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Old Posted Jul 16, 2013, 8:29 AM
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Beaudry Beaudry is offline
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Originally Posted by Johnny Socko View Post
Unusually for such stamps, the firm of Tryon & Brain were nice enough to include their address: "508-9 Merchants Trust Co. Bldg." I'm going from memory of research from a couple of weeks ago, but I believe the physical address of this building was 209 S Broadway. Below is a nice image I found on Brent Dickerson's CSULB page:


Do we know anything else about this building? Naturally, I could find no references using the forum's next-to-useless search engine.

I'm pretty sure we covered this'un, but if not, here she is again --

-- let's start a little earlier, so we're looking down B'way across Second:


It's June 1889. Brand new buildings galore. There's the California Bank Bldg at Second, 1887, Newsom Brothers, where Sumner Hunt had his offices and where he designed the Bradbury Bldg. Further down is the 1888 YMCA by Coxhead & Coxhead, and the third building down is the 1888 Potomac Block by Curlett & Eisen. For our purposes we're going to look at the YMCA:


In 1903 some of LA's fancy financiers filed articles of incorporation for Merchants' Trust, whose capital stock was 500k divided into 500 shares. Their offices were in the Bradbury Bldg, but that wasn't good enough; they bought the YMCA a stone's throw away and announced they were going to add two stories (à la the Bryson Bonebrake [also a Newsom creation] addition that removed the towers, one imagines) and fit the whole thing with offices.

They apparently decided a great Romanesque pile was too outmoded, because they hired Dennis & Farwell to replace it and who in 1905 produced one amazing Sullivanesque structure; it is at least evident D&F were aware of the Wainwright and/or Guaranty.


Too cool.


But here's the thing, most people remember this as a Water & Power building. The original offices were on Marchesseault, naturally -- named for LA's water overseer (and mayor) who shot himself in City Hall council chambers -- and when they proved too small they bounced around to various buildings, and in 1909-10 were going to build a five-story at Fifth and Olive; couldn't get it together, and the land was bought by the Biltmore folk. In 1921 Water & Power buy Merchants' Trust and it remains DWP until '65 (I know, the naming gets confusing; there actually was no DWP until 1937, when the Bureau of Water Works and Supply consolidates with the Bureau of Power and Light and becomes the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power), in that '65 of course is when the GOB, as it was known, was inaugurated. (As the DWP General Office Building was known as the GOB it will forever therefore just be GOB.)


But take a look at that super-cool ultra-modern building that's replaced the California Bank. That's a Paul C. Pape (best known for his luxury apartment hotels) from 1911 built for C. Wesley Roberts. It's later known as the Civic Center Building.


But you know what's really amazing, is that they're both still there.


Not that there isn't some charm to the 1964 modernization by William Hirch, but...from what I hear tell the facade changes are pretty cosmetic and those Louis Sullivan portholes can still be seen from within! There's nothing structural (despite what the owner claims, apparently) about the facade changes and I can only wistfully contemplate how cool it would be to return them to their former glory.

Granted, we may never quite get back to their former glory, exactly...


...but then, who knows?
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