Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights — 4418 Vineland Ave. Yesterday and Today

NH Med. Arts building

ver the decades, towns and cities undergo great change as they evolve from agrarian societies into metropolitan areas. Multi-unit residential properties, modern office buildings and skyscrapers replace older buildings and styles of architecture, now considered too old-fashioned by some.

Many original buildings often survive a city’s transformation, some because they are located in what are now poorer communities that can’t afford to demolish them, while others undergo adaptive reuse. Currently, many buildings in downtown Los Angeles are undergoing gentrification and repurposing, such as decades-old factories seeing conversion as lofts and vintage hotels converted into apartments. Luck also helps some structures survive and continue operation just as originally intended.

Mary Mallory’s “Hollywoodland: Tales Lost and Found” is available for the Kindle.

Photograph by Mary Mallory. The Toluca Plaza building today.

ne such vintage building not only survives, but seems to be thriving as it did when constructed in 1947, the 4418 Vineland Ave. Toluca Plaza building. When it opened back in the 1940s, the builders called it the North Hollywood Medical Arts Building, a structure housing offices for those working in the medical profession.

Sixty-seven years later, the Toluca Plaza still hosts medical offices, housing such businesses as the Center for Vision Care and the Tenacity Women’s Fitness gym. Stucco seems to cover the original brick, and the terrazzo tile entrance has been removed.

Fred Dreckman operated the first pharmacy in the building, documented in photographs taken by his niece. These images show the building looking almost identical today. Once big difference; customers in 1947 could arrive via the Pacific Electric Railway, which ran parallel to Vineland on the east side of the street. The Pacific Electric North Hollywood substation stood across the street at 4475 Vineland Ave., as it had since 1911. Most of the original structure burned in a 1985 fire and was rebuilt.

Humorous captions accompany the photographs, which I found in a photograph album for sale at the Glendale Postcard Show about three years ago. The young woman was an excellent artist, drawing lovely illustrations around the images and captions.


The view of the building across Vineland Avenue and the streetcar tracks contains the following caption: “North Hollywood Medical Arts Building — (Impressive Title Hmm!!). As seen from across the ohh — “Toonerville” Trolley Tracks (Good shot of the tracks, don’t you think??).”

Moorpark & Vineland

The following caption appears underneath the photograph of the intersection: “Moorpark and Vineland. Where we dash madly across the street — foiling the plans of the motorists who desparately (sic) try to hit us (HaHa — we’re too fast for ‘em).”


Photograph by Mary Mallory. Moorpark and Vinland today.

Looking from Landale Street down Vineland, the photograph gets the following caption: “The Building Looking down Vineland.”

Medical Arts Building

The front entrance showing the building’s name on the glass and the original tile, with the caption: “Entrance to the “Workhouse”…and “Aunt” Nell trying to hustle out of the picture.”

The original building seems to have featured two addresses: 4418 and 4420.

While it’s wonderful to see the building still standing and in operation as originally intended, the Toluca Plaza building is listed for sale at $7.495 million per items online, with suggestions of development as commercial condominiums. Hopefully, tenants and patients can convince the management company of the beauty and integrity of the building and preserve it as a lovely medical office building, serving the needs of patients as it has for 67 years.

About lmharnisch

I am retired from the Los Angeles Times
This entry was posted in Architecture, Hollywood, Hollywood Heights, Mary Mallory, Medicine, Preservation and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights — 4418 Vineland Ave. Yesterday and Today

  1. moviepas says:

    Great pictures but those power lines are outrageous. Looks like Melbourne/Australia looked over 100 years ago. We still have them but much less with phone lines from the original government carrier progressively placed underground long ago. We do have new estates with them underground. Tokyo looks like your pictures or worse. Yuk.

    LA has lost a lot of good buildings and houses in the name of progress. can’t help earthquakes but man-made destruction like that is not my desire.


  2. Gary Martin says:

    Frank LLoyd Wright once said that “Nothing I have built will outlast me by fifty years.” and that has to do with the nature of the materials used in their making, plus the fact that the service elements, air, electric, water, etc. have become obsolete. Unfortunately this is true of most twentieth century buildings. The Metropolitan Life Building at Twenty Third and Madison Avenue in NYC Is undergoing its second major rennovation since I came to NYC fifty five years ago. In situations where a neighborhood becomes desireable, real estate values demand taller buildings with greater rental square footage. Thus what gets rennovated or preserved is not merely “the old” but the best of the old or still commercially viable and that requires something other than a senitmental appraisal. When the best of the old is preserved you can be sure that it will be at great expense, as is the case with almost all of the FLW restorations, Met Life, et al. The building presented in this article is a really nice example of its kind (an opinion based on one street facade only.) and I would think that the determination to save it as a respresentative style would require some serious thought by experts. That would include looking at the building as a whole as well as the other buildings in the area: does it maintain an area or is it an isolated example …does it run the risk of becoming an historical eyesore? Etc…


  3. Gary Martin says:

    Part II. Thankas to Google maps and street views I can go almost all the way around the building …which is painted differently than in your photographs. Nice. It is well sited, it sits well in its place and it is compatible with it neighbors. I agree. This should be protected. I uge you and your friends to proceed with the purchase!!!


  4. Mary Mallory says:

    Moviepas, we do have way too many electrical power lines above ground, particularly for a spot prone to earthquakes, which can cause fires.


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