Friday, 7 December 2012

L.A. in the 1920s

In December 1920, the Schindlers moved to L.A upon Frank Lloyd Wright's request. (R.M Schindler Architect, August Sarnitz, pg. 212)

During the 1920's Southern California was experiencing a boom fuelled by real estate, oil and motion picture. The real estate market was so big that white collar workers abandoned good-paying jobs to become real estate salesmen. (LA Lost and Found, Sam Hall Kaplan, pg. 65)

From 1900 to 1920 there was an enormous wave of immigrants coming to Los Angeles. The Los Angeles population grew from 103,000 to 575,000 plus an additional 325,000 in the surrounding county. About 100,000 people came to the Greater Los Angeles area each year, the boom became the largest migration in US history. By 1930, the L.A population was estimated to be 2.2 million. (LA Lost and Found, Sam Hall Kaplan, pg. 65) Development in the 1920's followed trolley tracks, not highways like today. Although, many highways today follow the traditional trolley tracks. (LA Lost and Found, Sam Hall Kaplan, pg. 67)

The streetcar inner urban system's expansion pushed suburban sprawl, "Within a radius of 35 miles of L.A, there were 42 incorporated cities and towns and countless country homes in between. All these are literally of one body, of the healthiest and most rapidly growing body in America." -- Sunset Magazine 1913 (LA Lost and Found, Sam Hall Kaplan, pg. 67) Nowadays these suburbs are served by freeways. The  extensive sprawl was fuelled by the Southern California dream of living life not as dense and industrialized as the Midwest and East. (LA Lost and Found, Sam Hall Kaplan, pg. 69)

According to author W. E. Smythe in Out West Magazine, "A true Southern California city would be a garden filled with homes. Many of these homes would be humble, costing but a few hundred dollars, yet they would represent a very high average of beauty and comfort, thanks to the marvellous climate. In order to accommodate a great population, such cities would naturally spread over a vast area-- the vaster the better." (LA Lost and Found, Sam Hall Kaplan, pg. 69) Interestingly, Rudolf Schindler's home cost $12,500 USD. (Schindler House, Katheryn Smith, pg. 25) In today's money, (adjusted for inflation) Schindler's home would have cost $482,475 USD while W. E Smythe's described utopian homes would cost $11,500 USD.

Greater Los Angeles became a huge movie town. By 1920, L.A annually generated one billion dollars a year from film production, thus becoming LA's biggest industry. Los Angeles rose to prominence overnight, "While water allowed L.A to grow, the interurban gave it shape, and the oil spurred on the process, it was movies that propelled it into the national consciousness and gave it a style. The style was Hollywood, a mix of reality and fantasy, often superficial and fleeting, taking a variety of forms, from architecture to eye makeup. And it turned L.A into a dream town." (LA Lost and Found, Sam Hall Kaplan, pg. 77) It isn't a surprise that Schindler's innovatively designed home became part of a larger fabric of creativity and imagination. 

No comments:

Post a Comment