Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The Orsini at Figueroa

The Orsini Complex at West Cesar Chavez and Figueroa is monumental in its 21st century form.  Prudent Beaudry would have understood and admired the drive of Palmer Boston Street Properties' development in the area. Beaudry was the prolific 19th century land developer who gave us Bunker Hill, the Beaudry Tract, the Park Tract, the Rosas Tract (in today's Chinatown) and other subdivisions, as well as his service as Mayor of L.A. from 1874-76.
(Click on images to zoom in)
In 2003, the Orsini developers unfortunately demolished "the last 19th century Bunker Hill home" in this area, the 1887 Giese House.  The house was most likely located on Prudent Beaudry's West Rosas Tract, which he and his brother Victor began promoting in 1883.
Pictured is another view of the Orsini.  Victor Beaudry would have appreciated the view from above.  He sold land west of here to another developer in what became Angelino Heights.
For countless years remnants of L.A.'s past could be found at the vacant lots along the north and south sides of West Cesar Chavez Avenue, as well as a short distance west at Sunset Boulevard's starting point.  Structures had long been demolished, leaving only short sets of concrete steps and retaining walls.  Pictured is one of those lots, taken in 2000, formerly at West Cesar Chavez and Grand Avenue, directly across from the former L.A. Unified School District offices, and just one block east of the current Orsini complex.
Today this site has been developed.
The following set of color photos (also taken in 2000) show the vacant site with mature palm trees, a remnant of a stone structure, and concrete curbs delineating an old driveway or carriage way.  Shown in the background of this photo is the former L.A. school administrative offices.

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