Physical Los Angeles

Back to Wilshire and LaBrea

Owl DrugsGood guesses on the corporate name that used to adorn (or despoil) the Wilson Building before Mutual of Omaha, Asashi and Samsung: it was General Insurance. I misspoke yesterday, though. I don't think their signs were originally neon. Mutual of Omaha mounted the first neon billboard over the intersection after buying the building in 1961, according to my notes.

Media angles: When Asahi beer had the sign, the downtown Los Angeles bureau of The Asahi Shimbun used to get calls all the time from people looking for the "Asahi Building." That got old fast, emails a member of the Japanese newspaper's bureau. Also, by coincidence I had lunch today in the building (Luna Park) with a magazine colleague. With all the media offices around there, it's become a bit of a hangout I guess, judging by the familiar faces. "Wilson," by the way, was E. Clem Wilson, who got rich in the oil tooling business and bought the northeast corner of Wilshire and La Brea from the real estate mogul whose name is on Bundy Drive. An Owl Drugs used to occupy the corner store.

Cropped photo:

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