In the decade following the First World War, Downtown’s central core made its final southward push, making previously peripheral Eighth Street a major corridor of large scale commercial construction. While height-limit office towers went up further west, the vicinity of its intersection with Los Angeles Street became the new hub of the city’s burgeoning garment manufacturing district.
The two-story building behind the parking lot in the top photograph is the oldest structure in view, completed around 1918. The strangely quaint Gothic Revival building, designed by Morgan, Walls & Morgan, was first used as offices for the Marion R. Gray Company, producers of men’s neckties and shirts. Unfortunately, its original facade (better pictured here) has since been largely destroyed and covered up.
The remainder of the block rose swiftly afterwards. The height-limit Milton G. Cooper Building (far right) was completed in 1924, around the same time as the Stewart-Dawes Shoe Company Building (far left). The 12-story Maxwell Building (left), one of the city’s tallest warehouse structures, opened in 1925. The last major addition was another six-story building for the Gray Company, designed by Morgan, Walls & Clements and begun in 1926.
Save for a later expansion to the Cooper Building, the above view remained essentially unchanged through the end of the century. It was not until 2005 that the parking lot in the foreground finally made way for a more intensive use. Sadly, the shopping center that now stands in its place is without a doubt one of the city’s most aggressively ugly buildings.
1. “Buildings leased.” Los Angeles Times. 17 Jun 1917. V1.
2. “Factory expansions continue, showing increased activity here.” Los Angeles Times. 19 Jul. 1925. F9.
3. Gray, Olive. “Dry goods concern greets public.” Los Angeles Times. 21 Aug. 1924. A5.
4. Maese, Kathryn. “The big makeover.” Los Angeles Downtown News. 15 Aug 2005. 1.
5. “Plan trio of fine buildings.” Los Angeles Times. 17 May 1923. V1.
6. “Two buildings announced.” Los Angeles Times. 4 Apr. 1926. E4.
Original photo: Dick Whittington Studio. “Los Angeles Street, at Eighth Street on the southeast corner.” 1926. “Dick” Whittington Photography Collection. USC Digital Library. USC Libraries Special Collections. http://digitallibrary.usc.edu/assetserver/controller/view/DW-3-105-1-ISLA.