During the 1920s, the Western Avenue vicinity of the Wilshire District saw the completion of many of the city’s finest small-scale commercial buildings. The top photograph provides a nice view of the McKinley Building (1927) and Wilshire Central Building (1928), which straddled the northern corners of Wilshire Boulevard’s intersection with Oxford Avenue. The two structures, along with the nearby Chapman Market, were considered true exemplars of the city’s Spanish Baroque Revival commercial architecture. Nonetheless, the Wilshire Central was demolished in the late 1960s to make way for the Ahmanson Center towers, now known as the Wilshire Colonnade. Its slightly older sibling survived until 1998, when it too was torn down and replaced by a one-story pharmacy.
Though it may not be much consolation for those losses, the Wilshire Colonnade is a rare example of architectural continuity in Los Angeles. The early postmodernist design by Edward Durrell Stone Associates took after the most defining features of Spanish Revival, including arched columns, an arcaded ground floor, and a central courtyard and fountain. The office complex’s twin tower layout is furthermore quite reminiscent of the symmetrical massing between the McKinley and Wilshire Central Buildings.
1. “Deals hit half million.” Los Angeles Times. 2 Dec. 1928. E6.
2. “Firm acquires new quarters.” Los Angeles Times. 30 Oct. 1927. E4.
3. Hebert, Ray. “$75 million Wilshire Blvd. complex.” Los Angeles Times. 6 Jun. 1969. SG1.
Original photo: “Facing east on Wilshire Boulevard from Serrano Avenue – whit-m662.” Dick Whittington Photography Collection. USC Digital Library. USC Libraries Special Collections. http://digitallibrary.usc.edu/assetserver/controller/view/DW-15-137-9-ISLA.