The Town House
Located on Wilshire Boulevard facing Lafayette Park, the Town House was one of the most prominent luxury apartment buildings constructed in the fashionable Wilshire District.
Oil magnate Edward Doheny developed the apartment-hotel, completed in 1929, and advertised it as “Southern California’s most distinguished address.”
Designed by architect Norman W. Alpaugh, the Town House is a late example of Beaux Arts classicism, completed in 1929 as the style was fading from favor and new styles such as Art Deco were emerging in popularity.
Though a late example, its design is finely articulated, with brick and terra cotta facades. Rich classical detailing includes Greek fretwork and columns and pilasters featuring the Tower of the Winds variant of the Corinthian order. Wrought iron balconettes and railings give balance to the design.
In 1937, the Town House was re-launched as a luxury hotel featuring one of Los Angeles’ storied night clubs, the Zebra Room, with interiors designed by Wayne McAllister.
Five years later, in 1942, hotelier Conrad Hilton took over the building. Elizabeth Taylor’s first marriage, to hotel heir Nicky Hilton in 1950, was celebrated at the Town House.
The Town House was later sold to the Sheraton hotel chain, first operating as the Sheraton Town House and later as the Sheraton West.
The hotel closed in 1993 and was later threatened with demolition, spurring a highly visible advocacy effort that saved the building and resulted in its reuse as family housing with community amenities.