Looking east on Fifth Street from Hill Street, 1922-2013


Much of Los Angeles’ prewar downtown had reached the height of its development by the early 1920s. The two blocks of Fifth Street between Hill and Spring Streets, pictured above, had largely been filled by highrise office buildings during the previous decade. The top photograph shows the intersection of Fifth and Hill Streets, animated by busy mix of pedestrian, streetcar, and automobile traffic. The right side of the view also includes the corner of the A. L. Bath Building, introduced in the previous post.

The last few highrises along this section of Fifth Street were built within several years of the original photograph. The Pershing Square Building (far left of present view) and Chester Williams Building (left background) were completed in 1924 and 1926, respectively. Although each of the street’s towers have survived through the present, its low-rise blocks have since been cleared. As seen on the right side of the contemporary photograph, a portion of Fifth Street was widened for an additional turn lane during the construction of Pershing Square Station’s south plaza.

1. Richardson, Eric. “Pershing Square Building still growing.” Blogdowntown. 15 Oct. 2008. http://blogdowntown.com/2008/10/3715-pershing-square-building-still-growing.
2. Zone Information and Map Access System (ZIMAS). City of Los Angeles, Department of City Planning. http://zimas.lacity.org/.
Original photograph: “Showing first unit of Fifth Street Department Store on 5th Street now under construction, Los Angeles, 1922 – AAA-EN-132-9.” Automobile Club of Southern California collection. USC Digital Library. Automobile Club of Southern California. http://digitallibrary.usc.edu/cdm/singleitem/collection/p15799coll59/id/385/rec/9.

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