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Intersection Named for City Hall Architect - Los Angeles Downtown News - For Everything Downtown L.A.!: News

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Posted: Monday, September 9, 2013 3:00 pm | Updated: 3:39 pm, Mon Sep 9, 2013.

DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES - History and architecture have intersected at Fifth and Spring streets. The City Council voted unanimously on Wednesday, Sept. 4, to name the corner John Parkinson Square after the iconic Los Angeles architect who designed some of the city’s most notable buildings.


Parkinson, who was born in England, moved to Los Angeles in 1894 and opened an architecture office on Spring between Second and Third streets. From there he undertook notable projects including designing the campus master plan and several buildings of the University of Southern California, the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, City Hall (with Albert C. Martin and John C. Austin), Bullocks Wilshire and Union Station.

Fourteenth District City Councilman José Huizar, who authored the motion to rename the intersection, said that while some people might not know Parkinson’s name, they wouldn’t recognize Los Angeles without his genius.

“His is a legacy of work worth preserving and honoring and no one street better exemplifies his contribution to making Los Angeles Los Angeles than Downtown’s Spring Street,” Huizar said in a prepared statement.

© Los Angeles Downtown News 2013

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1 comment:

  • Juanito Crandello posted at 12:37 pm on Wed, Sep 11, 2013.

    Juanito Posts: 107

    Arriving in L.A. with his wife and infant daughter, Parkinson secured living accommodation
    in a small cottage behind a house on the east side of Pearl Street (now Figueroa) between Sixth
    and Seventh, where Wilshire Boulevard now cuts through to Grand. His son Donald,
    who eventually became his design partner was born the following year. Soon he happened upon an
    old house being moved off a lot behind the new Bradbury Building. Parkinson asked for particulars of
    the situation and was told it was the residence of A.T. Currier, the former county sheriff who also was
    intent on constructing an office building at the site. Upon contacting Currier and showing him photos
    of his previous work in Seattle, Parkinson gained his first commission in Los Angeles. With this and
    other successes, he was soon able to afford the construction of his own residence at the southeast corner
    of Sixth and St. Paul streets. The design was inspired by the work of Louis Sullivan.

    Having settled his family and gained the Currier Building design that spring, Parkinson
    rented office space and set up shop in the Stowell Block on the east side of Spring Street, a few steps
    north of where Charles Lummis had recently begun editing and publishing within the eye-catching
    Stimson Block. He was also soon to enter into a little-known and short-lived business arrangement with
    Civil war veteran John Lee Burton. Shortly after establishment of the office, Burton was prosecuted in
    Redlands for having practiced as an architect thereat without a business license. Upon the completion
    of the Currier Building, the partnership was dissolved and Parkinson quickly established a new practice
    on the top floor of his new building. He began dividing his time between architecture and experimenting - trying to invent a dependable elevator. He made a fruitless journey to New York. The Otis Elevator Company beat him to the punch. With that he returned to Los Angeles, stood at the Broadway entrance to the Bradbury Building and there decided to devote the balance of his life to architecture.