January 20, 2007

million dollar history

I ran an errand downtown the other day, and drove past these signs that I've always loved. These are on top of the Rosslyn Hotel. The Rosslyn was built in 1913 by the Hart Brothers, and then followed in 1923 by the Rosslyn Annex across the street. A marble tunnel connects the two beautiful beaux arts buildings, once the center of urban life and commerce in Los Angeles. I love how the signs capture the optimism of the day, heralding features like '1100 rooms' 'fire proof' and best of all, the 'million dollar hotel' moniker. Even the heart shapes (representing the Hart Brothers) seem to speak to that optimism.

Searching for some history brought all kinds of interesting things. Apparently there was a movie made in 2001 called "Million Dollar Hotel" by Wim Wenders, the same Director as "Paris, Texas". It focused on the (fictional) residents of the Rosslyn as it had become essentially a (non-fictional) flop house at the time. And though I couldn't tell in my quick driveby, it looks as the the Rosslyn is now being converted to lofts. The website says that only the 11th and 12th floors are now open, but it doesn't indicate when that was written. Also, the Rosslyn was designed by architect John Parkinson, who also designed Bullocks Wilshire, Union Station, City Hall, and the LA Coliseum. Way to leave a mark on a city.

  • Wim Wender's 'Million Dollar Hotel' (film)

  • The Rosslyn Lofts

  • The Parkinson Archives: Downtown LA Parkinson Buildings
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