When it opened its doors in 1928, the new Los Angeles City Hall was the tallest building in the city and undeniably beloved by its people—and they hadn’t even been inside yet. Indeed, more than a half-million people lined the streets to celebrate the dedication of the monolith that symbolized Los Angeles’s successful transition from West Coast outpost to world-class metropolis.
City Hall is everything imagined by its early-20th century civic leaders: a structure that speaks to its people of a bright and secure prosperity, showcasing Los Angeles as a place unshackled by the past, ever able to accept all that was new, dynamic, and forward-thinking. On that day some 90 years ago, few Angelenos realized that the entire world was watching. And would be watching its remarkable city forever.
When it was first created, it took three of California’s most accomplished architects to make the boldest statement possible about the city’s ambition, John Parkinson, A.C. Martin, and John C. Austin. Together they created history.
In the pages of Los Angeles City Hall: An American Icon, author Stephen Gee shares that story. In the most detailed study of the building ever undertaken, Gee tells the dramatic saga of the building’s creation, including the battles that ensued as it rose to its full twenty-eight stories in a city whose law allowed less than half that number. Gee showcases the architecture, artwork, and details that define City Hall in more than 200 lavish images, blueprints, and drawings—many of them never-before published. Gee also chronicles the effort to restore the building and the political fight that preceded its return to glory.
$25 Non-Members. $20 Members
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Stephen Gee discusses and signs Los Angeles City Hall: An American Icon, 3 p.m. on Sunday, August 4 at La Señora Research Institute, 565 Dryad Rd.
Submitted by Jim Schneeweis, Angel City Press