Sun Oct 25th, 2009 at 10:46:08 AM EST
So today I had to take a trip to downtown L.A. to copy some papers from the archives. Admittedly, it's been a while since I've been in a government building in California and, like everyone else, I've been hearing the news about how bankrupt the state is, but still... I was unprepared for what I saw...
Tales of Small Government - afew
The archives are located in the Los Angeles County Hall of Records and is part of the Civic Center in the heart of downtown.
The building itself was designed by Richard Neutra, who was a student of Frank Lloyd Wright and is "considered one of modernism's most important architects." It has an entry in historic downtown walks:
The Los Angeles County Hall of Records is an outstanding example of post-World War II Modern civic architecture. Designed by a team of architects led by Modernist master Richard Neutra, it is the only high-rise office building by Neutra in L.A. County. It includes a number of technological innovations, most notably the massive 125-foot-tall louvers on the south-facing walls that move depending on light and cloud conditions to save energy and reduce glare. Next to the main entrance on Temple Street is an 80-foot mosaic mural by renowned artist Joseph Young, depicting the county's main water sources through colored glass tiles, marble, granite, and water itself. Though in need of maintenance, this unique building remains essentially intact and in original condition - a true rarity, particularly for mid-century office buildings in Downtown Los Angeles.
I noticed the mosaic fountain on the way in, which was restored in 2008 and was indeed impressive.
However, the phrase "though in need of maintenance" as regards the rest of the building turned out to be a gross understatement.
This was the hallway to the archives. In fact, these actually were some of the archives, including criminal cases, just stacked in the halls.
We had to take the elevator down to the lower level, where the microfiche room was.
I actually didn't want to get in these elevators, but I thought the search for stairs and the stairwell might be worse.
This photo of the Microfiche Library waiting area isn't the best in the world, but it didn't seem the sort of environment that would take kindly to me blatantly snapping pictures, so I tried to be discreet. But note the stacks of records, the crumbling wall, the broken ceiling tiles...
...you'll have to trust me when I say it looked worse in person. I couldn't wait to get out of there.
Of course, no trip downtown would be complete without witnessing a car accident:
But we had lunch at an old fave to recover.
It's a great old place, and rather big, but how did I not know there was a railway museum in there?
Of course, I had to investigate for our rail fans. This was it.
So there you have it. Just another lovely day in the biggest, richest metro area in the biggest state in the richest nation on earth.