people during the depression. He hired the Architect Claud Beelman who had already built many of downtowns Art Deco office buildings. Most of the gold is used in the entrance. The vestibule is two stories high with an incredible sunburst. I need a better picture, the band above the door is embossed with the date the company started, 1892, the date this building was completed, 1930 as well as the name of Adolph himself.Great detail was given to the terrazzo chevrons here. During the 25 years that the two stores occupied the building, there was a long hallway that ran the length of the building, The Eastern was on one side and the Columbia on the other, so shoppers could easily go from one to another.I am rarely downtown at night so to get this images is a treat. Ten years ago the building was converted to loft apartments and is one of the most successful residential buildings downtown. I have been fortunate to visit two of them. The apartments themselves are very spare – of course each owner can do as they wish, but initially you are given concrete walls and floors. Yes, Johnny Depp does own four of the lofts on the penthouse level. People who live in the buiding have confirmed seeing him in the elevator. Another improvement is that now the clock tower is being used. A pool, jacuzzi and workout room are up on the roof.
I think it was 18 years ago that I interviewed here for a textile job, the building had a very different feel at the time, as did the whole area. Change is always happening, although no longer the tallest building at this end of Broadway, it is still a gorgeous, well loved, well used landmark in downtown.
New addition, got those photos I was missing.