Homer Laughlin Building
The Homer Laughlin Building, at 317 South Broadway in Downtown Los Angeles, is a landmark building best known for its ground floor tenant the Grand Central Market, the city's largest and oldest public market.
Built by retired Ohio entrepreneur Homer Laughlin (founder of the Homer Laughlin China Company), the Homer Laughlin Building was the Los Angeles's first fireproofed, steel-reinforced structure. The original six-story building was designed in 1896 by architect John B. Parkinson. Smith & Carr were the building contractors.
In 1905 the structure was expanded through to Hill Street, called either the Laughlin Annex or the Lyon Building. This design by architect Harrison Albright was the first reinforced concrete building in Los Angeles. The first tenant was the Ville de Paris Department Store, replaced in 1917 by the Grand Central Market, which still occupies the ground floor of the building. The location was chosen because of its proximity to the Angels Flight Railway allowing for easy access to the well to do citizens of Bunker Hill.
The original building was built in the Beaux Arts style, but subsequent modifications drastically changed its appearance including the addition of a tile façade in the 1960s which hid the second story windows. Along with the attached Million Dollar Theater Building, the Homer Laughlin Building and the Grand Central Market underwent a major renovation in the 1990s under the direction of developer Ira Yellin and architect Brenda Levin. As part of the restoration residential units were added, creating downtown Los Angeles's first true mixed use developments in decades.
Grand Central Market has been in continuous operation since 1917. A hundred years ago, Broadway was the principal commercial and entertainment corridor of downtown Los Angeles. Bunker Hill, to the west, was covered with stately Victorian mansions, and the area's residents rode down on Angels Flight to shop for groceries in the Market's open air arcade.
The Market has always reflected the changing population of downtown, and in the 1920s our ninety-plus vendors included multiple green grocers, fishmongers, Jewish delis, and butchers, as well as stalls for dry goods, baked goods, flowers, coffee, cheese, notions—and even one vendor who sold nothing but eggs. DTLA has been evolving ever since, and the Market has continued to evolve with it.
Today, classic neon signage over stalls spotlights the flavorful mix of fresh produce, meat, seafood, spices and prepared foods that reflect the ethnic diversity of L.A. Stands such as Las Morelianas, Tacos Tumbras a Tomas, Ana Maria and Roast To Go have won loyal fans for their tacos and other regional Mexico specialties, while lines form daily for a counter seat at China Café – a Market favorite since the 1950s -- and the handmade Salvadoran pupusas at Sarita’s.
In 2013 under the leadership of Ira Yellin's widow, Adele Yellin, the Market began welcoming a new wave of vendors that are transforming the nearly century-old food arcade into a major culinary destination. The ongoing revitalization of the iconic food arcade has garnered numerous media accolades including being named one of the “Hot 10” restaurants nationwide by Bon Appetit magazine in 2014.
- "The Laughlin Building: California's Finest Office Structure as It is" (Jul 5, 1898) Los Angeles Times
- "Dots" (Sep 13, 1883) Los Angeles Times
- Los Angeles from the mountains to the sea: with selected biography ..., Volume 2 By John Steven McGroarty, 1920, page 176
- Frank Lloyd Wright--the lost years, 1910-1922: a study of influence By Anthony Alofsin
- Groves, Martha (February 27, 1989). "A Vision for L.A.'s Broadway : Developer Ira Yellin Hopes to Tie Together the New Downtown". Los Angeles Times.
- "Adele Yellin: Reinvesting in Grand Central Market and Revitalizing LA’s Historic Broadway". The Planning Report. April 11, 2014.
- Knowlton, Andrew (August 19, 2014). "The Hot 10 2014: Grand Central Market, Los Angeles (No. 10)". Bon Appetit Magazine.
- Khouri, Andrew (April 2, 2015). "Transformation in store for L.A.'s historic core". Los Angeles Times.
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