Monday, July 28, 2008

The Chapman Market May Have Changed, But It's Still Hopping 80 Years Later


(Flickr pic by fabooj.)

The Chapman Market, designed by Morgan, Walls & Clements and opened in 1929, is representative of the Spanish Revival architecture popular in that era. Designed as the first-ever drive-in market, the Chapman is now a Koreatown nighttime hotspot, as well as home to boutique eateries like Bosco Cake Salon, which we reviewed last month. The main building is at 6th and Alexandria, with an auxiliary building across the street.

Charles Chapman and his brothers were major land owners; besides opening Chapman Market, founded what's now known as Chapman University and also published county almanacs and county histories under the name "Chapman Brothers." Charles Chapman also scored the nickname "The Orange King of California."

Back to the Chapman Market... eventually, of course, the building fell into disrepair. Enter developer Wayne Ratkovich, who took a shine to the property (as well as the Wiltern Theatre and other spots) and restored the center in 1989. The L.A. Times recently wrote about Ratkovich, here.

I've driven by Chapman Market for years, always intrigued by the architecture and the name. These days, there's not much "market" to Chapman Market, but it's still completely packed with tenants, ready to sell you a good cake, soju, karaoke, a cell phone or clothes. (Guess there still is a "market" to the Chapman.)

A few shots:


The drive-in tunnel that immediately made the Chapman Market a 1929 novelty. Look how narrow that tunnel is -- fine for 1929 vehicles, not so much 2008.


A fountain adds even more character to the inside courtyard. I stood here a few weeks ago and imagined the days where you'd walk one way to get produce, and the other way to find baked goods.


The Chapman Market's profile shot.

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