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Historic Core, Los Angeles facts for kids

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Historic Core
Eastern Columbia Building
Historic Core is located in Downtown Los Angeles
Historic Core
Historic Core
Location in Downtown Los Angeles
Country  United States
State  California
County Los Angeles County
City  Los Angeles
Named 1990s
Zip code
Streets 3rd Street, 4th Street, Broadway, Hill Street, Main Street, Olympic Boulevard, Spring Street

The Historic Core is a district within Downtown Los Angeles includes the world's largest concentration of movie palaces, former large department stores, and office towers, all built chiefly between 1907 and 1931. Within it lie the Broadway Theater District and the Spring Street historic financial district, and in its west it overlaps with the Jewelry District and in its east with Skid Row.

The Historic Core falls into two business improvement districts, Historic Core (south of 4th St.) and Downtown LA (from 2nd to 4th Street). The total Historic Core is thus composed of:

  • Los Angeles Street from 2nd to 6th streets,
  • Spring Street and Main Street from 2nd to 7th streets,
  • Broadway from 2nd to 9th streets,
  • Hill Street from 2nd to 10th streets

Please consult the articles about the individual streets and historic districts above for a full discussion of the architectural landmarks in the district.


The Historic Core was the center of the city before World War II. With the general decline of downtown after World War II, and the movement of all financial institutions several blocks to the west, ending up on Figueroa Street, Flower Street, and Grand Avenue, the area suffered. In the 1950s it became the center of Latino entertainment in the city, e.g.: the Million Dollar Theatre featured the biggest names in the Spanish language entertainment world. This paralleled the general white flight occurring in Downtown Los Angeles at the time, which saw Broadway become a major center for Latino life in the city.

The Orpheum Theatre recently underwent a complete restoration at a cost of several million dollars, and is now used for major movie premieres (such as "Collateral" in 2005), celebrity events (Michael Jackson's birthday party), comedy shows (Kathy Griffin), fashion shows, concerts and plays. Most of the older buildings have stores that cater to the Latino immigrant working class.


In 1999, the Los Angeles City Council passed an Adaptive Re-Use Ordinance, allowing for the conversion of old, unused office buildings to apartments or "lofts." Developer Tom Gilmore purchased a series of century-old buildings and converted them into lofts near Main and Spring streets, a development now known as the "Old Bank District." Other notable redevelopment projects in the Historic Core have included the Eastern Columbia Building, Broadway Trade Center, Higgins Building, The Security Building, the Pacific Electric Building, The Judson, and the Subway Terminal Building. As of 2005, redevelopment projects in downtown Los Angeles have been divided about evenly between rentals and condominiums; though projects near the Staples Center arena in the South Park neighborhood have been overwhelmingly dedicated to condominiums.

The Eastern Columbia Building is widely considered the greatest surviving example of Art Deco architecture in the city.

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