Photo essay by Ryan Gierach, West Hollywood, California
Wandering around West Hollywood with a camera is a real treat, especially for someone with an interest in history and historic architecture.
In fact, my first book of history, published by Arcadia Publishing, was about a small town in Wisconsin that has an entire downtown area – seven blocks long containing 107 buildings – on the National Register of Historic Places, one of only six so protected in the nation.
The city, Cedarburg, was built by extraordinarily skilled and prosperous Germans who used the Greek-Italianate monumental style to create what would become known as the “City with the Stone Face.”
That’s why I called the history, “Cedarburg: A History Set in Stone” as a quip sarcastically questioning the solidity of history while paying obeisance to Cedarburg’s proud history.
Some of the buildings in West hollywood remind me of home.
West Hollywood and LA in general always attracted me because of the Churrigueresque Spanish Colonial Revival architecture as represented by El Mirador and the amazing buildings such as the French Revival Granville or the Colonial House noted architect, Leland Bryant.
The seven-story building located at 1314 N. Hayworth Avenue (Hayworth Tower) is constructed in the Art Deco architectural style. The building stands as an example of the high-rise apartment housing type favored by members of the film industry who migrated to West Hollywood from New York City in the 1920’s and 1930’s.
Such complexes as Patio del Moro, c. 1926 at Fountain and Harper Avenues, the city says was the first multi-family structure in the courtyard district and “illustrates the simple character of the beginnings of this significant development. It provides a historical vantage point from which to view and understand the increasingly ornate and sophisticated designs…
“This pattern of development also reflected an increasingly sophisticated population in the area, many of whom were associated with the film industry.”
The city’s web site also notes that El Mirador was designed by S. Charles Lee, and was constructed in 1929 by California Builders of Homes. The building represents the notable architect’s first project in the West Hollywood area. California Builders of Homes was also responsible for the construction of the Romanesque Villa, a building design by noted architect Leland Bryant, located one block east of the El Mirador.
I’ll leave you with this final image – it’s always fascinated me – of Sierra Towers, THE address in town.