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A Little History on 600 S. Spring

By Eric Richardson
Published: Wednesday, January 19, 2005, at 08:59PM

I went to the B. Dalton in the LA Mall today (the one I mentioned the other day). I didn't find either of the books I was looking for, but I spent a little time hanging out looking through a photo book focused on the Historic Core. Particularly of interest was a photo of the building at 600 S. Spring, since that's where I've been parking for the last six months or so. I didn't know much about the building, other than that it houses a lot of city workers right now, so the photo got me interested in doing a little research. I found some good information and a fascinating quote.

The building was built as the headquarters for the California Bank. It opened in August, 1960, and was the first tall building built after LA's height-limit was repealed in 1956. They say the building's 18 stories, which it might technically be, but the elevators these days only go to 17.

The interesting thing about the photo I found was that aside from the bank entrance the surface level exterior is solid. These days there are external entrances cut in for a Western Union and a travel agency. I always thought those were odd looking; it's fascinating to find out that they weren't original.

How prescient is this quote from the LA Times press preview piece on the building that ran on August 13, 1960?

At a noon press reception at the Statler Hilton yesterday Frank L. King, chairman of the bank's board of directors, said the bank took "some risk" in constructing the building downtown "because there is no guarantee that the financial district will remain where it now is."

"But," King continued, "we feel it is likely to remain there for at least the forseeable future."

It was only a few years later that the new high-rise Downtown started to be built six or eight blocks west of the historic financial district.

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