The onset of the Great Depression signaled the end of Wilshire Boulevard’s first major growth spurt. After nearly three decades of speculation and soaring property values, the Wilshire District’s main street had seen the completion of a number of prized landmark structures, like the Wilshire Christian Church (1927) shown prominently above. The thoroughfare had also acquired a number of boosterish monikers like the “Fifth Avenue of the West.” Nonetheless, much of it still appeared strikingly suburban, and for all of its elegance, it was not yet the grand urban boulevard that many had envisioned.
As if in response to the area’s flagging residential cachet, Wilshire Center became a frenetic hub of office construction during the 1950s and 1960s. Spearheaded by Tishman Realty & Construction, the boom left behind a transformed boulevard flanked by Modernist office towers, and some of the city’s greatest density outside of Downtown.
The original intersection of Irolo Street with Wilshire Boulevard is visible in the right foreground of the original photograph. In the mid-1960s, during the construction of a nearby office building at 3740 Wilshire, Irolo was closed between Wilshire and Seventh Street, and rerouted diagonally to intersect with Normandie Avenue. The space now serves as the entrance plaza for the Wilshire/Normandie Metro station.
Wilshire Christian Church Building [Big Orange Landmarks]
1. “Soaring Wilshire Values told.” Los Angeles Times. 8 Apr. 1928. E7.
2. Sutherland, Henry. “What happened on Wilshire Blvd.? A firm named Tishman arrived.” Los Angeles Times. 9 Apr. 1967. O1.
Original photograph: “View of the intersection of Irolo Street and Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles, January 1931 – chs-m436.” 1931. Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce Collection. USC Digital Library. USC Libraries Special Collections. http://digitallibrary.usc.edu/assetserver/controller/view/search/CHS-35273.