Los Angeles, California

Pershing Square, Los Angeles

Postcard courtesy of Western Publishing and Novelty Company.

In 1866 the area known today as Pershing Square was dedicated as a public square called La Plaza Abaja (the lower plaza) by Mayor Christobal Aguilar. A year later people started calling it St Vincent’s Park since it was across the street from St Vincent’s College (now Loyola Marymount University). The name changed again in 1870 to Los Angeles Park and in 1886 it was 6th Street Park when it was redesigned by Frederick Eaton. It became Central Park during the early 1890s and had a bandstand pavilion.

In 1900 a statue of a Spanish-American War veteran was dedicated. In 1910 the park was renovated again by John Parkinson and featured a fountain by sculptor Johan Caspar Lachne Gruenfeld. In 1918, a week after the end of World War I, the park was renamed once again to Pershing Square to honor General Pershing. I believe this is the iteration pictured above.

The park went through many other iterations over the years including being demolished in 1952 in order to build an underground car park. By 1984 when the Summer Olympics were in Los Angeles, it had become so neglected, the city spent $1 million for temporary renovations.

Once again, in 1992, the park closed for a $14.5 redesign and renovation by Ricardo Legorreta and Laurie Olin. It re-opened in 1994 with a bell tower, fountains, a walkway, and concert stage. This design remains today. In 2000, a monument was dedicated to a highly decorated local Korean War veteran by the name of Eugene Obregon.

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