Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza | Los Angeles Conservancy

Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza

The Baldwin Hills – Crenshaw Plaza, formerly known as the Broadway-Crenshaw Center, is located at the intersection of Martin Luthor King, Jr. and Crenshaw Boulevards. Today, the shopping center encompasses properties on both sides Martin Luthor King Jr. Boulevard. However, the two properties developed separately as competing department stores. The Broadway Building (southwest corner), May Company Building (northwest corner), and 1980s era shopping mall comprise today's shopping center. Both the Broadway and May Company buildings are excellent examples of Streamline Moderne architecture.

The Broadway Building, designed by Albert B. Gardner, opened in November 1947. Included in Gardner's design were a Vons supermarket, bank, and drugstore along Santa Barbara Avenue (now Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard).  

The May Company Building, located on the northeast corner of the intersection, was designed by Albert C. Martin and Associates and completed in October 1947.

When the two department stores opened, customer traffic surpassed either store's expectations. Because of their proximity and popularity, customers assumed the department stores developed in tandem rather than separately.

The Baldwin Hills-Crenshaw Center is notable for several reasons beyond its Streamline Moderne design. The shopping center was one of the first regional shopping centers built in the United States, specifically for the automobile. Now familiar in mall design, the Broadway-Crenshaw Center was the first to use a large department store to anchor smaller retail shops in a single development.

In 1988-89 a large indoor mall was constructed at the rear of the Broadway Building, an enclosed bridge built at this time connected the two properties. During construction of the new mall, the smaller retail buildings designed by Gardner were demolished. When completed, the Broadway-Crenshaw Center became known as the Baldwin Hills-Crenshaw Plaza.

Photo by Laura Dominguez/L.A. Conservancy

Bob Mizer Residence and Studio

Photographer Bob Mizer founded one of the first erotic art publications from his studio and home in Pico-Union in the 1940s.
Earl Carroll Theatre, now Nickelodeon Studios. Photo by Laura Dominguez/L.A. Conservancy

Earl Carroll Theatre

Designed by master architect Gordon B. Kaufmann, the Earl Carroll Theatre exemplifies the optimism and grandeur of pre-war Hollywood.