Search This Blog

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Mystery History -- Solved!

Barbara wins with her11:38 Tuesday guess "Elks Lodge after the 1987 Whittier Narrows quake; the chimney has collapsed. It's October, and that's how we know it wasn't the reindeer"

In the 1987 photo above, a portion of the stately Elks Lodge at 400 W. Colorado Boulevard, including the roof and chimney, has been severely damaged by the Whittier Narrows earthquake. There was damage to other parts of the building as well.

Here is the Elks Lodge today:

And a side-by-side comparison with the top photo:

The Elks Lodge, at the southeast corner of Colorado and Orange Grove boulevards, was designed by Myron Hunt and built in 1911. To this day it has an active membership. The property is perhaps best known by non-members as everybody's favorite parking spot for the Colorado Street Bridge Party and "media corner" during the Rose Parade.

The 5.9 Whittier Narrows quake killed eight people on Oct. 1, 1987, and caused widespread damage, especially in the San Gabriel Valley and East Los Angeles. Property damage estimates throughout the affected areas totaled $358 million. The quake was felt throughout Southern California and southern Nevada.

This article in the New York Times gives a good account of the widespread damage. Most of the buildings that collapsed had been constructed with unreinforced masonry.  

Most unreinforced masonry buildings were built before 1933, predating modern earthquake-resistant design. Bricks were not strengthened with embedded steel bars.

Miraculously, two people inside Fair Oaks Automotive at 101 S. Fair Oaks Ave. in Pasadena survived when the unreinforced masonry building collapsed as a result of the quake:

The north wall of the building fell over onto parked cars, which were flattened:

This is what the building (the yellow one) looked like before the quake:

If you're interested in what Building Code regulations say about unreinforced masonry structures, click here.

Many thanks to Chris and Kevin and the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner,