Much unlike its current form, Pershing Square’s 1910 design by John Parkinson featured a circular plaza at the park’s center, built around a central fountain by Johan Caspar Lachne Gruenfeld. As if to symbolize the city’s own decentralization, neither of the park’s two subsequent redesigns in 1953 and 1994 have made use of a central focal point.
The Biltmore Hotel, which occupies over half the length of Pershing Square’s western edge, remains the park’s most prominent adjacent landmark, almost eight decades after its completion in 1923. Unsurprisingly, the building has also consistently been one of the park’s most photogenic backdrops. Few photographs taken of Pershing Square and the Biltmore Hotel have failed to picture both at the same time.
Source: Rasmussen, Cecilia. “The (d)evolution of a downtown landmark.” Los Angeles Times. 19 Aug. 2007.
Original photo: “View of Pershing Square and Biltmore Hotel in background, ca. 1930 – chs-m17336.” No date. California Historical Society Collection. USC Digital Library. USC Libraries Special Collections. http://digitallibrary.usc.edu/assetserver/controller/view/search/CHS-36998.