Photo by Marcello Vavala/L.A. Conservancy

Blackstone Department Store Building

The Blackstone Department Store Building is an early example of the work of John Parkinson, Los Angeles’ preeminent architect of the early twentieth century. Parkinson, in collaboration with other architects, went on to design some of Los Angeles’ most iconic buildings, including City Hall, Bullocks Wilshire, and Union Station.

Developer Arthur H. Fleming hired Parkinson to design a modern department store for his new commercial tenant, Nathaniel Blackstone, a successful dry goods retailer. This Beaux Arts building is clad in grey terra cotta and features a detailed cornice with elaborate brackets.

In 1939, Blackstone’s was sold to the Famous Department Store Company, which hired noted architects Morgan, Walls, and Clements to oversee extensive renovations. These alterations included a new ground-floor façade, designed by Stiles O. Clements, in a sleek Streamline Moderne style. Although not original to the building, this façade has gained significance over time as an example of later Moderne detailing.

Today, after years of decline, the Blackstone Building has been adaptively reused as mixed-income housing with ground-floor retail space and a basement parking garage. The Conservancy holds an easement protecting the building’s historic façade.

Photo by Linda Dishman/L.A. Conservancy

The Stuart Building

With elegant screening, reflecting pools and fountains, and other details, this building demonstrated that industrial architecture could be attractive and appealing, as well as cost-effective.
Photo by Trudi Sandmeier

Cameo Theatre

Opening in 1910 as Clune's Broadway Theatre to screen first-run films, the 900-seat theatre was one of the country’s first theatres built to show movies. The modest Neo-classical design was considered quite elegant for a movie theatre at the time.