The top photograph shows the very abrupt transition between Bunker Hill’s aging residential sections and the growing business center to the east. In the shadows of their much taller neighbors, several old residences can be seen in the right foreground, in addition to the Antlers Hotel (c. 1902) on the left. Particularly shaken by downtown’s decline and redevelopment, the intersection of Fourth and Hill Streets eventually lost each of the buildings that stood on its corners in the early 20th century.
Perhaps the most noticeable losses in this view are the white terra cotta office towers that occupied the intersection’s northwest and southwest corners, the Black Building (1913) and Wright and Callendar Building (c. 1907). Perenially starved for office space, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power purchased the Wright and Callendar Building in 1946, and leased much of the Black Building in 1958. The towers were vacated in 1964 when the agency moved to its current Civic Center headquarters. It appears that both buildings were demolished shortly afterwards, and their block of Fourth Street was subsequently widened.
Looking north from Fourth and Hill Streets, c. 1930s-2010 [urban diachrony]
1. “Expansion of hotels.” Los Angeles Times. 26 Sep. 1902. A8.
2. Hebert, Ray. “Water Dept. wants tenants for buildings.” Los Angeles Times. 15 Apr. 1963. 31.
3. “On Hill and Fourth.” Los Angeles Times. 25 Mar. 1906. V1.
4. “Twenty new skyscrapers.” Los Angeles Times. 22 Jun. 1913. V1.
5. “Water Dept. quest for home may end in 1964.” Los Angeles Times. 13 Aug. 1961. F7.”
6. “Water, Power buildings face sale Monday.” Los Angeles Times. 2 May 1965. I2.
Original photo: “ACSC-M143 – Looking east along 4th Street from Olive Street intersection, showing moving and parked traffic, Los Angeles, 1922.” Automobile Club of Southern California engineering notebook photoprints. USC Digital Library. Automobile Club of Southern California. http://digitallibrary.usc.edu/search/controller/view/acsc-m143.html.