Looking west on Sixth Street from Main Street, c.1920-2012

6thMainWc. 1920-2012

Within ten years of the Pacific Electric Building’s opening, the blocks of Sixth Street immediately to the west went through a rapid spurt of development, replacing a low-rise district with a new downtown center. The four-story building at the northwest corner with Main Street, initially known as the Severance Building, was completed around 1906 (right foreground). Across the street on the left is the ten-story Central Building, finished in 1908. Immediately behind the two are the Grosse Building (c. 1906) and Merchants National Bank tower (1914).

Only the last of those four structures remains today. The Grosse Building was demolished in the late 1950s and replaced by the United California Bank (1961), the district’s first Modernist tower. Starting in the 1930s, the bottom floors of the Central Building served as a long-distance bus terminal for Santa Fe Trailways, which moved its buses to Union Station in 1979. The Central Building and Severance Building were apparently demolished shortly after that date, replaced by the parking lots which remain to this day.

1. Blakeslee, Sandra. “L.A. Looking up for its future energy.” Los Angeles Times. 7 Oct. 1979. C1.
2. “Death summons noted designer.” Los Angeles Times. 23 Jan. 1914. II1.
3. “East Sixth Street, East Seventh Street.” Los Angeles Times. 26 Aug. 1906. V17.
4. Insurance maps of Los Angeles, California: Volume 2. New York: Sanborn Map Company, 1906.
5. Kinchen, David M. “Developers bet on comeback for Spring Street.” Los Angeles Times. 12 May 1985. I1.
6. “Large downtown lease deal told.” Los Angeles Times. 7 Aug. 1938. 14.
7. Santa Fe Trailways. Newspaper Advertisement. Los Angeles Times. 11 May 1939. 6.
Original photo: Graham Photo Co. “00014174 – Looking west on 6th St.” Los Angeles Public Library. http://photos.lapl.org/carlweb/jsp/FullRecord?databaseID=968&record=3&controlNumber=20807.

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