Posted 4 years ago
For most of the 20th Century, the Los Angeles City Hall stood out as LA's most recognizable structure. Ground was broken at the site in 1926 and for the following two years 95,000 tons of materials were shaped into a dramatic Art Deco tower. It opened to the public in April, 1928, just ninety years ago. Los Angeles had previously enacted a height limitation on buildings restricting them to fifteen stories so when an exception was made for this twenty-nine floor monument, it instantly dominated the skyline. It wasn't until the 1960s that the height restrictions were repealed and not until the mid-1970s that taller buildings were erected.
The design of the City Hall is credited to architect John Parkinson (he had help). Based loosely on the Mausoleum of Mausolus, the tomb of a Persian official designed by Greek architects, the exterior displays definite Grecian and Romanesque influences. The interior is Byzantine in design and European in ornamentation. The building was conceived to reflect the American "melting pot", and is filled with symbolism and allegory.
Not just dominant in the skyline, the LA City Hall also dominated the souvenir market. It was probably the most common focus of Los Angeles souvenir items last century. It has lost some of its significance lately as it has become surrounded by larger neighbors.
For the collectors interested in the pictures - the first is the Microcosms detailed replica miniature building. According to the website, it was cast in 1997 in an edition of around 1000. The second picture is a small collection of small powder compacts. The smaller two date from the 1930s, the larger from the 1950s. The third, a grouping of 1940-60s vintage souvenir china - Vernon Kilns in the back, the rest are made in Japan. Featured in numerous movies and television shows, the Los Angeles City Hall is destroyed by space aliens in the final picture, a promo still from the 1953 movie "War of the Worlds".