Wednesday, August 17, 2005

That's Not Money

We're late to the news, but add us to the list of Angelenos hoping to see the Los Feliz Derby/Louise's building -- which once housed an outpost of the famous Brown Derby chain -- preserved.

LAObserved first mentioned it last week, reporting on Adler Realty's plans to secure a zoning change allowing for a mixed-used housing/commercial development on the site.

Now LAist adds that the Save the Derby site has been erected (thanks to the folks at to campaign for the building's preservation. The Los Angeles Conservancy's Modern Committee is also getting involved.

The building was erected in the late 1920s as Willard's Chicken Inn (owned in part by Cecil B. DeMille) and became a Brown Derby location in 1940. In 1960 it switched again, into Michael’s of Los Feliz Restaurant.

The current Louise's/Derby combo came about in 1993 -- and of course became part of pop culture lore when the Derby was prominently featured in 1996's "Swingers."

2005 is shaping up to be a terrible year for Los Angeles preservation. The demolishing of Perino's, the imminent destruction of the Ambassador, the the Beverly Hills home of George and Ira Gershwin was destroyed, and the fate of Columbia Square looked grim (as CBS began moving out). Most recently, PreserveLA reports that Hollywood's Villa Capri -- once a restaurant owned by Frank Sinatra, and more recently used as offices -- has been destroyed.

Sigh. On the bright side, it looks like Hollywood's Florentine Gardens has been saved. And more immediate to us, Glendale is expected to approve tonight an Adams Square mini-park that preserves a classic Streamline Moderne gas station.

More more details about ongoing L.A. conservation efforts, both PreserveLA and the LA Conservancy remain excellent resources.

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