Spring Street

N. Spring St. from Temple to 1st

Map of Spring Street from Temple south to 2nd, 1910. A block of Spring St. originally ran diagonally from the intersection of 1st, Main, & Spring, to 1st & Spring. In the 1920s, this “diagonal block” of Spring Street was realigned to its current position. Buildings in this block are now either (1) like the Jones Block, “under” today’s City Hall, (2) like the Phillips Block, “under” today’s Spring St., or (3) like the Schumacher Block, “under” the empty lot at the NW corner of 1st & Spring.

West side, 200 block of N. Spring St. (Temple to Franklin)

Along the west side of Spring Street were the following buildings. Spring was realigned in the 1920s and now runs west of these sites, and the sites where these buildings once stood are now part of the full city block on which City Hall stands:

Looking northeast at the west side of Spring Street from First Street, 1880s. Asher Hamburger‘s Peoples Store is at the center. Towers of the Baker Block on the east side of Main St. are visible in the distance. Today, City Hall sits atop this block.
Same view, looking northeast at the west side of Spring Street from First Street, a few years later in the 1890s. Hamburger’s Peoples Store is now in the impressive Phillips Block at center. The J. M. Hale store is visible at bottom left. To its right is a building recognizable from the 1880s photo above this one. The Baker Block is still at the back right, on the east side of Main St. Electric streetcars replaced horsecars; the street is paved. As mentioned, City Hall now sits atop this block.
View north on Spring St. from First Street. Phillips Block visible in background, Harris & Frank‘s London Clothing Company at the SW corner of Franklin/Spring, seen below the Hamburger’s roof sign.
View south on Spring St. from Temple, c.1883–1894. The towers in the background are the Phillips Block; the two larger buildings to its right are the Jones Block and (with turrets) the City of Paris department store. At the far right is the Allen Block, at the southwest corner of Spring and Temple, and the 1883–1894 location of the London Clothing Co. (forerunner of Harris & Frank) with its landmark clock. In 1907, it was replaced by the International Savings Bank building, below. The first J. W. Robinson’s Boston Dry Goods store was also located in the Allen Block block from 1883–1886 before moving to the Jones Block slightly south.[62]

The Allen Block was replaced by the International Savings & Exchange Bank Building (above, 10 floors, 1907, H. Alban Reaves, Renaissance Revival and Italianate, demolished 1954-5)[63]), southwest corner of Temple and Spring. A replica of its façade featured in the Harold Lloyd film Safety Last!, in a famous scene where Lloyd hangs off a clock near the building’s roof. In its later years it housed city health offices and was called the “Old City Health Building”.[63]

City of Paris department store, 203–7 N. Spring St.,** north of Phillips Block and south of Temple, sometime between 1883–1890.
Jones Block, west side of Spring across from Market St., southern building, seen c.1880-1885. The pre-1890 numbering was #71–73 and #77–79–101–103 N. Spring;[64] post-1890 171–173–175–177–179–201 N. Spring.[65]  The block was home to the J. W. Robinson’s Boston Dry Goods Store at #171–173 from 1886 to 1895, and the City of Paris department store at #177 during its final few years of operation, c.1895–1897.[67]
Jones Block, northern building, c.1880-1885. In view: the Los Angeles Herald steam printing plant, here until 1888,[64] and the Preuss & Pironi drugstore, here c.1885-6.[66] Los Angeles High School on Pound Cake Hill is seen above, at the back.

Phillips Block

Phillips Block
Entrance to Hamburger’s department store (forerunner of May Co. California), located at the Phillips Block from 1888-1908.

Franklin was an east-west street just north of First St., about one-third of the way to Temple (see map above). At the northwest corner of Franklin and Spring stood two buildings in succession, the Rocha Adobe, then the impressive French Renaissance Revival Phillips Block. In preparation for the building of the current City Hall, Spring Street was realigned between First and Temple to match the angle of the rest of the street grid. The site of the Phillips Block lies under the current course of Spring Street.

  • The Rocha Adobe (built 1820 as a residence for Antous Jose Rocha), 31–33 Spring Street (pre-1890 numbering), which from 1853–1884 served as the City Hall, and a building in the yard behind it served as the city and county jail.[68] It was demolished and in its place was built:
  • Phillips Block (four-and-a-half stories, opened in 1888, Burgess J. Reeve, French Renaissance Revival architecture), 25–37 N. Spring St. (pre-1890 numbering) at the northwest corner of Franklin St., backing up to New High Street to the west. Owned by Pomona Valley rancher Louis Phillips, it cost $260,000. There was 120 feet (37 m) of frontage on Spring Street, 218 feet (66 m) on Franklin, and 121 feet (37 m) along New High Street. This building was the second four-story structure in Los Angeles. It was sometimes called Phillips Block No. 1 (there was a “Phillips Block No. 2” at 135–145 Los Angeles Street, on the west side between Market and First streets).[69] In July 1888, Asher Hamburger opened the Peoples Store here, later known as Hamburger’s; it became the largest retail store in the Western United States. In 1908 it moved to 8th and Broadway, and in 1923 Hamburger sold it to May Co. and it became May Company California.[70] The Phillips Block was demolished in the mid-1920s to make way for the realigned Spring Street and today’s City Hall.

West side, 100 block of N. Spring St. (Franklin to First)

At the southwest corner of Franklin Street from 1894 through 1905 was Harris & Frank‘s London Clothing Co. with its landmark clock.[71][72] The store had previously been located at the southwest corner of Spring and Temple. It went on to become a chain of junior department stores for men’s clothing across the region.

East side 100 & 200 blocks of N. Spring (Temple to 1st)

Temple Block

Looking south on Main St. towards Temple Block with Adolph Portugal dry goods store, mid-1870s
Further north on Main St., looking south towards Temple Block, mid-1870s
Temple Block c.1885. Courthouse clocktower visible immediately behind Temple Block. Main St. (l), Spring St. (r)
Spring St. side of Temple Block, sign for Cohn Bros. store, mid-1890s.
NE portion of Temple Block at SW corner of Temple (r) and Main (l), 1924

The triangular space where Spring and Main Streets came together at the south side of Temple Street was the site of Temple Block: actually a collection of different structures that occupied the block bounded by Spring, Main and Temple. The first or Old Temple Block built by Francisco (F. P. F.) Temple in 1856, was of adobe, two stories, facing north to Temple. This was incorporated into a later, expanded Temple Block in 1871, and then demolished. George P. McLain wrote that upon his arrival in the town in 1868, Temple Block had been the undisputed center of commerce and social life in the town. Even into the early 1880s, it was considered the city’s most stately building. It housed many law offices, including those of Stephen M. White, Will D. Gould and GlassellChapman and Smith.[73] The block had a key role in the retail history of Los Angeles, as it was the first home to several upscale retailers who would become big names in the city: Desmond’s (1870–1882)[74]and Jacoby Bros. (1879–1891).[75] It was also home to the Odd Fellows, the Fashion Saloon, the Temple and Workman Bank, Slotterbeck’s gun shop, the Wells Fargo office. The northeast corner was home to Adolph Portugal’s dry goods store (1874-1879?), Jacoby Bros. (1879–1891) and Cohn Bros. (1892–1897), in succession.[76][77]

In 1925-7 this block and other surrounding areas were demolished to make way for the current Los Angeles City Hall

Along the south side of Temple Block was Market Street, a small street running between Spring and Main.

Clocktower Courthouse/Bullard Block

Clocktower Courthouse viewed from Fort Hill (from the west) (image 843×734 px)
View from Spring St. of Clocktower Courthouse (r), southside of Temple Block (l), United States Hotel (back) 800×432
Clocktower (Temple) Courthouse, Market and Theater (5699 x 3658)
Clocktower Courthouse, view from Spring St. looking SE, with the Vienna Buffet on Court St. visible (5723 x3610)
Clocktower Courthouse (5727×3529)
Bullard Block c.1900. It replaced the Clocktower Courthouse in 1895. 00×729)

Taking up the small block immediately south of Temple Block between Market and Court streets, facing both Spring and Main streets, were two buildings in succession:

  • Clock Tower Courthouse: Just south of Temple Block across tiny Market Street was a building known by many names including Temple Courthouse, Temple Market, Temple Theater, Old County Courthouse, etc. Also built by John Temple, in 1858, originally as a market (ground floor) and theater (upper floor). Demolished 1890s.[78][79] Served as a market and retail as well as the County Courthouse 1861-1891 until the Red Sand Courthouse was finished.[80] Topped by a rectangular tower with a clock on all four sides.[81][82] The Clock Tower Courthouse was demolished in 1895 and replaced by:
  • Bullard Block, built in 1895-6, architects Morgan & Walls,[83] 154–160 N. Spring, NE corner of Court Street. Replaced the Clocktower Courthouse. Housed The Hub, a large department store for apparel. See also the photo below of “La Fiesta”. Demolished 1925-6 to make way for current Los Angeles City Hall.[84]
Court south to First
Vienna Buffet, which played a role in the city’s LGBTQ history, seen sometime between 1891–1902 (1036×1545)
The “palatial” Jacoby Bros. store, 128–134 N. Spring Street, around 1896 (800×486)
  • Court Street, a small street running between Spring and Main. At 12-14-16 Court Street (pre-1890 numbering). 112–116 Court St. (post 1890 numbering) was the Tivoli Theatre which opened and closed in 1890, lasting less than a year. From 1891 through 1902, the venue was the (New) Vienna Buffet, a restaurant with live music where scandal occurred, and gatherings of gay men including what were then called “she boys”.[85] Then from 1902–c.1910, the site was the Cineograph Theatre, a vaudeville venue. From 1918–1925 it was marked the Chinese Theatre with the Sun Jung Wah Co. performing Chinese plays.[86]
  • H. Jevne & Co. grocers were located at 38–40 (after 1890: 136-138) N. Spring (the older “Wilcox Block”, also known as the Strelitz Block) from 1890-1896 before moving to the Wilcox Building when it opened at 2nd and Spring.[87][88]
  • Jacoby Bros. dry goods store was located at 128–134 N. Spring St. from 1891-1900, and added the Jevne premises in 1896 (thus encompassing all of 128 through 138 N. Spring). The store moved to Broadway south of 3rd St. in 1900,[89][90] another signal that the upscale shopping district was moving southwest away from this area at that time.

First and Spring

View north on Spring St. from First Street. Los Angeles National Bank building in foreground, right. Larronde Block in foreground, left. Phillips Block visible in background. Note the electric streetcar to Grand Ave. (3262×2336)

Northwest corner of First and Spring

Larronde Block in 1898. Photo by I. W. Taber[91] (1156×805)
Larronde Block, undated photo, probably 1910s (1111×737)
NW corner of 1st/Spring, 2020, an empty lot. Back right: County Courthouse (1972) (4032×2268)
  • Larronde Block, built in 1882 at a cost of $10,000,[92] 211 W. 1st St., also 101–105 N. Spring, two stories,[91] offices and retail shops, including:
  • California State Building (completed 1931, opened 1932, architect John C. Austin, 1931, demolished 1976).[95]
  • The lot is currently vacant

Northeast corner of First and Spring

The east side of Spring Street, north of First, during the Fiesta de Los Angeles in 1903. The Bullard Block is in the distance at the top, center left. (5587×4462)
Los Angeles National Bank Building (1887-1906, image 834×1024) demolished and replaced by the Equitable Building, shown below
Equitable Savings Bank Building, opened 1906, demolished 1920s[96] (629×800)
North side of First Street between Spring and Main streets. Widney Block. c.1888 (7128×5596)

First Street from Spring to Main

First Street east of Spring: Widney Block (i.e. Joseph Widney), built in 1883, along the north side. The main Olmsted & Wales bookstore was located in the block in the mid-1880s. 

100 block of S. Spring St.

1910 Baist map of the 100 block of S. Spring St., between 1st and 2nd streets. In blue, the current buildings. The Hotel Nadeau, Wilson Block, Bryson Block, and Trust Building are described in this section, as are the buildings currently there: those of Times Mirror Square and the 2009 LAPD Headquarters.
Looking south past the intersection of First and Spring sometime around 1900–1906. The spire of the Wilson Block at the SE corner is prominent on the left, as is the Nadeau Hotel on the SW corner to the right. In the foreground we can see the Los Angeles National Bank (NE corner) to the left and the Larronde Block (NW corner) to the right. From 1st to 2nd streets, Spring St. is still a busy shopping district, though Broadway is in this era just becoming popular for more upscale shopping. An electric streetcar heads to Griffin Avenue in Montecito Heights, on what would become Line 2 of the Los Angeles Railway. Today, this view would be of the 2009 LAPD Headquarters taking up the entire block on the left; and on the right, Times Mirror Square with the 1935 Los Angeles Times Building in the foreground , and behind it, the 1948 Crawford Mirror Addition building. (4301×5340)

Southeast corner of First and Spring

Four buildings have stood here in succession:

  • The George S. Wilson homestead[98] (no photo)
The Wilson Block, sometimes called the city’s first skyscraper.[99] Built 1886-8. Demolished around 1927. Photo from 1920 (696×560)
A replacement two-story retail building,[99] home to the “Equitable” branch of Security Pacific National Bank, then the Security Trust and Savings Bank. (the Equitable Building was across the street to the north).[102] Seen from the City Hall tower (2389×1360)
The southeast corner of 1st and Spring is now occupied by the Los Angeles Police Department Headquarters Building, completed in 2009. It occupies the entire block from First south to Second and from Spring west to Broadway.[101] (1200×675)

Northeast corner of Second and Spring

Burdick Block, a.k.a. the Trust Building, 127 W. 2nd St., NE corner of 2nd & Spring opened 1888, architect Jasper Newton Preston, top stories added 1900 (architect John Parkinson). In 1910, refitted and rechristened the American Bank Building. Now site of the Los Angeles Police Department Headquarters which occupies the entire block.[104][105] Photo from 1902. (653×800)
The northeast corner of 2nd and Spring is today one corner of the LAPD Headquarters, which takes up the full city block from here east to Broadway and north to First. (Click image for full-size version, 4000×3000)

Southwest corner of First and Spring

Nadeau Block housing the Nadeau Hotel (1882–1932). Note Siegel the Hatter, forerunner of Myers Siegel, is one of the shops on Spring St. Photo c.1905. (5959×4774)
L.A. Times Building, opened 1935, view in 2006. (5456×3637)
  • Nadeau Block or Nadeau Hotel, built 1881-2, demolished 1932, designed by architects Kysor & Morgan, located at the southwest corner of Spring and First streets. It was the first four-story building in the city.[97]
  • This corner is now the site of the Los Angeles Times Building, opened 1935, part of the Times Mirror Square complex taking up the entire block between Spring, Broadway, First and Second streets, formerly the headquarters of the Los Angeles Times, currently vacant.

Northwest corner of Second and Spring

The Bryson Block, also known as the Bryson-Bonebrake Block or Bryson Bonebrake Building, northwest corner 2nd and Spring, constructed 1886-1888 for $224,000 on the site of a public school and an early city hall, as a 126-room bank and office building. Romanesque architecture. Two stories added 1902-1904. Demolished 1934. Architect Joseph Cather Newsom (Newsom & Newsom). Pacific Coast Architecture Database states it was “nothing short of amazing, displaying a riotous and eclectic amalgam of features”. Built for mayor John Bryson and Major George H. Bonebrake, President of the Los Angeles National Bankand the State Loan & Trust Co.[103] Desmond’s department store was located here from 1890 to 1900.[74] Photo from 1905 (4050×5098)
The Bryson Block was replaced by the 1948 Crawford Addition building, part of the Times Mirror Square complex, currently vacant. Photo from September 2020 (2212×2623)

200 block of S. Spring St.

1910 Baist map of Spring Street from 2nd St. (top) to 3rd street (bottom).

South Spring Street from 2nd Street to 3rd Street

East side, 200 block of S. Spring St.

Southeast corner of Second and Spring

The Wilcox Building, 200 S. Spring St., built 1895-6, architects Pissis and Moore, five stories. All but the ground floor were removed in 1971 after damage from the 1971 Sylmar earthquake. It housed the larger of two branches of the H. Jevne & Co. gourmet grocery store, as well as the California Club until 1904, when the latter moved to Fourth and Hill streets. The Southwestern School of Law was on its top floors 1915–1924.[107] Photo from 1905 (5100×4096)
The Wilcox Building in September 2020, with its one remaining floor. (2628×1784)

Further south in the block were the:

Workman Block at #230–234 S. Spring St. — From 1899 through 1906, #232 and 234 were home to Parmelee-Dohrmann, the city’s premier store for china, crystal and silver, as well as — at that time — selling appliances like stoves and refrigerators. In 1906, the store moved to the 5th and Broadway area, and would later move to 7th and Flower.[114] Photo c.1900-1906 (1746×2022)

Northeast corner of 3rd and Spring

Stimson Block or Stimson Building, 256 S. Spring St., at the northeast corner of 3rd St. Built 1893, architect Carroll H. Brown (who also designed the Stimson House), demolished 1963. It was the city’s tallest building when it opened. It was built for lumber magnate Thomas Douglas Stimson. It is now the site of a parking lot.[120] (818×929)
Stimson Block in the mid-20th century (1289×1342)

West side, 200 block of S. Spring St.

Looking north at the west side of Spring St. from 3rd St., 1905 (640×513)
Looking south at the west side of Spring St. between 2nd and 3rd, c.1905. In the background at center: towers of the Hotel Ramona. To its right, the Douglas Building, Woollacott Block, Anheuser restaurant, Hamilton Bros. shoe store block, and portion of the Turnverein Hall (1024×656)

Southwest corner of Second and Spring

The Hollenbeck Block was located on the southwest corner of Spring and Second streets. It was built in 1884 for John Edward Hollenbeck by architect Robert Brown Young.[106] and housed the Hollenbeck Hotel and, on the corner, from 1884–1898, Coulter’s 6,000 sq ft (560 m2) store, which would become a leading Los Angeles department store. It was demolished in 1933.  The location is currently the construction site of Historic Broadway station, an underground station of the Los Angeles Metro Rail light rail subway.

View west on 2nd St. from Spring St. Hollenbeck Block (left) when it was only two stories, with Coulter’s store; 2nd City Hall with its gazebo-like tower, at right. Photo from 1886. (879×1263)
View south on Spring at 2nd, Hollenbeck Block when it was two stories, Coulter’s store, 1886. (1003×763)
Hollenbeck Block (1884-1933), SW corner of 2nd & Spring. Around 1900-1905. (610×487)
Music (Turnverein) Hall (l) and Los Angeles (Lyceum) Theatre (r). West side of Spring between 2nd and 3rd, 1895. (639×800)
Historic Broadway station under construction, September 2020 (582×327)

Buildings in the block included:

  • #217 (pre-1890 numbering: #119), the Parisian Cloak and Suit Co., 1888–1892; then 221 S. Spring until 1899. One of the city’s prominent retailers of women’s clothing during that era.

Two theatres together called the Perry Buildings:

  • at #225–9 was the Lyceum Theatre, opened in 1888 as the Los Angeles Theatre (not to be confused with the Los Angeles Theatre on Broadway, still standing). From 1903-1911 this venue operated as the Orpheum Theatre. As the Orpheum Circuit was a chain and changed venues several times, the “Orpheum Theatre” in Los Angeles was first at the Grand Opera House venue on Main Street, then at this venue, and finally at the venue now known as the Palace Theatre on Broadway. [108]
  • at #231–5 was the Turnverein Hall (opened 1879), a theatre, renamed the Music Hall in 1894, Elks Hallin the early 1900s and Lyceum Hall in 1915. Demolished.[109]
  • #237–241, Hamilton Bros. block, Hamilton Bros. shoe store at #239.[110]
  • #243, Anheuser-Busch saloon, later known as The Anheuser Restaurant.[111]
  • #245–7, Woollacott Block[110]

Northwest corner of 3rd and Spring

At the northwest corner of 3rd and Spring once stood the Hammel and Denker Block (opened in 1890);[115]Henry Hammel and Andrew H. Denker were business partners in hotels and ranching. Thomas Douglas Stimson bought it in 1893, thus owning two buildings at this intersection: this one and the Stimson Block (see below). Leading dry goods retailer Frank, Grey & Co. opened here in 1890[116] and the store was later taken bought by, and turned into a branch of J. M. Hale.[117] In 1899, the block was demolished and replaced by the Douglas Block, shown  in the photo below.

The Douglas Block or Douglas Building, at the northwest corner of 3rd and Spring, opened in 1899 and still standing, now condos.[118] (Click for full-size image 4241×2834)
To the west of the Douglas Block stood the Metropolitan Barber Shop, originally at 214 W. 3rd, in 1908 it moved to 215-9 W. 3rd. The Los Angeles Herald claimed it to be the largest barber shop in the world at that time and the most expensive ever constructed, with 30 chairs, chandeliers and mahogany furnishings.[119] (demolished)(Image 590×376)

300 block of S. Spring St.

Southeast corner of 3rd and Spring

The Lankershim Building (built 1896-7, architect Robert Brown Young, demolished 1959).[124] Now the site of the Ronald Reagan State Building. (Click image for larger version, 1386×1710)
Ronald Reagan State Office Bldg. occupies the SE corner of 3rd & Spring today. Spring runs along its right side; this view looks south on Main St. (3814×2609)

Southwest corner of 3rd and Spring

The Callaghan Block or Ramona Block housing the Hotel Ramona, (1885, Burgess J. Reeve, classic bay-windowed style).[121] Demolished in 1903 and replaced by the Washington Building, built 1912, Parkinson and Bergstrom, still standing.[122][123] (Photo 1099×890)
The Washington Bldg., opened in 1912, replaced the Hotel Ramona at the southwest corner of 3rd and Spring (click for full-size image 950×1456)

1903, looking west on Third past Spring: Desmond’s store located 1900–1906 in the turreted Ramona Block on the SW corner, left, and Southern Pacific Railroad office in the Douglas Building, still standing today, on the NW corner, right. At far background, Angel’s Flight at 3rd and Hill.
Photo to be added – (612×403)