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Grand Central Market
Homer Laughlin Building
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Located at 317 S. Broadway in downtown Los Angeles, Homer Laughlin Building is a Los Angeles landmark building best known for it ground floor tenant, the Grand Central Market, the City's largest and oldest open air market.
Grand Central MarketDesigned in the Beaux Arts style, the Homer Laughlin Building was the fifth building in the United States, and the first building west of Chicago, to use concrete floors.
The Grand Central Market is an open stall bazaar that extends along the ground floor of the Homer Laughlin Building from Broadway to Hill Street. Over 40 merchants can be found selling everything from produce to ice cream.
Built by retired Ohio entrepreneur Homer Laughlin (founder of the Homer Laughlin China Company), the Homer Laughlin Building was the Los Angeles's first fireproofed, steel-reinforced structure. The building was originally built in 1897 and was further expanded through to Hill Street in 1905 under a design by architect Harrison Albright. The original building was built in the Beaux Arts style, but subsequent modifications drastically changed its appearance including the addition of a tile facade in the 1960s which hid the second story windows. At one time the building served as an office for the great American architect Frank Lloyd Wright.
Opening in 1917, the Grand Central Market occupies the ground floor of the Homer Laughlin Building. The location was chosen because of its proximity to the Angels Flight Railway allowing for easy access to the well to do citizens of Bunker Hill.
Along with the attached Million Dollar Theater Building, the Homer Laughlin Building and the Grand Central Market underwent a major renovation in the 1990s under the direction of developer Ira Yellin and architect Brenda Levin. As part of the restoration residential units were added creating one downtown Los Angeles's first true mixed use developments in decades.
Grand Central Market General Manager Filomena Eriman adds, "Ethnicity has changed. The population and the merchants have changed also. It’s now, we have more Hispanic merchants and customers are eighty to ninety percent Spanish."
Remembering AA Flight 191
On May 25, 1979, American Airlines Flight 191 bound for Los Angeles from Chicago O'Hare International Airport crashed in this field located on Touhy Avenue, less than 1/4 of a mile from Elmhurst Road, a few hundred feet from runway 32R where it had taken off. The DC-10 lost the left engine which tore away hydraulics from the wing slats which then caused the plane to heave dramatically to the left and plummet (almost cartwheel-style) into the ground. 271 passengers and crew were killed as well as two persons on the ground. The plane burst into a ball of fire and smoke that could be seen from downtown Chicago.
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