America’s second largest city began with 11 Spanish families comprising 44 settlers along the banks of the Los Angeles River in 1781. The regular flooding caused the homesteaders’ pueblo to be moved to higher ground nearby but the settlement was little more than a ranch until Spanish Colonial rule ended in 1820. As part of a newly independent Mexico the pace of building of streets and adobe shelters picked up but even after a generation of American immigration beginning in 1848 Los Angeles remained a sleepy agricultural town with dirt streets and a population less than 10,000.

Then the Southern Pacific Railroad arrived in 1876 and oil was discovered in 1892. The population soared to over 100,000 by 1900, half a million by 1920 and a million by 1930. During that time the government needed to manage that kind of growth began to assemble along a ridge just south of the original Los Angeles Pueblo. The Civic Center became the administrative core of city, state, and federal government offices, buildings, and courthouses. Today more government workers can be found here than anywhere in the United States outside of Washington, DC.

Our walking tour of the Civic Center will step a couple blocks west into the cultural heart of downtown and a block north to where the oldest part of Los Angeles can be found preserved in a two-block area but we will begin with the building that is emblazoned on the all the City’s police badges...

1.
Los Angeles City Hall
bounded by Spring Street, Main Street, 1st Street and Temple Street

Englishman John B. Parkinson apprenticed for six years as a contractor/builder before coming to North America as a lark when he was 21 in 1883. He built fences in Winnipeg and learned stair-building in Minneapolis. He returned to England but was not encouraged about his prospects on the native island. He sailed back to America and came all the way to the Napa Valley in California where he again took up stair-buildings and picked up the odd architectural job every now and then. In 1889 he set out for Seattle to be a draftsman but could not get hired. Instead he opened his own architectural firm and began winning design competitions and commissions but the work dried up during the Panic of 1893. Faced with no projects, nor prospects for work in Seattle, Parkinson moved to Los Angeles in 1894 and hung out his shingle on Spring Street. In 1905 he teamed with G. Edwin Bergstrom to form what we be the City’s dominant architectural firm until its dissolution ten years later. Having come of age in the Victorian era, Parkinson was still at his drafting board in 1926 to design City Hall with John C. Austin. Albert C. Martin supplied the engineering expertise for the 454-foot tower that is the tallest base-isolated structure in the world. Sand from each of California’s 58 counties was mixed with water from each of its 21 historical missions to form the concrete.

ON THE SOUTH SIDE, ACROSS 1ST STREET FROM CITY HALL PARK IS...

2.
LAPD Headquarters
100 West 1st Street between Main and Spring streets

The Los Angeles Police Department organized in 1869 with six paid officers starting their beats from a wing of old City Hall. The LAPD did not get their own building until 1896 and this 11-story concrete and frosted glass structure is only their third home, completed in 2009 on plans drawn by by Paul Danna and Jose Palacios. The design reflects America’s increased security concerns for high-profile public buildings - the structure is set back 75 feet from the street on every side and the irregular pattern of the windows is intended to discourage possible sniper bullets.  

FACING LAPD HEADQUARTERS, TURN LEFT AND WALK TO THE CORNER OF MAIN STREET. TURN RIGHT AND WALK SOUTH DOWN TO THE CORNER OF 2ND STREET.

3.
Cathedral of Saint Vibiana
southeast corner of 2nd and Main streets

This is one of the last remaining buildings from the city’s pioneer days but it did not arrive in the 21st century without a struggle. The Diocese of Monterey-Los Angeles began pointing towards a cathedral on this land donated by Amiel Cavalier in 1859. Over $80,000 was poured into the building which, when dedicated in 1876, could seat 1,200 parishioners in its sanctuary. The town of Los Angeles barely had 10,000 residents at the time. Architect Ezra F. Kysor supplied the Baroque-inspired Italianate design although its current appearance dates mostly to a 1920s makeover. For more than a century St. Vibiana’s remained the official cathedral of Los Angeles but even its facility was being overgrown by rapidly expanding Los Angeles. The 1994 Northridge Earthquake dealt a crippling blow to the cathedral and the Archdiocese began demolition without public notice. When the bell tower was being dismantled alarmed preservationists hurriedly obtained a temporary restraining order and got the structure placed on a list of America’s “Most Endangered Places.” After a protracted battle in and out of court the Archdiocese agreed to move a few blocks away and the cathedral was taken over by the city and sold to a developer. Today the historic structure does duty as a library and event center.  

4.
Higgins Building  
108 West 2nd Street at southwest corner of Main Street

Thomas Patrick Higgins was born in Ireland in 1844 during the potato famine and sailed to New York when he was 20. He made a living mining and lumbering and eventually wound up chasing copper in Arizona. Higgins could not pay for fancy mechanical drilling equipment so he dug by hand - a tunnel the length of two football fields into a sun-baked Bisbee hillside. It was the start of one of America’s great copper fortunes. Higgins brought his satchels full of money to Los Angeles in the early 1900s to begin developing real estate. He started with the Bisbee Hotel at 3rd and Main and then developed this site, purchasing an existing Victorian office block for $200,000 and spending another $500,000 to construct this commercial high-rise in 1910. Architect Arthur L. Haley dressed his Beaux Arts creation in marble walls and brass fittings and pushed the building right to the newly-imposed city height limit of 150 feet, towering over its surroundings. Higgins even put an electrical power plant in the basement, one of the city’s first private generators. Higgins died in 1920 so he never saw the decline of Main Street that occurred shortly thereafter and the subsequent deterioration of the neighborhood. The Higgins Building itself spent more than 30 years vacant but has recently been resuscitated as a mixed-use facility.

TURN RIGHT ON 2ND STREET. TURN RIGHT ON SPRING STREET AND RETURN TO 1ST STREET. TURN LEFT AND ON THE CORNER IS...

5.
Times Mirror Square
202 West 1st Street between Spring Street and Broadway

America’s fourth most-read newspaper operates from this three-building complex, centered around Gordon Kaufmann’s 1934 Art Deco creation at the southwest corner of Spring Street and 1st Street. Nathan Cole, Jr., who was only 21 years old, and Thomas Gardiner put out the first edition of the Los Angeles Daily Times in 1881 but the two were forced to surrender the paper to their printer when they couldn’t pay the press bill. Gardiner drifted into other newspaper work but Cole left journalism for real estate and eventually a post as Los Angeles city police commissioner. The new owners meanwhile recruited Harrison Gary Otis from Santa Barbara and he made the Times a success, tirelessly promoting both his paper and the growth of his adopted city. The massive streamlined walls of Kaufmann’s Times Building are a trademark of his style - not surprising for the English architect whose crowning achievement was work on the Hoover Dam. The lobby rotunda is graced with a mural by Hugo Ballin, a classically trained artist who directed and produced silent films. When Hollywood began making “talkies” Ballin left movies and went back to art, becoming a prominent muralist at many Southern California landmarks. To the south of the Times Building is a ten-story addition from the pen of Rowland D. Crawford that housed the Los Angeles Mirror, a post-World War II afternoon launch by the Times that survived only into the 1960s, and the six-story addition along 1st Street is a 1970s structure by William L. Pereira. 

CONTINUE WALKING WEST ON 1ST STREET, AWAY FROM CITY HALL. THE LOS ANGELES DOWNTOWN SKYLINE IS ON YOUR LEFT AS YOU WALK

6.
Stanley Mosk Courthouse
1st Street between Hill Street and Grand Avenue

One of the earliest Los Angeles landmarks was its glorious red sandstone Romanesque county courthouse that was raised here in 1891. Age and earthquake tremors conspired to bring it down in 1936. The justice complex that replaced it in the 1950s came with a price tag of $24 million and required a team of local architects. Exterior ornamentation was kept to a minimum but the Hill Street entrance sports a bas relief of Lady Justice on an otherwise blank wall. The building carries the name of Stanley Mosk, a Texan who served longer than any other justice on the California Supreme Court - 37 years. 

CONTINUE ON 1ST STREET TO GRAND AVENUE AND THE CENTER OF THE FOUR-VENUE LOS ANGLES MUSIC CENTER. ACROSS GRAND AVENUE TO YOUR LEFT IS...

7.
Walt Disney Concert Hall
111 South Grand Avenue at southwest corner of 1st Street 

In 1987 Lillian Disney, wife of Walt Disney for 41 years, pledged $50 million for a new city city concert hall. She was 88 years old at the time and even though she lived until just a few weeks shy of her 99th birthday, she never saw the hall completed. And her generous gift would not even cover half the cost of the underground parking garage. When the project was completed in 2003 an estimated $274 million had been spent and there wasn’t even enough money to skin world famous architect Frank Gehry’s creation in the stone he designed. It was replaced with a less costly metal covering. But the building has been a triumph artistically and acoustically since it debuted as the home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic orchestra and the Los Angeles Master Chorale. 

TURN RIGHT ON NORTH GRAND AVENUE.

8.
Dorothy Chandler Pavilion
135 North Grand Avenue at northwest corner of 1st Street

This building was the foundation for the Los Angeles Music Center, the result of efforts by Dorothy Buffum Chandler of the Los Angeles Times newspaper family to find a suitable stage for the Los Angeles Philharmonic in the 1960s. Completed on plans drawn by Welton Becket in 1964, the theater seats more than 3,000 spread across five tiers. The interior space is augmented by 78 crystal light fixtures including a trio of chandeliers crafted with 24,000 individual pieces of hand-polished German crystal. The Dorothy Chandler Pavilion was beamed into living rooms around the world as the long-time home of the Academy Awards.

9.
Mark Taper Forum
135 North Grand Avenue on the plaza along the west side

Welton Becket designed this perfectly cylindrical building with an exterior drum that is decorated by an atmospheric precast relief-sculpture mural by Jacques Overhoff and surrounded by two reflecting pools. Funds for the building were provided in 1962 by Mark Taper who ran shoe stores in England in the 1920s and invested the money wisely in California real estate. The 750-seat Taper is most often used by the Center Theater Group and has hosted many world premiere productions.  

10.
Ahmanson Theatre
southwest corner of North Grand Avenue and Temple Street

This is the final of Wilton Becket’s 1960s trifecta of performance venues for the Los Angeles Music Center; it carries the name of Howard Ahamnson who made his fortune selling fire insurance. It opened in 1967 and boasts the the largest theatrical season-ticket subscription base on the West Coast.

TURN RIGHT ON TEMPLE STREET.

11.
Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels
555 West Temple Street between Grand Avenue and Hill Street

When the town’s Archdiocese agreed to abandon Saint Vibiana, these five acres are where they came to minister to the estimated four million Catholics in their care. Spanish architect Rafael Moneo created the post-modern cathedral with a series of every angle except 90-degree right ones. The 12-story tall structure that opened in 2002 can handle over 3,000 worshipers at any one time. The final price tag of $189 million - $3 million for the main bronze doors alone - prompted criticism that church money could have been better spent on social programs.

12.
Hall of Records Building
320 West Temple Street at southeast corner of Hill Street

Completed in 1958, this is a rare commercial highrise from one of the most significant modernist architects of the 20th century, Richard Neutra, with a design assist from his partner of ten years, Robert E. Alexander. The Hungarian-born Neutra came to the United States when he was 31 in 1923 and his first work in Los Angeles was in landscape architecture. He developed his own practice and went on to design numerous buildings embodying the International Style, twelve of which are designated as Historic Cultural Monuments around the City.

13.
Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center
210 West Temple Street at southeast corner of Broadway

During a four-decade career architect Adrian Wilson shepherded many landmark downtown Los Angeles buildings to grand openings, including this block-filling house of justice with 850,000 square feet. Such high-visibility cases as the O.J. Simpson murder trial, the Phil Spector murder trial and the trial of Dr. Conrad Murray for the death of Michael Jackson took place here.  

14.
L.A. County Hall of Justice  
211 West Temple Street at northwest corner of Broadway

This grand Italian Renaissance structure dressed in granite was constructed in 1925 to serve a full menu of legal functions for Los Angeles County. The Sheriff’s Department was here, the Coroner (autopsies on Marilyn Monroe and Robert Kennedy were performed here), both the District Attorney and Public Defender’s offices were here, and the building served as the primary county jail (Charles Manson and Bugsy Siegel were each incarcerated here for a time). After the Northridge Earthquake struck in 1994, causing damage across 2,192 square miles of Southern California, the building was declared unsuitable for occupancy. It has stood silent and unused ever since although there is talk of bringing the Sheriff’s Department back. Even if you never ran afoul of California law you might recognize this city icon from scores of movies and television shows, including Dragnet and Perry Mason

15.
United States Court House
Spring Street, Temple Street, and Main Street

This is the third federal building to be constructed in Los Angeles; the second, from 1910, was torn down in 1937 to make way for this one. Gilbert Stanley Underwood, who maintained a busy practice providing plans for post offices and courthouses and was the Department of Interior’s go-to designer for national park lodges, created this Art Moderne tour de force. The building soars seventeen stories after stepping back from the lower stories, much as its neighbor to the south, City Hall does. When it was finished the courthouse, clad in polished gray granite and pink terra cotta was the largest federal building in the West. 

TURN LEFT ON MAIN STREET.

16.
Triforium/Los Angles Mall
northeast corner of North Main and Temple streets

The Mall was designed in the 1970s by Robert Stockwell who hired artist Joseph Young to create a distinctive work to crown the project. The Triforium blended art and technology into the tower from which Young originally planned to fire laser beams into space. That proved too costly for a sculpture already hovering around a million dollars. Instead the Triforium became the first public sculpture to synchronize light and sound by the use of a computer. That primitive computer, however, was overwhelmed by its task and the Triforium never quite performed as designed and fell into disrepair. After spending practically its entire life in the dark the lighting effects were restored in 2006. 

CONTINUE ON MAIN STREET ACROSS THE SANTA ANA FREEWAY AND INTO THE SITE OF THE PUEBLO DE LOS ANGELES WHERE THE CITY BEGAN IN 1781.

17.
Masonic Hall
416 North Main Street on northeast corner of Acadia Street

Builders William Hayes Perry and James Brady were constructing a simple brick structure on this corner for their carpentry and furniture-making business in 1858 when members of Perry’s Masonic Lodge 42 made him an offer he couldn’t refuse - build a lodge room on the second floor and we’ll loan you money for construction and pay $20 a month rent. Lodge 42 boasted several prominent members, including the first two mayors in the American period, Alpheus P. Hodge and Benjamin D. Wilson. The building’s current Italianate appearance dates to the 1870s when it received a facelift to bring it in harmonious step with its new neighbors to the north. The Masons drifted away before 1900 but the building trundled on, doing time as a boarding house and pawn shop. In 1981, however, the Freemasons returned to the historic space as the home for Los Angeles City Lodge 841.

18.
Merced Theatre  
420 North Main Street

Constructed in 1870, this is one of the first structures in Los Angeles erected specifically as an entertainment venue. William Abbot, the son of Swiss immigrants, was the impresario and he named the theater for his wife, Maria Merced Garcia. Architect Ezra F. Kysor provided the ornate Italianate design, all the rage on American streets at the time. There were performances in both English and Spanish and the Merced was quickly established as the center of the town’s theater activity but its heyday was short-lived. Competition and a smallpox epidemic conspired to end of the Merced’s run on New Year’s Day, 1877.  

19.
Pico House
430 North Main Street at southeast corner of the Plaza

Pio Pico experienced most of the 19th century, being born in 1801 and living until 1894. He was born a Spaniard in New Spain, became a Mexican citizen as a young man, and finally obtained United States citizensship. Pico started in business by running a tanning hut and crude saloon in 1821 and became one of the richest and most influential men in Alta California. He put in two stints as governor of Alta California, including the last under Mexican rule. Pico held no grudges for long, however, and threw himself into business, eventually controlling over a half-million acres of land. In 1868 he and his brother Andres sold most of their San Fernando Valley lands to acquire funds for what they planned to be the “finest hotel in Los Angeles.” The Picos hired the town’s leading architect, Ezra F. Kysor, to design the 82-room guest house. He delivered the first three-story building in town in an Italianate style with its stucco walls scored to resemble granite. Unfortunately the later years of Pico’s life were not distinguished by the success of his early days. Financial reversals caused him to lose the hotel in 1880 and he lived out his life in near poverty

20.
Vickrey-Brunswig Building/Plaza House
501 North Main Street

This pair of 1880s commercial buildings have recently been revived from a 1991 fire. William Vickrey’s distaste for the family farm and cold Illinois winters set him on a business odyssey across the country after he finally left in 1872 when he was 28. He moved to Kansas to be a shopkeeper and got involved in organizing a bank which led him to another bank in Arkansas. In 1881 he purged those interests and brought his family to Los Angeles to take charge of the Rosedale Cemetery. He was back in the financial game in 1887 as president of the East Side Bank and constructed this substantial five-story brick building as its home. In 1897 it was sold to the Braun Drug Company which became the Brunswig Drug Company ten years later. The Plaza House is an 1883 creation of architect Octavius Morgan, a partner of Ezra F. Kysor. The client was Philippe Garnier, a French immigrant, who sailed to California when he was 18 in 1859 to raise sheep with his brothers. He developed several Los Angeles properties and this one included retail space and a small residential hotel upstairs. The buildings now house LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes, a cultural center dedicated to Los Angeles’ Mexican American heritage.

21.
Plaza Church
535 North Main Street 

La Iglesia de Nuestra Senora la Reina de Los Angeles - the Church of Our Lady the Queen of Angels - is the oldest church in Los Angeles, dedicated on December 8, 1822. Constructed by local residents, the adobe church has seen many restorations through the decades but is still conducting services which makes it the oldest building in the city still serving its original purpose.

22.
La Plaza Park
east side of North Main Street

A city-square was always the center of commercial and social life in early Los Angeles under Spanish rule and Mexican rule. This is the third location for La Plaza, the first being closer to the Los Angeles River to the southeast. Flooding forced a retreat to higher ground across the street and has been here for the better part of 200 years. It may not look the same but the festivals and celebrations are timeless.

23.
Simpson-Jones Building
northeast corner of North Main Street and the Plaza

This land was owned by a Los Angeles mayor, Cristobal Aguilar, and the first governor of California from the southern end of the state, John Downey. The site contained the rambling adobe home of the John and Doria Jones that was sacrificed in a street widening in the 1880s. Doria Jones constructed this building in 1894 to house the works of the William Gregory Engine Company, known as Moline Engines. The current appearance on Main Street dates to 1960 and an attempt to dress up the old machine shop as a Mexican-styled bank.  

24.
Machine Shop
620 North Main Street 

This low-slung commercial brick building was constructed around 1915 as a machine shop with arched openings and access to both Main Street and Olvera Street. After Olvera Street was transformed into a Mexican marketplace the machinery was replaced with cushioned seats for the short-lived Leo Carillo Theater. For its new life, two of the arches were unfortunately filled in and stuccoed over.

25.
Sepulveda House
622-624 North Main Street

Señora Eloisa Martinez de Sepulveda came north from Senora, Mexico with her family when she was 11. She married Joaquin Sepulveda and when he died in 1880 after 23 years of marriage she was a wealthy single woman. Señora de Sepulveda believed Main Street was poised to become the commercial heart of the about-to-boom Los Angles. She poured $8,000 into the town’s first Victorian mansion that she hoped would be the cornerstone of an urbane, Eastern-style shopping district. It never happened and the Sepulveda House sat in the midst of machine shops and boarding houses that did a brisk trade in the pleasures of the flesh. Señora de Sepulveda gave the house to her favorite niece in 1901, two years before she died. After Union Station opened across the street the house did duty as a USO canteen and was a favorite stop for GIs passing in and out of town. Refurbished today, the Sepulveda House operates a visitor center.  

26.
Italian Hall
644 North Main Street at southeast corner of Cesar E. Chavez Avenue

Italian immigrants began settling in the El Pueblo in 1855 and made their mark with businesses and development of several buildings. This Italian community center for meetings, banquets and entertainment was constructed in 1908 on plans drawn by 42-year old architect Julius W. Krause. The south wall features a full-width mural painted in 1932 by David Alfaro Siqueiros, a Mexican social realist painter who was one of the founders of Mexican Muralism. Siqueiros was also a political extremist who participated in an unsuccessful attempt to assassinate Russian Marxist politician Leon Trotsky in 1940 and his work here that featured an Indian bound to a double cross, surmounted by an imperialist eagle and surrounded by pre-Columbian symbols and revolutionary figures sparked such controversy that it was whitewashed over before being restored.

TURN RIGHT ON CESAR E. CHAVEZ AVENUE. THE TWIN-TOWERED BUILDING AHEAD ON THE LEFT, ACROSS ALAMEDA STREET, IS...

27.
Los Angeles Terminal Annex
900 North Alameda Street

The grand building with the Spanish Colonial Revival flavor was constructed in 1940 for the most mundane of purposes - sorting the mail. Architect Gilbert Stanley Underwood used part of the $3 million construction budget to insure harmony with Union Station across the street. Even with 400,000 square feet of working space the facility was overwhelmed within ten years and a $12 million expansion was required. 

BEFORE YOU REACH ALAMEDA STREET, TURN RIGHT THROUGH THE STONE PILLARS ONTO THE STREET WHERE LOS ANGELES WAS BORN...

28.
Olvera Street

The oldest part of Los Angeles, this short street was known as Wine Street until 1877 when it took the name of Augustin Olvera, a city councilman and judge who presided over his first trials from his home just off the dirt street. It was also about that time that the town began to leak out to the south, down Spring Street and Broadway and Main Street. It wasn’t long before the area around Olvera Street slid into disrepair and it was an unsavory stew of drifters, vagrants and other shady characters that greeted Christine Sterling, a San Francisco socialite recently transplanted to Los Angeles, when she saw the neighborhood for the first time in 1926. But smitten with the town’s Spanish-flavored heritage, she dreamed of a Mexican marketplace that would mix Latin romance with a healthy dose of capitalism. She was able to stir the imagination of Los Angeles Times publisher Harry Chandler, a powerful ally, with her plans but the City Council took years to come around. Finally on Easter Sunday 1930 the Paseo de Los Angeles opened as “A Mexican Street of Yesterday in a City of Today.” It was a instant success and today Olvera Street continues to pay homage to old Mexico in 27 historic buildings housing shops and restaurants as part of Los Angles State Historic Park.

29.
Pelanconi House/La Golondrina
West 17 Olvera Street

This is the oldest brick house in Los Angeles, assembled by Giuseppi Cavacciand, a vintner. Antonio Pelanconi purchased the house in 1871 and it has been a restaurant since 1930 when the street was reborn as a tourist destination - the oldest eatery on Olvera Street. 

30.
Avila Adobe
East 10 Olvera Street

This is the oldest building in Los Angeles, created from sun-baked adobe bricks in 1818 by Don Francisco ?vila, a wealthy cattle rancher. During the last gasps of the Mexican-American War U.S. Navy Commodore Robert F. Stockton fought his way into Los Angeles from San Diego and made the adobe, the largest structure in the area, his temporary headquarters for what turned out to be the final three remaining days of the war. The adobe spent many deteriorating years as rental property until earthquake tremors finished it off in the eyes of the City, which condemned it in 1928. It was that date with the wrecking ball that ignited Christine Sterling’s campaign to resurrect Olvera Street. She took over ownership of the property and would remain until her death in 1963. 

WHEN YOU REACH THE PLAZA TURN LEFT, TOWARDS ALAMEDA STREET.

31.
Plaza Methodist Church
south end of Olvera Street at Plaza

This is the site of the adobe of Agustin Olvera, the namesake of Olvera Street. The Methodists began sending missionaries to Los Angeles around 1880 to tend to the spiritual needs of Mexican and Chinese immigrants. This church was constructed in 1926; its appearance dates to the 1960s. The attached Biscailuz Building (named in 1968 after Eugene Biscailuz who assisted Christine Sterling to preserve this swatch of historic Los Angeles in his post as a city sheriff) was built at the same time and did duty as the United Methodist Church Conference headquarters, the Plaza Community Center and the Consulate-General of Mexico. Today it houses the administrative offices of the El Pueblo organization.

FOLLOW THE WALK OVER TO ALAMEDA STREET TO HAVE A LOOK AT... 

32.
Union Station
800 North Alameda Street

They don’t build ‘em like this anymore. Literally. Los Angeles Union Passenger Terminal was the last of the grand railroad stations to be constructed in the United States when it opened in 1939. As it is, its 18 tracks and seven platforms make it modest in size compared to other “union” stations that preceded it around the country. The station took over service from La Grande Station and Central Station and originally served the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway, Southern Pacific Railroad, and Union Pacific Railroad, as well as the Pacific Electric Railway and Los Angeles Railway. The father-and-son team of John and Donald Parkinson were the lead architects on the team that delivered a blend of old world Mission Revival and trendy Streamline Moderne styles for the terminal. Union Station is generously landscaped with gardens, not the usual greeting an urban rail traveler typically receives when stepping off the train.

TURN AND RETRACE YOUR STEPS ALONG LOS ANGELES STREET AS IT CURVES ALONG THE PLAZA.

33.
Fire House No. 1
126 Plaza Street at Los Angeles Street

This brick building was the first structure in Los Angeles to be erected for the sole purpose of housing fire fighting equipment and personnel. The price tag in 1884 was $4,665. A chunk of that money was used by architect William Boring to design stables inside for the horses. Boring hailed from Illinois where the fire horses no doubt appreciated such an amenity whereas Los Angeles horses may have preferred to stay outside all year. Boring even included a turntable in the floor so firemen did not have to waste time backing the horses out of the station house. The company moved out in 1897 and the building avoided demolition by toiling for a parade of masters as a flop house, a saloon and more. In 1960 the old paint was scraped away and the eyesore spruced back up in a restoration as a museum.   

34.
Garnier Building/Chinese American Museum
425 North Los Angeles Street

This is another property developed by Philippe Garnier, in 1890 with brick and stone trim. It was a larger structure at the time; the southern portion was sacrificed for the freeway in the 1950s. Since 2003 the Chinese American Museum, the first museum devoted to the experience of Chinese Americans in California, has operated here. Before this area was cleared to make room for Union Station in the 1930s this was the original Los Angeles Chinatown. 

CONTINUE ON LOS ANGELES STREET AND CROSS THE FREEWAY. AT TEMPLE STREET TURN RIGHT. 

35.
James K. Hahn City Hall East
200 North Main Street at southeast corner of Temple Street

This adjunct to handle an overflowing city government was raised in the 1970s on plans from Jesse Earl Stanton and William Francis Stockwell, whose fingerprints are on much of the newer work in the Civic Center. James K. Hahn only served one term as mayor, ending in 2005, but he was also city attorney and controller during a long career of public service. He is the only person to have been elected to all three posts.

YOU HAVE NOW RETURNED TO THE TOUR STARTING POINT.