Sunday, December 6, 2009

Los Angeles County Hall of Justice

This building on primo real estate (Temple and Broadway ) has been closed for fifteen years now--ever since the 1994 Northridge quake. Damaged to the point that hundreds of millions of dollars are required to fix it. Maybe.

According to USC's Geography page, the 1925 Hall of Justice is undergoing a $200 million renovation even as we blog. According to a Los Angeles Times' story this week, our Board of Supervisors has just ordered a report on the feasibility of repairing and reusing the building. The LA County Sheriff wants to move back in, since this building was their home for many years.

This picture is from the USC site, but here's an even better one from, which claims the building went up in 1922, not 1925. And the Los Angeles Conservancy calls it a "1926 Beaux Arts Building." The top five floors were once a jail and housed Sirhan Sirhan, Charles Manson, and other dark souls; Marilyn Monroe's autopsy was done at this address. Wonder if it's haunted?

On a lighter note, a November 5, 1963 Times story implied that mice in the building were getting high on marijuana stored in the county clerk's narcotics locker. "Those mice are addicts," complained Peter J. Talmachoff, chief criminal division deputy. "They run riot all night, then stagger off to their nest leaving the floor littered with marijuana."

I did not make a word of that up; it's taken verbatim from the news story. The room held several hundred pounds of weed for use as evidence in pending trials. Talmachoff said an exterminator and a plasterer had been called in and went to work, but "The next day the mice were back in the marijuana just the same." and "We have trapped about 50 of them, but the mice multiply faster than we can catch them."

That was 55 years ago! What if the real reason the building's been shut down for so long is not earthquake damage but drug-crazed mutant rodents? Just wondering. With Flash Forward and other dramas showing reruns this month, wouldn't it be cool to watch a series about mutant mice in the Hall of Justice plotting the overthrow of democracy?


Gunnar and Sherry said...

Very interesting, and very funny about the marijuana. I just did a post about this place on my blog, too.

Vix said...

Love your post! My mom watched Perry Mason fact, I'm gonna blog, linking to you!