The White City.


Many times have I passed the cement yard and concrete loft building on Romaine at LaBrea, never stopping or walking around the remnants of 1930s industrialism still present in present-day Los Angeles.


This past Saturday, I did stop, and parked on Romaine at Sycamore, behind the cement yard, in front of the Producer’s Film Library, housed in two story 1930s streamline building. Bold letters along the side announce CLIMATE CONTROLLED FILM AND TAPE STORAGE, already an industry preserving archival, not current media.

Without fanfare or specialness, there is a march of architectural glory along Romaine, a grouping of white structures; grand and confident, living, eternally young and confident, glistening and glorious against the blue sky, standing mutely on treeless streets and sidewalks.


Walk east on Romaine towards Highland and you will see a ten-story tall, long and narrow block of verticality towering over asphalt.

To your right, you will pass a one story curved building, gracefully and slickly embellished with rounded lines, rhythmic and functional steel windows.


At Highland, go south and stand under the crumbling grace of the old hexagonal Texaco station, a perfect jewel of Art Deco design, ravaged with cancerous vandalism, overhangs melting and dying.

On the east side of Highland at Willoughby, the magnificent white soap bubbles of the two story tall ALSCO factory speak of industrial architecture unafraid of plain spoken ornament.

No signs or guidance, no official sanction seems to value this district. Only the intelligence and intuition of the individual can detect the beauty, the drive, the fire and the dreams of old Los Angeles, the place that built for beauty 80 years ago atop bean fields and lettuce farms.

Get out and walk. Get out of the car. A city awaits.

6 thoughts on “The White City.

  1. note a few of those Romaine buildings are famous in their own right – google up Howard Hughes and his empire that was run out of the 7000 block there.

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