rejectomorph (flying_blind) wrote,

Thinking About Not Freezing

Whoever deals with the computer stuff at Occidental College has finally gotten the school's website for the Robert Winter and Myron Hunt collections working. Hunt was the architect who designed most of the early buildings at Occidental (and many other Southern California landmarks, including the recently demolished Ambassador Hotel),a nd Winter is a former Oxy professor and all around expert on Southern California architecture. I haven't looked at the Myron Hunt stuff yet, but Dr. Winter's photo collection contains some nice stuff.

The virtual tour turns up a lot of craftsman bungalows and such, which one would expect, and a number of sections with historic buildings of other sorts. The search wizard is too elaborate and too slow, as is the case with almost all college and university-sponsored websites, but worth the trouble of figuring out and enduring for anyone interested in the architecture of the region.

There's a section of the site containing 33 of Winters photos of one of the city's little-known wonders, the Old Dutch Chocolate Shop, a 1914 arts and crafts style restaurant interior in downtown Los Angeles entirely decorated with tiles made by Ernest Batchelder. (Edit: I had a link to the gallery page, but the site doesn't work like that (surprise, surprise), so anybody who wants to see it will have to use the cranky search wizard to hunt it down.) The shop decamped ages ago, and the location was long occupied by a cafeteria called Finny's. Though I passed by the place hundreds of times, I never went in. Had I known what lay behind the narrow, unprepossessing front, I'd have certainly taken a look inside.

Finny's is long gone now too, and some years ago the space was altered to accommodate one of the numerous flea market type operations that now abound in the area. Though the tiles remain, they are partly hidden behind various partitions and false walls, but fragments of the work can still be seen. Perhaps with the renewed popularity of downtown the place will be rescued and restored for some more fitting use. In the meantime, the best way to view the spectacle is through Winter's photos.

Speaking of winter, the solstice is a couple of days away, but winter has definitely arrived here. The air has been cold all day long despite the sun being free of the thin clouds most of the time. Buried under a heap of blankets, I failed to wake until almost sunset today. Now I'm poking my head out into the night for a bit of fresh air now and then, only to have my nose bitten by the chill. I feel like I ought to take a deep breath and hold it until I've adjusted to the shock, like a swimmer plunging into an icy lake.

Bonus link: Bob Baker's creepy marionettes!

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