Historic California Posts, Camps, Stations and Airfields
Los Angeles South Hope Street Armory
The former Los Angeles Hope Street Armory (Google Street View)
Historical Summary
Located at 3440 South Hope Street in Los Angeles. Los Angeles City Historical-Cultural Monument (HCM) No. 1058. This four-story industrial warehouse from 1927 was designed by the prominent Los Angeles firm of Morgan, Walls & Clements, responsible for the El Capitan Theater (HCM No. 495), Mayan Theater (HCM No 460), and the Pellissier Building and Wiltern Theatre
(HCM No. 118). The building was originally constructed as a printing factory for the Los Angeles Downtown Shopping News. From 1950 to the late 1960s, the building served as the California National Guard Armory for the Headquarters, 40th Armored Division and other division units. It was later utilized by the California Conservation Corps. It was purchased and renovated for library use by University of Southern California in the 1980s.
Source: City of Los Angeles, Department of City Planning, Office of Historic Resources
Extract, 2013 City of Los Angeles Cultural Heritage Monument Application
Physical Description

The Downtown Shopping News Factory/National Guard Building/East library is located at 3440 South Hope Street in downtown Los Angeles. This large, four-story, concrete warehouse structure is rectangular in plan and located on the northeast corner of the intersection of S. Hope and W. 35th Streets. The building was designed in a simple Art Deco style, with elements of Spanish Colonial Revival and Beaux Arts Classicism. The west and south elevations (the primary facades) are notable for thin vertical bays of steel-framed, multi-light, awning windows alternating with projecting rectilinear pilasters that span from the second floor to the cornice.

Wider bays emphasize the corners. The main facade faces west and has a scored concrete finish. Molded stringcourses are located above the first story and at the roofllna. The main entrance is located at the northwest corner of the building, recessed from view and supported by a squared concrete pier. The south side of the building faces W. 35th Street and features five loading doors at the first story and two sets of metal fire stairs at the upper stories. A four-bay wide structure, most likely an elevator tower, extends above the parapet of the south elevation.


The building was constructed in 1927. A one-story abutting building was built by 1950, since demolished. Over the decades numerous alterations have been made to the building's interior. Stone grillwork and Churrigueresque ornamentation at the building's corners were removed and at least one loading bay (south facade) has been infilled (dates unknown).


The East Library is an excellent example of a downtown Los Angeles Industrial Art Deco building designed by the pre-eminent Los Angeles architectural firm of Morgan, Walls & Clements. The building is also significant for its role as an Armory and the part it played in the growth of the California National Guard. The designers of the building; Morgan, Walls and Clements, were a prolific local architectural firm known for their theater designs and commercial work from the 1910s to the early 1930s. Prior to the construction of the current building, the site was in the E.E.Thomas Home Tract No. 2. It contained two vacant lots and a Single-family dwelling (Sanborn Map Company, 1922). According to building permit information, the current structure was built in 1927 as a printing factory for the Los Angeles Downtown Shopping News. Morgan, Walls & Clements were the architects, and P.J. Walker was the contractor. The Los Angeles Downtown Shopping News specialized in producing advertising for businesses ("About the Armory", 2009) and occupied the building through at least 1940. By 1947 the building housed the Pacific Press Inc. (Bldg. permit

By 1950 the building was home to the California National Guard Armory, and the abutting onestory building to the northeast (since demolished) housed the Army Ordinance Warehouse Depot (Sanborn Map Company, 1950). The acquisition of the property was made during a period of expansion for the National Guard. According to Major General O'Sullivan, the Adjutant General of California at the time, a significantly larger California force and armories to house them was needed. "For national defense, for the benefit of the youth ofthe State and for the development of community assets, California will need 218 armories to house and train 43,000 men, which is the ultimate goal of the State's National Guard"(Los Angeles Times, 4/1/1947, Al}. When the Korean War started, the California National Guard was federalized, and the 40th Infantry Division moved to Camp Cooke and later Japan for advanced training ("The History of the California National Guard", 2009). In response, the California National Guard Reserves (formerly the California Defense and Security Corps) became the states' defense force (Los Angeles Times, 9/7/19S2). To fillthis role, the california National Guard Reserves was rapidly expanded as prescribed by Gov. Warren and the State legislature. The purpose of the corps was to fulfillthe former functions of the National Guard such as assisting rnunlctpaI or county peace officers in the event of any emergency such as air raids, riots, sabotage, or natural disaster and in the protection of war installations.
Four group headquarters were established for the California National Guard Reserve, the National Guard Armory, Exposition Park; National Guard Armory in Pasadena; the Armory in Ontario and the San Diego Armory (Los Angeles Times, 8/11/1950, 4). The building at 3440 S Hope Street housed the 1st Division of the California National Guard Reserve headquarters (Los Angeles Times, 12/16/1951, 4). By1956 the headquarters of the 40th Armored Division had been moved from Exposition Park to 3440 S. Hope Street Polk & Co., 1956). In addition to administration and training, numerous Los Angeles Times articles indicate the building was used for various California National Guard and California National Guard Reserve ceremonial occasions such as the presentation of colors (Los Angeles Times,10/17/1950, Al), commendations, services for soldier killed in Korea, promotions, and presentation of State military medals. In 1967 the California National Guard Reserves was deactivated when the legislature failed to approve its budget appropriation (Los Angeles Times, 2/4/1986, V8). Similarly the National Guard moved out of the building in the 1960s.

From the late 1970s to the mid 1980s, the building housed local California Conservation Corps administrative offices. The program, created in 1976, promoted the employment and training of youth in the development and maintenance of the state's natural resources and environment ("About the Armory", 2009).

The University of Southern California (USC) purchased the property in mid 1980's and remodeled the building to become the East library. The building is currently labeled the "East Library" on campus maps. The building is home to the library's bindery and preservation office, university archives, and provides access for researchers to USC's regional history collection and the AIDS social policy archives.
Morgan, Walls, and Clements

The designers of the building, Morgan, Walls, and Clements, were a prolific local architectural firm known for their theater designs and commercial work from the 1910s to the early 1930s (Pitt, 332). The firm's principals were Octavius Morgan, 1.A.Walls, and Stile o. Clements. Octavius Morgan was born and studied architecture in England and immigrated to the United States in 1870. He was employed in Los Angeles by E.P. Kysor as a draughtsman and practiced with Kysor until 1888. Their most famous collaboration is St. Viblanna's Roman Catholic Church in Los Angeles. in, 1889 Morgan joined John A. Walls and opened Morgan and Walls. Morgan brought his son O.W. Morgan aboard in 1910. Stiles Clements was born in Centerville, Maryland in 1883 and trained at both Drexel in Philadelphia and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He came to Los Angeles in 1911 and worked for Morgan and Walls. He became a partner in the firm in 1923. Some of the firms most notable buildings are: McKinley Building (1923), Adamson House (1928), The Belasco Theatre (1926), The EI Capitan Theatre (1926), Samson Tyre/Uniroyal Building in Commerce (1929), Security First National Bank of Los Angeles (1929), Dominquez-Wilshire Building (1930), Los Angeles Pacific Telephone Building (1911 & 1930). The Toberman/Hollywood Storage Warehouse built in 1925 by the firm has similar stylistic elements to The Los Angeles Down Town Shopping News Factory building. On both structures the Churrigueresque detailing has been removed.

Architectural Styles:
Art Deco with Spanish Colonial Revival and Beaux Arts influences The Downtown Shopping News Factory/Armory/East library building is primarily an Art Deco style industrial building with Spanish Colonial Revival and Beaux Arts influences. The term Art Deco was coined at the Paris Exposition de Arts Decoratifs in Paris in 1925. Embellishing the Streamline Modeme lines of a more pared down style, Art Deco took its themes from archeology, nature, industrial design, and the animal kingdom. Symmetry, geometrical form, and a strong vertical emphasis are all emblematic of the style. Decorative panels that have been removed from the building were described as Churrlgueresque. The Spanish or Mexican Churrigueresque refers to elaborate decorative elements often used as an applied surface decoration on Spanish Colonial Revival buildings. This baroque ornamentation can be traced as far back as 1667 in Granada, Spain and to Mexico in 1690. Applied Churrigueresque ornament was also used in Balboa Park at the Panama -California Exposition and became associated with Spanish Colonial Revival Architectural Style.

Beaux Arts Classicism refers to a style named after the Ecole de Beaux Arts in Paris where many American architects received their training. The style favored Greek and Roman building typologies stressing their monumentality, formality and symmetry. In the case of 3440 South Hope, the influence of Beaux Arts Classlcism is evident in its solidity and monumentality of the structure Beaux Arts classicism found its form throughout the United States in post offices, courthouses, libraries, and in this case-a factory.


The building at 3440 Hope Street is significant for Its representation of the expansion of the California National Guard and California National Guard Reserves during the Korean War in the early 1950s. The building is also significant as being a rare, intact example of downtown Los Angeles industrial Art Deco architecture designed by the preeminent Los Angeles architecture firm Morgan, Walls and Clements.

It was identified .as potentially eligible for local designation as part of the environmental review for the USC 2030 Master Plan that was approved in 2012. This Historic Cultural-Monument application is part of the identified Mitigation Measures for the Master Plan.
40th Armored Division Units Stationed at Los Angeles South Hope Street Armory, June 1959

Headquarters and Headquarters Company

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Posted 9 May 2016