The Daily Mirror

Larry Harnisch reflects on Los Angeles history

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Company town II

 

2007_1215_craby_joes
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.


2007_1213_7th_main02

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


2007_1213_7th_main


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

 


2007_1213_deardens

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.

 


2007_1215_deardens02

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.

 


2007_1215_deardens

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.

 


2007_1215_figures

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

 


2007_1215_palace

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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Comments (7)

The laundry was on Olive between 7th and 8th - but nearer 7th.

--Hey thanks! What's your source?

--Larry

The Star was dramatist Eugene O'Neil's father, a stage veteran who had made the role of the Count so famous on Broadway and on the road across America.

--Are you sure about that? I would be interested in knowing your source.

--Most references I have found suggest Hobart Bosworth was in the 1908 Selig Polyscope version. However, I find references that James O'Neill did indeed make a 1912 version with Edwin S. Porter.

--Larry

If the Mayor dedicated it, wouldn't there be a publicity shot of that in the City Hall records?

Who was Mayor then, Norris Poulson? I recall the huge publicity he always got, mostly around the Dodgers coming to LA during that era.

--I actually posted a publicity shot (Mayor Norris Poulson with MGM actress Taina Elg) but the photo wasn't terribly helpful in determining the spot. I think I've fairly well established that the plaque was on the Dearden's/Overell's Building, but it's not visible today.

--Larry

Poulson's papers are at UCLA in archives, but if you want to spend the time looking, I'll bet you find the picture you want...

Look here:

http://209.85.173.104/search?q=cache:Q1e00RenTj8J:content.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/kt1489q3fd/+norris+poulson+papers&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=1&gl=us&ie=UTF-8

Cole's is closed?

Phillipe's is better anyway, but I hope Cole's reopens, if only for old times sake.

The building at the NW corner of 7th and Main was originally called the Board of Trade Building, and was designed by Curlett & Beelman, ca.1926. Bought by Bank of America in 1961, it was renovated and renamed the Bank of America Building. Quite a few pictures featuring it are online at USC digital archives. Search "Main, 7th"

--Thanks!

--Here's to Bukowski Square!

--Larry

hey Larry: since 2009 marks the 100th anniversary of filming in Los Angeles, let's start a movement to get that plaque back on Olive...harry.medved@fandango.com


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