This panoramic view is from the roof of the Richfield Tower. Click on it for a larger view:
Some of these photo found on southonspring.com
The Los Angeles equivalent of losing the original Pennsylvania Station in New York — an architectural tragedy.
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.
I agree, David. SUCH a great loss to the LA skyline. I’m surprised there’s aren’t more color photographs around.
PS Gebhard says 1928-1968.
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!
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