Monuments in Time: The Herald Examiner Building

Herald examiner building

The year is 1913. Downtown Los Angeles pulses with vitality and promise. It’s a time of transformation, welcoming a wave of newcomers representing nearly every corner of the globe.

Henry Ford plans to attend the 5th Annual LA Auto Show, while construction of Grand Central Market finally passes the city’s then, two-month long permitting process and gets underway.

Amidst this burgeoning landscape, where architectural giants like City Hall’s John Parkinson are celebrated as “the greatest American architects of our time,” there is another luminary, an architect who, having honed their craft in the hallowed halls of Paris, stands on the brink of architectural history. Dressed in mink, along with friend and famed newspaper publisher William Randolph Hearst, as the ribbon-cutting of the newly constructed Los Angeles Herald Examiner Building gets underway, is the building’s talented designer, Julia Morgan—the first licensed female architect in California.

The building, in its inaugural year, with its arched entryways and grandiose lobby of brass-adorned staircases, pillars, and chandeliers, capped by exterior ceramic domes, captivates the imagination. A true testament to architectural ingenuity, Julia’s building embodies the spirit of a city on the rise.

In its heyday, it becomes a cornerstone of Downtown Los Angeles and the home of the Los Angeles Herald Examiner, with journalists and editors driven by the excitement of the times and bent on setting society’s wrongs right.

However, as the years advanced into modern times, the Herald Examiner Buildings vexatious newsroom would eventually cease its operations, leaving the building to become a delaminated eye soar of squalid domes, dusty cherubs, peeling paint, and boarded-up windows.

Yet, hope was not lost. In the years that followed, with the Adapt Reuse ordinance enticing architecture firms around the globe to undertake the restoration of downtown’s most iconic landmarks, the Herald Examiner Building in Downtown L.A. would find a new chapter in its storied history.

This labor of love was taken on in 2015 by Architects Georgetown Company, and today it stands as a testament to the challenges of preserving its architectural splendor, its arched windows with their weathered frames, and solid brass fixtures now carefully restored in place, preserving the echoes of a bygone era.

Structural upgrades, in compliance with modern seismic codes, reinforced its resilience while preserving the exterior’s timeless appeal as the city watched the old relic transform itself seamlessly into a contemporary hub of creativity.

The redeveloped space is now occupied by the ASU California Center for Higher Education, with available retail spaces for lease.

Recently, the Herald Examiner Building took home the prestigious Grand Prize at the LA Business Council Awards, continuing the story of reinvention, resilience, and the enduring legacy of Julia Morgan’s architectural brilliance. The Herald Examiner Building is located at 1111 S Broadway, LA, CA 90013.

Author: Keri Freeman

Military mom and proud parent, artist, writer, musician and film maker. Cocktail connoisseur. Publisher of DTLA Weekly.