Exploring LA

Storer House

Having been in Los Angeles the last four days for work-related meetings, I haven’t had an opportunity to post More to Come…updates.  But I have had time to explore parts of the city with colleagues involved in historic preservation.  As is always true when I’m in Los Angeles, I learned more and more about this city’s many wonderful historic places. 

Our meetings were in Santa Monica, and I took some time to visit the historic pier and to sample a nice Spanish restaurant in their funky Main Street – which is more like a neighborhood commercial center these days.  Don’t think I spent hours on a sunny beach – it was cool, rainy at times, and in the 50s.

But on Saturday, when we spent 8 hours touring around town, the weather gods cooperated.  While the temperature stayed in the 50s, the rain gave way to partly cloudy skies. 

We began our tour on bus and went through a number of neighborhoods off Wilshire Boulevard, before we ended up downtown.  It was my first chance to see Frank Gehry’s Walt Disney Concert Hall.  Although viewed only from the bus,Disney Concert Hall one could quickly see why this new building has captured the imagination of architecture critics and the public alike, and is becoming a major gathering space in a city that doesn’t have many public spaces.  The photo at the right doesn’t do the building justice, but there are many online views for those who want to explore further.

Our tour then led us to Little Tokyo, where we began with a walking tour.  The preservation issues here are difficult, as many of the Japanese Americans who once were confined to this part of the city have now dispersed.  We did visit a family-owned candy shop where they’ve been selling traditional Japanese confections for over 100 years.  And the street art was used to help tell the story…such as the note that in 1890 there were approximately 40 Japanese in Los Angeles.  By 1930, 35,000 Japanese in Los Angeles live within a 3-mile radius of the corner where we stood.  The Japanese American National Museum was another surprise.  We were all deeply moved by the exhibit on the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II.  Stepping inside of one of the barracks rescued from a western internment camp made the experience very present.

Leaving the museum, we toured other neighborhoods, passed the Hollywood stars walk of fame, and ended up at Frank Lloyd Wright’s Storer House for a tour and cocktails.  (See photo at the top of the post and those following.)  One of four textile block houses of Wright’s in LA, the Storer House is not generally open to the public but we were able to visit throughout the house.  The spaces were wonderful and pure Wright.  Very intimate and private bedrooms were adjacent to two large family spaces on the main floors.  The view of LA from the rooftop was beautiful.

 A wonderful evening…but the plane is getting ready to board. 

More to come…

DJB

Storer Housestorer-house-5-0109

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