Los Angeles Landmarks

Los Angeles landmarks
Los Angeles Coliseum. 1923

Inspired by the exhibit “Accidentally Wes Anderson” (AWA) at Santa Monica Art Museum, I revisited some iconic buildings in Los Angeles, my adopted hometown, after moving here from Modena, Italy, my original hometown, 50 years ago, with stays in Rome, San Francisco and New York along the way.

Los Angeles landmarks
LA Coliseum © Elisa Leonelli 1984

The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, built in 1923 as the home of USC’s Trojans football team, hosted the 1932 Olympics. I photographed this venue numerous times during my coverage of the 1984 Olympics. You may read my article for more details.

LA landmarks
USC Swim Stadium © Elisa Leonelli 1984

The University of Southern California became my Alma Mater, when I earned a Master Degree in Critical Studies from the School of Cinematic Arts in 1997. In 1983 I had photographed the construction of the swimming pool at USC for the Olympic competitions.

LA Landmarks
Union Station. 1939

Union Station, built in 1939, combines Art Deco, Mission Revival, and Streamline Moderne style.

LA landmarks
Union Station © Elisa Leonelli 1986

I photographed it many times through the years, included it in an article I wrote for the Italian weekly Epoca about Los Angeles Architecture.

LA landmarks
Orpheum Theater. 1927

The Orpheum Theater, built in 1926, has a Beaux Arts facade. It’s one of the historic venues where the LA Conservancy screens classic movies, sponsored by the Hollywood Foreign Press and the Golden Globes Foundation. This year on June 1st, they featured the silent classic The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920) and The Seven Year Itch (1955) with Marilyn Monroe.

LA landmarks
Apple Tower © Elisa Leonelli 2021

I photographed one of these movie palaces on Broadway in downtown LA, the Tower Theater built in 1927, after it was remodeled to house an Apple store in 2021.

LA landmarks
Eastern Columbia Building. 1930

The Eastern Columbia Building, also in the Broadway Theater District, was built in 1930 in the Art Deco style as a Department Store. In 2006 it was converted into condominiums.

LA landmarks
Central Library © Elisa Leonelli 1982

The LA Conservancy offers Art Deco Walking Tours featuring a photo of this iconic building. The tour starts at the Central Library, built in 1926, another example of Art Deco architecture.

LA landmarks
Georgian Hotel. 1933

The Georgian Hotel in Santa Monica was built in 1933 in the Art Deco and Romanesque Revival style, by Rosamond Borde, and nicknamed “The Lady” by her son, in honor of his mother.

LA landmarks
Georgian Hotel © Elisa Leonelli 2024

I went to photograph this landmark for this article, no longer with the Nikons and Kodachrome or Ektachrome film that I used in the 80s, but with my iPhone.

LA landmarks
Harlan Residences. 1917

The Harlan Residences were built as Hollywood Hillview Apartments in 1917 in the Mediterranean Revival style by movie moguls Jesse Lasky and Samuel Goldwyn to house the actors that worked at their studio, which would later become Paramount.

For more about the history of Hollywood studios, you may read my article on the Hollywoodland exhibit at the Academy Museum.

And read my article on “Accidental Wes Anderson” to see more inspiring photos.

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