Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Examiner Buildings, 1903 and 1914

The Los Angeles Times published a great, short piece by Christopher Hawthorne two days ago, about the long-vacant Herald Examiner building on Broadway and 11th. The Times has a lovely photo of the building against a blue sky, taken very recently. This undated photo from the Los Angeles Public Library shows it--I'm guessing--when it opened, or was about to open, in 1914.

The building was designed by Julia Morgan, California's first registered female architect, who later designed Hearst Castle. (William Randolph Hearst was the owner of the Los Angeles Examiner.) The Los Angeles Examiner building housed the newspaper until 1989, when the Herald-Examiner (the two papers merged in the early 60s) went out of business.

The building's in limbo now. Hawthorne reports that a plan to restore it and bring in a couple of condo towers has been abandoned, thanks to the economic downturn. "As a result it languishes as the most important piece of shuttered architecture downtown, and maybe in all of L.A," says Hawthorne.

True, and here's something the Times didn't have: the OLD Examiner building. I found this in the LA Library's photo archive. It's undated, taken by one Dick Wittington.  The address is clear, and the street is Broadway.

George Garrigues' wonderful site , "Los Angeles in the 1900s," reprints the story of the newspaper's grand opening in LA in 1903, when the Examiner (and Hearst himself) was heralded (no pun intended) as the champion of unions and labor--unlike those miserable capitalists at the Times.

On December 13 of that year, the Examiner printed its first issue and reported that a parade of 10,000 strong , along with bands and fireworks, welcomed the new paper to LA. Folks stood in front of this building and chanted "Hearst for President!"

Now that's an alternative history novel that would be fun to read...

1 comment:

Will Campbell said...

Not that the original LA Times building was even close to being the architectural marvel that the Examiner's was, but there's a painful reason it doesn't have a home rivaling the age of the Examiner's: in 1910 the pro-union McNamara brothers blew up the 1887-built Times Building that stood at 1st and Broadway, killing 21 and injuring more than 100. The Times quickly rebuilt its new home on that site, which was completed in 1912. But the paper's current home replaced it, opening in 1935.