With structures that go back to the 19th and early 20th centuries, the city of Los Angeles is a standing history lesson. Locals and visitors can delight in the architecture of private homes and the history of early Hollywood and be impressed by the efforts of the community to keep its past alive. Following are a few historical gems in the City of Angels.
Cathedral of Saint Vibiana
114 S Main St
Los Angeles, CA 90012
As people walked around Vibiana’s grounds during Style Fashion Week last October, one must wonder how many knew they were walking on history. Now an event space, Vibiana opened in 1876 as the Cathedral of the Catholic Church in Los Angeles and it remained so for over 100 years. A decade ago, the cathedral was moved near the 101 Freeway, where we now know it as the Cathedral of the Lady of Los Angeles. The Cathedral of Saint Vibiana was designed by Ezra F. Kysor, the same architect who worked on the historic Pico House, as a baroque-inspired structure that was a landmark in its time and continues to be a gorgeous building.
Related: Best Historical Spots In Los Angeles
2421 S Figueroa St
Los Angeles, CA 90007
This house was built in 1891 for the lumber and banking millionaire Thomas Douglas Stimson. In its time, it was the costliest and most beautiful private residence in an area that was known as Millionaires’ Row. In due form, the interior of the house contains many types of woods, although the exterior was built with red stones brought from a quarry in New Mexico. This impressive house was a family home until 1940. Since then it has served as a fraternity house, a convent and a filming location.
Pio Pico State Historic Park
6003 Pioneer Blvd
Whittier, CA 90606
The house of Pio de Jesus Pico, the last governor of California under Mexican rule, is at this location. Until June of this year, the 1850’s landmark was on the list of state parks that California was to close by July in an attempt to save money, but the Friends of Pio Pico raised $10,000 to keep the park open at least until the end of this year. The City of Whittier contributed $30,000 more, but unless another $40,000 is raised, the park will have to close in December 2012.
Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel
7000 Hollywood Blvd
Hollywood, CA 90028
Built in 1927, the Roosevelt in Hollywood was the site of the 1st Academy Awards celebrated two years later. Big names in popular culture have lived or stayed at the Roosevelt including Marilyn Monroe, Clark Gable and Charlie Chaplin. The Spanish-style hotel has become increasingly popular lately due to its nightclub on the main floor and the cabana-style venue on the top floor. Much of the Roosevelt’s fame, however, is due to the urban myths of the ghost apparitions within the premises – sights primarily of Marilyn Monroe and Montgomery Clift – which have often been reported although never confirmed.
Pasadena City Hall
100 N Garfield Ave
Pasadena, CA 91199
Part of the City Beautiful movement of the 1920s, Pasadena City Hall is an impressive building in Spanish Colonial Revival style. City Beautiful reformed North American architecture and urban planning under the philosophy that the beautification of the cities would encourage moral and civic virtue in the population. There are certainly few buildings as eye-pleasing as the illuminated Pasadena City Hall at night.
Dena Burroughs is a freelance writer living in Azusa, CA. She is a CSULA graduate with specialties in Creative Writing and Communications. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.