Completed in 1921, the Bovard Administration Building marked a major milestone in the creation of the University of Southern California’s present-day campus. The John Parkinson-designed office building and auditorium formed the centerpiece of the university’s 1918 campus plan by John C. Austin, which began the definitive consolidation of its functions in University Park. For the first time, the university began to arrange its buildings in a linear campus along the west side of University Avenue (now Trousdale Parkway).
The evolution of University Avenue since then reflects both the university’s tremendous growth and the increased physical separation of its campus from the surrounding public realm. In the early 20th century, the avenue was served by Los Angeles Railway streetcars, whose tracks and wires are visible in the top photograph. In the early 1930s, the university successfully lobbied the transit company to end service along the route, citing safety concerns and dwindling passenger volumes. While streetcar service to the university continued along McClintock Avenue, the University Avenue tracks were replaced by planted medians. As the university proceeded with the gating of its campus, the thoroughfare was closed to outside traffic in 1953. It was fully rebuilt as a pedestrian mall in 1984 and rechristened under its present name, Trousdale Parkway.
University Avenue to Trousdale Parkway: A Brief History [KCET on Youtube]
1. “Board approves trolley tracks removal plea.” Los Angeles Times. 22 Dec. 1930. A1.
2. “Bovard building to relieve congestion.” Los Angeles Times. 24 Oct. 1920. II13.
3. Hunt, Rockwell D. “The University of Southern California’s semicentennial.” Los Angeles Times. 4 Jan. 1930. A4.
4. “Plans made public here for new and greater university.” Los Angeles Times. 26 May 1918. II1.
5. “Projected growth of Southern California institution shown pictorially.” Los Angeles Times. 29 Mar. 1931. D1.
6. “Will dedicate new structure.” Los Angeles Times. 19 Jun. 1921. V2.
Original photo: “CHS-M18560 – Exterior view of the Bovard Administration Building on the campus of the University of Southern California, [s.d.].” Title Insurance and Trust/C. C. Pierce Photography Collection. USC Digital Library. USC Libraries Special Collections. http://digitallibrary.usc.edu/search/controller/view/chs-m18560.html.