Look Up, Los Angeles! A Walking Tour of The Historic Core - Financial District
by Doug Gelbert
published by Cruden Bay Books at Smashwords
Copyright 2012 by Cruden Bay Books
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system without permission in writing from the Publisher.
Los Angeles has often been characterized as a jumble of “suburbs in search of a city.” But Los Angeles has always boasted a significant downtown and it looks a whole heck of a lot like it did eighty years ago. Unlike Manhattan (on an island) or Philadelphia (squeezed between two rivers) or Chicago (pressed against a lake), developers in Los Angeles could build freely to the west rather than destroy existing structures.
The Historic Core is stuffed with grand old buildings, many exactly 150 feet in height, owing to a height limit ordinance passed in 1911. The restriction was intended to limit the density of downtown Los Angeles and allow the famous Southern California sunshine to reach the sidewalks. Rare exceptions were granted for decorative towers with setbacks in the upper stories that appeared in the 1920s. The restriction was lifted in 1957 but there is still none of the experience of being stranded in an urban canyon in the Downtown Core.