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.