Did you recognize the location of our last quiz as St. Vincent Court? It’s really a block long alleyway and you’ll find it squeezed between two buildings down on Seventh Street between Hill and Broadway. It stops at the wall of the Los Angeles Theatre. The sides of the buildings facing down on the court have renditions of European wall sculptures giving it a sort of old-world flavor. Don’t worry. LA is still LA. Some shops and eateries in the court put out interesting artsy pieces to create a more serendipitous atmosphere. By the way, I found that the court seemed to be important locale for some of DTLA’s history. In fact, in 1957, it was designated as California State Historical Landmark no. 567.
The court is actually an obscure alleyway. The entrance from 7th Street is narrow and it sits in constant shade, like a canyon, from the adjacent buildings. Even though I drove by a number of times I really didn’t realize the court existed until I actually walked by. So, if you want to take a peek I have to say it’s worth getting out of your car.
Today St. Vincent Court has some restaurants and coffee shops that attract local residents as well as shoppers. More than once when my wife and I meandered downtown we wandered into the court and plopped in a chair to give our feet a rest, and enjoy a strong Mediterranean coffee. We always got a kick out of the wall sculptures (and ersatz adornments) that sort of imitate Europe- we figured, hey, this is Los Angeles so why not?
As I mentioned above, the locale served as the site for some important functions. Here are historical developments easily recognize by most Angelenos. In 1867, St. Vincent College moved to the spot. (See image above.) The college covered an entire block and a small lane (named St. Vincent Place) ran north into campus from 7th Street. The college moved to a larger campus and eventually evolved into Loyola Marymount University. In 1907 Bullocks Department Store opened up at this location and brought true upscale retail shopping to downtown. (St Vincent Place was then renamed St Vincent Court.) Bullocks brought a certain prestige to downtown shopping and became the commercial center of LA. (Some of you may remember a grand shopping experience at a Bullocks when you were a kid.) After the department store closed, in 1983 the Building became the St. Vincent Jewelry Center. The court then became the heart of the prosperous Los Angeles Jewelry District that now is regarded to be the largest jewelry district in the United States.
So as the jewelry district prospered and gentrification swept over DTLA, St. Vincent Court evolved into a quaint little area with Mediterranean type restaurants, coffee shops and other nice eateries. The owners added more and more tables and chairs to accommodate the burgeoning demand from shoppers and local residents.
As you can see the court has enjoyed being a hub of DTLA history. But what does the future have in store for St. Vincent Court? Unfortunately, in 2013 trouble invaded the court. The trouble? The restaurants had expanded to the point where tables and chairs were in the road. Although no city official seemed to object to the tables being in the middle of the court, it was (ahem) illegal. Developers working to restore the historic Los Angeles Theatre (at the end of the enclosed court) asked the city to enforce the street ordinances. Their trucks had to have access to the theatre for their restoration efforts. Restaurateurs were forced to remove their tables and serve their customers either inside or at a limited few tables on the curb. I talked to one local resident, a regular customer. Although he was unhappy he did express a certain amount of hopefulness for a resolution. One that would somehow let the restaurants return to serving the public as they once did. So, it seems that St. Vincent Court might be in the midst of DTLA event. I know you want to visit so below is a map to help you find the Court.
* * * * *
Are you ready for our next quiz? Well, check out the new photo. The picture for this quiz could be from any city anywhere, perhaps even legendary Gotham. If, like most Angelenos, you venture downtown only occasionally don‘t fret, there are a lot of familiar landmarks in the picture. Now, if you were there with us among the thousands of happy Angelenos you’d really know the answer. In fact, you probably saw this on the news. It was unique event. I encourage you to come out join us next time. You’ll enjoy it. So, look upon this current quiz as a two-point effort. First, where in LA are we? Then next, what-in-the-world is going on?
(In a hurry? The answer to this latest quiz can be found on my About Page.)
* * * * *
Here are Previous LA Quizzes
If you love to meander around the city like I do, you’re probably familiar with the many popular and famous places I’ve featured on these posts. Here’s a chance to test your knowledge of Los Angeles. Take a look at these earlier posts and see if you can identify the locations featured. The posts are in chronological order so start at the top of the list. The answers will be in the next postings. Then gather up the family and go visit these interesting places. Explore LA and have fun.
Take the LA Quiz! (Oct. 2013)
The Goddess Of Music (Jan. 2104)
Tower and Ramp Sculpture In Los Angeles (Feb, 2014)
Shoshone Sculpture On A Quiet Morning (April, 2014)
Reflections Downtown (May, 2014)
Our Famous Promontory (June, 2014)
Go Visit a Gift from Friends Across the Sea (July, 2014)
Here’s a Bit of Los Angeles History (Sept. 2014)
See the Beautiful Face? Where is She? (Oct. 2014)
The Gilmore Gas Station- It’s a Gas-A-Teria! (Dec. 2014)
This Public Art Said- Come Fly With Me (Jan. 2015)
Petersen Automotive Museum Says Look at Me! (Nov. 2015)
Pasadena City Hall: The Pride of Pasadena (Dec. 2015)
Claudio Ethos- Street Art in Los Angeles (Dec 31, 2015)
Welcome to Chinatown, Los Angeles (Feb. 2016)
The Eagle Rock Looms (April 2016)
Palisades Park- Santa Monica (May 2016)
El Parque de Mexico: A Nod to LA’s Heritage (June 2016)