Spring Street revisited


C.C. Pierce & Co. Photographers, Los Angeles, Cal. U.S.A.

This picture was taken from Spring and 2nd streets about 1895, and shows the reverse angle of Spring and 1st, which we looked at yesterday.


One of the most prominent buildings in this photo is the courthouse, which was at Fort (later renamed Broadway) and Temple.


Above, the courthouse, which was torn down in 1935 after being badly damaged in the Long Beach earthquake, a phenomenon I call "seismic Darwinism." (Thanks to Brady Westwater, I now know that the 1888 cornerstone is outside the Criminal Courts Building). By the way, the two brass cannons that used to be at the courthouse, originally from Ft. Moore,  were to be installed in a park in Montebello to commemorate the Battle of Paso de Bartolo, according to a 1941 Times story.


The Nadeau Hotel, now the site of The Times Building, at 1st Street and Spring. The Nadeau was built in 1882 by Remi Nadeau and demolished in 1932. Note that the gingerbread decoration at the top is false front and disappears in later photos.


We also have a better view of the Phillips Block, 1886-1913
. A Times article reviewing major Los Angeles buildings for 1886 attributed the Phillips Block to architect R.J. Reeve. The Times gives the dimensions as 120 feet on Spring Street, 131 feet, 6 inches on Franklin Street and a height of 120 feet at the main center of the building. Construction materials were brick, granite and iron, and the cost was $125,000 ($2,850,281.51 USD 2007). Stay tuned for more on the Phillips Block.


And finally, we get a good view of the crazy angle in Spring Street. Today, of course, Spring has been realigned so that it’s straight, and it’s been widened.

And why was there a kink in Spring Street? The answer is complicated. At one time, Spring (originally Primavera when Los Angeles’ streets had Spanish names) went in a straight line from the early plaza. Instead of taking a bend at 1st Street as it went south, Spring originally angled through the site of the Nadeau Hotel, the corner of what is now Broadway and 3rd Street, Hill and 4th Street, and Olive and 5th Street.

Below, thumbnail histories of Los Angeles’ streets from 1896, including an explanation of why they were 28 feet wide. Warning: This story describes a bullfight in Los Angeles and refers to Calle de los Negros, later known as "N-word Alley."   Email me


About lmharnisch

I am retired from the Los Angeles Times
This entry was posted in #courts, Architecture, Downtown, Freeways, Transportation and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply. Note: Your IP is logged with your comment so a fake name and email address are useless.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s