Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Our L.A. Central Library

Los Angeles Central Library

Guy and Alice
On Sunday, Larry and I took our house guests, Alice and Guy, downtown to the L.A. Central Library. Alice and Guy are both architects and whenever they visit L.A., we like to take them on some sort of architectural tour of our fair City. Since Larry and I are totally into the history of L.A., we know quite a bit about the different architectural styles represented here.

The Maguire Garden at the Library

Of course, I've been to our Library downtown many times since its resurrection after a devastating 1986 fire. The restoration and addition of a new building is one of the main reasons that the Los Angeles Conservancy came into being. Some City leaders wanted to tear down the Library. Early founders of the Conservancy helped save the existing building, built in 1926.
Murals in the Library's Great Rotunda,
depicting the history of California
Ellen and Larry
Atrium Chandeliers, Thurman Statum, artist
There is a wealth of beautiful artwork and architectural details in the Library. You can read a bit about them here. On Sunday we had a guided tour with a docent of ALL of these features, as well as hearing about the many programs the Library has to offer to the public. There are two galleries at the Library. We viewed a photo exhibit by Yousuf Karsh, the sketches and drawings by architect Richard Neutra and a permanent exhibit called Treasures of Los Angeles, featuring movie posters. Our visit to the Los Angeles map files was highly entertaining. I enjoyed surveying a map of my neighborhood from the 1950's. Even in our older area, there was a lot of open space 60 years ago. I was amazed!
The Neutra exhibit was most interesting for our guests. Richard Neutra was one of the most important of the modernist architects in Los Angeles. We saw drawings for my Uncle's former home, the Goodson House, in Laurel Canyon. I remember Uncle Marvin telling us that Richard Neutra was quite a difficult person to work with.
Drawing of the Goodson House (1948)
destroyed by fire 1979
The Central Library also has a wonderful bookstore and gift shop, in addition to a few food concession stands. It really is a great place to visit, even if you don't crack open a book!
Touring the Library
After a quick fruit smoothie at the Library concession stand, we headed over to Angelino Heights, one of the oldest suburbs of downtown L.A. and the first Historic Preservation Overlay Zone. The houses on Carroll Avenue are the jewels in the center of the neighborhood with the most fully restored Victorian homes. The L.A. Conservancy conducts docent led tours of the Angelino Heights area on the first Saturday of the month. You get to tour the inside of a few of the homes as well as the surrounding neighborhood.We got there just as the sun was setting through the mature palm trees. It was a beautiful sight.
We zoomed over to our fave Zankou Chicken in Hollywood for an early dinner and called it a day. What a grand day it was!

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At 5:20 PM PST, Blogger MonkeyGurrrrrl said...

Funny; when I worked DT, I never appreciated the Library enough to spend some time there (I think the walk back up Grand and the prospect of seeing Angel Nick Cage in the stairwells may have intimidated me...), but they way you/Mr. Larry have photographed it really make it seem inviting.

But those beautiful victorians... One day, after I win the lottery, I'm going to hire you as my consultant for buying one of them.

At 2:35 PM PST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your library looks so fantastic. Thanks for the virtual tour, Ellen.



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