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Lost L.A.: At old Home Savings branches, public artwork ages in peril


Lost_Home_Savings_Fa_adeLook at some banks and you'll see more than a loss of public confidence. You might see a loss of public art. In his latest Lost L.A. column, Sam Watters writes about the artwork that defined Howard F. Ahmanson Sr.'s Home Savings of America branches across Southern California for about 50 years:

An imposing building along Main Street convinced Mom and Dad that money was safe at Home Savings of America. To this end, Ahmanson paid for marble-clad temples to the once-mighty dollar, decorated with murals, stained glass and sculpture on walls and at entrance facades.

The Leland Means painting at top was the basis for this mosaic mural on a Home Savings branch in Santa Monica, now demolished. Millard Sheets, Susan Hertel and Denis O'Connor worked with Ahmanson's company to create art for other locations. (Images of others appear on the Mural Conservancy of Los Angeles website. Scroll down to "Home Savings..." ) Read the full column and check out our growing Lost L.A. archive.

-- Craig Nakano

Photo credits: Denis O’Connor Collection / Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens

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I do remember (just barely) the beautiful Home Savings buildings. Local Savings & Loans were community-based, and were integrated and involved with the success or failure of the local community. Now they've been eaten up by international financial institutions that care about nothing but executive bonuses. A sad decay.

Home Savings of America brings back good memories. Walking into these banks was like walking into someone's home.


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