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Some Spring in your step

March 31, 2005|Diane Haithman

Spring is here in downtown Los Angeles. Literally. You know, between Broadway and Main.

The Los Angeles Conservancy's "Spring on Spring" tour Sunday focuses not just on the season, but on the historic landmarks of Spring Street, at one time known as the Wall Street of Los Angeles.

Included on the self-guided tour will be the 1913 El Dorado Hotel; a nightclub on the trading floor of the former Pacific Stock Exchange building; new lofts in the Douglas Building and Mercantile Arcade building; the 1906 Alexandria Hotel; and art galleries along the recently designated Gallery Row.

Tom Zimmerman -- a photographer who has documented the history of Spring Street since the 1970s and whose images appear in the tour brochure -- says Los Angeles has "the most intact pre-World War II downtown of any city in America." Though it was once a financial hub, he says, "Spring Street was left in the dust when the lawyers and stockbrokers moved West" in the 1960s and '70s, leaving the area a virtual ghost town until recent renovation efforts.

Among the neighborhood's treasures, Zimmerman says, are the so-called "Spring Street Ladies," Grecian-style busts of women that run as a frieze around the tops of some structures, including the Los Angeles Trust and Savings Bank Building, constructed in 1911, which is on the tour.

There's even something for wildlife enthusiasts: The tour includes the "magnificent" Globe Lobby of the 1935 Los Angeles Times Building -- where you may catch sight of journalists, as these small yet dangerous predatory primates prowl in their natural habitat.

Diane Haithman

*

"Spring on Spring" tour, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, downtown L.A. $30; $15, children; $25, L.A. Conservancy members. (213) 623-CITY; www.la conservancy.org

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