I recently visited Los Angeles City Hall with friends and family. It’s a remarkable building that has both history and significant for California. Built at 200 North Spring St. and opened in 1928, it is the center of government for Los Angeles. When it was constructed, the concrete used in its designed included sand coming from all of the 58 counties of California and water from the 21 missions that existed here prior to statehood. Interestingly, for a long time, including the time in which L.A. Noire films were popular (the 1940s), Los Angeles City Hall was the tallest building in the city because prior to the 1950s, Los Angeles law forbade any non-decorative towers from being more than 150 feet tall.
When I visited the building, I was able to venture up to the observation deck on the 27th floor (after passing through a security check, of course). Offering a full 360 degree view around the building, it made me realize how small of an area Downtown Los Angeles really takes up. To the North, I could see Chinatown and Union Station, and to the East, I could see Walt Disney Concert Hall and the skyscrapers in the distance. I liked the experience because it put things into perspective and granted me a feeling of relative smallness. Also, having learned a lot about the city’s history from class, I was now able to visually apply some of the things I’d learned about (e.g., the Chinese population having been displaced to make room for the development of Olvera St.). I think the experience, in a way, validated the things I’ve learned in class.