North side of Wilshire Boulevard at Westmoreland Avenue, 1928-2014


As in many recent posts on Wilshire Boulevard, the top photograph shows a few of the Wilshire District’s early houses on the eve of the thoroughfare’s swift transition to a major commercial corridor. Today, the corner sits near the eastern end of the Wilshire Center office district, and is home to two little-known towers built by two of 20th century Los Angeles’ most prolific firms, both of whom were highly influential in the creation of modern Wilshire Boulevard.

The building on the left is the U.S. Borax Building, completed in 1963 as the national headquarters of its namesake chemicals corporation. Designed by Welton Becket & Associates, the nine-story structure’s design was notable for its use of load-bearing exterior walls, which by then had fallen out of favor in commercial construction. Made of sculptured concrete, its façades are punctuated by deeply recessed windows in rounded openings, reminiscent of a grille when viewed at a distance. After languishing in recent years as a half-vacant, mid-tier office tower, it was converted during 2013 to a 123-unit apartment building.

The right side of today’s view shows the base of the unremarkably named Wilshire Centre Building, completed in 1974 by Langdon & Wilson Architects. Somewhat less stocky in appearance than its neighbor, the 12-story building’s main volume sits several feet behind the smooth concrete columns along its sides. At the time of its opening, the tower boasted the only heliport in the city’s greater Mid-Wilshire area.

The story of the Fisher house, whose lawn is at the right of the top view [The Historic Los Angeles Blogs]

1. Brandt, Nadja. “King of down-market offices bets on rentals: Real estate.” Bloomberg. 17 Jun. 2013.
2. “Structure uses sculpted walls.” Los Angeles Times. 7 Oct. 1962. M1.
3. “U.S. Borax leases Wilshire Building.” Los Angeles Times. 30 Jun. 1963. N29.
4. “Wilshire Building is project of union fund.” Los Angeles Times. 9 Apr. 1972. I19.
5. “Wilshire Centre has new safety devices.” Los Angeles Times. 10 Mar. 1974. G22.
Original photo: Dick Whittington Studio. “Street intersections and views around 6th Street and Vermont Avenue, Los Angeles, CA, 1928 – DW-1928-08-20-75~03.” “Dick” Whittington Photography Collection. USC Digital Library. USC Libraries Special Collections.

This entry was posted in Koreatown/Mid-Wilshire, Los Angeles, Then and now, Wilshire Boulevard and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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