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Discover Art Deco Architecture on the Miracle Mile

Discover Art Deco Architecture on the Miracle Mile

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Bullock's Wilshire Building 

Welcome to The Mansfield at Miracle Mile blog! Every week we'll be sharing stories about our amazing neighborhood and taking you behind the scenes to discover the wonders of living at The Mansfield. 

Did you ever wonder how the Miracle Mile got its name? The Miracle Mile was the brainchild of real estate developer A.W. Ross, who began developing the stretch of Wilshire from La Brea Ave. to San Vincente Blvd. in the early 1920s. Critics predicted the failure of his venture in the tar-soaked fields between La Brea and Fairfax. Yet the automobile and the city's expansion brought throngs of shoppers to the Ross development, turning his dusty mile into a miracle of commerce. Thanks to Ross' insistence on buildings of distinction, the Miracle Mile is home to some of LA's most impressive Art Deco buildings. The Mansfield at Miracle Mile draws its design inspiration from this incredible legacy!

The LA Conservancy has an interacive map to explore the great places of Wilshire Boulevard, firsthand or online.

Here are a few of our favorites.

Bullock's Wilshire Building 3050 Wilshire Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90005

Many consider the former Bullock's Wilshire department store building their favorite building in Los Angeles, not to mention its most spectacular example of Art Deco design. It also perfectly reflects the city's history and evolution.
The building was the first department store in the country designed for the automobile, with large display windows facing the street, the main entrance facing a large parking lot in the back, and a remarkable porte cochere (carport). This "cathedral of commerce" signaled a new era of suburban shopping and fostered the development of Wilshire Boulevard, luring the city west.

The Wiltern Theatre and Pellissier Building

The Wiltern Theatre and Pellissier Building
3790 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90010

Located at the busy corner of Wilshire and Western Boulevards (hence its name), the Wiltern Theatre and its adjoining, twelve-story Pellissier Building are instantly recognizable and beloved by Angelenos. The distinctive, blue-green terra-cotta complex was designed by Stiles O. Clements of Morgan, Walls & Clements. The theatre interior (designed by G. Albert Lansburgh, who also designed the interiors of downtown’s Palace and Orpheum theatres) features opulent murals, gold leaf details, and a signature sunburst suspended from its 80-foot auditorium ceiling. The theatre was originally Warner Brothers’ Western Theatre, which opened in 1931.Today, the Wiltern thrives as a live entertainment venue and a beloved Los Angeles landmark.

Wilshire Tower 5514 Wilshire Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90036

The first Art Deco landmark tower built on the Miracle Mile was designed by Gilbert Stanley Underwood, architect for the spectacular Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite National Park. He crafted this eight-story Zigzag Moderne rectangle of offices that vaulted skyward from a wide Streamline Moderne base – a striking and optimistic structure that helped set the architectural standard for Wilshire Boulevard. The lobby featured fourteen-karat gold ceiling detailing; the sidewalk display windows were trimmed in rich black and red granite. Doctors and dentists snapped up the upper floors, while downtown stores Desmond's and Silverwoods took the wings on the ground floors.

The Deco Building

The Deco Building 5207-9 Wilshire Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90036

This opulent edifice is notable as one of the city's last remaining black-and-gold Art Deco structures. Though only two stories high and dwarfed by its neighbors, this dazzling terra cotta building with zigzag moderne ornamentation makes its presence known! Originally built as a neighborhood branch bank for Security First National Bank, the building was used as a restaurant/nightclub and later a Christian center. Completed in 1929, the  building was designed by Morgan, Walls, and Clements, one of the oldest continuously operating architectural firms on the West Coast and a moving force in the development of various forms of revival and moderne architecture in L.A. After suffering from years of neglect, the building was beautifully rehabilitated into short- and long-term creative office space. 

Dominguez-Wilshire Building

Dominguez-Wilshire Building 5410 Wilshire Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90036

Zigzag motifs and a main automobile entrance at the rear define this Art Deco office tower – building erected on the Miracle Mile after the Wilshire Tower. The building's lower floors were originally leased by Myer Siegel, a women's clothing store known for showing the latest fashions from Paris. The Dominguez-Wilshire building is one of the many buildings which were a product of spot zoning required by the city — where structures were required to be beautiful and had to pass design review by the Fine Arts Commission. The building was renovated in 2000.

May Company Wilshire

May Company Wilshire
6065 Wilshire Boulevard Los Angeles, CA 90036

When it opened in 1939, the gleaming May Company building was instantly heralded as the western gateway to the Miracle Mile, beckoning to motorists with an enormous gold-tiled cylinder at the corner of Fairfax Avenue. What was once the finest department store on the Miracle Mile is also the city's grandest remaining example of Streamline Moderne. The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures is adapting the former May Company Building for its new facility, including removing a later addition from 1946. The museum is slated to open soon.

All images courtesy of Los Angeles Conservancy

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