Between 1931 and 1934, three major road projects completely reshaped the easternmost stretch of Wilshire Boulevard, leaving behind the thoroughfare as we know it today. In addition to a two-block extension east of Figueroa Street and a causeway through Westlake Park, its former Orange Street right-of-way was widened from 60 to 90 feet, as illustrated in the above photographs. Though primarily for the benefit of automobile traffic, the project also widened the boulevard’s sidewalks from 10 to 17 feet.
As typical of large public works initiatives, its planning first emerged nearly a decade before its completion, even before the incorporation of Orange Street. Visible at the left edge of both photographs is a 13-story medical office building by John and Donald B. Parkinson, designed in anticipation of the widening project. At the time of its completion in 1928, the tower came with an extremely generous 40-foot sidewalk, as wide was the roadway itself.
Wilshire Boulevard’s eastern extension [urban diachrony]
1. “Asks Orange Street be named Wilshire.” Los Angeles Times. 20 Mar. 1924. A10.
2. “Improvement launched on Wilshire Boulevard.” Los Angeles Times. 6 May 1934. 25.
3. “Structure nears completion.” Los Angeles Times. 29 Jul 1928. E2.
1. “Chs-m470 – View of Wilshire Boulevard looking west from Bonnie Brae Street before widening, March 2, 1931.” Title Insurance and Trust/C. C. Pierce Photography Collection. USC Digital Library. USC Libraries Special Collections. http://digitallibrary.usc.edu/search/controller/view/chs-m470.html.
2. “Chs-m472 – View of Wilshire Boulevard west from Bonnie Brae Street after widening, December 3, 1934.” Title Insurance and Trust/C. C. Pierce Photography Collection. USC Digital Library. USC Libraries Special Collections. http://digitallibrary.usc.edu/search/controller/view/chs-m472.html.