Miracle Mile’s Then & Now Photographs

The Original "Darkroom" camera facade still stands on Wilshire Blvd - formerly a camera shop it has more recently been a series of restaurants, now hosting the pub "Spare Tire."
The Original “Darkroom” camera facade still stands on Wilshire Blvd – formerly a camera shop it has more recently been a series of restaurants, now hosting the pub “Spare Tire.” Photo copyright © 2013 by Justin Fields.

The Miracle Mile Residential Association has a very active web presence for updates on everything related to LA’s Miracle Mile – Wilshire Blvd between Fairfax and La Brea. One of  our favorite places to visit on the MMRA site is the HISTORY tab –  a fun cyber space to explore on a weekend morning over your cup of coffee.

Miracle Mile residents Justin Fields and Christine Haeberman shot current photographs of some of the iconic buildings and familiar corners that make up the Miracle Mile, and posted them alongside images from earlier years in their online exhibition:  Miracle Mile: Then & Now Photographs. 

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The E. Clem Wilson building on La Brea and Wilshire looks much the same today as back in this 1935 photograph from the Security Pacific National Bank archives. Compilation and 2013 photo copyright © 2013 by Justin Fields.

Fortunately, many Wilshire Boulevard buildings have not been altered significantly over time, such as the Clem Wilson Building on the corner of La Brea and Wilshire that doesn’t look much different in 1935 from its current incarnation in 2013 as the “Samsung” building.

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Ralph’s Grocery Store, circa 1930 and 2013. Copyright © 2013 by Justin Fields.

Other images may break your heart though – such as the Ralph’s Supermarket on Wilshire and Hauser.  In the 1930s Ralph’s Grocery was at home in a Spanish Colonial Revival building, complete with a beautifully arched sidewalk arcade and an elegant roofline. It was demolished in the early 1980s and replaced with the behemoth massing of ugly big box architecture that does nothing for the fabled Wilshire Boulevard.

Many thanks to the MMRA and the Fields and Haeberman duo for letting us stroll through the past and appreciate what we have in the Miracle Mile. Some of the 2013 images will themselves become history in the next few years as more change comes to Wilshire with the redesign of the May Company Building, the Petersen Automotive Museums new remodel, the large residential addition being added to the Desmond’s Building, and the loss of the deco Oasis Church building to make way for another residential development. These are only a few of the projects underway that are transforming Wilshire Blvd.

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About Julie Grist

Julie co-founded the Larchmont Buzz with fellow buzzer Mary Hawley in 2011 and served as Editor, Publisher and writer for the hive for many years until the sale of the Buzz in August 2015. She is still circling the hive as an occasional writer.

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