Neon Signs Along Wilshire Boulevard
and other places in the Los Angeles area
"Urban renewal can sometimes be an expensive proposition: tearing down entire districts, constructing vast public works, cutting through neighborhoods with freeways and boulevards. Urban renewal can sometimes function as moral renewal by tapping into better identities, energized by the best imperatives of culture and religion. Sometimes, urban renewal can be as simple as the relighting of a neon sign on Wilshire, Hollywood or Sunset
boulevard, lights that recover the past and point to an equally bright urban future. Remnants of a lost Los Angeles, city of the mind, remembered and yearned for, the neon lights of L.A.--celestial fires of another sort, green, gold, ruby red, electric blue--guide us down the Wilshire corridor, up through Hollywood and out along Sunset Boulevard west. If Paris is the City of Lights, L.A. is the City of Neon, possessed of a comparable (yet antithetical) beauty and capable as well, like all great cities, of giving rise in the magic of the night to hungers of body, mind and spirit." (Kevin Starr, "Landscape Electric; A program that renews the city's urban spirit byrelighting Philip Marlowe's neon L.A." Los Angeles Times, July 4, 1999.
Under Adolfo Nodal, then general manager of the city's Cultural Affairs Department, dozens of old neon signs along the Wilshire corridor have been restored and relit. This project, called LUMENS (an acronym for Living Urban Museum of Electric and Neon Signs but also a play on the Latin word for light), costs $400,000. The next stage is to light 43 historic signs in Hollywood.
Text from A Guide to Neon Lights Along the Wilshire Corridor brochure. Produced in partnership with the Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Department and the California Institute of the Arts.
List of Buildings with Historic Neon Signs:
Western Avenue area:
Normandie Avenue area:
Vermont Avenue area:
Alvarado Avenue area:
- Hotel Stratford
- Westlake Theatre, 636 S. Alvarado
- Cameo Hotel, 504 Bonnie Brae
- Casa Sonora (unrestored), 729 Union Ave. Currently covered by an advertisement.
- President, 669 Union Ave.
- Waldorf (unrestored), 621 Union Ave.
- Superet Light Church, 3516 W. 3rd St.
- Granada Building
- Asbury, 6th street near MacArthur park.
- Ansonia, 6th street near MacArthur park.
- Barbizon, 6th street east of Alvarado.
- Bryson, Wilshire near Lafayette park.
- Park Wilshire, Wilshire near MacArthur park.
- Royale Wilshire, Wilshire near LaFayette park.
In addition, there are downtown neon signs slated for re-lighting through the Lumens Project:
Examples of other neon signs in the heart of Downtown Los Angeles:
- United Artists, Broadway and 9th St.
- Orpheum, Broadway and 8th St.
- Rialto, Broadway and 8th St.
- Globe, Broadway and 8th St.
- Olympic, 6th off Broadway.
- Roxie, Broadway between 5th and 6th Streets.
- Los Angeles Theater, 6th Street between Hill and Broadway (on Lindley Pl).
- Cameo, Broadway between 5th and 6th Streets.
- Arcade, Broadway between 5th and 6th Streets.
- The State, Broadway and 7th St.
- Tower, Broadway and 8th.
- Hotel Hayward, Spring and 6th St.
- Herald Examiner, 11th and Broadway.
- Mayan Theater, 10th and Hill.
- Regent, 448 S. Main Street.
- Cole's Buffet, Main and 6th.
- Eastern Columbia, 849 Broadway.
- Barclay Hotel, Main Street around 5th.
- Felix Chevrolet, corner of Figueroa and Jefferson.
- Far East Cafe, First Street, Little Tokyo.
- Rosslyn Hotel, Main and 4th.
- Morrison Hotel, Hope and Pico.
- Academy, northwest corner of Manchester and Crenshaw.
- Bel Air sign, Sunset.
- Beverly Hills sign, Wilshire.
- The Broadway, Hollywood boulevard.
- Burgers, a googie neon sign on a burger joint, around 1842 1st Street, East Los Angeles/Boyle Heights.
- Byzantine-Latino Quarter, Pico at Normandie.
- El Capitan, Hollywood boulevard.
- Carthay Circle Theatre, San Vicente and Crescent Heights, no longer there.
- Crest Theater, Westwood.
- Cross Roads of the World, Sunset boulevard in Hollywood.
- Desmond's Store, Wilshire at Ridgeley.
- Egyptian, Hollywood boulevard.
- Emser Tile, Santa Monica boulevard.
- Fine Arts Theater, Wilshire near La Cienega.
- Fox Westwood Village Theater, Westwood.
- Fox, Hollywood Boulevard.
- Fontenoy, Whitley Avenue near Hollywood Boulevard.
- Grove sign, Grove Shopping mall, 3rd and Fairfax.
- Helms Bakery sign, Washington boulevard, Culver City.
- Hollywood Tower, Franklin boulevard.
- Hotel West End, Van Burren Place, Culver City.
- IHOP sign, Wilshire at Hauser.
- Johnie's Diner sign, Wilshire at Fairfax.
- Laemmle Monica 4 Theater, 2nd Street, Santa Monica.
- Legion of Honor, Highland south of the Hollywood Bowl.
- McDonalds, La Brea boulevard north of Santa Monica boulevard.
- Mel's Drive In, Highland south of Hollywood boulevard.
- Miracle Mile sign, Wilshire east of Fairfax.
- Music Hall Theater, Wilshire near Doheny.
- Musso and Frank, Hollywood boulevard.
- Nuart Theater, Santa Monica boulevard.
- Oasis motel, Olympic boulevard.
- Pacific, Hollywood boulevard.
- Pann's restaurant, La Cienega and La Tijera.
- Pantages theater, Hollywood boulevard.
- El Rey, Wilshire boulevard.
- Ritz, Hollywood boulevard.
- Roosevelt Hotel, Hollywood boulevard.
- Royal Theater, Santa Monica boulevard.
- El Royale apartments, Rossmore.
- Ships restaurant/diner sign, Olympic at La Cienega (gone in 2005).
- Stromberg Jewelers, Hollywood Boulevard.
- Taft Building, Vine at Hollywood boulevard.
- Town House, 643 Commonwealth.
- Trianon Apartments, 1750-1752 N. Serrano Ave.
- Vista theater, Hollywood at Sunset boulevards.
- Vogue, Hollywood Boulevard.
- Virginia Court Motel Diver, Santa Monica Boulevard, West Hollywood.
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Unless otherwise specified, photos are taken by Ruth Wallach
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