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Thursday, August 18, 2005

Demolition Derby

Following up on our post the other day about the string of bad news in the world of L.A. historical preservation, a reader chimes in on a few more upcoming farewells:

Since you mentioned several L.A. area landmarks that have met or are about to meet with the wrecking ball, I thought I'd add one more. On August 22, demolition is to begin on three well-known Beverly Hills buildings.

First, and most importantly, is the 1923 dome-topped Beverly Theater. Next to City Hall and Rodeo Drive, this iconic structure -- though dwarfed in recent years by taller buildings -- symbolized old Beverly Hills. I live next door to the woman whose father built the theater. Fortunately, she won't have to witness the demolition from her window. A massive Jerry Snyder "mixed use" project currently under construction now blocks the view.

The other two buildings slated for demolition include the old Canon Theater, which before it went legit showed movies as both The Canon Theater and, in earlier times, The Hitching Post. And next door to that, the Gucci warehouse, once a Bekins or Lyons storage building, also will fall. This building, by the way, was the first poured concrete structure to feature a "waterfall windows" facade.

Interestingly, at the apartment house on Riverside Drive in NY where Gershwin composed some of his classical works, there's a plaque mentioning that. Meanwhile, in Beverly Hills, where the Gershwins wrote some of their best film songs, there's an empty lot.

Photo credits: Left, Beverly Hills postcard from Right, old postcard image of the Beverly Theater from William Gabel, via

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