Monday, October 24, 2016

Can this Silver Lake repair shop be historic?

Zoom by the Silver Lake Auto Service at the corner of Glendale Boulevard and Rowena Avenue and you may not notice anything special about the place. But some neighbors and the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council consider this former Richfield service station (a corporate ancestor of what is now ARCO) a neighborhood landmark worthy of being protected as a city historic cultural monument. Clearly it’s not one of the Richard Neutra or Rudolf Schindler masterpieces that peak out from the hills surrounding Silver Lake Reservoir. In this case, it seems some neighbors may not be as interested in honoring the neighborhood’s past as they are in avoiding an ugly future, probably in the form of a boxy office building on the site or a Jamba Juice-Coldstone Creamery-Quiznos complex.

The 1936, Art Deco-style building is one of the community’s few remaining examples of the thousands of pre-fabricated metal service stations that once dotted street corners across the region. A similar prefab station in Echo Park was recently carted off to San Diego as a developer prepares the site for condos. Potential new development also threatens the Richfield station, including a proposal to build a four-story office building.

The repair shop’s rounded corners and fins, however, apparently didn’t much impress the city’s Cultural Heritage Commission, which failed to take a vote on its landmark application earlier this month. But Councilman Tom Labonge, a big fan of old L.A., got involved and put the application back on today’s commission’s agenda. As a result, the Richfield station will once again have a shot at becoming a landmark instead of a minimall.

More details in Metblogs via Curbed LA.

Photo by Charlie Fisher

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