The intersection of Third and Spring Streets, as it appears in the original photograph, was largely built up during the 1880s and 1890s, on the eve of South Spring Street’s transformation into Los Angeles’ primary office corridor. From left to right, the top photo shows the turreted Hotel Ramona (1886), the curved-cornered Douglas Building (1898), the dome-turreted Stimson Building (1893), and the Lankershim Building (1887).
The crowds and streetcars that once jammed this part of downtown are now long gone, and the Douglas Building is the only structure in the original view that has survived into the 21st century. The Hotel Ramona was torn down in 1912 to make way for the 13-story Washington Building which still stands today. The Stimson Building, considered by some to be the city’s first skyscraper, was damaged by fire in 1962 and demolished the following year, replaced by a parking lot. The Lankershim Building, later renamed the Title Insurance Building, seems to have been demolished around the same time. Its former footprint is now part of the Ronald Reagan State Office Building complex.
1. “An out-of-door climate.” Los Angeles Times. 8 Jul. 1893. p. 4.
2. “Display ad 212-no title.” Los Angeles Times. 10 Jun. 1962. J4.
3. “Must be removed. Costly changes must be made on the Douglas Block.” Los Angeles Times. 27 Aug. 1898. p. 7.
4. “Other business houses.” Los Angeles Times. 1 Jul. 1887. p. 2.
5. “Stubborn downtown fire quelled.” Los Angeles Times. 9 Dec. 1962. D7.
6. Thomas, Kevin. “First skyscraper in city to fall; parking lot due.” Los Angeles Times. 1 Apr. 1963. p. 34.
7. “To start big block in July.” Los Angeles Times. 16 Jun. 1912. V1.
Original photo: “View of Spring Street looking north from below Third Street in Los Angeles, ca.1918 – chs-m20123.” California Historical Society Collection. USC Digital Library. USC Libraries Special Collections. http://digitallibrary.usc.edu/assetserver/controller/view/CHS-14078.