Yep, it's time for me to come out of the closet with some big news -- I'm the proud owner of a Richfield Building angel! He's a one-and-a-half-ton, Art Deco symbol of this city that was rescued from the demolition of the Richfield Building, completed in 1929. There were once forty of these winged guardians who watched over downtown from the roof line of the oil company's headquarters at 6th and Flower, but it's unknown how many survived.
Just a few months ago a wonderful family in Orange County dropped me a line to say they were selling this golden man, a stalwart addition to their family since the building's demolition in 1968. They bought him directly from the salvage yard and picked him from a field of his fallen brothers. I recognized this gigantic, terra-cotta angel would come with a great amount of responsibility. This included the stress of hiring a crane to move the big guy and commissioning a steel-support base to keep him upright and steady.
I'm happy to say he's back in downtown Los Angeles and watching over my loft in the Arts District. Still, I'd like to know how many of these angels are still around. I know a set of elevator doors from the Richfield Building were installed at the base of the existing Arco Towers. A quartet of terra-cotta sentries who once guarded the lobby entrance were re-installed on the campus of UC Santa Barbara. Yet what became of these many angels?
Perhaps your readers at LA Observed know of other Richfield angels that survived. I'm not going to propose a family reunion of these gigantic angels, but I would like to know how many have made it into the twenty-first century.
Your help would be greatly appreciated,
J. Eric Lynxwiler is the co-author with Kevin Roderick of "Wilshire Boulevard: Grand Concourse of Los Angeles."