The top photograph shows the 1500 block of Vine Street on a hazy day in 1953, just past Hollywood’s mid-century heyday. What the montage doesn’t show is the drastic decline that plagued the neighborhood between then and now. The building at the northwest corner of Sunset Boulevard and Vine Street (far left), which once housed the longstanding institutions Wallich’s Music City, Coffee Dan’s, and Alexander’s Stationers, was demolished in 1982 and replaced by a strip mall. On the other end of the block, the Streamline Moderne Hollywood Recreation Building (ABC Radio City in 1953) was abandoned for good in 1993 and left to rot for nearly a decade.
In 2002, the groundbreaking for the Sunset+Vine development, a 750,000 square foot apartment and retail complex at the northwest corner of its namesake intersection, came as a sure sign of Hollywood’s long-awaited renaissance. Completed in 2004, the project incorporated the Hollywood Recreation Center’s preserved Vine Street facade.
The 1953 Kodachrome is used with the generous permission of Flickr user ElectroSpark, whose gallery contains a great collection of vintage photographs.
1. Williams, Gregory Paul. The Story of Hollywood. Los Angeeles: BL Press, 2006.
2. Vincent, Roger. “Blackrock Purchases Sunset+Vine Complex.” Los Angeles Times. 4 Feb. 2005.
Original photo: ElectroSpark. “Vine St., Hollywood, Los Angeles – 1953.” Online photo. Flickr. 26 Mar. 2010. http://www.flickr.com/photos/electrospark/4465448547/.