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Company town II

December 15, 2007 |  4:50 pm

 

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Photographs by Larry Harnisch / Los Angeles Times

I ended up making two trips to 7th and Main to see if I could photograph the 50-year-old plaque commemorating the birth of the film industry in Los Angeles. Although I didn't locate the plaque, I at least found where it used to be (the story of so many historic sites in Los Angeles).

This intersection, which I have now named "Charles Bukowski Square," is home to Craby Joe's, apparently Bukowski's favorite watering hole. However, the Daily Mirror gave up bars that open at 10 a.m. many years ago, so there are no pictures of the interior.

At the northeast corner of 7th and Main, just south of Craby Joe's, is a shoe shop. Not a terribly likely candidate for a plaque.


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At the northwest corner is a large, old building that I'm not readily able to identify. Obviously the right vintage, but no plaque.


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At the southwest corner, there's a restaurant--and no plaque.

 


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Aha. Dearden's. The original Times story said the plaque was installed on a large furniture store, but there was nothing on the building's exterior.

I retired to the Daily Mirror HQ for further research and an examination of the Los Angeles street directory for 1956, thanks to the Los Angeles Public Library.

On my second trip, I roamed the store and I have to say that going through the doors at Dearden's is like stepping back to the department stores of my childhood: Toys, major appliances, kitchen gadgets and furniture (no clothing, however). And the store was packed.

 


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Finally, someone escorted me out to the corner to show me where the plaque used to be. Alas, it has either disappeared or is beneath a metal facade installed as part of the roll-down security doors.

 


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The former site of the plaque honoring the birthplace of the film industry in Los Angeles.

Ah well, at least I confirmed the location. 

While I was wandering the area, I got a couple of random shots.

 


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Here's some interesting figures in a shop window (yes, they also read Tarot cards here).

 


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And the back of the Palace Theatre, as seen from Spring Street.

What impressed me the most is how much this area is becoming gentrified. When I started at The Times, the current parking structure was under construction so we had to use a shuttle that took us to a huge parking lot at 4th and Main, which I considered the DMZ. I never thought I would see the day that there was an upscale pet supply store at 6th and Main in downtown Los Angeles.

And maybe one of these days, Cole's will reopen. Let's hope.

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