Different views of the Richfield Tower (aka Richfield Oil Building) downtown Los Angeles, 1929 to 1969

The glorious Richfield Tower (aka the Richfield Oil Building) stood at 555 South Flower Street in downtown Los Angeles between 1929 to 1969.

Richfield Tower (aka Richfield Oil Building) downtown Los Angeles, 1929 to 1969Richfield Tower (aka Richfield Oil Building) downtown Los Angeles, 1929 to 1969  The Richfield Building, headquarters of Richfield Oil, was a 12-story Art Deco tower in Los Angeles designed by Stiles ClementsRichfield Tower (aka Richfield Oil Building) downtown Los Angeles, 1929 to 1969 Richfield Tower (aka Richfield Oil Building) downtown Los Angeles, 1929 to 1969 Richfield Tower (aka Richfield Oil Building) downtown Los Angeles, 1929 to 1969 Richfield Tower (aka Richfield Oil Building) downtown Los Angeles, 1929 to 1969 Richfield Tower (aka Richfield Oil Building) downtown Los Angeles, 1929 to 1969 Richfield Tower (aka Richfield Oil Building) downtown Los Angeles, 1929 to 1969 Richfield Tower (aka Richfield Oil Building) downtown Los Angeles, 1929 to 1969Richfield Building 1954Richfield Building with freewaysView of RIchfield Building, downtown Los Angeles, circa early 1960sRichfield Tower (aka Richfield Oil Building) downtown Los Angeles, 1929 to 1969

Richfield Tower (aka Richfield Oil Building) downtown Los Angeles, 1929 to 1969Richfield Tower (aka Richfield Oil Building) downtown Los Angeles, 1929 to 1969 Richfield Tower (aka Richfield Oil Building) downtown Los Angeles, 1929 to 1969 Richfield Tower (aka Richfield Oil Building) downtown Los Angeles, 1929 to 1969 Richfield Tower (aka Richfield Oil Building) downtown Los Angeles, 1929 to 1969 Richfield Tower (aka Richfield Oil Building) downtown Los Angeles, 1929 to 1969 Richfield Tower (aka Richfield Oil Building) downtown Los Angeles, 1929 to 1969 Richfield Tower (aka Richfield Oil Building) downtown Los Angeles, 1929 to 1969Richfield Tower (aka Richfield Oil Building) downtown Los Angeles, 1929 to 1969Richfield Tower (aka Richfield Oil Building) downtown Los Angeles, 1929 to 1969 Richfield Tower (aka Richfield Oil Building) downtown Los Angeles, 1929 to 1969 Richfield Tower (aka Richfield Oil Building) downtown Los Angeles, 1929 to 1969 Richfield Tower (aka Richfield Oil Building) downtown Los Angeles, 1929 to 1969 Richfield Tower (aka Richfield Oil Building) downtown Los Angeles, 1929 to 1969 Richfield Tower (aka Richfield Oil Building) downtown Los Angeles, 1929 to 1969 Richfield Tower (aka Richfield Oil Building) downtown Los Angeles, 1929 to 1969Richfield Tower (aka Richfield Oil Building) downtown Los Angeles, 1929 to 1969Richfield Tower (aka Richfield Oil Building) downtown Los Angeles, 1929 to 1969 Richfield Tower (aka Richfield Oil Building) downtown Los Angeles, 1929 to 1969 Richfield Tower (aka Richfield Oil Building) downtown Los Angeles, 1929 to 1969 Richfield Tower (aka Richfield Oil Building) downtown Los Angeles, 1929 to 1969 Richfield Tower (aka Richfield Oil Building) downtown Los Angeles, 1929 to 1969 Richfield Tower (aka Richfield Oil Building) downtown Los Angeles, 1929 to 1969 Richfield Tower (aka Richfield Oil Building) downtown Los Angeles, 1929 to 1969Richfield Tower (aka Richfield Oil Building) downtown Los Angeles, 1929 to 1969 Richfield Tower (aka Richfield Oil Building) downtown Los Angeles, 1929 to 1969Postcard of the Richfield Building, downtown Los Angeles, California

Richfield Tower (aka Richfield Oil Building) downtown Los Angeles, 1929 to 1969 Richfield Tower (aka Richfield Oil Building) downtown Los Angeles, 1929 to 1969 Richfield Tower (aka Richfield Oil Building) downtown Los Angeles, 1929 to 1969Richfield Tower (aka Richfield Oil Building) downtown Los Angeles, 1929 to 1969 Richfield Tower (aka Richfield Oil Building) downtown Los Angeles, 1929 to 1969Color Exterior detail, Richfield Oil Company Building, Los AngelesRichfield Tower (aka Richfield Oil Building) downtown Los Angeles, 1929 to 1969Richfield Tower (aka Richfield Oil Building) downtown Los Angeles, 1929 to 1969Richfield Building with cybress pines, downtown los angelesrichfield building in colordowntown la richfield building colorrichfield building downtown los angeles 1964Jan. 12, 1951 Downtown LA from top of City Hall richfield building from the air.This panoramic view is from the roof of the Richfield Tower. Click on it for a larger view:

Richfield building PanoramaRichfield Tower, downtown Los Angeles - 1969 Richfield Tower, downtown Los Angelesrichfield building from street downtown los angelesThe Richfield Tower as seen from the Flower Street reflecting pool of the Los Angeles Central Library, 1950s Richfield Tower, downtown Los Angeles Richfield Tower, downtown Los AngelesRichfield Building, downtown Los Angeles Richfield Building, downtown Los Angeles Richfield Building, downtown Los Angeles Richfield Tower, downtown Los Angeles - 1932View into downtown Los Angeles with the Richfield building in silhouette

Richfield Building elevator doors:

Richfield Building Elevator Doorsrichfield tower patioRichfield Tower in background, Los Angeles Times in the foreground, 1967 Richfield Tower, downtown Los Angeles 1967General Petroleum building 1947, with Richfield Building in backgroundLA Harbor Freeway Construction with Richfield Building in the background

Richfield building in color, downtown Los Angeles Richfield tower, Los AngelesAnd, unfortunately, the building’s demise…

Richfield Tower (aka Richfield Oil Building) downtown Los Angeles, 1929 to 1969Richfield Tower, downtown Los Angeles

Some of these photo found on southonspring.com

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10 Responses to Different views of the Richfield Tower (aka Richfield Oil Building) downtown Los Angeles, 1929 to 1969

  1. vp19 says:

    The Los Angeles equivalent of losing the original Pennsylvania Station in New York — an architectural tragedy.

  2. David Klappholz says:

    There’s a thin volume, by David Gebhard, on the Richfield Building that includes a few color photos of the exterior and one or two of the interior. It’s impossible for me to appreciate how beautiful the building was without seeing these spectacular color shots. I wonder if any of the LA archives has more color photos.

  3. David Klappholz says:

    PS Gebhard says 1928-1968.

  4. Todd Victor Leone says:

    Thanks so much for posting these photos. I grew up in the 1950’s and 60’s in Downey, just 15 minutes south on the Santa Ana Freeway in those days. My mom used to drive us to downtown L.A. for one reason or another and I remember having spotted the latticework tower on top of the Richfield building. My mom accommodated my request and we drove by the building and I was much impressed with its black and gold façade — I was probably 10 or 12. Not long afterward, my father took us to a night game at Dodger Stadium, and when we were driving out of the parking lot afterward, we had a spectacular view of downtown L.A. and there was that tower with “RICHFIELD” lighted up in yellow and the vertical corners of the tower in vivid blue — it was spectacular. I always wanted to see the inside of that building. Then, when I was 16 or 17, I opened the Los Angeles Times one morning to discover they were demolishing the Richfield Building with a view toward building a pair of nondescript skyscrapers on the property. I was so annoyed! Somehow, we managed to drive by it again when it was half gone. In my later years I became someone who loves art deco architecture, furniture and other objects, so I really appreciate seeing all these photographs. I only learned yesterday that the Richfield had a central courtyard up through the roof with that huge arched opening on one side that led to the courtyard. It’s so sad no one appreciated this architectural treasure — if only someone had had the foresight to have it declared a historical/cultural monument. (It took them until the mid-1980s to do that for the Eastern Columbia building.) At least I have some idea now what the Richfield Building looked like on the inside and on the sides of it I couldn’t see when we drove by way back when. Again, thank you.

    • Thanks for your note, Todd. I’m quite jealous that you got to see the Richfield Tower in all its glory. Color photos are rare so I wasn’t aware that the sign was in yellow and the corners were in blue. I can’t even imagine how they thought it was okay to trash one of LA’s architectural treasures. I hope there’s a special place in Hell for those responsible!

  5. I’m still so torn up over it, I still refuse to buy ARCO gas. At the least two of the elevator doors are still onsite outside one of those (boring towers).

    • Oh my god, Darren, they’re SO boring! I didn’t know that Richfield became ARCO – from now on I’ll shoot daggers at every ARCO gas station I drive past!

      • Todd Leone says:

        Yes. In a nutshell, the Atlantic Petroleum Storage Company (eastern U.S.) merged with Richfield Oil Company (western U.S.) in 1966 to form the Atlantic Richfield Company. ARCO is an acronym for _A_tlantic _R_ichfield _CO_mpany. By 1970 or so, they decided to rebadge all their gas stations using that acronym, so all the eastern Atlantic gas stations and all the western Richfield gas stations were suddenly given new signs with the ARCO brand on them. I remember when that happened — I was in my first year of college and had my first car. It’s more than a shame that ARCO decided to tear down the Richfield Tower in 1969 — it stood for all of 40 years — and replace it with two very boring modernist skyscrapers, the twin ARCO towers, which are each owned by separate companies, no longer by ARCO. The two towers are still referred to as “ARCO Plaza”, however.

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