During Los Angeles’ development boom of the early 1920s, Western Avenue was swiftly transformed from a barren highway into one of the city’s most substantial suburban business districts. Like many of the area’s historic structures, the buildings in the top photograph were each completed between 1921 and 1927. Two of them have survived until the present day. The right edge of both photographs shows the four-story Westgate Hotel (1924), one of the first to open along Western Avenue. The two-story retail and office block at the center right remains as well, but a flatter Moderne facade left by a 1939 renovation.
In the later half of the 20th century, Western Avenue’s street wall was slowly eroded by newer, automobile-oriented buildings. The two store buildings in the left foreground of the top photograph have since been demolished; the corner was replaced in 1973 by a one-story fast food restaurant that remains to this day.
West side of Western Avenue north of Fourth Street [urban diachrony]
1. Insurance maps of Los Angeles, California, Volume 8. New York: Sanborn Map Company, 1921.
2. “To open new hotel.” Los Angeles Times. 3 Feb. 1924. F15.
3. Zone Information and Map Access System (ZIMAS). City of Los Angeles, Department of City Planning. http://zimas.lacity.org/.