Preserving Wilshire's History

Wilshire Boulevard is lined with irreplaceable historic structures that embody the rich history of the boulevard, of Los Angeles, and of our culture.

The Los Angeles Conservancy has worked hard, along with many others, to preserve and revitalize such Wilshire landmarks as the former May Company, the Bullock's Wilshire building, the Wiltern Theatre, and the Town House apartments.

Community members have defended their heritage by fighting for buildings such as Chateau Colline in Westwood, now restored and protected by a conservation easement.

Despite our best efforts, we don’t always succeed: some Wilshire landmarks are lost to us forever, such as the ornate, Spanish-style McKinley Building that once stood across from the Wiltern (now the site of a Sav-On drugstore).

Other historic buildings still await much-needed repair and restoration, such as the Wadsworth Chapel on the West Los Angeles Veterans Affairs campus, the oldest building remaining on Wilshire.

One of the greatest losses in the Conservancy's history (and the history of Los Angeles) was the Ambassador Hotel, a Wilshire icon for more than eighty years. 

The reason groups like the Los Angeles Conservancy work so hard to save historic buildings is that these structures provide a tangible link to our past while thriving as vital elements of our present and future. You can look at photographs of a building, but it is entirely different –- and far more powerful –- to walk up to it, see it up close and all around you, and touch it, to get a true understanding of its rich history and meaning.

We keep working to promote and protect these architectural treasures, so that they can continue to teach, serve, and inspire us for generations to come.