Friday, October 29, 2010

Your Chance to Tour "El Mio"

Smith Estate

If I weren’t going to be out of town for the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, you can bet your bippy I’d be taking advantage of this special tour of Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument No. 142, the Smith Estate AKA El Mio. If you cough up the five bucks (cheap!) and take the tour, why don’t you let those of us who can’t make it know what you thought? The event benefits the Milford Archaeological Research Institute. Here's the information and press release:

"El Mio" Tour Poster

"The LA city Cultural Monument Victorian residence of El Mio will be open for a Home tour and craft fair November 28, 2010. El Mio is perched on a hilltop overlooking historic Highland Park. Completed in 1887, the home was built in the Eastlake Queen Anne-style by the occults writer Judge David Patterson Hatch. In 1890 the residence was acquired by Charles William Smith and remained in the Smith family until the 1960s. In 1900 Smith was appointed by Henry E. Huntington to run the Los Angeles Railway’s Yellow Car trolley system. From his hilltop home he could see the Arroyo Seco Valley being developed with rail lines running from downtown to Pasadena. It is due to the Smith's long residence that the house is listed as "The Smith Estate" on the National Register of Historic Places.

In the late 1980s ardent preservationists Michael and Lacy Gage purchased the house
and were responsible for various restorations. The current owners Tim and Mari Parker
acquired the home in 1997, and after a devastating fire in 2001, have been working to
restore the home to its original luster. It has a rebuilt attic, the exterior color scheme is based on the original, and the interior has been largely decorated to reflect the original period. The home has Victorian furnishings and hand painted stenciling in the entrance hall, dining room, and many of the other rooms. The Parkers have graciously offered to open their home for a tour and craft fair. Tickets are available for the home tour by calling 213 309 8854 or via email at Proceeds from ticket and craft sales are tax deductible and support the Milford Archaeological Research Institute, a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing public awareness and the understanding of archaeology in the Desert Southwest."

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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Strolling on Seventh Street

Fine Arts Building

What are you doing on November 7? No, no, no. I mean besides celebrating King Kong Bundy's birthday. Well, you better be taking the L.A. Conservancy's walking tour of downtown's 7th Street. The deal is for thirty bucks ($25 for Conservancy members - cheap!) you walk the stretch from Figueroa to Los Angeles, stopping at a bunch of sites for guided tours. These sites include Historic-Cultural Monument No. 125, the Fine Arts Building (that's one of the building's Burt W. Johnson sculptures above), and that lobby alone is worth the price of admission. Other sites include:

Broadway Plaza (Macy’s Plaza) (Charles Luckman Associates, 1973) - This plaza is one of the few modern buildings on Seventh and was the first "megastructure" in the U.S., combining a hotel with office and retail space. Guests will visit the circular glass Polaris Room atop the Sheraton Hotel, once a rotating restaurant known as Angel's Flight and now used only for private events.

Roosevelt Building (The Roosevelt) (Curlett and Beelman, 1927) - Touted as Southern California's largest office building when it opened, this massive structure now features over 200 residential units and a restored lobby with spectacular marble mosaic floors.

Brock & Co. (Seven Grand) (Dodd and Richards, 1922) - Once dubbed the “Tiffany’s of California,” Brock’s provided jewelry and china to an elite clientele. The building later housed Clifton’s Silver Spoon cafeteria and now serves as home to the super-hip whiskey bar Seven Grand. Guests will have the chance to pore over original ledgers from Brock & Co., including a 1920s diamond register with intricate sketches of jewelry pieces.

Coulter Dry Good Company & Henning Building (The Mandel) (Dodd and Richards, 1917) - Coulter Dry Goods Company was Los Angeles’ oldest mercantile establishment when it moved to its sixth location in 1917. Now combined with its small neighbor to the west, the building offers loft-style housing and an enormous rooftop garden with stunning views.

St. Vincent’s Court - A unique urban space, St. Vincent’s Court is at the heart of the former Bullock’s Department Store complex. Still a working alley, this dead-end street has eclectic charm and a surprising history.

Hellman Commercial Trust & Savings Bank (SB Spring) (Schultze and Weaver, 1925) - This building's two-story bank lobby, with ornamental ceilings by Giovanni Smeraldi, is a study in marble and bronze opulence -- and a popular filming location.

Overell’s (Dearden’s Home Furnishings) (Architect unknown, c. 1906) - Celebrating a century of business downtown, Dearden’s Home Furnishings has for decades occupied the building originally constructed for another furniture store, Overell’s. Dearden’s is a beloved community icon, an old-school classic, and the last remaining example of the many furniture stores that once filled the district.

Santee Court (Arthur W. Angel, 1911) - Located in the birthplace of L.A.’s fashion district, Santee Court’s vintage industrial buildings now form a thriving loft-style housing complex around a central courtyard. The featured loft on the tour occupies a space formed by connecting two buildings, resulting in an amazing "ghost sign" in the living room.

The event begins at 10:00 a.m., November 7. For more information, make with the clicks here. See you there - I'll be the guy with the camera.

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