Wednesday, May 30, 2018

The Fontenoy

The glamorous Fortenoy Apts. beneath Whitley Heights overlooking Hollywood Blvd. mid-1920s

Angelino Heights, one of LA's earliest upper middle-class neighborhoods dating from the late 1800s

Mid-Wilshire, K-Town and below is the final resting place for much of what remains of pre-WWII Los Angeles. Whole neighborhoods of the central city were abandoned after the war.  Families bought new cars and headed the the Westside, purchasing acres of GI Bill funded Case Study style, smaller, modern nuclear family homes. Clean and lean; post war living was designed for mother, father and two children; no extra nooks and crannies for aunts, grandmothers and spinster sisters. The general population, modern home was designed to satisfy a massive housing shortage by building multiple units quickly at a reasonable price with the newest, labor saving construction materials like economical plywood, dry wall and plate glass.

 Now traffic and prices are pulling everyone back to an earlier 1930s population footprint.  This creates it's own push back challenges in Boyle Heights, Pico Union and other neighborhoods discarded years ago to immigrants and the help. On the grand urban history timeline the LA's contribution began a very short while ago. Unlike New York, or an ancient city such as Rome, we can almost reach back and touch LA's beginnings, a few four of five generations ago.


Pacific Theater - Hollywood Blvd. from a T55 Polaroid negative ©1998 Jim McHugh

The Pacific Theater, where the first "Talkie" debuted in Hollywood, was originally a Warner's theater. Looking closely one can see the old Warner's letters still remain on the inside of the tower. Economics perhaps, cheaper to add letters to the backside of the previous sign than
fabricating a new one.

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