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 Adrian Scott Fine/L.A. Conservancy

Eastern Columbia Lofts

From its spectacular clock tower emblazoned with the name Eastern in neon down to its multi-colored terrazzo sidewalks, this 1930 downtown landmark was one of the largest buildings constructed in downtown until after WWII.
Photo by Adrian Scott Fine/L.A. Conservancy

Ralph J. Bunche House

The Ralph J. Bunche House stands as a tribute to the first person of color to receive a Nobel Peace Prize.
Photo by Flora Chou/L.A. Conservancy

National Bank of Whittier Building

Clad in glazed terra cotta with classically inspired detailing and leaded-glass transoms, this six-story building by father-and-son architects John and Donald B. Parkinson exemplifies the Beaux Arts style.