Wilshire's missing skyscrapers

Ambassador InternationalFranklin Avenue has posted a fun find: the drawings for a late 1950s plan to redevelop the Ambassador Hotel site with skyscrapers and rebrand it as the Ambassador International. At the time, the hotel's Schine family hoped to get rich(er) off the prime Wilshire Boulevard location, since the hotel itself never made much money. When Los Angeles lifted the twelve-story height limit in 1957, a lot of ambitious skyscraper schemes were unveiled then forgotten. This one foresaw a Rockefeller Center-like complex (there's that aspire-to-New York insecurity again) with the city's largest convention center. Donald Trump came along later and proposed a 125-story tower on the site, which Mike at Franklin Avenue also discusses.

Schine trivia: The Ambassador Hotel president in the 1950s and 60s was G. David Schine, son of hotel mogul J. Myer Schine. The son was at the center of the famously televised Army-McCarthy hearings in 1954. Young Schine had been an anti-Communist volunteer for Sen. Joseph McCarthy and his adviser, Roy Cohn, when he was drafted. Unable to secure him special treatment, McCarthy and Cohn engaged in, and lost, a demagogic battle with the Army and President Eisenhower. Schine later got involved in Hollywood, acted in the "Batman" TV series and produced The French Connection. He died with his wife and son in a 1996 plane crash just off Burbank Airport. Here's a website devoted to all things G. David Schine.

Kind of in the same vein: LA City Nerd has gathered aerial photos of the city's traffic circles.

Photo: FranklinAvenue.net


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