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John Parkinson and Los Angeles Architecture

Emma Roberts, Librarian III, Art, Music & Recreation Department,
Los Angeles City Hall Lit Up At Night
It's hard to believe that one architect could be the man behind so many quintessential Los Angeles buildings, but John Parkinson left a long list of landmarks that we all still enjoy, including City Hall, Bullock's Wilshire, Union Station, Memorial Coliseum, many buildings at USC, the Alexandria Hotel, and the Homer Laughlin Building which famously houses Grand Central Market.
Union Station
All of this was a far cry from his humble beginnings as a working class errand boy in Bolton in the North of England who learned about construction and engineering as an apprentice to a local builder.  At 21 he made his way to the United States.  After several years spent working in construction in various locations, he set up an architectural practice in Seattle.  In 1894 he came to Los Angeles and over the years designed the string of buildings which have become a part of the city's urban landscape.
If you're interested in finding out more about the city's architectural history, or even just a certain building, you'll find a wealth of resources available at the Library.  Here are a few great book titles to get you started:
Gebhard, David
720.910941 G293-7 2003
Banham, Reyner
Berger, Robert
725.82 B496

Houses of Los Angeles
Watters, Sam
728.091 W346

Overdrive : L.A. constructs the future, 1940-1990
Wit, Wim de & Alexander, Christopher James (eds)
720.910941 O965
For more information about the prolific Los Angeles career of John Parkinson, join us this Saturday at Central Library for a free program presented by Stephen Gee, author of Iconic Vision : John Parkinson, Architect of Los Angeles.
Gee, Stephen
720.910941 G297
Photographs courtesy of the LAPL Photo Collection.