I am on a mission, to introduce and make the name John Parkinson a household name in Los Angeles. About 5 years ago I went on my first downtown tour with the LA Conservancy, The name John Parkinson kept coming up, it seemed like he, along with his son Donald built many of the wonderful buildings downtown.
I became a docent and soon I was showing off a few of his many amazing buildings. I didn’t know a lot about him, just that he came from England and was a stair builder before he became and architect. Lucky for us, Stephen Gee, another Brit who moved to LA, had also taken a conservancy tour. He got very interested in this fellow compatriot and started researching. Before you know it he wrote and published this bookIconic Vision, Stephen Gee, I know, it’s a hard cover book and the cost reflects that, but I read it like a novel.
John Parkinson designed our most important buildings in LA, city hall, the coliseum, a large part of the campus of USC, Union station…. I could go on and I will in other posts. He was largely forgotten, most people don’t know his name. Due to this book an possibly because his time has come, the city of Los Angeles is setting out to honor him and to make him more of a household name here.
Last year this plaque was put up on the Crocker bank building on the NW corner of Sixth and Spring st.Can you tell its not easy to see this plaque? That is because it is blocked by a Ficus tree. Normally I’m thrilled to see trees downtown, but really, they had to block this plaque?!
So yesterday the city named the intersection of Sixth and Spring st. John Parkinson Square. All four buildings on the corners of this intersection were designed by him. I went to the ceremony in the Palm Court of the Alexandria hotel. The room has been spruced up.This was a fancy restaurant in the early 20th c.There are two identical skylights as well as the third that is the header for this post.Great-grandaughters and one husband, great-greatgrandson along with city council-members Tom LaBonge and Jose Huizar awarding the certificate. The great-greatgrandson is studying architecture. Most of the family no longer lives in LA, although one has promised to return, this just feels like home.Stephen Gee, who really got the ball rolling discussing the man and his book.Proud family, proud councilman, and for those us of attending, a very proud happy moment.I will be sharing more of his actual work in later posts. Of course I would love it if you came on one of our LA Conservancy walking tours. I do one a month, so if you want to follow me, make sure to ask me personally. Of course the other docents are wonderful as well, we all share a real deep love for this city.