Friday, January 22, 2010

What Building Is This? Wilshire and Cochran

There be a lovely art deco building on the South side of Wilshire, in the block east of Cochran. This is a picture of it in 1939courtesy of USC's Digital Library. The building is on the right or south side of the street.

Cafe Flourish sits in a street-level storefront in the middle of it, and I had the most wonderful grilled cheese sandwich with a side of tabouleh there last week.  The food's fantastic, go visit! In the interest of history, I will note that in 1954 a Boulevard Stationers occupied that particular spot, with a phone number of York 7117. In 1959 that address--5406 Wilshire--became the headquarters for the "Re-elect City Councilman Harold A. Henry" campaign. Isn't this fascinating? Aren't you glad you checked in today?

Henry won that election, btw...and just about every other one. He was President of the LA City Council when he died in 1966.

In October 1931, Myer Siegel opened a clothing shop covering two-thirds of the second floor of 5400 Wilshire, in the "Dominguez Wilshire Building." Hey, that must be it!

The only thing that comes up in a search of the Los Angeles Times is that the Dominguez Wilshire Building was sold for a cool million in early 1958, by one Alexander Haagen to a Dr. John Martin Hiss.

It had been built in 1930 by the Dominguez family (yup, that Dominguez family!), and the architects were Morgan, Walls, and Clements. According to the online archives of Cal State Dominguez Hills, the family--or the Dominguez Estate and Dominguez Water Company--bought the land, formed the Dominguez-Wilshire Company to oversee construction of their new headquarters, moved in, and managed the building.  The Dominguez-Wilshire Company dissolved itself in 1936, but the property was still owned by a family corporation. Don't know how it came to belong to Alexander Haagen.

There's a great photo of it in modern times on Flicker.  This photo, midway through construction, is from CSUDH's Archives, the Rancho San Pedro Collection.


Foodeater said...

Fascinating, thanks for posting this. I've always loved this building... and I love it even more now that Cafe Flourish lives in it :)

Art in Torrance said...

I think it's the old Desmond's department store building. Check out this image here:

I grew up nearby ... I recall driving past it a million times as a kid.

Vix said...

Art, I found a great vid of the Desmond's building here:

It says it was directly across from the El Rey Theatre, which is in the 5500 block. The buildings are similar (Desmond's was erected in 1929, just a year earlier than the Dominguez one) but not quite the same. Thanks!

Vix said...

Foodeater, thanks for stopping by. I've seen your blog ( and Cafe Flourish seems like the perfect place for you!

scr said...

I just came across several beautiful architectural renderings of the Dominguez Building at 5410 Wilshire Blvd and Cochran, dated 1934 by the firm of Buck and Trapet. They are of shops, restaurants and residences in the building. Can't find anything on Buck and Trapet. Anyone have any input?

SCR said...

I just came across architectural renderings of the Dominguez Building at 5410 Wilshire. They are by the firm of Buck and Trapet and dated 1934. There are shops, restaurants and residences. Anyone have any input on this?