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Broadway (Los Angeles) facts for kids

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Broadway Theater and
Commercial District (NRHP)
Broadway Theater and
Entertainment District
(City of Los Angeles)
Broadway looking north from Hoxton Hotel Roof (11th St.), September 2020.jpg
Broadway looking north towards the historic Theater and Commercial District from Hoxton Hotel Roof (11th St.), September 2020
Location 300—849 S. Broadway
Los Angeles, California
Architect Multiple
Architectural style Early Commercial, Late 19th And 20th Century Revivals, Art Deco
NRHP reference No. 79000484
Added to NRHP May 9, 1979
Broadway
Los Angeles Theatre.jpg
Los Angeles Theatre
Maintained by
Length 17.75 mi (28.57 km)
Location Los Angeles
South end Main Street near Gardena
Major
junctions
Northeast end Mission Road in Los Angeles
Construction
Inauguration 1890

Broadway, until 1890 Fort Street, is a thoroughfare in Los Angeles County, California. The portion of Broadway from 3rd to 9th streets in the Historic Core of Downtown Los Angeles, was the city's main commercial street from the 1910s until World War II, and is the location of the Broadway Theater and Commercial District, the first and largest historic theater district listed on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP). With twelve movie palaces located along a six-block stretch of Broadway, it is the only large concentration of movie palaces left in the United States.

Contents

Route

South Broadway's southern terminus is Main Street just north of the San Diego Freeway (I-405) in Carson. From there it runs 10 miles (16 km) north through Athens and South Los Angeles to Downtown Los Angeles – at Olympic Blvd. entering downtown's Historic Core, in which the buildings lining Broadway form the Broadway Theater and Commercial District. Crossing 3rd Street, Broadway passes through the Civic Center including Grand Park. After crossing the US-101 (Santa Ana Freeway), signs read "North Broadway" as it enters Chinatown. It then curves northeast, passing through old railyards, crosses the Golden State Fwy. (I-5) and heads due east to its terminus at Mission Road in Lincoln Heights.

History

Founding and extension

Broadway, one of the oldest streets in the city, was laid out as part of the 1849 plan of Los Angeles made by Lieutenant Edward Ord and named Fort Street. Fort Street began at the south side of Fort Moore Hill (a block north of Temple Street) at Sand Street (later California Street).

In 1890, the name of Fort Street, from 1st Street to 10th Street, was changed to Broadway. The rest of Fort Street, from California Street to 1st Street, was changed to North Broadway.

Proposal for opening Broadway through to Buena Vista Street (now North Broadway), and extending the street south into what was then part of Main Street, below Tenth Street, in order to give a continuous, wide thoroughfare from the southern city limits to the Eastside, was made as early as February 1891.

The Broadway Tunnel under Fort Moore Hill was opened in 1901, extending North Broadway to Buena Vista Street at Bellevue Avenue (later Sunset Boulevard, now Cesar Chavez Avenue). A section of Broadway in South Los Angeles was originally named Moneta Avenue until 1923.

In 1909, construction on a bridge across the Los Angeles River was begun to connect Buena Vista Street to Downey Avenue, which ran from the river to Mission Road. The names of Buena Vista and Downey were then changed to North Broadway,

Los Angeles' central commercial and entertainment street

See also: History of Retail in Southern California

For more than 50 years, Broadway from 1st Street to Olympic Boulevard was the main commercial street of Los Angeles, and one of its premier theater and movie palace districts as well. It contains a vast number of historic buildings and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Prior to the turn of the 20th century, the city's Central Business District was further north, along Spring and Main streets between the Plaza and 2nd Street. In 1895 J.W. Robinson's opened what was then considered a very large and impressive four-story department store at 239 S. Broadway, signaling of the shift over the next decade and a half of the main shopping district to Broadway below 2nd Street.

Retail hub

From around 1905 through the 1950s, Broadway was considered the center of the city, where residents went to ornate movie palaces and live theaters, and shopped at major department stores and shops. See the Table of department stores on Broadway and Seventh streets below.

The square footage of the four largest department stores alone — Bullock's at 806,000 sq ft (74,900 m2), The Broadway at 577,000 sq ft (53,600 m2), May Co. at over 1,000,000 sq ft (93,000 m2) and J. W. Robinson's (7th St. at Hope) at 623,700 sq ft (57,940 m2) — totaled over three million square feet, the size of American Dream Meadowlands, America's largest mall today.

Among dozens of significant buildings from that era are the Bradbury Building, Ace Hotel Los Angeles, and the Los Angeles Examiner building designed by Julia Morgan.

Some of the movie theaters on the street fell into disuse and disrepair, some were replaced with parking lots, but many have been repurposed and/or restored. The department stores closed in the 1970s and 1980s, but Broadway has been the premier shopping destination for working class Latinos for decades.

Theater District

NRHP refers to the district as the Broadway Theater and Commercial District, while the City of Los Angeles Planning Department refers to the Broadway Theater and Entertainment District.

Highest concentration of movie palaces in the world

Stretching for six blocks from Third to Ninth Streets, the district includes 12 movie theaters built between 1910 and 1931. By 1931, the district had the highest concentration of cinemas in the world, with seating capacity for more than 15,000 patrons. Broadway was the hub of L.A.'s entertainment scene – a place where "screen goddesses and guys in fedoras rubbed elbows with Army nurses and aircraft pioneers." In 2006, the Los Angeles Times wrote:

"There was a time, long ago, when the streets of downtown Los Angeles were awash in neon—thanks to a confluence of movie theaters the world had never seen before. Dozens of theaters screened Hollywood's latest fare, played host to star-studded premieres and were filled nightly with thousands of moviegoers. In those days, before World War II, downtown L.A. was the movie capital of the world."

Columnist Jack Smith called it "the only large concentration of vintage movie theaters left in America." Smith recalled growing up a mile from Broadway and spending his Saturdays in the theaters:

"I remember walking into those opulent interiors, surrounded by the glory of the Renaissance, or the age of Baroque, and spending two or three hours in the dream world of the movies. When I came out again the sky blazed; the heat bounced off the sidewalk, traffic sounds filled the street, I was back in the hard reality of the Depression.

Because Broadway has been used as a filming location for decades, many of these theatre marquees can be seen in classic Hollywood films, including Safety Last! (1923), D.O.A. (1950), The Omega Man (1971), Blade Runner (1982), and The Artist (2011).

Revitalization by Spanish-language cinema

In the years after World War II, the district began to decline, as first-run movie-goers shifted to the movie palaces in Hollywood, in Westwood Village, and later to suburban multiplexes. After World War II, as Anglo moviegoers moved to the suburbs, many of the Broadway movie palaces became venues for Spanish-language movies and variety shows. In 1988, the Los Angeles Times noted that, without the Hispanic community, "Broadway would be dead." Jack Smith wrote that Broadway had been "rescued and revitalized" by "the Latino renaissance."

Preservation and renovation efforts

The district has been the subject of preservation and restoration efforts since the 1980s. In 1987, the Los Angeles Conservancy started a program called "Last Remaining Seats" in which the old movie palaces were opened each summer to show classic Hollywood movies. In 1994, the Conservancy's associate director, Gregg Davidson, noted: "When we started this, the naysayers said no one will go downtown to an old theater to see an old movie in the middle of the summer, but we get a number of people who have never seen a movie in a theater with a balcony. The older people (go) for nostalgia. And the movie people—seeing a classic film on a big screen is a different experience." After attending a Conservancy screening, one writer noted: "The other night I went to the movies and was transported to a world of powdered wigs and hoop skirts, a rococo fantasy of gilded cherubs and crystal chandeliers. And then the film started."

Despite preservation efforts, many of the theaters have been converted to other uses, including flea markets and churches. The Broadway movie palaces fell victim to a number of circumstances, including changing demographics and tastes, a downtown location that was perceived as dangerous at night, and high maintenance costs for aging facilities. With the closure of the State Theater in 1998, the Orpheum and the Palace were the only two still screening films.

In 2006, the Los Angeles Times wrote: "Of all of L.A.'s many hidden gems, maybe none is as sparkling nor as hidden as the Broadway theater district downtown." Bemoaning the possible loss of such gems, the same writer noted: "L.A. gave birth to the movies. To lose the astonishing nurseries where the medium grew up would be tragic."

Broadway since 2008

In 2008, the City of Los Angeles launched a $40-million campaign to revitalize the Broadway district, known as the "Bringing Back Broadway" campaign. Some Latino merchants in the district expressed concern that the campaign was an effort to spread the largely Anglo gentrification taking hold in other parts of downtown to an area that has become the city's leading Latino shopping district. A worker at one of the district's bridal shops noted, "On one side, I like the idea. The only thing is that I don't think they want our types of businesses."

The Downtown's real estate revitalization, using the City's adaptive reuse ordinance that makes it easier for developers to convert outmoded and/or vacant office and commercial buildings into residential buildings, has reached the Broadway Historic District. It includes the transformation of the United Artists Theater office tower into the Ace Hotel Los Angeles, and restoration of its movie palace.

The Bringing Back Broadway commission is working on further reviving the landmark Los Angeles boulevard in the historic district. Led by City Councilman Jose Huizar, the commission has recommended widening sidewalks, eliminating traffic lanes, constructing new parking structures, and bringing back streetcar service reminiscent of the street's past. A pedestrian-friendly project finished up in December 2014 that widened the sidewalks and replaced the parking lane with planters, chairs and round cafe tables with bright-red umbrellas. The Great Streets Initiative seeks to bolster the street-level health of the city by making several dozen boulevards more hospitable to pedestrians, cyclists and small businesses. Mayor Eric Garcetti said the effort represents "a shift from the way that our neighborhoods have been planned in Los Angeles," with a new focus on "walkability and transit."

Broadway retail is transitioning from a broad mix of stores catering to Hispanic immigrants and a burgeoning sneaker and streetwear retail cluster has emerged from 4th to 9th streets: Sneaker Row.

Retail in and around the Eastern Columbia, located at the intersection of 9th Street & Broadway, has proliferated in recent years with the opening of Acne Studios, Oak NYC, Aesop, Tanner Goods, BNKR, Austere, A.P.C., and Urban Outfitters located in the Rialto Theater (Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument No. 472).

Buildings and sites

All landmarks in geographic order, north to south:

North of Hollywood Freeway

  • Little Joe's (razed), 904 N. Broadway, Chinatown
  • Site of Broadway Tunnel (1901–1941, demolished) below Fort Moore Hill (leveled), between today's Temple St. and César Chávez Bl.

Hollywood Freeway to Temple

This area south to Second Street is now the Civic Center, as well as the site of the Central Business District during the 1880s and 1890s)

Temple and Broadway

Cable cars of the Temple Street Cable Railway ran along Temple Street starting in 1886 and were replaced with Pacific Electric streetcars in 1902.

Northwest corner of Temple and Broadway

  • The three-story brick Women's Christian Temperance Union building was erected in 1888 for $45,000. Also known as the Temperance Temple, it has been demolished and was replaced in 1957 by the Los Angeles County Central Heating and Refrigeration Plant.

Southeast corner of Temple and Broadway (Pound Cake Hill, west side of New High St.)

This location was at the time known as Pound Cake Hill. The buildings located here faced New High Street to their east and Broadway to their west. They were as follows:

  • Los Angeles High School, whose original location (1873-1887) was between New High on the west and Broadway on the east, south of Temple Street. It was moved to California and Sand streets, and in 1890 a new facility was built on Fort Moore Hill, immediately north of where Broadway today crosses the Hollywood Freeway. The Pound Cake Hill school was demolished and replaced by:
  • First, the Red Stone Courthouse (or "Red Sandstone Courthouse"), which took over the function of courthouse from the Clocktower Courthouse (also called the Temple Courthouse). Built in 1891, the edifice was a post office and a federal building. It was damaged beyond repair by Long Beach earthquake of 1933 and was torn down in 1936.
  • The Los Angeles County Hall of Records was built next to (south of) the Red Sandstone Courthouse in 1911, After the 1971 San Fernando earthquake, it was determined to be unsafe and it was demolished in 1973. A new Hall of Records was built and opened in 1962, one block west on the south side of Temple between Broadway and Hill.

Currently on the site are:

  • Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center (Los Angeles County Grand Jury)
  • A portion of Grand Park, which stretches mid-block between Temple and First, from City Hall at Spring Street, to the Music Center at Grand Avenue.
Realignment of Spring Street (1925)

The Pouncake Hill buildings originally backed up to Broadway to their west, and faced New High Street to their east. New High Street (see Sanborn map above) was a north-south street that ran parallel to Broadway, and to Spring Street to its east. As part of the construction of City Hall in the early 1920s, New High Street was removed south of Temple, and Spring Street was realigned more towards a north-south orientation, parallel with Broadway, instead of running more northeasterly and meeting Main Street at Temple Street. As a result the Poundcake Hill buildings faced the newly aligned Spring Street until they were demolished.

Southwest corner of Temple and Broadway

Adjacent to the south, mid-block, is a portion of Grand Park.

First and Broadway

Northeast corner of First and Broadway

  • Los Angeles Times 1886 building. This building was razed after damage from a bomb in 1910 and a new headquarters was opened on this site in 1912. The newspaper later moved further south on Spring Street to the Los Angeles Times Building, now part of Times Mirror Square, occupying the entire block between Broadway, Spring, First and Second streets.

Northwest corner of First and Broadway

  • Site of the Tajo Building (1896–mid-20th c.). Now the location of the Los Angeles County Law Library.

Southeast corner of First and Broadway and east side of 100 block

  • Site of the Culver Block retail and office building. Now the site of the Times Mirror Square Pereira Building, built 1973.
  • South of the Culver Block was the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce building, 128–130 S. Broadway, opened February 12, 1904, a landmark at the time featured on postcards and in books. 6 stories, 4 floors. Ground floor offices included those of the Los Angeles Herald and Consolidated Bank.

Southwest corner of First and Broadway

The southwest corner, during Victorian times the site of unremarkable retail and office buildings, was from 1958 the location of the State Office Building, (1958-60, architect Anson C. Boyd, razed 2006). It was named the Junipero Serra State Office Building, and this moniker would be transferred to the former Broadway Department Store building at 4th and Broadway when it was opened to replace this building in 1998. It is now the location of the New U. S. Courthouse built in 2016, taking up the entire block between Broadway, Hill, First and Second.

Just south of the southwest corner was the Mason Theatre, 127 S. Broadway. Opened in 1903 as the Mason Opera House, 1,600 seats. Benjamin Marshall of the Chicago firm Marshall & Wilson designed the building in association with John Parkinson. Marshall is known for designing the Iroquois Theatre in Chicago. Remodeled in 1924 by Meyer & Holler. Later, as the Mason Theatre, it showed Spanish-language films. Demolished 1955.

145 S. Broadway, site of the C. H. Frost Building, later known as the Haig M. Prince Building. Built 1898, architect John Parkinson, Now the location of the New Los Angeles US Courthouse built in 2016, taking up the entire block between Broadway, Hill, First and Second.

Second and Broadway

Northeast corner of Second and Broadway

One of several “Hellman Buildings” across Downtown L.A. — not to be confused with the still-existing Hellman Building at Fourth and Spring — was located here (#138) from 1897 to 1959. The site is now a parking structure, part of the Times Mirror Square complex.

Southwest corner of Second and Broadway and the west side of the 200 block

The west side of the 200 block of South Broadway was had a key place in the retail history of Los Angeles from the 1893 through 1917, as it was home to several prominent early department stores such as the Ville de Paris, Coulter's department store from 1905–1917, and J. W. Robinson's "Boston Dry Goods" store from 1895–1915. All three stores would move to Seventh Street when it became the upscale shopping street between 1915 and 1917.

  • On the southwest corner of 2nd and Broadway was Judge O'Melveny's house, built in 1870. This was replaced by the American National Bank (later California Bank) Building, which one turn was replaced by the California Building in 1911. Nos. 201-213 Broadway are now known named the Broadway Media Center.

Further south on the west side of Broadway, was 207–211, location of the:

  • YMCA Building (#207–209–211), Romanesque Revival architecture, opened in July 1889, demolished in 1903.
    • The YMCA operated here at #207 from 1889 until 1903,
    • City of London opened here in August 1891, run by Messrs. Hiles and Niccolls, who came from the City of Paris department store. It carried curtains, window shades, comforters, and the like. It operated here until August 1895, when it moved next door to the Potomac Block at #213.

The YMCA Building was demolished to make way for the:

  • Merchants Trust Co. Building.
Coulter's complex: Potomac and Bicknell blocks

The adjacent Potomac Block and Bicknell Block originally housed prominent retailers of the day, then were joined together in 1906 by Coulter's department store to form a complex, opening it as a new, 157,000 sq ft (14,600 m2) store in June, 1905.

Potomac Block

The Potomac Block, 213–223 S. Broadway, was from 1905–1917 known as the B. F. Coulter Building. It was originally developed by lumberyard and mill owner J. M. Griffith. It was designed in 1888 by Block, Curlett and Eisen in Romanesque architectural style and opened on July 17, 1890.

Tenants included:

  • Ville de Paris department store (at 221–223, from 1893 through 1906),
  • City of London Dry Goods Co., which moved here from next door at #211 in August 1895 and advertised for this location through August 1899.

It was the first time major retail stores opened on South Broadway, in what would be a shift of the upmarket shopping district from 1890 to 1905 from around First and Spring to South Broadway. In 1904, Coulter's bought the Potomac Block, and combined it with the Bicknell block to create its new store that opened in 1905.

After Coulter's moved:

  • 215 continued as a branch of Coulter's through 1927. Then, 215-217 was home to the Pacific Furniture House in the 1940s.
  • 219 housed Fisch's Department Store in the 1940s.

The building was demolished in 1953 and is still the site of a parking lot.

Bicknell Block

The Bicknell Block (or Bicknell Building) at 225–229 S. Broadway, with back entrances at 224–228 S. Hill Street. was part of Coulter's from 1905 from 1917. After Coulter's moved in 1917, it housed the Western Shoe Co. (through 1922), later known as the Western Department Store (1922-1928). Lettering covered the face of the building from top to bottom through the end of the 1950s: "THE LARGEST SHOE DEPT. IN THE WEST".

Further south on Broadway
  • 231-235, the Harris Newmark Building (1899, Abram Edelman), Bartlett Music Co. (#233), annex to J. W. Robinson's (#235); Goodwill Industries store (#233-235, 1950s-60s). The building still stands, but all floors except the ground floor have been removed.
  • 237-241, the Boston Dry Goods Building (completed 1895, demolished, architects Theodore Eisen and Sumner Hunt, designer of the Bradbury Building) The building was home to J. W. Robinson's "Boston Dry Goods" store from 1895–1915, Scott's Department Store (239–241, 1920s), Third Street Store (237-241, 1950s-60s). Demolished, currently the site of a parking lot.
  • 251 was home to the I. Magnin speciality department store, which opened here on January 2, 1899; starting 1904, I. Magnin announced that the store would be known by the name of its manager, Myer Siegel.

Southeast corner and east side of Broadway from 2nd to 3rd

The southeast corner of 2nd and Broadway was the site of

  • The First Presbyterian Church was located here in 1894. The church was replaced sometime before 1906 by the:
  • Nolan, Smith and Bridge Building, #200-4 S. Broadway, stores and a restaurant.
  • Now the corner is the site of the Historic Broadway underground light rail station, under construction.

Mid-block were:

  • Crocker Building, #212–6 Home to Victor Clothing from 1920–1964.
  • B'nai B'rith Temple (1873), 214 S. Broadway (post-1890 numbering), the city's first synagogue, razed to make way for the Copp Building, 218–224 S. Broadway, home to the original (1908) Pig 'n Whistle candy shop and tea room. The Pig 'n Whistle would open locations at 7th and Broadway and in Hollywood, where it would become a landmark restaurant that still operates today.
  • City Hall (1888–1928; opened 1888, demolished 1929; 228–238 S. Broadway, architect Solomon Irmscher Haas, Romanesque Revival). Now a parking lot. Three stories, it had a 150-foot (46 m) campanile. Red and brown brick. Housed the Los Angeles Public Library for a time until it moved to the new Hamburger's department store building at Eighth and Broadway in 1908. The site is now part of the "(213) S. Spring" parking garage.
  • #240-246 the Hosfield Building, location of the Natatorium (indoor swimming pool) in 1894 and the Imperial Restaurant in 1906. After 1964, location of Victor Clothing, notable for its changing murals reflecting local Chicano culture. Victor Clothing operated here until 2001, and was known i.a. for its frequent ads on Spanish-language television.

Third and Broadway

Northwest corner of Third and Broadway

The corner is home to one of the oldest buildings outside the Plaza area, the 1895 Irvine Byrne Block or Byrne Block; now called the Pan American Lofts. The architect was Sumner Hunt. It was built in a hybrid Spanish Colonial Revival/Beaux-Arts style.

The building was home to the renowned I. Magnin clothing store that opened here on January 2, 1899; on June 19, 1904, I. Magnin announced that the Los Angeles store would henceforth be known as Myer Siegel. After a fire at the Irvine Byrne Building destroyed its store on February 16, 1911, Myer Siegel moved further south on Broadway.

It was modernized and converted to lofts in 2007 and given its present name. The halls and staircase have appeared in many of Alfred Hitchcock's movies, Brad Pitt's "Se7en", "Fight Club","Blade Runner", and other tv shows and commercials.

From Third Street south to Olympic Blvd. (originally Tenth St.), and from Hill Street east to Los Angeles Street, including Broadway, is the Historic Core district, the city's main commercial and entertainment area in the first half of the 20th century.

Northeast corner of Third and Broadway

On this corner:

  • Originally the J. C. Graves house stood here; Graves bought the property in 1879 for $2,250. The house was sold and removed to 10th and Hope streets in 1888.
  • Rindge Block (1898, sold in 1899 for $190,000 to Frederick H. Rindge, the "King of Malibu"), 248–260 S. Broadway, commercial building; the top floors were removed and only the ground floor remains.

Southwest corner of Third and Broadway

  • Million Dollar Theatre, (1917-8, architects Albert C. Martin and William Lee Woollett, Spanish Baroque Revival style, 2,345 seats), 307 S. Broadway. It is the northernmost of the movie palaces that comprise the Broadway Theater District and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Built by Sid Grauman who would later open Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood. The theater was designed by architects with a fanciful facade in the Churrigueresque style. After more than 30 years as one of the city's most prestigious first-run movie palaces, the Million Dollar Theater presented Spanish-language films and variety shows from 1950 until the late 1980s. The theater had a seating capacity of 2,345 when it opened in 1918. In 1925, Ben-Hur played for six months at the Million Dollar Theater.

Southeast corner of Third and Broadway

  • Bradbury Building (1893, architects Sumner Hunt and George Wyman, Italian Renaissance Revival, Romanesque Revival, and Chicago School styles), the oldest remaining commercial building in Downtown Los Angeles. The Los Angeles Conservancy calls it an icon and a "unique treasure". Commissioned by gold-mining and real estate millionaire Lewis Bradbury. It is famous for its light-filled atrium, open cage elevators, marble stairways and ornate iron railings, and has appeared in many films including Blade Runner.


Third to Fourth

South of the intersection of Third and Broadway, sites of interest include:

West side

  • #317: Homer Laughlin Building (1896, John Parkinson), 317 S. Broadway, home to Grand Central Market since 1917. Previously home to department stores: Coulter's (1898–1905) and Ville de Paris (1905–1917).
  • Former J. R. Lane Dry Goods store, 327–329 S. Broadway, (successors to Crandall and Lane) located here through the 1910s. Later, this was the location of Field's jewelry store and the Broadway food market. Still standing, now a food court, but top floors were removed; now single story only.
  • #331–5: Former Jacoby Bros. department store, 331–3–5 S. Broadway, from 1900—1935. At 60,000 square feet (5,600 m2) over four floors plus a basement, it was stated at its opening in 1900 that it had the largest selection of clothing and of shoes in the Western United States. Architect John B. Parkinson. The building was home to an independent "Boston Store" department store in the late 1930s; no relation to J.W. Robinson's or the later regional chain by the same name. Currently independent retail. 2 of 4 floors were removed.Replaced the First Methodist Episcopalian Church previously located here, which moved to the northeast corner of 6th & Hill. Still standing, but top floors were removed; two floors remain.
  • #337–9 former Haggarty's department store from 1905 to 1917.
  • #341–3–5: former J. M. Hale department store from 1909 through the 1920s.
  • #351: Site of The Wonder, 351 S. Broadway, opened in 1921, was the largest retail silk store in the U.S.

  • #363: Grant Building (originally called the "Grant Block", 1898, 3 stories, enlarged to 7 stores 1901-2 by John Parkinson, now one story) at 363 S. Broadway, northwest corner of 4th Street. Once seven stories tall, all but the ground floor have been removed. It was home to the W. E. Cummings shoe store, which had a large shoe on the roof of the building, serving as a landmark, then, from 1908, a Montgomery Bros. jewelry store, one of the most prominent in the city at the time.

East side

  • Blackstone Building (not to be confused with the later Blackstone Department Store building at 901 S. Broadway), 318–322 S. Broadway (1907), housed Blackstone's Department Store from 1907 to 1917, as well as the Los Angeles County Library and the Cozy Theater. Originally 5 stories, now 3.

  • Trustee Building (1905, Parkinson and Bergstrom), 340 S. Broadway, home to various retail stores including Columbia Outfitting in the 1920s.

  • O. T. Johnson Block (1895, Robert Brown Young, 3 stories) All but one floor have been removed.

  • O. T. Johnson Building (1902, John Parkinson, Romanesque, 7 stories), 356–364 S. Broadway, NE corner of 4th/Broadway. All but two floors have been removed.

Fourth to Fifth streets

West side

  • former The Broadway dept. store, now the Junípero Serra state office bldg., 320 W. 4th St. (SW corner of Broadway)
  • former Woolworth's five and dime, 431 S. Broadway
JJ-Newberrys 5th-&-Broadway (2011-07-28)
Terrazzo floor of former Newberry's five and dime
  • Metropolitan Building, former home of Owl Drug Co., (1914–1934), L.A. Public Library (1913–1926), J. J. Newberry five and dime (1939-1990); 315 W. 5th (NW corner of Broadway)

East side

  • site of first Thrifty Drug Store (razed), 412 S. Broadway, new 35-story condominium tower currently under construction

  • Judson C. Rives Building (1907, Charles Ronald Aldrich, 10 stories), 424 S. Broadway, currently The Judson
  • Bumiller Building (1906, Morgan & Walls, 6 stories), 430 S. Broadway, currently the Broadway Lofts

  • Chester Williams Building (1926, Curlett & Beelman, 12 stories), 215 W. 5th St. (NE corner of Broadway), replaced a Victorian building with Sun Drug Co. and Weigel-Rixon Clothes Shops

Fifth to Sixth streets

West side

  • Fifth Street Store/Walker's department store bldg. (1927, architect Alexander Curlett), SW corner of 5th, 501 S. Broadway. The store was known by various names: 1905–1909: Steele, Faris, & Walker Co.; 1909–1925: The Fifth Street Store; 1926–1946: Walker's; 1946–1953 Milliron's; 1953–1959: Ohrbach's-Downtown.

  • Schulte United Building (1928), 529 S. Broadway

  • F. & W. Grand Silver Store Building (1931, Walker & Eisen, Art Deco), 537-541 S. Broadway. It has housed F. & W. Grand Silver five and dime from 1931–1934, a National Dollar store (1934), Richman Brothers (1950s), and a Hartfield's department store (1960s).

East side

  • The Title Guarantee Block (1913, Morgan, Walls and Morgan), 500 S. Broadway, SE corner of 5th, now called the Jewelry Trades Building
  • Pettebone Building (opened 1905, architect Robert Brown Young), 510-512 S. Broadway
  • Roxie Theatre (1931, orig. 1,600 seats), 518 S. Broadway – Movie palace – The Roxie was built in 1932—the last of the movie palaces built on Broadway. The Roxie had a seating capacity of 1,600 when it opened and was noted for its Art Deco or Zigzag Moderne style, including its stepped roofline, angular grillwork, chevron ornament, and terrazzo sunburst in the sidewalk. The theater's sleek Streamline Moderne ticket booth was removed when the theater was converted to retail use.
  • Cameo Theater – (1910, 900 seats), 528 S. Broadway — Nickelodeon – The Cameo opened in 1910 with a seating capacity of 775. Designed by Alfred Rosenheim in a Renaissance Revival style, the Cameo was originally known as Clune's Broadway. Until it closed in 1991, it was the oldest continuously operating movie theater in California. The Cameo has been converted into a swap meet-type market.
  • Arcade Theater (1910, orig. 1,450 seats), 534 S. Broadway – English-music-hall-style theater – The Arcade opened in 1910 as a vaudeville house that was part of the Pantages vaudeville circuit. The Arcade was designed by Morgan & Walls in the Beaux Arts style with tripartite vertical division of the facade. Theater has been closed since 1992. Currently used as retail space.
  • Broadway Arcade (Spring Arcade Building), 540 S. Broadway
  • Silverwoods Building (1920, Walker and Eisen), 556-8 S. Broadway, northeast corner of 6th Street. Housed Silverwoods, a specialty department store for apparel, flagship for a large regional chain. 5 stories.

Sixth to Seventh streets

West side

Southwest corner of Sixth and Broadway
  • H. Jevne Company Building, 603 S. Broadway, 1906-7, Parkinson & Bergstrom, still standing. H. Jevne & Co. was one of the city's most prominent grocer, and this new location complemented the one on Spring Street. Prior to 1906, the two-story frame Norton Block (of Major John H. Norton) stood on the site.
600 block of Broadway, west side

Next to what is now the Jevne building on the south at 609–619 S. Broadway were several buildings in succession:

  • The Hotel Palms, a leading hotel of the city, renovated and repurposed in 1906-7 for use as the Central Department Store.
  • The Central Department Store, architect Samuel Tilden Norton, three floors and basement with a total of 85,000 sq ft (7,900 m2), opened on March 25, 1907, but went bankrupt the next year.
  • The New Paris Cloak and Suit Emporium at 609–11 advertised in 1915
  • From 1921 or 1922 through 1927, the prominent Myer Siegel clothing store was located in part of the building (#617–619).
  • Los Angeles Theatre – (1931, 2,000 seats), 615 S. Broadway, Movie Palace – The Los Angeles opened in 1931 for the premiere of Charlie Chaplin's City Lights. It had a seating capacity just short of 2,000. The theater was designed by S. Charles Lee and S. Tilden Norton in the French Baroque style, and was modeled on San Francisco's Fox Theater. The Los Angeles included the latest technological features when it opened, including an electric monitor of available seats, blue neon floor lights, a restaurant, a children's playroom, soundproof crying rooms, smoking room with built-in cigarette lighters, a walnut-paneled lounge with a secondary screen on which a periscope-like system of prisms relayed the film. The ladies' powder room was lined with mirrors and vanities, and the toilet stalls were each done in a different kind of marble and each toilet bowl of a different pastel shade. In 1988, the Los Angeles Times called it "a movie house for the gods, even in its present dusty state". Columnist Jack Smith wrote that the Los Angeles Theater was "palatial beyond the dreams of a prince" with a lobby that suggested "nothing less than the glory of Versailles.". Aerosmith's video for "Jaded" was filmed throughout the theater. It is owned by the Broadway Theatre Group, and continues to be used as a performing arts venue. Current capacity: 1,931.
  • former S. H. Kress five and dime, 621-3-5 S. Broadway
  • St. Vincent's Jewelry Mart, formerly Bullock's dept. store, NW corner of Seventh and Broadway
East side

  • Walter P. Story Building (1909, Morgan, Walls and Clements, Beaux-Arts) 600-2-4-6-8-10 S. Broadway, SE corner of Sixth and Broadway. Former location of the Mullen & Bluett clothing store.
  • Desmond's dept. store bldg. (1924, Albert C. Martin, Sr., Beaux-arts and "Spanish", 6 stories, 85,000-square-foot (7,900-square-metre)), 616 S. Broadway. Desmond's opened its final flagship store here in 1924 and closed it in 1972. In 2018 the building was renovated as office space, a restaurant and a rooftop bar.
  • Schaber's Cafeteria Building (1928), 620 S. Broadway, currently a Jordan Brand flagship store

  • Palace Theatre (1911, G. Albert Lansburgh, Italian Renaissance Revival architecture, 2,200 seats originally, 1,068 seats today), 630 S. Broadway,– vaudeville theater and movie palace – The Palace opened in 1911 with a seating capacity of 2,200. It was an Orpheum Circuit (chain) vaudeville theater from 1911–1926 and is the oldest remaining Orpheum theater in the United States. The structure was based on a Florentine early Renaissance palazzo. The brick facade includes multi-colored terra-cotta swags and four panels depicting the muses of vaudeville sculpted by Domingo Mora. It is also owned by the Broadway Theatre Group.

  • Joseph E. Carr Building (1908-9, Robert Brown Young, architect) 644–646 S. Broadway. Site of Harris & Frank clothing store, its second downtown location, which operated from 1947–1980.
  • Clifton's Cafeteria, 648 S. Broadway

Seventh to Eighth streets

West side

Loew's State Theater (Los Angeles)
State Theater
  • State Theatre (1921, 2,450 seats), 703 S. Broadway, – Vaudeville theater and movie palace – The State opened in 1921 with a seating capacity of 2,450. The theater offered both film and vaudeville when it opened. Judy Garland performed at the theater as part of the Gumm Sisters in 1929. Designed by Charles Weeks and William Day, the 12-story Loew's State is said to be the largest brick-clad structure in Los Angeles. The theater is also noted for the seated Buddha/Billiken figure, as a good luck charm, located in a niche above the proscenium arch. The exterior has an elaborate "silver platter" chased ornamentation above the ground story. In 1998, Metropolitan Theaters stopped showing movies at the State and leased the space to the Universal Church. As of 2015 the State is owned by the Broadway Theatre Group and is leased by the Cathedral of Faith for use as a church.
  • F.W. Woolworth Building (1920), 719 S. Broadway, currently houses Ross Dress for Less
Reich and Lièvre ad for 1917 Los Angeles store opening
Reich and Lièvre store at 737-745 S. Broadway depicted in 1917 ad for store opening
  • Isaac Bros. Building, home of Reich and Lièvre “cloak and suit” emporium (women's apparel), 1917-ca. 1927, 739-745 Broadway
  • Merritt Building (1915), 761 S. Broadway, (NW corner of 8th)

East side

  • Site of Hotel Lankershim (1905, demolished), 700 S. Broadway (SE corner 7th St.)

Globe Theatre (1913, 1,900 seats) – Legitimate theater – Located at 744 S. Broadway, the Globe opened in 1913 as the Morosco Theatre, with a seating capacity of 782. Built for impresario Oliver Morosco and designed by the architectural firm of Morgan, Walls & Morgan, it was used for full-scale live dramatic theater. It was converted into a movie theater during the Great Depression and later served as a Spanish-language movie theater. The building was converted into a swap meet in 1987. As of June 2014, construction to restore it to use as an entertainment venue is ongoing. The restored marquee was relit June 24, 2014. The Globe is now a multipurpose space for music, theatrical events and films. Current capacity: 2,000.

Eighth to Ninth streets

West side

East side

  • Tower Theatre (1927, 900 seats), 802 S. Broadway. The Tower opened in 1927 with a seating capacity of 1,000. It was the first of more than 70 theaters designed by S. Charles Lee, who described the Tower as a "modified French Renaissance" design. It was the first movie theater in Downtown Los Angeles equipped to accommodate talking pictures. It is now owned by Apple inc. They are currently refurbishing the theater and will open a downtown Apple store. Current capacity: 314
  • Rialto Theatre (1917), 812 S. Broadway, the Rialto opened as Quinn's Rialto, a nickelodeon, in 1917. It was purchased by Sid Grauman in 1919, the year after he opened the Million Dollar Theater. Today the theater is home to an Urban Outfitters store.
  • Platt Building (1927, Walker and Eisen, Gothic Revival architecture), 830 S. Broadway, originally the headquarters of the Platt Music Corporation, and is now one of several Anjac Fashion's office buildings and home of The Broadway Bar.
  • Orpheum Theatre (1926, G. Albert Lansburgh, 1,976 seats) 842 S. Broadway. The Orpheum opened in 1926 as the fourth Los Angeles home for the Orpheum vaudeville circuit. Architect G. Albert Lansburgh designed the François Premier style interior. The Orpheum has hosted performances by Jack Benny, Eddie Cantor, Sophie Tucker, Will Rogers, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, the Marx Brothers, and Lena Horne. In the 1990s, Tom Hanks used the Orpheum as a substitute for the Orpheum in Pittsburgh for his film That Thing You Do. The Orpheum has also been featured in the Guns N' Roses video, "November Rain," and in the Sean Penn-produced video for Jewel's "You Were Meant for Me". In 2006, the film Dreamgirls was shot at the Orpheum. The television series So You Think You Can Dance and American Idol have used the Orpheum for Los Angeles auditions, and Idol has televised its early elimination rounds from the theater.
  • Ninth and Broadway Building (1930, architect Claud Beelman), 850 S. Broadway

Ninth to Tenth streets

West side

United Artists Theater
  • United Artists Theater (now The Theatre at Ace Hotel) – Movie palace – Located at 933 S. Broadway, the United Artists opened in 1927 with a seating capacity of 2,214. It was the showcase for movies from the United Artists group created in 1919 by Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks and D.W. Griffith. The theater was designed by C. Howard Crane, with Walker & Eisen, in a Gothic style inspired by a church in Segovia, Spain. The columns feature terra cotta capitals carved with film and theater themed grotesques. The interior includes a series of frescoes and murals by the firm of Anthony Heinsbergen. In 1990, the United Artists Theater was restored by Gene Scott's L.A. University Church; Scott called on his television flock to come to Los Angeles to help with the restoration. Scott's famous "Jesus Saves" sign was placed on the back side of the building to avoid interfering with the original facade. In 2013 the upper floors of the building were renovated into a boutique hotel, the Ace Los Angeles; the auditorium has been returned to use as a concert venue and theater.

South of Olympic Boulevard (originally Tenth Street)

West side

  • Los Angeles Examiner building, SW corner 11th
  • Athens Park, 124th to El Segundo Blvd.
  • Site of the Globe Department Store, 51st and Broadway

East side

  • The Hoxton hotel, 1060 S. Broadway, in the Los Angeles Railway Building (1925, office building, Noerenberg & Johnson, Beaux-Arts architecture)
  • Proper Hotel, 1100 S. Broadway, (1926, Curlett & Beelman, California Renaissance Revival architecture). The building originally housed the Commercial Club of Southern California, then the Cabrillo Hotel in the early 1940s, the Case Hotel from the late 1940s to the mid-1960s, and a YMCA from 1965 to 2004.

Other surviving theaters adjacent to Broadway

  • Warner Bros. Downtown Theatre – Vaudeville theater and movie palace – Located at 401 W. 7th St (northwest corner of South Hill and West 7th St). Opening on August 17, 1920, it was originally called the Pantages Theatre, but was renamed Warner Bros. Downtown Theatre in 1930 after the Hollywood Pantages Theatre was opened. The exterior has an imposing domed corner tower, flanked by twin facades on 7th and Hill. Later in the 1960s, it was known as the Warrens Theatre. It currently houses a jewelry store.
  • Olympic Theatre – Movie palace – Located at 313 W. 8th St, half a block from S. Broadway, it originally opened in 1927 as Bard's 8th Street Theatre, converted from a restaurant. For a time, it had a second entrance on Broadway. After a period as a chandelier store, COS, a higher-end brand of H&M, began remodeling the store in 2016.
  • Mayan Theater – Vaudeville theater and movie palace – Located at 1014 South Hill Street. Opened in August 1927 and now designated a Historic Cultural Monument, the Mayan is currently used as a nightclub. Current capacity: 1,491
  • Belasco Theatre – Legitimate theater – Located at 1050 South Hill Street, adjacent to the Mayan. Built by the Belasco brothers, and designed by Morgan, Walls and Clements. It served as a church from 1950 to 1987, renovations were completed in 2011 to modernize the sound and lighting systems. Currently hosts services for the Los Angeles campus of Hillsong Church. Current capacity: 1,601.

Street grid

South of Third Street

Landmarks are shown on the following street grid of the Historic Core of Downtown Los Angeles.

Abbreviations and notes

  • Abbreviations: DS=Department Store. Res.=residential building
  • Architectural styles: AD=Art Deco, BA=Beaux-Arts, BR=Baroque Revival, CR=Classical Revival, IRR=Italian Renaissance Revival, It=Italianate, Rom=Romanesque, RR=Renaissance Revival
  • Architects: C&B=Curlett & Beelman, JP=John Parkison, P&B=Parkinson & Bergstrom, RBY=Robert Brown Young
  • Italics indicate the building's current name or main tenant.
  • Non-italics indicate a historic name or tenant of an existing building.
  •  *An asterisk indicates a demolished building.
For the area north of Third Street, see Victorian Downtown Los Angeles
For the area to the west of Hill Street, see Financial District, Los Angeles
H
I
L
L

S
T.
  Irvine Byrne Block/
now Pan American Lofts (1895)
B
R
O
A
D
W
A
Y
  Douglas Bldg. (1899) S
P
R
I
N
G

S
T
R
E
E
T
Stimson Bldg. (1893–1963)   M
A
I
N

S
T
R
E
E
T
    L
O
S

A
N
G
E
L
E
S

S
T
R
E
E
T
THIRD ST. THIRD ST. THIRD ST. THIRD ST. THIRD ST.
Million Dollar Theatre Bradbury Bldg. (1893)
—Blackstone's DS (1907–1917)
Ronald Reagan State Bldg. (1990) Toy District
Angels Flight Homer Laughlin Building (1898):
Now Grand Central Market.
formerly Coulter's, Ville de Paris
Broadway Spring Center parking structure (1990) Round House
Jacoby Bros. DS* (#331–5; 1900–1935)
Grant Bldg. (1898)
Trustee Building (#340, 1905 PB)
O. T. Johnson Block (#350, 1895 It RBY)
O. T. Johnson Bldg. (#356, 1902 JB Rom)
parking lot Hellman Bldg. (1902)
FOURTH ST. FOURTH ST. FOURTH ST. FOURTH ST. FOURTH ST.
The Broadway DS/
Junípero Serra State Office Bldg. #2
vacant parking lot Continental Bldg. (1902) San Fernando Bldg. (1906 IRR) Toy District
Subway
Terminal
Bldg.
/
Now "Metro 417"
—Hotel Clark
—Occidental Hotel
—Boos Bros. Cafeteria
—St. Clarenden Hotel
Judson C. Rive Bldg. (1907) 419 S. Spring
435 S. Spring
Stowell/El Dorado Hotel/
El Dorado Lofts (1913)
Dog Park
Title Guarantee Bldg. (1930) Metropolitan Bldg. (1913)/Newberry's 5&10¢/Now Fallas Paredes DS and lofts Chester Williams Bldg. (1926) Crocker Bank/
Spring Arts Tower (1915)
Title Insurance and Trust Company Building/
Trust Bldg. (1928)
Rowan Bldg (1912) King Edward Hotel (1906 P&B)
FIFTH ST. FIFTH ST. FIFTH ST. FIFTH ST. FIFTH ST.
Pershing Square Pershing Square station (Metro Rail) Fifth Street Store DS Roxie Theatre
Cameo Theater
Arcade Theatre
(now retail)
Hotel Alexandria (1906) Security Trust and Savings Bank/
Security Bldg. Lofts (1907)
Hotel Rosslyn Annex Pershing Hotel/
Pershing Apts. (1889)
Baltimore Hotel (1910)
Spring Arcade Los Angeles Theater Center (1916) Parking Structure (#545) Topaz Apts.
Paramount Theatre/
International Jewelry Center
Swelldom DS Silverwoods DS/
Broadway Jewelry Mart
Pacific Southwest Bank (1910) Santa Fe Bldg. (1906)
SIXTH ST. SIXTH ST. SIXTH ST. SIXTH ST. SIXTH ST.
—Consolidated Reatly Bldg./
California Jewelry Mart (1908/1935)
—Sun Realty Bldg./
Los Angeles Jewelry Center (1931)
—Harris & Frank Bldg./
Wholesale Jewelry Exchange (1925)
—Western Jewelry Mart
William Fox Bldg.
(Fox Jewelry Plaza)
(1932)
Los Angeles Theatre —Mullen & Bluett DS/ Walter P. Story Bldg.
Desmond's Bldg.
Palace Theatre
J. E. Carr Bldg.
—Harris & Frank 1947-1980
Hotel Hayward
E. F. Hutton (1931)
California Canadian Bank (1923)
Barclays Bank (1919)
United California Bank
Stock Exchange
Mortgage Guaranty Building (1913)
Banks & Huntley Bldg. (1930)
Pacific Electric Building
Warner Bros. (a.k.a. Pantages, Warren) Theatre (1920)
Now Jewelry
Theater Center
Bullock's DS/
St. Vincent Jewelry Center
Bank of Italy/
Bank of America/
SB Lofts (1924)
Bartlett Bldg. (1911)
SEVENTH ST. SEVENTH ST. SEVENTH ST. SEVENTH ST. SEVENTH ST.
Foreman & Clark DS/
Foreman & Clark Bldg. (1928, Curlett & Beelman, Art Deco and Neo-Gothic)
State Theatre —Hotel Lankershim
Globe Theatre
Dearden's DS
Garfield Bldg. (1930) Union Bank & Trust Company Bldg.
Union Lofts (1922)
Griffin on Spring Apts. (2018) Great Republic Lofts (1923)
EIGHTH ST. EIGHTH ST. EIGHTH ST. EIGHTH ST. EIGHTH ST.
RKO Hillstreet
Theatre

(1922-1963)/
820 Olive/
825 South Hill (res.)
Hamburger's DS (1908-1923)/
May Company DS (1923-1986)/
May Company Building
Tower Theatre (1927 BR)
Rialto Theatre (1917 AD/CR)
Orpheum Theatre (1926 BA)
Lane Mortgage Bldg. (1923) National City Tower (1924)

—California Theatre (1918–1990 BA)
Gray Bldg. (#824)
Coast Fed. Savings Bldg. (1926) Parking lot
Alexan tower (planned)
City Club Bldg. (1925) Harris Newmark Bldg. (1926 RR C&B) Cooper Bldg. (1926 C&B)
NINTH ST. NINTH ST. NINTH ST. NINTH ST.
small retail May Co. Garage Bldg.(1926) United Artists Theatre/
Ace Hotel
Gerry Building (1947 SM)
South Park by Windsor Apts. Broadway Palace Apts. (2017)
OLYMPIC BL. (formerly TENTH ST.) OLYMPIC BL. (formerly TENTH ST.)
Mayan Theater
Belasco Theatre
Broadway Palace Apts. (2017)
Western Pacific Bldg. (1925)
White Log Coffee Shop Los Angeles Railway HQ/
Hoxton Hotel (1925)
ELEVENTH ST. ELEVENTH ST. ELEVENTH ST. ELEVENTH ST.
Proposed 43-story Sky Trees res. tower Herald-Examiner Bldg. (1914) Commercial Club/
Proper Hotel (1926)
Harris Building (1923 BA)


Table of former department stores on Broadway and 7th streets

List of department stores in Downtown Los Angeles

Public transportation

LA Metro's Historic Broadway station is an under-construction underground light rail station near the intersection of 2nd and Broadway, part of the new Regional Connector tunnel extending light rail lines that currently terminate at 7th Street/Metro Center station, to Union Station. In the new scheme that LA Metro will adopt when the Connector opens, trains will run from Historic Broadway Station on the E Line east to East Los Angeles and west to Santa Monica, and on the A Line northeast to Union Station, Pasadena, and Azusa and south to Long Beach.

Metro J Line bus rapid transit (BRT) has 5 stations adjacent to Broadway in South Los Angeles: 37th Street/USC, Slauson, Manchester/I-110, Harbor Freeway, and Rosecrans. These stations are along the Harbor Transitway, a dedicated busway between Downtown L.A. (Adams Blvd.) and the Harbor Gateway, near Carson, in the median of the Harbor Freeway (I-110), just west of Broadway. J Line BRT runs as far south as San Pedro and as far northeast as El Monte.

Metro Local bus line 45 serves most of the length of Broadway, between Lincoln Heights through Downtown to El Segundo Boulevard in Athens. Local routes 2, 4, 30, 33 and 40 serve portions of Broadway downtown.

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