The Philharmonic Auditorium was not the only historic building to disappear from Pershing Square’s perimeter in the 1980s. Two of the Auditorium’s longstanding neighbors, the First German United Methodist Church and the former Auditorium Hotel, were demolished in 1988 to make way for the Gas Company Tower, completed three years later. While the office tower remains one of the most recognizable skyscrapers in the downtown skyline, its sidewalk presence is decidedly rather dull.
The First German Methodist Church built its Olive Street home in 1910, a compact but bulky English Gothic Revival building designed by Albert R. Walker and John T. Vawter. Despite the ever-growing geographic spread of its members, the city’s largest German-speaking congregation remained downtown for over seven decades, although its church building lost many of its architectural details to renovations. After leaving its downtown home in 1988, the congregation spent nine years in Eagle Rock before settling in its current Glendale location in 1997.
The adjacent Auditorium Hotel, named after the nearby Philharmonic Auditorium, was also completed in 1910. The architects, Otto H. Neher and C. F. Skilling, gave the building a largely classical design, topped off with Moorish Revival ornamentation mimicking that of its namesake landmark. Oddly enough, much like the Auditorium, the hotel received a similar facelift sometime later, leaving it with the pared down, late-Deco appearance shown above. After a change in ownership in 1929, the establishment was renamed the San Carlos Hotel, a name which it kept until the end of its existence.
A juicier history of the Auditorium Hotel [On Bunker Hill]
1. “A companion-piece of the Auditorium.” Los Angeles Times. 5 Feb. 1910. II 1.
2. “Church homes are imposing.” Los Angeles Times. 12 Jun. 1910. V1.
3. “Downtown Unit planned.” Los Angeles Times. 3 Feb. 1929. E1.
4. Guccione, Jean. “A living tradition. Los Angeles Times. 3 Feb. 2001. B5.
Original photo: “View of the west side of Olive Street at Fifth Street, showing the First German United Methodist Church, 1985(?) – chs-m682.” 1985. Title Insurance and Trust/C. C. Pierce Photography Collection. USC Digital Library. USC Libraries Special Collections. http://digitallibrary.usc.edu/assetserver/controller/view/CHS-42143.