I can’t say that I’m much of a tree-hugger, but I do have a weakness for historical architecture and I think it deserves to be preserved. Above is a black & white photo I found of the old West Hollywood Library in its prime. It turns out this was a 1960’s Edward Fickett strutcture. It coulda/shoulda been saved and re-used for something like…oh, I don’t know a Headstart School or a new Recovery Center which is in the talks for the West Hollywood Library/Park Master Plan. Instead the old library was torn down. Alas…saving it was not part of the plan.
I must confess that I don’t remember the building ever looking like the old b&w photo above. The old West Hollywood Library I remember was always buried under overgrown trees with its cracked sidewalks and it was half-hidden from view by cars, thanks to the ugly parking lot in front. There were also no real efforts to give it a nice paint job and display it for its true Fickett glory.
I must also admit that I only went inside once, and that was only because my friend was looking for quarters to feed a parking meter; I remember finding it depressing and small inside. A lot of us overlooked it. So we didn’t bother to save it.
I was in front of the old library taking pictures to write about the new library for the City Hall Hot Topic column I write for FRONTIERS LA magazine (I love the new library btw and frequent it often). The picture below was taken two days before the building was torn down. I got shots of the old sign (which is now gone), but I could not think of any reason to take pictures of the old rundown library—I hear used to be a hangout for male hookers and strung out junkies in the 80s & 90s, which is pretty lame. I wouldn’t be caught high at a library. I picture tweakers re-arranging the index cards in ass backwards order.
The pictures below are ones I took of the building being demolished. True, we all knew it had its day with the ball and chain. But also true that not many people knew it was a historical landmark. People like myself were on the slow train and we found ourselves outraged waaayyy after the fact. I’m not saying the city was shady or sneaky about tearing down this building, because they were clear and open about it in their Master Plan. However, I do question why they put up a high fence with a tarp to conceal the building’s final moments–not giving people much time or a chance to put up a good fight. The only reason I was able to take the pictures below is because the gate opened to let a giant truck out while I was walking by. My ass ran in and took these quick shots before being screamed at to get the hell out. Which I did. Then I climbed back over the fence to take some more pics…
I admit the demolition made me sad, but people can’t point fingers and blame city officials for something like this. It is the People who need to get more informed and be more involved with the decisions made in their city. I’m not judging. I’m just saying.
Oh, and post script: Should people get it twisted, let me clarify that it was a travesty seeing the old Weho Library in rubbles—HOWEVER I’m all in favor of the current West Hollywood Plummer Park getting a major overhaul. I know people want to save this useless park with its depressing Fiesta Hall and 100 year-old trees; but some of these busy bodies can’t even say the names of the West Hollywood city council members correctly, and a lot of them complain about the city being over-developed while they go home to their overdeveloped condos. Give me a fucking break! Unless these bitches live in a tent somwhere in the wilds of Griffith park, they can’t complain too much about the growth of a city.