The top photograph provides a nice view of the commercial building that previously stood at the southwest corner of Western Avenue and Fifth Street, also seen in the previous post. Originally built for an upscale restaurant named Marchetti’s, it appears to have been designed by local architects Smale and Blaize. Completed in 1925, the Renaissance Revival building was noticeably more elaborate than many of its neighbors; its ground floor was punctuated by arched windows and pilasters, while its one-story height was given a boost by a pitched terra cotta roof. The building’s diagonal corner featured an elaborate entrance and second floor, topped by a dumbbell-shaped sign directed at Western Avenue traffic.
During the late 1920s, Marchetti’s became one of the Wilshire District’s most fashionable eateries. The restaurant relocated to Beverly Hills in 1933, while its original space was replaced by Lucca’s, a San Francisco-based Italian restaurant. Lucca’s remained through the mid-1940s, and it seems that the building survived in restaurant use until at least 1955. It was ultimately replaced in 1973 by the present fast food restaurant and drive-through. The diagonal cut of the sidewalk at the lot’s corner is the only remnant of the original structure.
1. “Cafe raids by robbers net $17,610.”11 May. 1954. A1.
2. “Cafe structure proposed.” 18 May. 1924. D10.
3. “Christmas at the cafes.” 24 Dec. 1932. A5.
4. “Lucca restaurant” Advertisement. 20 Apr. 1946. 4.
5. “New Year’s at the cafes.” 31 Dec. 1933. 10.
6. Scheuer, Philip K. “Night clubs and cafes blossom in movie capital.” 18 Jul. 1937. C1.
7. Ward, Charles, M. Schibler, C. Miller, et al. “Historic Structure Report: 418 S. June Street Los Angeles, CA 90020.” June Street Architecture. http://junestreetarchitecture.com/ckfinder/userfiles/files/02_History.pdf
8. Zone Information and Map Access System (ZIMAS). City of Los Angeles, Department of City Planning. http://zimas.lacity.org/.
Original photo: Mott Studios. “Marchetti’s Restaurant – [Los Angeles?].” S. Charles Lee Papers. Calisphere. UCLA Library Special Collections. http://content.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/kt309nc5g5/.