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26 Years Ago: Updated Pershing Square Rededicated

By Eric Richardson
Published: Monday, July 12, 2010, at 11:55AM
Pershing Square Rededication - July 12, 1984 Los Angeles Times / UCLA Library

Looking down at Pershing Square rededication festivities on July 12, 1984, after a $600,000 renovation designed to clean up the park for the Olympic Games.

On July 12, 1984, a black-tie gala and a hot air balloon were among the features of a rededication for Pershing Square, which had just received a $600,000 makeover in preparation for the Olympic Games.

Downtowners who have only ever known the results of the park's early 1990's redesign might be shocked to see the simple and traditional design of the previous look.

A pair of diagonal crosswalks cut across the flat space, meeting at a central fountain. Sightlines across the space were clear, lacking the raised elevations and walls of the later design.

An L.A. Times story about the rededication noted the thousands of new marigolds and petunias, 130 new palm trees, and 16 pushcart vendors selling hot dogs, pretzels, nachos and juices and an outdoor restaurant.

The update didn't quite drive the Downtown revitalization that city and business leaders hoped for at the time. Instead, the neighborhood's recent revival have led for calls to redesign the park. It's quite possible the park could end up looking quite similar to the way it once did.

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