Monday, November 4, 2013

paving paradise

and putting up many parking lots, assuredly.  This extraordinary edifice faces the 5 Freeway - we passed it driving back to LA this mornings.  These pictures miss the full effects of the long walls flanking the road.  This was once the Samson Tire and Rubber Company plant, the biggest manufacturing facility under one roof west of the Mississippi - building began early in 1929, about 8 months before the depression.

The company was started by Adolph Schleicher in 1918, in Compton - "Samson" to symbolize strength and endurance, which meant that the building was designed with a Samson and Delilah motif, and modeled after the 7th Century B.C. Assyrian palace of King Sargon II - a 23-acre palace, just the same size as the tire plant. This cost $8million and was designed by Morgan, Walls and Clements.  The top of the 1,750 foot concrete wall is crenulated and decorated with heraldic griffins and bas-reliefs of Babylonian princes that are carved into the stone-like concrete walls between massive pillars and towers - the whole design is based on Sumerian, Akkadian, and Babylonian civilizations.  

After Schleicher's death, this became Uniroyal Tire in 1962; was closed in 1978 and soon afterwards placed on the National Register of Historic Places, which helped to save this movie set of a factory.  Then in 1990 it became The Citadel, LA's first factory outlet center ... one day I'll head back, and take some more pictures, especially at this season, when it's made super-ridiculous by the huge mock red bow topping it.

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