The building and the venue…
The Los Angeles Stock Exchange Building began construction in 1929, just three days before ‘Black Thursday’ and the market collapse. The eleven-story Exchange building was designed by Samuel Lunden in the Moderne style of architecture. When the Los Angeles Stock Exchange opened its doors in 1931, the country was deep into the throws of the Great Depression. Transactions that inaugural day were valued at about $545,000 (approximately $7,650,000 in today’s money).
THE FACADE— A limestone and gray granite front portion spans fifty-three-foot tall, while a reinforced concrete and terra cotta construction of eleven stories (the city’s height limit in 1929) stands in the back.
OUTSIDE— above the building’s entrance three bas-relief panels are carved in the granite by Salvatore Cartaino Scarpitta. The panels portray elements of capitalism. The large central panel, “Finance”, displays executives from that industry. The “Production” panel shows an aircraft engine and steel workers pouring and stirring molten metal. The “Research and Discovery” panel shows oil derricks, factories, a chemist conducting an experiment, and a man kneeling in a library reading a book.
INSIDE— The interior is wonderfully preserved, and has ancient Near East and Native Indian influences by the designer Julian Ellsworth Garnsey. On the entrance lobby’s ceiling the Wilson Studio created four sculpted figures representing: Speed (Mercury), Accuracy (the archer), Permanence (a figure contemplating the universe), and Equality (the figure bearing scales).
The highlight of the interior was its massive 90′ x 74′ balconied trading floor with a forty-foot ceiling and sixty-four booths. On fifth floor was a clearing-house with a statistics department, an auditorium, and a lecture room. Offices occupied floors six through nine, and the top two floors included: a club with a library, a card room, a billiard room, and reading rooms. The basement held a 2,660-sq. ft. printing room and a vault.
Los Angeles Stock Exchange and the San Francisco Stock Exchange merged in 1956, and became the Pacific Coast Stock Exchange, which remained in the building until 1986. The building largely remained unoccupied until it underwent a massive renovation into a nightclub in 2008. All construction was supervised under the strict building guidelines that protect Historic Cultural Landmarks, since the Pacific Coast Stock Exchange Building was designated as such in 1979.